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Asian Journal (A New Directions Paperbook) Paperback – 1 Feb 1975


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Product details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; New Ed edition (1 Feb. 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811205703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811205702
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Paperback. Pub Date: 1975 Pages: 456 Publisher: New Directions Publishing The moment of takeoff was ecstatic ... joy We left the ground-I with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny of being at last on my true way after years of waiting and wondering ... With these words. dated October 15. 1968. the late Father Thomas Merton recorded the beginning of his fateful journey to the Orient. His travels led him from Bangkok. through India to Ceylon. and back again to Bangkok for his scheduled talk at a conference of Asian monastic orders. There he unequivocally reaffirmed his Christian vocation. His last journal entry was made on December 8. 1968. two days before his untimely. accidental death. Amply illustrated with photographs he himself took along the way and fully indexed. the book also contains a glossary of Asian religious terms. a preface by the Indian scholar Amiya ...

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kenney on 31 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
THE ASIAN JOURNAL OF THOMAS MERTON reads in many ways like a travelogue but the one subject which Merton manages to return to constantly is contemplation. He has an abiding curiosity about the contemplative experiences of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and virtually all mystics from any religion. Merton is especially interested in Tibetan Buddhism. At the same time he appears to remain firmly rooted in his committment to Catholicism and very appreciative of the opportunity to pursue God as a Trappist monk.
The editors have added much helpful material - including copious notes at the end of each chapter and an extensive glossary of terms.
I recommend THE ASIAN JOURNAL OF THOMAS MERTON as an intriguing book which provides a clear snapshot of Merton's thinking during the final weeks of his life.
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Although Merton, even in his published books, never becomes over didactic, they nevertheless did have to pass through the censors of his Church. Perhaps why, more often then not, I love the various Journals and Letters more than most of his writings. This Asian Journal, compiled from various jottings during his "pilgrimage" to Asia, is a wonderful collection of random thoughts and quotes from the many different books he was reading at the time, plus a record of his meeting with many people of Fiaths other thn his own, notably Buddhists. Personally I found his musings and quotes from T V Murti on the Madhyamika to be the most illuminating, but there is much else besides.

Anyway, I must give it 5 stars, but beware.......on my Kindle edition the quality of the photos is deplorable.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sylvia libby on 20 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
delivered in good condition and met all expectations
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating journal of Christian monk encountering the East 15 Mar. 2004
By Incantessimo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must-read for fans of Merton, and for anyone interested in encounters between Western Christianity and Eastern religions (particularly Hinduism and Buddhism).
Merton achieved incredible realizations and great insight into Buddhism despite the fact that he lived most of his life as a monk and hermit isolated at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, USA. At the end of his life, invited to present a paper in Bangkok on the renewal of monasticism, Merton made what he called his 'Asian pilgrimage' and finally set out to see firsthand what he had studied in books. This journal took him all across Asia, to various holy sites, and to encounters with numerous religious communities. He met, along the way, such people as H.H. the Dalai Lama and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He records all of this, his encounters, and even more interestingly, his own reflection on Buddhism and Christianity, in this wonderful gem of a journal.
What would have happened had Merton lived a few more years? I often ask myself this. He was exploring not just the surface of Buddhism (even now, many decades later, the presentation of Buddhism in the West can be very superficial), but delving into its very heart -- mandalas, tantras, and so on, and probing into what their nature was and what this might mean for Christianity to encounter a spirituality that seemed at once totally foreign and alien, and yet at the same time the very essence of what Christianity means.
Merton was a brilliant individual. He does not succumb to easy platitudes such as "It's all the same thing" or anything like that. He respects difference. But he does also certainly see a deep and dazzling dynamic unity -- a truth -- that penetrates all of this -- and not just this, but every moment of our lives. That living power -- that is what is important, and he witnessed to this in his life and writings.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
merton lives! 25 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I never tire of reading Thomas Merton. The Asian Journal is a poignant and tireless encampment with one of the remarkable men of letters of the 20th century. Colored throughout with Merton's search for a place of greater solitude (his dissatisfaction on many levels with the cheese factory his beloved Gethsemani abbey had become being well known for some time before his death) -the redwoods of California, possibly Alaska- as the journal progresses one begins to feel in his words a kind of prescient kinship with his own accidental death, occurring in Bangkok before he had completed his Asian pilgrimage. Worthy appendices - the characteristic sweetness of his informal talk on monasticism given at Calcutta, and his lecture on Marxism and Monastic Perspectives with its prophetic last sentence "So I will disappear". Free of polemics, giving in its human searching, this is once again essential Merton.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The Subject Is Still Contemplation 30 Jan. 2006
By Peter Kenney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
THE ASIAN JOURNAL OF THOMAS MERTON reads in many ways like a travelogue but the one subject which Merton manages to return to constantly is contemplation. He has an abiding curiosity about the contemplative experiences of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and virtually all mystics from any religion. Merton is especially interested in Tibetan Buddhism. At the same time he appears to remain firmly rooted in his committment to Catholicism and very appreciative of the opportunity to pursue God as a Trappist monk.

The editors have added much helpful material - including copious notes at the end of each chapter and an extensive glossary of terms.

I recommend THE ASIAN JOURNAL OF THOMAS MERTON as an intriguing book which provides a clear snapshot of Merton's thinking during the final weeks of his life.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Final Thoughts 4 July 2008
By JMack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Having read many of Thomas Merton's writings, one can see a sense of progess in his writing. More so than many other Christian, Merton sought a link between Christianity and Eastern religion, specifically Buddhism. The great misfortune was that Merton died during his trip to the East. The world may never know if Merton was on the cusp of something great. The Asian Jounral of Thomas Merton gives us some insight into his thoughts on the trip. Yet one must know his thoughts went further then what he put on paper and is included in this book.

The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton is essentially a travelogue. As Merton travels through cities and countries, he collecs his observations and thoughts. I was somewhat disappointed to discover so much of the text to be a sight-seeing log. Knowing that this was the trip that he spent years planning, I was hoping for more insight between the religions. The journal is obviously not a finished product and may never have been published had Merton not died.

While there is some disappointment in the context, there is a lot of quality writing in this book. Although they were brief, I particularly enjoyed the notes of Merton's meetings with the Dalai Lama. The photography included in the book is also beautiful.

It is with some reservations that I recommend this book. To a degree, I feel that it may not deliver the content that readers/buyers will expect. Fans of Merton's writing will assuredly enjoy it.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book so much. 28 Jun. 2007
By Susi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a Buddhist woman with several Catholic relatives, I was so curious how a Catholic priest was able to reconcile the non-dualism of Buddhism with the duality of Christianity. I was hoping that reading this book would provide that insight. Well, really, it didn't, except that maybe most Christians are misunderstanding the idea of non-duality. I don't know; I don't pretend to know. But after reading this book, I became almost obsessed with Merton; it takes such an unusual and open-minded person to just go with what he senses - sees, hears, feels - rather than by what he has been told. Such honesty is rare. His description of satori, as he experienced it, was incredibly vivid and open. And, of course, the end left me feeling that it shouldn't have been over; there should have been more. But I know that's just my attachment talking; it was as it should have been. Namaste.
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