Seeds

ISBN-10: 1570629307
ISBN-13: 9781570629303
Edition: 2002
List price: $16.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: Thomas Merton is often considered the most prominent Christian contemplative of the twentieth century, but he was also a political activist, social visionary, and literary figure whose writings combine the candor of Thoreau and the moral vision of  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.95
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/8/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 192
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

Thomas Merton is often considered the most prominent Christian contemplative of the twentieth century, but he was also a political activist, social visionary, and literary figure whose writings combine the candor of Thoreau and the moral vision of Gandhi. Here is a remarkably accessible introduction to his work: a collection of a short, vivid excerpts arranged in four parts so as to parallel the journey of a seeking soul in the modern world. "Real and False Selves" distinguishes between our real selves, a deep religious mystery known entirely only to God, and the identities we take on in order to function in society. "The World We Live In" provides a spiritual context to modern life, moving from a stark rejection of its empty promises to a deep compassion for its tragic limitations. "Antidotes to Illusion" reflects on contemplative practices that can serve as the allies of our "real selves" in the battle against illusion: silence, solitude, meditation, prayer, charity, and faith. "Love in Action" explores the role of the contemplative in the modern age and the challenges and pitfalls of living a life of active love. Merton's startling critique of a society driven by technology and rampant acquisition, the politics of "good versus evil," and the self-deluding complacency of the spiritual "lifestyle" demonstrate beyond doubt that his writings are as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.

Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism. After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. His parents, nominally friends, had given him little religious guidance, and in 1938, he converted to Roman Catholicism. The following year he received an M.A. from Columbia University and in 1941, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death. His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, "The Seven Storey Mountain" (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression. Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968.

Introduction
Real and False Selves
The World we Live in
Unquiet City
The Technological Imperative
Events and Pseudo-Events
Antidotes to Illusion
Truth
Silence
Solitude
Prayer, Meditation, Contemplation
Monasticism
Faith
Charity
Humility
Vocation
God
Love in Action
Toward a Theology of Love
Nonviolence
Sainthood
Books and Tapes by and about Thomas Merton
Sources and Abbreviations
Acknowledgments

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