Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh: Engaged Spirituality in an Age of Globalization

Overview

Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh were and are two of the foremost spiritual writers of their times. They met only once—at Gethsemani Abbey on May 26, 1966. "Individually," says Robert King, "they are important, but considered together they may be even more significant. For although their lives developed independently of one another and took quite different forms, they shed light on each other in wonderful and unexpected ways." What binds the two is the theme of contemplation and action. King explores how they ...

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Overview

Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh were and are two of the foremost spiritual writers of their times. They met only once—at Gethsemani Abbey on May 26, 1966. "Individually," says Robert King, "they are important, but considered together they may be even more significant. For although their lives developed independently of one another and took quite different forms, they shed light on each other in wonderful and unexpected ways." What binds the two is the theme of contemplation and action. King explores how they came to understand the relationship between contemplative practice and social action in the context of their respective religious traditions, and he identifies the common features in their approach to engaged spirituality—a form of religious practice that could serve as a unifying paradigm for the world's religions in an age of globalization.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh met briefly at the Gethsemani Trappist monastery in Kentucky in 1966, and though they admired each other, they had no further significant contact. King (emeritus, philosophy and religion, Millsaps Coll.) is interested in exploring the convergence of their viewpoints, which he sees as having caused a significant impact on current thinking regarding spirituality and social action. For those unfamiliar with the life histories of Merton or Thich Nhat Hanh, this book offers a reasonable and succinct outline. Similarly, those unfamiliar with the ideas these men expressed, particularly during the tumultuous era of the Vietnam War and the Cold War, will find an accessible summary here. King's somewhat thin presentation, however, suffers from a certain amount of repetition and lack of focus, and the full import of his intriguing premise is never fully realized. Both Merton's and Thich Nhat Hanh's ideas are better conveyed through their own voluminous writings. King's contribution to the current interest in interfaith dialog and spiritually centered social action makes up somewhat for these deficiencies, but only collections with a demonstrated interest in these two men will have a clear need for this title. Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826413406
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert H. King, a graduate of Harvard and Yale, was professor of philosophy and religion at Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, where he was also academic dean. His most recent book is Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh: Engaged Spirituality in an Age of Globalization. He and Elizabeth live in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: A Personal Perspective
1. A Historic Meeting
2. Thomas Merton: Christian Contemplative
3. Thich Nhat Hanh: Engaged Buddhist
4. Entering into Dialogue
5. Engaged Spirituality in an Age of Globalization Epilogue: Global Heroes.

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