Thomas Merton was recognized as one of those rare Western minds that are entirely at home with the Zen experience. In this collection, he discusses diverse religious concepts-early monasticism, Russian Orthodox spirituality, the Shakers, and Zen Buddhism-with characteristic Western directness. Merton not only studied these religions from the outside but grasped them by empathy and living participation from within. “All these studies,” wrote Merton, “are united by one central concern: to understand various ways in which men of different traditions have conceived the meaning and method of the ‘way’ which leads to the highest levels of religious or of metaphysical awareness.”
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