Thomas Merton, a well known American monk of thetwentiethcentury,distinguishedhimselfasawriter, a social activist, and a religious thinker. Among his manifold interests, he was intensely devoted to the study of otherreligions, particularly Zen Buddhism. This study seeks to examine Merton's relationship to Zen and discern how he was simultaneously able to participate in this Eastern tradition and also remain a Roman Catholic. A 100kat Merton' s books, journals, and letters suggests that his understanding of the fundamental aspects of Zen closely cohered with his lifelong desire to live a contemplative life. Also, Merton's perspective on religious plurality was characterized by an openness to finding truth in religions other than Christianity. Even though Merton studied and participated in Zen, as well as other traditions, he remained a Roman Catholic until his death in 1968.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Lawrence Snyder
Fairbanks, Angela, "Breathing Zen: Thomas Merton's Search for 'The Death of Self'" (1999). Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 210.