This evening we watched a DVD about The Abbey of Gethsemani the Trappist monastery in Kentucky where Thomas Merton lived during the latter part of his life. The Abbey has a classic URL: http://www.monks.org/. A contemplative order they may be, out of touch with the world they are not.
We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men (and women) are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.
A modern day Zen monk is remembered for say that Zazen is ‘good for nothing’!
Here’s more on Thomas Merton for your interest and information.
The abbot (of Gethsemani also) urged the young monk (Thomas Merton) to write his autobiography, which was published under the title The Seven Storey Mountain (1948) and became a best-seller and a classic. During the next 20 years, Merton wrote prolifically on a vast range of topics, including the contemplative life, prayer, and religious biographies. His writings would later take up controversial issues (e.g., social problems and Christian responsibility: race relations, violence, nuclear war, and economic injustice) and a developing ecumenical concern. He was one of the first Catholics to commend the great religions of the East to Roman Catholic Christians in the West.
For some years Gethsemani has hosted conferences under the banner Inter-religious Dialogue when Buddhist and Christian Monastics join to debate. This years meeting which ended a couple of days ago was titled Monasticism and the Environment.
Links to the works of Thomas Merton on-line.