Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Next Book On My Reading List

Currently, I am reading Wake Up...A Life of the Buddha by Jack Kerouac and Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master...The Essential Writings edited by Lawrence Cunningham. My next book purchase will be Becoming Enlightened by the Dalai Lama. I am not a real Buddhist but I have found myself increasing drawn to that way of thinking and being. I was born a Christian in the Roman Catholic tradition. I am still part of that tradition but I admit I struggle with it. The Buddhist way seems more comfortable in many ways. I believe at least part of the comfort is because Buddhism is basically a contemplative religion. In Christianity there is a contemplative tradition but it is lived by a relatively small number of Christians. Recently I told a friend that I wasn't sure if I was a Zen Catholic or a Buddhist Christian. The irony of all of this is that my introduction to Buddhism was not through the Dalai Lama. It was actually due to Thomas Merton who is probably the most famous Christian monk of the 20th century. He may have struggled with this as I do. However, in his life he may have found a greater balance between his Christian vocation as a monk and his obvious attraction to Zen and Buddhism. At this time I do not see myself leaving one religion for another. In time, perhaps, I will also find the balance that Merton seemed to have found.

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