Thomas Merten and Buddhism

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Islamic Azad University Science and Research Branch

2 Faculty member of Islamic Azad University, Research Sciences Branch

3 استاد گروه ادیان و عرفان،موسسه حکمت و فلسفه ایران



As one of the most famous theologians of the twentieth century in Christianity, Thomas Merton owes much of his fame to his published work on the inter-religious dialogue between Christianity and other religions, specifically Eastern religions. He tried to establish a dialogue based on commonalities and similarities between Christianity and the ancient religions. Of all the mystics of the East, Merton paid the most attention to Buddhism, especially the Zen branch. Merton's writings, along with those of Zen thinkers such as Suzuki and Alan Watts, have been serious chapters in the Christian tradition of Zenism and Buddhism.

The Buddhism, especially Zen, introduced by Suzuki, is a rich source for Merton in his plan to confront and discuss the Bible and the teachings of modern Christianity; Suzuki seemed to present the Zen school as a ritual that was accidentally associated with Buddhist history and teachings. But Merton found in many cases that the doctrine was deeply rooted in the Buddhist tradition, as it would provide a framework for meditation in the mind and a broad vision.


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