In the 20th century, Thomas Merton, one of Christianity's great mystics, encountered the ancient Eastern mystical tradition known as Sufism. The result was an outpouring of mystical insight and spiritual wisdom.
In these talks, you will discover what first electrified Merton. The Sufi mystics have given us one of the world's most-read poets, Rumi; the beautiful mystical dance of whirling dervishes; interreligious insight; and new forms of contemplation. A visionary who sought to synthesize the best of Eastern and Western spiritualities, Thomas Merton's profound interest in the Sufi mystics is more relevant today than ever.
Merton explores the contemplative wisdom of Sufism to enhance our Christian understanding of mysticism and spiritual practice. In one of his talks to the novices at Gethsemani, he said, "The Sufis are seeking to know God and have ways of seeking to know God, and this should have some success with us.... We should be closer to the Sufis."
In these talks you will watch the development of Merton's spirituality as he moved toward a greater understanding of interreligious dialogue. Merton believed that the Sufis had much to teach us about prayer, mysticism, and contemplation.
Merton will bring you to new and exciting places as he reflects on Sufism and the mystical life. What Merton taught in the mid-20th century is prophetic for spiritual seekers in the contemporary world.
Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sybille Akers. Used with permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.
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Cosa pensano gli ascoltatori di Thomas Merton on Sufism
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Not a good introduction to Sufism
I have loved Thomas Merton writing on Christianity, especially The Seven Storey Mountain. So I thought his take on Sufism would be kind and knowledgeable. It is a series of live lectures by Merton to monks. It is wonderful to hear him live. But his comments have numerous painful inaccuracies and misunderstandings, and, sadly, unkindnesses and oversimplifications. There are much better introductions to Sufism. Ones I have read are by Douglas-Klotz, Ernst, Vaughan-Lee, Ghazali, Helminski, and especially Rumi. Start with any of these.
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- Dolores Plate
Thomas Merton Speaks
What a privilege to hear Merton speak on any subject! His views on Islam and Sufism are even more needed today. Thank Goodness he explored these ideas!
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