November 11, 1968
Over the course of the past several days Thomas Merton has left Dharamsala and travelled back to Calcutta via New Delhi.
The Dalai Lama
Merton had his last meeting with the Dalai Lama on November 8th and came away feeling that they had truly become good friends. He writes... "It was a very warm and cordial discussion and at the end I felt we had become good friends and were somehow quite close to one another. I feel a great respect and fondness for him as a person and believe, too, that there is a real spiritual bond between us. He remarked that I was a "Catholic geshe," which, Harold said, was the highest possible praise from a Gelugpa, like and honorary doctorate!" AJTM p.125
Merton picks up an Indian newspaper in his hotel and notes in his journal that there were "student riots in Benares, Rawalpindi, Amritsar, and a dozen other places." Seems to be a global phenomena in 1968!
Merton's brief time in New Delhi is filled with various tours, meetings, meals, and visits including... the Jantar Mantar observatory; a Cambodian monk at Ashoka Vihara; Urdu singing at the Moti Mahal Restaurant; a Muslim college; Mass at the Holy Family Hospital. Somehow he also manages to find time to finish the notes for his upcoming talk in Bangkok and write a lengthy letter home to friends!
On November 9th Merton writes a letter to friends back home. He brings them up to date on his travels and describes his contacts with Asian monks as "fruitful and rewarding". He also makes reference to another meeting with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche whom he saw again in Calcutta. He writes... "I hope you can understand why I cannot answer my mail these days. I am entirely occupied with these monastic encounters and with the study and prayer that are required to make them fruitful... With my very best regards always, cordially yours in the Lord Jesus, and in His Spirit... Thomas Merton" AJTM p.325
Tomorrow we're off to Darjeeling!
Good night... Rob
"We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God." Thomas Merton