A 40 Year "Retrospective Journey"

“Be good, keep your feet dry,
your eyes open, your heart at peace
and your soul in the joy of Christ.”
Thomas Merton

November 11, 2008

Dharamsala - Calcutta

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

Student Riots
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!

New Delhi
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!

Letter Home
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


Buddhist_philosopher said...

Hi Rob, just wanted to drop a note of gratitude to you for this and to say that I'll be trying to follow along too. I'm a great admirer of Merton. My very best wishes, Justin Whitaker

travelholic.himalayas said...

http://www.mcllo.com " An Informative, Travel and local Community Website of Dharamsala,Mcleodganj and Kangra Valley Himachal Pradesh"

Dharamsala and Dalai Lama Information.

A guide to few facts and resources to Dharamsala,Mcleodganj.
Information about Dalai Lama , His Teachings, Local News Information.