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The Gethsemani Encounter: A Dialogue on the Spiritual Life by Buddhist and Christian Monastics

by Donald W. Mitchell, James Wiseman, Dalai Lama

Buy the book: Donald W. Mitchell. The Gethsemani Encounter: A Dialogue on the Spiritual Life by Buddhist and Christian Monastics

Release Date: May, 1999

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Donald W. Mitchell. The Gethsemani Encounter: A Dialogue on the Spiritual Life by Buddhist and Christian Monastics


New, in-depth exchange

Since 1977 the small group of North American Christian monastics, monks and nuns, have established exchanges with non-Christian monastics, principally Buddhists but also with Hindus and Moslems. Attempting to identify both similarities and differences in practice rather than examine dogmas, this Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID) group sponsored speakers, programs and publications, and eventually engaged in sending small groups of members to visit the exiled Tibetan monastics, followers of the Dalai Lama, in India, and brought representatives from India to visit American and Canadian monasteries.
The Gethsamani Encounter was designed to extend the mutual understanding these former programs had developed to a still deeper level. It lasted almost a week. Participants were restricted to twenty-five Christians and twenty-five Buddhists from all parts of the world. The site chosen was Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, a Trappist monastery whose most well-known member, Thomas (Brother Louis) Merton had died just twenty-five years earlier. He was one of a small group of pioneer Christians interested in Buddhism and died just shortly after having met the Dalai Lama. This confluence of place, history and dates made Gethsemani ideal for this meeting.
This book presents all of the Buddhist and Christian papers presented in multiple sessions daily. Often a group of papers would cluster around a particular theme (meditation; training) and would not only expose the common themes but especially the distinctive notes of each special group--different Buddhist lineages; various Christian groups. Presenters came from the U.S. and Canada, Europe, India, Burma, Cambodia, Japan and other areas giving presentations which inspired, informed and clarified. They also exposed questions and themes still needing more penetration. Consequently the contents of this publication are not only unique but they also supply a high level watershed from which further clarity and mutuality can emerge. The editors, themselves participants in the encounter, James Wiseman, OSB and Donald Mitchell are specialists who make the contents of the papers accessible to the uninitiated and informative to the specialist. This book is without parallel and is meaningful for both the person seriously interested in Buddhism, Christianity, monasticism and East-West exchanges and those who are unfamiliar with the material but ready to become richly informed.

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Truly different,humble and Divine

The Gethsemani Encounter was perhaps one of the great overlooked religious moments in the past decade. In the hills of Kentucky, in the oldest Trappist monastery in the United States,monastics from all over the world gathered to dialogue,to learn,to agree and disagree.The meeting place was suggested By The Dalai Lama,who in a moving afterword says"And so for the rest of my life,the impact of meeting him will remain until my last breath."The him is Thomas Merton, who met with the Dalai Lama on his final journey through the east in 1968.The talks in this book are broken up into sections{Journey and Dialogue,Prayer and Medidtation,Method and Expierence, Growth and Development,etc.} with speakers from both Buddhist and Christian monastic tradition sharing their expierence and strength. Some of the participants are truly moving: Ven. Maha Ghosananda of Cambodia speaking briefly on THE HUMAN FAMILY,the dalia lama on THE BODHISATTVA AND SOCIETY,,PRAYER AS PATH by Pierre-francios de bethune`Mary Margaret Funk,OSB on Lectio DIVINA,and many more. An over used term, treasure trove is quite appropriate. This is a collection to return to, to glean ,to nurture the soul.TO Open This volume isto enter a holy place . Truly magnificent.

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