Zitate Thomas Merton

„Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are.“

—  Thomas Merton

Letter to Dorothy Day (20 December 1961).
Kontext: Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are. It is only this realization that can open to us the real nature of our duty, and of right action. To shut out the person and to refuse to consider him as a person, as an other self, we resort to the impersonal "law" and to abstract "nature." That is to say we block off the reality of the other, we cut the intercommunication of our nature and his nature, and we consider only our own nature with its rights, its claims, it demands. And we justify the evil we do to our brother because he is no longer a brother, he is merely an adversary, an accused. To restore communication, to see our oneness of nature with him, and to respect his personal rights and his integrity, his worthiness of love, we have to see ourselves as similarly accused along with him … and needing, with him, the ineffable gift of grace and mercy to be saved. Then, instead of pushing him down, trying to climb out by using his head as a stepping-stone for ourselves, we help ourselves to rise by helping him to rise. For when we extend our hand to the enemy who is sinking in the abyss, God reaches out to both of us, for it is He first of all who extends our hand to the enemy. It is He who "saves himself" in the enemy, who makes use of us to recover the lost groat which is His image in our enemy.

„I simply like Chuang Tzu because he is what he is and I feel no need to justify this liking to myself or to anyone else. He is far too great to need any apologies from me.“

—  Thomas Merton

"A Note To The Reader".
The Way of Chuang-Tzŭ (1965)
Kontext: I simply like Chuang Tzu because he is what he is and I feel no need to justify this liking to myself or to anyone else. He is far too great to need any apologies from me. … His philosophical temper is, I believe, profoundly original and sane. It can of course be misunderstood. But it is basically simple and direct. It seeks, as does all the greatest philosoph­ical thought, to go immediately to the heart of things.
Chuang Tzu is not concerned with words and formulas about reality, but with the direct existential grasp of reality in itself. Such a grasp is necessarily obscure and does not lend itself to abstract analysis. It can be presented in a parable, a fable, or a funny story about a conversation between two philosophers.

„There is no question that the kind of thought and culture represented by Chuang Tzu was what transformed highly speculative Indian Buddhism into the humorous, iconoclastic, and totally practical kind of Buddhism that was to flourish in China and in Japan in the various schools of Zen.“

—  Thomas Merton

"The Way Of Chuang Tzu".
The Way of Chuang-Tzŭ (1965)
Kontext: The humor, the sophistication, the literary genius, and philosophical insight of Chuang Tzu are evident to anyone who samples his work. But before one can begin to understand even a little of his subtlety, one must situate him in his cul­tural and historical context. That is to say that one must see him against the background of the Confucianism which he did not hesitate to ridicule, along with all the other sedate and accepted schools of Chinese thought, from that of Mo Ti to that of Chuang's contemporary, friend, and constant op­ponent, the logician Hui Tzu. One must also see him in rela­tion to what followed him, because it would be a great mistake to confuse the Taoism of Chuang Tzu with the popular, de­ generate amalgam of superstition, alchemy, magic, and health­ culture which Taoism later became.
The true inheritors of the thought and spirit of Chuang Tzu are the Chinese Zen Buddhists of the Tang period (7th to 10th centuries A. D.). But Chuang Tzu continued to exert an influence on all cultured Chinese thought, since he never ceased to be recognized as one of the great writers and think­ ers of the classical period. The subtle, sophisticated, mystical Taoism of Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu has left a permanent mark on all Chinese culture and on the Chinese character itself. There have never been lacking authorities like Daisetz T. Suzuki, the Japanese Zen scholar, who declare Chuang Tzu to be the very greatest of the Chinese philosophers. There is no question that the kind of thought and culture represented by Chuang Tzu was what transformed highly speculative Indian Buddhism into the humorous, iconoclastic, and totally practical kind of Buddhism that was to flourish in China and in Japan in the various schools of Zen. Zen throws light on Chuang Tzu, and Chuang Tzu throws light on Zen.

„We must suffer. Our five sense are dulled by inordinate pleasure.“

—  Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude (1956)
Kontext: We must suffer. Our five sense are dulled by inordinate pleasure. Penance makes them keen, gives them back their natural vitality, and more. Penance clears the eye of conscience and of reason. It helps think clearly, judge sanely. It strengthens the action of our will.

„The humor, the sophistication, the literary genius, and philosophical insight of Chuang Tzu are evident to anyone who samples his work.“

—  Thomas Merton

"The Way Of Chuang Tzu".
The Way of Chuang-Tzŭ (1965)
Kontext: The humor, the sophistication, the literary genius, and philosophical insight of Chuang Tzu are evident to anyone who samples his work. But before one can begin to understand even a little of his subtlety, one must situate him in his cul­tural and historical context. That is to say that one must see him against the background of the Confucianism which he did not hesitate to ridicule, along with all the other sedate and accepted schools of Chinese thought, from that of Mo Ti to that of Chuang's contemporary, friend, and constant op­ponent, the logician Hui Tzu. One must also see him in rela­tion to what followed him, because it would be a great mistake to confuse the Taoism of Chuang Tzu with the popular, de­ generate amalgam of superstition, alchemy, magic, and health­ culture which Taoism later became.
The true inheritors of the thought and spirit of Chuang Tzu are the Chinese Zen Buddhists of the Tang period (7th to 10th centuries A. D.). But Chuang Tzu continued to exert an influence on all cultured Chinese thought, since he never ceased to be recognized as one of the great writers and think­ ers of the classical period. The subtle, sophisticated, mystical Taoism of Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu has left a permanent mark on all Chinese culture and on the Chinese character itself. There have never been lacking authorities like Daisetz T. Suzuki, the Japanese Zen scholar, who declare Chuang Tzu to be the very greatest of the Chinese philosophers. There is no question that the kind of thought and culture represented by Chuang Tzu was what transformed highly speculative Indian Buddhism into the humorous, iconoclastic, and totally practical kind of Buddhism that was to flourish in China and in Japan in the various schools of Zen. Zen throws light on Chuang Tzu, and Chuang Tzu throws light on Zen.

„The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.“

—  Thomas Merton, buch The Seven Storey Mountain

Quelle: The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
Kontext: Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture.

„The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image.“

—  Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu

Variante: The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.
Quelle: The Way of Chuang Tzu

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