Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Imitation Of Chuang Tzu

The Way Of Chuang Tzu
Thomas Merton
New Directions

Reviewed by Rory A.A. Hinton

The Way Of Chuang Tzu

“Last night I dreamed I was, temporarily, back at Gethsemani. I was dressed in a Buddhist monk’s habit, but with more black and red and gold, a "Zen habit," in color more Tibetan than Zen . . . I met some women in the corridor, visitors and students of Asian religion, to whom I was explaining I was a kind of Zen monk and Gelugpa together, when I woke up.” (Thomas Merton)

Merton's Mountain composed
In youthfully undisciplined prose.
Hinayana hyperbole. But yana still
Born under the sign of the water bearer.
Bourn along the seal of the earth sharer
Imitating The Way Of Chuang Tzu
In some former life.

Never offering a Jesuit apology
Accepted just as he is what he is:
A buddha recluse reclining
While refusing to go dining
With this slumbering world.
The highest submission lies
Beyond Trappist ambition.

"...when I woke up."

Thomas Merton. The Asian Journal Of Thomas Merton. New Directions. 1975.
Thomas Merton. The Seven Storey Mountain. 50th Anniversary. Mariner Books. 2001.
Thomas Merton. The Way Of Chuang Tzu. New Directions. 1969.