Did Thomas Merton write the following:

"I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity"

If so, in which writings?

I read this in many places such as this one but am unable to find the original writing of Merton in which it is mentioned.

  • 1
    If so, I wonder what he specifically meant. Taken at face value with no context, this appears to be an absurd statement; at the core of Christianity is a notion of a linear progression of the human soul that is completely at odds with the core Buddhist concept of reincarnation.
    – Mason Wheeler
    May 1 '19 at 16:08
  • David Steindl-Rast, "Man of Prayer," in Thomas Merton, Monk, ed. Patrick Hark (Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1976), 90.

The 1974 ed. doesn't have such a quote, so, considering the influence of Modernism (spec. religious indifferentism) on the post-Vatican II religious life, either Merton himself became a Modernist or the author interpolated that quote.


in 1968, he wrote, “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity..." Read: Thomas Merton’s Encounter with Buddhism and Beyond: His Interreligious Dialogue, Inter-MonasticExchangesand Their Legacy

A Christian is supposed to evangelize those from Eastern religions, present them with the gospel rather than assimilate their mystical insights. That's what the great commission was all about. That is what the crux of our opposition is all about. As a movement, those who practice contemplative prayer, on the whole, tend to develop spiritual kinship to Eastern religions, especially Buddhism. Thomas Keating

Database of Books Written about Merton

Thomas Merton said: "I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity ... I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can." (David Steindl-Rast, "Recollection of Thomas Merton's Last Days in the West" (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969)

Why did Merton say that? What did he mean? The story leading to Merton's comment is a model for and recapitulation of the emergent and still emerging Buddhist—Christian interreligious dialogue, perhaps one of the more obscure yet more significant events occurring today." By Alan Altany FOR HUNDRED MOUNTAIN

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