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Quote of the Week: Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton and HH the Dalai Lama

Every once in a while I like to shake things up and include quotes from buddhas, not necessarily “capital B Buddhists.” Trappist monk Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968) falls into that category. Like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Merton was also a contemporary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, and made great contributions to Christian-Buddhist dialogue.

This quote comes from Merton’s book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1968), and seems especially relevant in today’s wired world.

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence….

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.


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