Religion: Mystic's Last Journey

He left San Francisco with an exhilaration that approached ecstasy —"with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny, of being at last on my way after years of waiting and wondering and fooling around." Trappist Monk Thomas Merton, the best-known Christian mystic of this century, had been given leave from Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to participate in a conference of monastic leaders near Bangkok. The trip was also to be a long-awaited personal encounter with the spiritual disciplines of the East, particularly the esoteric forms of Buddhism that Merton...