Near the end of his posthumously published Asian Journal, Thomas Merton described a remarkable visit he made in December 1968 to Gal Vihara, a Buddhist shrine in central Sri Lanka. Scribbled in a notebook, his account breathes with the anticipation that the American Trappist monk felt on this leg of his journey, his first extended trip after spending twenty-seven cloistered years at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. “I am able to approach...
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