A 40 Year "Retrospective Journey"

“Be good, keep your feet dry,
your eyes open, your heart at peace
and your soul in the joy of Christ.”
Thomas Merton

October 21, 2008

Spiritual Summit Conference

Calcutta - October 22-26, 1968

(find Thomas... click to enlarge)

Merton was in Calcutta to attend, and present at, the Spiritual Summit Conference, an interfaith gathering being organized by the Temple of Understanding. The conference ran from October 22-26, 1968 and was attended by leaders from many traditions. Attendees at the conference included Merton's good friend Amiya Chakravarty and M.I.T. professor Dr. Huston Smith, who was part of the editorial committee of the conference.

The theme of the conference was "The Relevance of Religion in the Modern World" (Still a pretty good question!). Religious perspectives shared around the table at this conference included: Baha'i; Buddhist; Christian; Confucian; Islamic; Jain; Judaic; Hindu; Sikh; and Zoroastrian.

The proceedings were published under the auspicious title: "The World Religions Speak on "the Relevance of Religion in the Modern World". The World Academy of Art and Science published the works. With the help of my daughter Kelly, I was able to find a copy in the UBC Library. I have been reading it and am finding it to be an excellent snapshot of the global religious community addressing some vital questions in 1968. I'll share a few "snippets" from the conference over the next few days, including a summary of Merton's presentations. Merton had a prepared paper to present but tossed it aside and spoke extemporaneously when his time came. This is wonderful, of course, because we now have two presentations from Merton instead of just one!

TTFN... Rob

Without going outside,
you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window,
you may see the ways of heaven.
The farther you go, the less you know.
Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 47

The Beatles in India - 1968

(find Thomas)

The Beatles were in India in 1968 too! Well, who wasn't! They recorded a few songs in Bombay including "The Inner Light", written by George Harrison and based on the Tao Te Ching (above). It was released as a single on the reverse side of "Lady Madonna" in March 1968. Enjoy!!

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