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Journeys Into Emptiness: Dōgen, Merton and Jung and the Quest for Transformation

by Robert Jingen Gunn. Paulist Press, 2000

Review from Barnes & Noble:


Journeys into Emptiness traces the lives of three famous religious seekers and their quests for personal transcendence. Dogen, a thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master, experienced emptiness in wordless meditation – the practice of zazen that spread in time from the Eastern world to the West. Thomas Merton was a twentieth-century Catholic monk whose experience of personal homelessness brought him to explore the tension that lies between solitude and community. Carl Jung, raised by a pious father and a psychologically unbalanced mother, was driven to understand the structure of the psyche, including the male and female elements that exist in every human person. Robert Jingen Guinn provides wise and compassionate portraits of these emblematic figures. Each of them, in his own way, had to experience emptiness, going beyond consciousness to discover his own personal truth, whether that was rooted in Buddha-nature, God or the unconscious. This “going beyond” became a path to encountering their own unique selves and a deeper sense of life.

>> Purchase Book at Barnes & Noble

Review from Amazon:

Here are the life journeys of three great seekers who, though separated by time and culture, had much in common. Dogen was the 13th-century Japanese founder of a School of Zen Buddhism, the Soto School, and a teacher of zazen, wordless meditation. Jung was a 20th-century Swiss psychiatrist who broke with psychoanalysis and saw the mind as having both male and female elements. Merton was a 20th-century American Trappist monk who through traditional Christianity eventually embraced a wider spirituality. Each of the three engaged in a search for personal transcendence, a search that was triggered by a private experience of emptiness. Requiring no previous knowledge of its subjects, this book looks at the tradition in which each man worked, the key events of his life, his particular experience of emptiness, and how he used the experience to be transformed. The book shows how to bring the wisdom of all three men into our lives today. It also shows how to bring meaning and understanding to emptiness, one of the most difficult problems of the psychospiritual journey. These side-by-side biographies summarize each life in a wonderfully cohesive way for anyone new to the particular man. They also shed fascinating new insight for those more familiar with either the man or his philosophy.

>> Purchase Book at Amazon

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