Volume 6 / Issue 1 SPRING 2020

1 2 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 6 - 1 S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 8 Some Books Worthy of Study So here now are a few of the impressive books, the contem - plation of which has helped me, in addition to those already mentioned: Firstly, Thomas Merton’s famous autobiographical account of his conversion, The Seven Storey Mountain (Merton 1948). I would also like to mention Merton’s book, The Way of Chuang Tsu (Merton 1969) in order to introduce you to the source text, Chuang-Tsu’s  Inner Chapters ( Chuang Tsu1974, 113; 37), because I want to read a couple of extracts from it. 1. Perfect is the (person) who knows what comes from heaven and what comes from mankind. Knowing what comes from heaven, he is in tune with heaven. Knowing what comes from mankind, she uses her knowledge of the known to develop her knowledge of the unknown, and enjoys the fullness of life until her natural death. This is the perfection of knowledge. However, there is one difficulty. Knowledge must be based upon some - thing, but one is not certain what this may be. How, indeed, do I know that what I call heaven is not actu - ally mankind, and that what I call mankind is actually heaven? First, there must be a true person, a true human be - ing; then there can be true knowledge. 2. When there is division, there is something which is not divided. When there is questioning, there is some - thing beyond the question. Why is this? The sages keep their wisdom to themselves while ordinary peo - ple flaunt their knowledge in loud discussion. So I say, ‘Those who dispute do not see.’ I also recommend another Taoist text, Lao Tsu’s  Tao Te Ching (1973), beautifully illustrated with photos and exquisite Chinese calligraphy; and I want to say, please do not be afraid of Eastern religions and philosophy. I can vouch for how much they have enhanced my Christian understanding, providing holistic insights into the Gospel of Christ. Particularly helpful too has been The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha . Let me read from the first of the forty chapters (1976, 21). We are what we think, All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our minds, we make the world. Speak or act with an impure mind And trouble will follow you As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart Speak or act with a pure mind And happiness will follow you As your shadow, unshakeable. I recommend familiarising yourself as well with the principle Hindu texts, The Bhagavad Gita (1944), for example, andThe Upanishads . Numerous translations are available, so I have listed the ones I tend to favour. There are also plenty of oth - er books I could name, books like Mother Teresa’s inspiring volumeA Simple Path (Mother Teresa 1995), and Neil Douglas-Klotz’s revealing book, The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus (Douglas-Klotz 1999), but that will have to do... Except that I must also mention two highly praiseworthy volumes, whose authors or editors are present with us here tonight. First, Noel Keating’s splen - didMeditation with Children (2017). Speaking as a recently appointed school Governor, in a school where character education is an important part of the curriculum, I am sure that teaching children to meditate is the way to go to transform secular culture, and the world psyche over time. As David Hay and Rebecca Nye have shown in The Spirit of the Child (Hay and Nye 2006), young children almost all have a significant degree of spiritual awareness; which these authors call, relational consciousness ; but this faculty diminishes as the teenage years approach. Meditation counters the effects of secular cultural pressures. What I particularly like about No - el’s book is the way he explains and distinguishes between the practical benefits and the spiritual fruits of meditation. Another great book on my list tonight is The Routledge Hand - book of Spirituality in Society and the Professions (Zsolnai and Flanagan 2019). This impressive volume vigorously promotes a new paradigm for human self-understanding, one that nec - essarily includes a spiritual dimension. Providing more than a benchmark of current thinking and research, it will serve for many as a reliable signpost, a genuine beacon of hope. Whereas each of the chapters tends to be scholarly, cautious