The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedKarl Rahner
Title QuotedOn the Theology of Death
Date (Year/Month/Day)1962/03/18
ImprintNew York : Herder and Herder. 1961
QuotationKarl Rahner's [On the] Theology of Death [New York, 1961] is a most exciting book. First time I have been completely won over to him. Basic idea: that death by its nature is meant to be an act of fulfillment. That by sin it has become a dissolution-suffered and undergone-a final manifestation of sin. That by grace it becomes once again, though hiddenly, an act of faith and submission, an act done [underlined twice]-while also the body and soul suffer separation. This emphasis on the act [underlined twice] of death in fulfillment and selftranscendence is to me startlingly Buddhist in the highest spiritual sense of Buddhism properly understood. Here is a real point of contact between Buddhism and Xtianity... On p. 53 he appears to include a kind of Buddhist spiritualization under the "sinful act" of autonomous death. In reality this could not be true Buddhism-it would be the spirit's affirmation of itself as intangible. True Buddhism as I understand it is a perfect spiritual humility and a total openness. Properly understood, Buddhist concept of liberation should open me to Xt. Improperly it would close one inexorably!
JournalTurning Toward the World: The Pivotal Years. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 4, 1960-1963.; Edited by Victor A. Kramer. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1996, p. 211-12
Link to Merton's Copy