The Way of the Hermit

Mario I. Aguilar The Way of the Hermit: Dialogues of Silence as Contributions to a Christian-Hindu Dialogue Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017

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“At first sight the lives of hermits, living in solitude and committed to a life of solitude, prayer and contemplation seems to be a world apart of the active practice of interfaith dialogue. Yet, there is a long tradition of seeking the divine together and thus making a contribution to better mutual understanding and an active contribution to peace between Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism in India.

Drawing on his experience of travelling to some of India’s holy places, the life and work of writers like Thomas Merton, Charles de Foucauld and Abishaktanda and being himself a Benedictine hermit and Professor of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, Mario Aguilar opens up new possibilities for dialogue between three of the world’s major religions in today’s world. He shows how his own experience of an eremitic life has brought him into deep communion with pilgrims of other faiths, be it through shared silence or listening to each other’s experience, through reading sacred scriptures together, through poetry or interfaith worship that draws on practices and texts from Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.

This is a book for all engaged in interfaith dialogue and seeking to explore how spiritualities of silence, contemplation and prayer can make a contribution to peace and harmony in the world today.”

“In this mindful study of the far-reaching sanctity of silence and contemplation, Catholic Benedictine hermit and Professor of Divinity at the University of St Andrews Mario Aguilar opens up new possibilities for dialogue between three of the world’s major religions. Observing the shared value of quiet and independent prayer in the history of Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, Aguilar reveals that monotheistic, polytheistic and non-theistic religions have more in common than we may presume.

Aguilar’s findings emerge from a balance of travels in India, original thought, comparative readings of holy texts, research conducted at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics at the University of St Andrews, and his own experience as a hermit. The book offers examples of prayers, rites and liturgies which create opportunities for interfaith unity and harmony.

This book is a must-read for anyone curious about the pursuit of inner peace through independent contemplation. It is also an eye-opening read for all who wish to learn about divinity, spiritual philosophy and the hermit’s way of life.”

http://newest-monasticism-asceticism-worship-devotion-books4.aoiservices.com/the-way-of-the-hermit-dialogues-of-silence-as-contributions-to-a-christian-hindu-dialogue

Mario I. Aguilar is Professor of Religion & Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics at the University of St Andrews. He is also a poet, an eremitic Camaldolese Benedictine Oblate, and has published widely in his interests in the theology of contemplation, the history of religion and issues of interfaith dialogue. He is also the author of:

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Christian Ashrams, Hindu Caves and Sacred Rivers: Christian-Hindu Monastic Dialogue in India 1950-1993 Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016

“In late 20th-century India, Christian-Hindu dialogue was forever transformed following the opening of Shantivanam, the first Christian ashram in the country. Mario I. Aguilar brings together the histories of the five pioneers of Christian-Hindu dialogue and their involvement with the ashram, to explore what they learnt and taught about communion between the two religions, and the wide ranging consequences of their work.

The author expertly threads together the lives and friendships between these men, while uncovering the Hindu texts they used and were influenced by, and considers how far some of them became, in their personal practice, Hindu. Ultimately, this book demonstrates the impact of this history on contemporary dialogue between Christians and Hindus, and how both faiths can continue to learn and grow together.”

 

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