To hear about a Catholic monk who meditates and seeks nondual union with Christ doesn't seem so astonishing anymore. That's because Bede Griffiths began blazing a trail to the East as far back as 1955. You might call Bede the Thomas Merton of England, except that Bede delved further into Eastern spirituality than Merton ever dreamed of doing. In Beyond the Darkness
, Shirley Du Boulay traces Bede's ascetic tendencies back to early experiments in communal living after graduating from Oxford. A staunch atheist, Bede, like his professor and friend C.S. Lewis, then rediscovered the spiritual profundity of the Christian tradition. After entering the monkhood, a certain unarticulated pantheism led Bede to pursue the wide-open spiritual landscapes of the East, and to "discover the other half of my soul." In the 1950s, when the rest of the West turned to science and materialism for salvation, he donned the saffron robes of a Hindu monk and started a Catholic ashram in southern India. Left to his own devices by Rome, Bede, through his implacable kindness and theological writings, drew an increasingly large following, right through 1992 when he was drawing thousands of people to talks all over the world. Beyond the Darkness
reveals a man who was called a saint while he lived but who achieved that status only through sustained curiosity and sincerity in his search for the truth behind all religions. --Brian Bruya
From Library Journal
Very few people, including theologians, remember Brother Bede Griffiths (1906-93), yet his life remains an example of the amazing pathways one can take toward spiritual fulfillment. Born Alan Griffiths, he was a studious, idealistic youth who was introduced to religious thinking by C.S. Lewis, his mentor at Oxford. Seeking a more substantial root for his existence, he became a Benedictine monk and took the name "Bede." He moved on to India, embraced many aspects of Hinduism, and spent the rest of his life trying to fathom the underlying unity and spiritual wholeness lifting all faiths beyond the superficialities of religion's rites and rhetoric. Du Boulay (Teresa of Avila, Servant, 1995) wonderfully portrays Griffith's passionate and sometimes anguished questing. This, the first major biography of this remarkable man, will not disappoint. Recommended for all libraries.?Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
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