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A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life Paperback – September 18, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Brother Wayne Teasdale took the naked plunge into the sacred Kavery River of India and renounced his possessions and former identity to become a Catholic monk, he expected to remain in the nirvanic atmosphere of the Shantivanam monastery. But hours later his teacher turned to him and said that his mission was not to remain in retreat, but rather to go home to America. "Without a doubt there is great value in spirituality that emphasizes and supports withdrawal from society," writes Teasdale. "But in our time, we require a spirituality of intense involvement and radical engagement with the world." By this he means taking on daily tasks, such as "earning a living, paying bills, saving money, getting along with others, being entertained, enjoying a healthy recreation, and learning how to interact with difficult people." At the same time, the monk must not succumb to "greed, indifference, insensitivity, noise, confusion, pettiness, unease, tension, irreverence." Of course, readers quickly catch on that he's describing the collective mission of humankind. A Monk in the World is the book that contemporary seekers yearn for--solid advice on how to live with spiritual values in a modern world. Teasdale covers the nuts and bolts: how to introduce periods of silence and solitude into daily life, cultivate spiritual friendships, create a spiritual workplace, and how to understand and respond to the world's suffering. Such guidance shows Teasdale at his best, a man committed to building a global "interspiritual" movement--where we all become monks in the world, collectively doing the right thing while honoring the many and diverse paths to God. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

With his new book, Teasdale (The Mystic Heart), a Catholic lay monk, answers that most pressing of questions for all who look to live in spiritually disciplined ways in the real world: How then shall we live? Teasdale himself was set to live as a sannyasi a renunciate in a Christian ashram in India until his teacher Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine, gently kicked him out, challenging him to be a monk in the world. And so it has been for Teasdale, who teaches and writes in the thick of urban life in Chicago. The author tells of his practical teachers: the homeless of the city, a recent bout with cancer, the need to make a living, the constraints of working within a church he loves but with which he has publicly disagreed. As his examples from life demonstrate, he practices what he preaches about living simply, with compassion and deep respect for the world's religious traditions. The book is on firmest ground when the author recounts his experiences and affectionately describes the persons who have greatly shaped him, from Bede Griffiths to his Uncle John to the Dalai Lama. Concluding chapters are more conceptual than concrete, and suffer from some woolliness. But what Teasdale lacks in precision he makes up for with evident passion and persistence in championing the universal spiritual truths of compassion for sentient beings and mystical higher awareness.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; 1st Edition Thus edition (September 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577314379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577314370
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Extending the message of THE MYSTIC HEART, Teasdale articulates a challenge to all of us to live our spirituality by engaging the world and it's many problems through the lovingkindness, compassion, mercy and justice at the core of the great spiritual traditions. The challenge is an important one during this period of spiritual awakening that we are experiencing, particularly in the USA. Self-centered spirituality ignores the core teachings of Jesus, Buddha, and so many others regarding selfless love and service. His challenge is nothing less than to change the world, to create "a civilization with heart!"
In doing so, he describes a variety of spiritual practices and perspectives, punctuated with personal and other stories. He then articulates a number of critical social needs, focusing on some of his personal passions: homelessness, oppression of Tibet, and world violence.
He also critices the Catholic Church for its failures to fulfill the Christian message of compassion and service in the world, particularly for the poor and oppressed in Tibet, China, and elsewhere. In the end, Teasdale offers a challenge to the Church to be the "matrix" or model for the interfaith dialogue and "a new human order."
The book includes numerous suggestions for each of us to engage our spirituality in the world through compassionate action and service. It is an important message for the new millennium.
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Format: Paperback
Teasdale, a Catholic lay monk, combines the spiritual traditions of Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism to describe how to live in a large hectic city like Chicago. He talks about the homeless of the city, a recent bout with cancer, the need to make a living, support for a free Tibet, and the constraints of working within a church he loves but with which he has publicly disagreed. Teasdale looks to other monks in the world including Thomas Merton, the Dalai Lama, Bede Griffiths, Thomas Keating, and Thich Nhat Hanh to exemplify just what a life of truly integral spirituality might mean to us.

I really enjoyed this book for its practical down-to-earth recommendations on how to help humanity, like helping homeless people, while living the busy life in a city.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Emil Toth on June 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Br. Wayne Teasdale inspires and encourages us to lead the mystic life, while living a life outside the walls of an abbey or convent. He is a loving revolutionist who entices us to be more than we thought we could be. His exemplary life is expressed beautifully within the confins of the book's covers. Br. Teasdale has chosen to walk in Christ's footsteps. I've walked next to him and was awed by the sincerity and kindness he shared with those in his 'neighborhood'. This world needs more men and women who want to incorporate his ideals into their lives. Teasdale has left us with his love and understanding of what we can aspire to. The book is a wonderful read.

BATU: The Transformation
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By TJ McGovern on July 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Read this book if you hunger for more than just the daily grind. Teasdale will light the lampost to the formation of the interior silence. A great book by a man who is not afraid to share his vision and experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amy Brown on June 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm buying another copy for my meditation teacher because I want to keep mine. It will go in the pile of my top 3% of all the many books I've read on spirituality. Brother Teasdale is a Catholic monk who defied tradition by opening up to all the spiritual traditions of the world. Mystics are open...and aware. He's a realized person who realized that all positive religions at their core are centered on God and working to transform souls from the self-centered life of ego based on greed to alturistic compassion and love for all beings and the world. He's a rare person who has been awakened...something that only those who see...can see. Hopefully some day there will be more people, and as more and more people become at peace so will the world. This book is ahead of it's time and shining light on the dawning of the spirituality age that is just starting to crack on the conciousness of humanity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By STACYB on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an excellent recounting of his personal experiences of trying the live the dedicated Christian life in the real world. He believes passionately that monks should be in the real world contributing (as Christ did) to the welfare of their fellow men. He does not see the need to hide in a monastary away from real life. He compared it to living in a hot house, which is an apt metaphor for the traditional monk's life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sheldon on November 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like the simple way in which Teasedale moves to
express the beauty of diversity we experience in
the presence of the divine. I felt the best chapter
was the one on "Interspirituality." It is so good
that he did the work to show us how to go about
being faithful in our relationships with friends of
other religions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurie M. on January 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful companion on the spiritual journey. I read a little bit everyday and it gives me a lot to digest
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