In this first-person account, William Claassen offers an engaging and reflective description of monastic life as practiced in eleven countries. Beginning in France and ending in India, he opens a window into the daily life of these communities.
Reading Thomas Merton's works more than twenty years ago motivated Claassen to embark on his first monastic retreat in the Kentucky woodlands. There, he found a community that honored the power of silence and provided space to explore the inner life. His experiences there ultimately led him to make an extended journey around the world, visiting and participating in monastic communities within the religious traditions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism and Sufism.
Readers will recognize some of the sites in this book, such as Spain's Monasterio de Santo Domingo, home to the singing Benedictine monks who recorded CHANT, and Greece's Mt. Athos, the only "republic of monks" in the world. They will discover others, including the remote Coptic monasteries in the Egyptian deserts, the isolated and austere "forest" monasteries in Thailand and an Orthodox Hindu community tucked away in the hills of southern India.