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Thus, I came to see monasticism as a basic human reality, and monastic vocation as a response more fundamental than one’s allegiance to this or that religious group or creed. A monk is not a super-Buddhist or a super-Christian, but a person drawn to the monastic venture who happens to find himself in a Buddhist or Christian environment. Of course, that environment shapes and interprets the monastic experience, giving it a specific form of fulfillment.


There is an interesting paradox. The people that come to me, and they come to me by the thousands — when I run an ashram the waiting list is two hundred for every place and if I were to buy a monastery it would be full in a week — these are the same people that do not come to the Catholic monasteries now which have so many empty spaces. They aren’t coming to me because I’m offering anything other than what the monasteries are offering. Partly they are coming because they are still busy reacting against the same thing that happened to me in Judaism. I was given the forms but not the Spirit.