Wayne Teasdale is a lay monk and an adjunct professor at DePaul University, Columbia College, and the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is the author of The Mystic Heart and A Monk in the World. In this paperback, he offers a substantive overview of the contemplative experience and thought of Bede Griffiths on the tenth anniversary of his death. He was a close personal friend and student of this Benedictine monk who developed an interspiritual model of community at his Shantivanam ashram in India. Griffiths weaved together strands of Christian and Hindu thought and practice without slighting either tradition. Teasdale points out that the meeting place for these two religions was "the cave of the heart" in the deep river of mystical consciousness.
Discussing Griffiths's theology of a Christian Vedanta, the author covers his epistemology that saw the new science as an indication of the truth of the perennial philosophy; his contemplative theology, which was practical, experiential, existential, reflective, and synthetic; his views on myth and Cosmic Revelation; and his Christology and vision of the mission of the Church. His ideas on this last topic were quite expansive and adventuresome. Here is Teasdale on Griffiths: "If the Church is ever to actualize her inherent universal function, then she must open herself to all the other religious traditions in their contemplative or mystical dimension. She must adapt to the needs of other cultures and assume new forms and structures. By assimilating the wisdom of other traditions in the light of her own, her universality is discovered and actualized, and her hidden relationship to the other religious traditions is made explicit and operative, valuable and effective. Her relevance to the contemporary world is then clearly seen."
In the last chapter, Teasdale sums up the important legacies of this remarkable Benedictine monk, interspiritual visionary, and eloquent prophetic figure: His integral vision united East and West; the world religions and indigenous wisdom; science, mysticism and faith. He was a witness for the Earth and a teacher of harmony, especially in his advocacy of the Divine Feminine and the role of women in the Church and society. He was a bridge builder and a voice within the Church calling her to a rousing mission. With this substantive work on one of the giants of the contemplative tradition, Wayne Teasdale continues his significant contributions to the multifaith field.