Christianity and the Doctrine of Non-Dualism

Elie Lemoine

San Rafael, CA: Sophia Perennis, 2004.
148 pages
ISBN: 0-900588-82-9
Price: $16.95 US
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ISBN: 1-59731-017-4
Price: $34.95 US
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The author of this slender but profound book, a Cistercian monk, discovered as a young man the work of his fellow countryman René Guénon, whose writings introduced him to genuine metaphysical doctrine and to possibilities of spiritual realization. This discovery marked him indelibly, and he resolved to follow a monastic path in order to be free for the ‘one thing needful.’ The word advaita, which designates Vedantic non-dualism, is Sanskrit for ‘non-dual’ or ‘not two’; but the doctrine itself is by no means exclusively Hindu, being present in Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, and Judaism. In Christianity it has always been more implicit, though explicit with writers such as Dionysius the Areopagite, Eriugena, Eckhart, and even Dante. The great merit of this work by ‘a Monk of the West”is that it shows that non-dualism is neither pantheism nor monism, and that there is no incompatibility between orthodox Christian doctrine and the strictest understanding of non-dualism in the Advaita Vedanta. The implication is that non-dualism can again find expression within a Christian ambience. With a subtle care for detail, the author clarifies the relationship between the hypostatic union embodied in the person of Christ and the Supreme Identity of Atma and Brahma, two distinct notions seemingly opposed in certain respects but curiously compatible in unexpected ways. The radical disparity that seemingly exists between the phrase ‘I am Brahma’ and the sacred formula of the Eucharistic consecration ‘This is my Body’ melts away, allowing these separate worlds to shed new meaning on each other.

Table of Contents

Preface—Foreword—Philosophical Monism and Non-Dualism—'I am Brahma'—'In All Things Like Unto Men'—Without Me You Can Do Nothing—'Who am I?'—'I am not the Christ'—East and West

About the Author

Elie Lemoine is the pseudonym of a Cistercian Trappist monk, a lay brother (OCSO). As a young man, he worked in a French commercial house, and was caught up in Indo-China in the events of World War II, returning to France thereafter. He became greatly influenced by Eastern religions, particularly through the writings of René Guénon. He later became a monk and entered the Trappist order at La Grande Trappe Abbey. His book, Christianity and the Doctrine of Non-Dualism, published under the anonymous name of 'A Monk of the West', is a result of a life-long reflection on the subject, and is greatly influenced by the writings of Guénon. 'Elie Lemoine' also worked as an editor of the distinguished traditionalist journal, Études Traditionnelles.