New Monasticism

An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Life in the 21st Century

Adam Bucko & Rory McEntee

“We assert that new monasticism names an impulse that is trying to incarnate itself in the new generation. It is beyond the borders of any particular religious institution, yet drinks deeply from the wells of our wisdom traditions. It is an urge which speaks to a profoundly contemplative life, to the formation of small communities of friends, to sacred activism and to discovering together the unique calling of every person and every community.”


“What we seek is an experience that transforms our lives and incorporates us into the destiny of the universe. We are looking for an intuition capable of giving us an orientation in life, even if for the time being, for our being in time.” ~Ramon Panikkar, The Rhythm of Being

As we look out at the world today we take inspiration from what is happening around the globe, from young people participating in movements like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, to the new monastic movement among evangelical Christians dedicated to prayer and radical service to the poor; to the conversation of an “Emerging Church” (“...not a new religion, but a new way of being religious”), to small groups of Muslims who are gathering together, allowing women to lead worship, and reinventing what it means to answer God’s call, to “engaged Buddhism”, blending the sublime practices and compassion of the Buddhist path with social activism, to the “spiritual but not religious” youth, who are beginning to take responsibility for their own spiritual lives outside the walls of our traditional religious institutions.

We see these movements as spiritual impulses, moving us away from an era of fixed dogmatic religious formulations and embedded power structures. These impulses are awakening a whole new generation of people across the globe. These are people who are not interested in imposing a new and fixed rule, but rather want to commit to a daily practice of “putting aside their egos” and exploring what it means to create a world that works for all; a world that is rooted in the principles of direct democracy, mutual aid, trust in our “original goodness”, and a radical acceptance of each individual and the unique gifts they have to offer.

These movements need the deep contemplative wisdom of our human race to ultimately be successful; without this, the movements risk playing a diminished role in the ultimate triumph of the human race. It is the triumph of the Human Soul (in totality) that we all await, and our lives long, consciously or not, to serve that birth. It is only through a contemplative path, a path leading to spiritual maturity, that this service is ultimately achieved.

New monasticism aims to take on this responsibility; cutting across traditions, across academic disciplines, across vocational differences, across the secular and the holy…breaking boundaries and building bridges to a contemplative life for the 21st century. Traditional monasticism has long held this space for the human race. Yet traditional monasticism has seen its glory days pass by, and increasingly serves a diminished role, particularly in western society.

New monasticism looks to embody this role in a substantive way; not through moral laws, dogmas, or new creeds, but through supporting the unique and indispensable flowering of every individual and community on earth. This support comes through dedication to a deep and disciplined contemplative life and a life of service to all.

New monasticism is an intra-traditional manifestation of the Bodhisattva, an incarnate symbol of our basic humanness, our “basic goodness”, and above all of our unity as one being. It is a manifestation of “the mystical body of Christ,” the revelation of the one Being among us, in which “we live and move and have our being.” It is to this audacious goal that new monasticism dares to foresee, more than dares, sees only it, and pledges one’s life to becoming an ordinary, disciplined loving expression of its attainment.

“Let us be in harmony in our intention,
in harmony in our hearts
in harmony in our minds
that we may live in concord.”
~Rig Veda X

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Adam Bucko is an activist and spiritual director to New York City’s homeless youth. He grew up in Poland during the totalitarian regime, where he explored the anarchist youth movement as a force for social and political change. Adam emigrated to the US at 17, but his desire to lead a meaningful life sent him to monasteries in the US and India. His life-defining experience took place in India, where a brief encounter with a homeless child led him to the “Ashram of the Poor” where he began his work with homeless youth. Upon returning to the US, Adam worked with homeless youth in cities around the country. He co-founded The Reciprocity Foundation, an award winning nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of New York City's homeless youth. Additionally, Adam established HAB, an ecumenical and inter-spiritual contemplative fellowship for young people which offers formation in radical spirituality and sacred activism. Adam is a recipient of several awards and his work has been featured by ABC News, CBS, NBC, New York Daily News, National Catholic Reporter, Ode Magazine, Yoga International Magazine and Sojourner Magazine. and

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7 May 2013

Tagged Under
revelation, interspirituality, unity, prayer, spirituality, interfaith, soul, contemplation, community, spiritual guidance, Interspiritual, service,
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