@tobes -thanks for those references, I will definitely follow them up.
I think we have a lot in common.
As far as 'Thomist philosophy' - one source was a book called God, Zen and the Intuition of Being
, by James Arraj. It is a meditation on the common ground between Zen and Thomism, with discussion of the recent (and brilliant) Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain. The book is now online here
. Subsequently I discovered a number of other books in the 'Catholic-Zen' genre. Thomas Merton, of course, was one of the seminal figures, but there were others - William Johnston, Robert Kennedy
, Rueben Habito, Ama Samy and others, mostly Jesuit. (I think the Jesuits have generally been the very liberal and ecumenical side of Catholicism and are often clever philosophers.)
A lot of what they say resonates with me, because (how do I put this) I am not atheist, but have a rather mystical conception of....well, I don't want to use the name here. Suffice to say that they all those kinds of writers convey a kind of deep sense of the nature of being itself
which they approach through contemplation. That is why they can find common ground between their Christian faith and Buddhist practice, even if their actual belief systems are worlds apart in many ways. There is a strong parallel between 'the negative way' that you find in Christian Platonism, and the Buddhist teaching of emptiness (e.g. Masao Abe's Sunyata and Kenosis
Subsequently, on the Philosophy Forums, I got into many debates about the basis of ethics, whether there is such thing as a moral order, and so on. That lead me to reading about Alisdair McIntyre's After Virtue
which is one of the great recent philosophy books. I also read a bit of Edward Feser, who was linked to above, and various other Thomistically-oriented writers, notably Etienne Gilson. So they are the main Thomist philosophers I'm aware of.
I see in all of these expositions of 'the perennial philosophy', which I think generally is represented in the Western tradition in Christianity (perhaps because Christianity actually appropriated
it, and locked it in its vaults so they could say 'Sign here before reading'