The passing of Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy event that has been remarked on by many. The reason being that his life and teachings, witness and honesty, were holy events that touched many.
I was surely among those moved by his writings and story and courage and gentleness.
Lately we have been discussing the return of the Sacred Masculine and surely TNH is an incarnation of that. He challenges men and women alike, and surely a culture that is plunging into the false masculine, namely authoritarianism, to renew itself.
It has been my privilege to sit at TNH’s feet and also to meditate with him on several occasions. When ex-Jesuit Jerry Brown was mayor of Oakland, he invited him regularly to come to Oakland where TNH would lead many hundreds of people in a walking meditation at Lake Merritt Park. Of course, I was among them.
I also had the privilege of inviting him to speak at our University of Creation Spirituality at Historic Sweets Ballroom where he came with forty nuns and monks who led chants on stage and whose presence offered much energy. Before the event started, I was sitting backstage with his monks gathered in a circle and with TNH on my right side. He said to me in his very quiet fashion, “The Vatican has called me the anti-Christ.” I replied: “I’ve read your two books on Christ, and frankly you know more about Christ than they do.”
With that, he started tapping my leg…and tapping my leg…and tapping my leg. He did so for what seemed like a very long time.
I realized from that encounter how hurt he had been by the ugliness of Cardinal Ratzinger’s attacks on him (he who was in the news also this week) with the apparent blessing of Pope JPII—TNH, a devoted and sensitive monk for so many years, and a leader in Deep Ecumenism worldwide, and the so-called leaders of a Christian church treating him with such disrespect.
to be continued
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest, p. 376.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
What have been your experiences with TNH whether by reading his writings or undergoing his mindfulness practices or learning from him? How has he nourished your deeper self?