One of the gifts of TNH is that he modeled authentic masculinity.

“Thich Nhat Hanh in Colorado.” Photo by tinyfroglet on Flickr.

Let us summarize our meditations on the archetypes of the Sacred Masculine and the gifts from Thich Nhat Hanh to that important conversion experience that our species must undergo if we are to avoid extinction.

Father Sky.  In speaking of “inter-being,” TNH connects, as we saw yesterday, wine and bread, the human body and the earth, to Father Sky’s gifts of rain and clouds, sunshine and wind, moon and rivers.  All is interconnected.

Green Man.  TNH says that what we most need to do to save the world is to hear within us the sound of the earth crying.  And then practice Deep Ecology.  That is a green man talking.  He also teaches us to walk on Mother Earth while meditating and to resist exploiting her, one practice being veganism.

Spiritual Warrior.  By standing up to his own country, both North and South, during the Vietnam War, TNH took on the opposition of many including his fellow monks and had to live in exile for many years.

“When you are truly there, something else is also there – life, represented by the cup of tea. In that moment you are real, and the cup of tea is real.” Tea canisters bearing the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Contributed by Vasalisa Glauser.

Blue Man.  While living in exile, TNH gave birth to many books, poems, and communities, especially Plum Village in France.  Also to Deep Ecumenism wherein he birthed a creative response to Christ, as well as a vision calling Christianity to wake up to its mystical and non-dualistic tradition in order that the true “jewels” of that tradition might shine anew.  His whole life was a life of healing and of creativity.

Hunter-Gatherer.  As a hunter after truth and a hunter after peace and a hunter after Deep Ecumenism—so important for world peace that religions make peace among themselves as well as contribute to peace among nations—TNH was a hunter-gatherer his whole life.

Fatherhood.  TNH was not a literal father, but he was a father and mentor to many generations of people whom he taught and inspired and led by his courage and example as well as his ideas and practices shared so generously.  And, of course, he fathered the Plum Village community.

He marries the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine.

What a contrast TNH’s life of compassion is to those who express their masculinity by bullying and lying and conquering and feeding the reptilian brain.  Offering an alternative, TNH invites us to go deeper into the ground where the mammal brain dwells and renders compassion real.

See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.

See also Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Warrior for Our Times.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Our Earth, our green beautiful Earth is in danger, and all of us know it. Yet we act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the situation… If the Earth were your body, you would be able to feel many areas where she is suffering.” – Thich Nhat Hanh. Word-drawing of TNH by Michael Volpicelli for Voices of Compassion; photo by Felton Davis on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

How do you see TNH ushering in a new understanding of manhood and masculinity and the marriage of the divine feminine and sacred masculine?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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7 thoughts on “Thich Nhat Hanh and the Sacred Masculine”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, In your morning question you ask, “How do you see TNH ushering in a new understanding of manhood and masculinity and the marriage of the divine feminine and sacred masculine?” I can see six of the ten metaphors to awaken the sacred masculine as outlined in your book, THE HIDDEN SPIRITUALITY OF MEN…

  2. Avatar

    One night, the voice of my little ego tempted me with statements like, what are you doing here… wasting your potential. However, inspired by the sacred writings and teachings of TNH, the Spirit began to whisper Her words of wisdom. This is what She taught me. “The ground of beingness has more to do with how you are being while doing the doing.”

    Being, living and working the night shift has become for myself a practice of mindfulness, of contemplation, of emptying and being present to the moment. The environment itself is quiet and still, offering a portal into sacred solitude. As I mopped the floors, I discovered the grain of the wood, and how mopping with the flow of the grain brought a sense of ease to the task… a moment of harmonizing with the wood, the water, the movements and rhythm of my body… this simple task, then became a meditative, fluid kind of dance.

    The teachings of Brother Lawrence also came to my remembrance. These little tasks of doing, have become a pathway of experiencing the awareness of being… as well as a mindful practice of humility, of being hidden, working behind the scenes, doing your part the best that you can… unnoticed yet revelant… creating beauty in a sacred space for others to enjoy, at the dawning of a new day. This is the simplicity of the feminine and masculine energies within myself being and working in harmony together, for the greater good of the whole… and this is not a waste of my potential, but rather a fulfillment of this potential.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Now, Brother Lawrence has a thing or two to teach us all–in the humility of doing small things that need to be done…

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    Thank you Matthew. Good description of the universal contemplative spiritual journey — the Sacred Presence and Process of God’s Spirit of Love~Light~Life~Peace~Justice~Joy~Creativity~Onenesss within and among us, especially in theb Silence….

  4. Avatar

    I participated in the course about Julian of Norwich with Matthew Fox and Mirabi Starr last year in January-February 2021. What a blessing! That study did so much to open my eyes to the blessings surrounding me in the natural beauty of our garden in my home in Haiti even as we were isolating in our own home compound because of the pandemic but also because of the kidnappings, murders and general insecurity reigning in the Port-au-Prince and Pétion-Ville suburb where we live. Water was a luxury in those uncertain days more so than it had been in my childhood. We were without water for 3 days as the water trucks delivering water to fill our underground water cistern couldn’t reach us because of the often violent demonstrations throughout the Capital and surrounding areas. Unable to flush the toilets and bathe daily and living with no electricity for days on end were our reality at the time and continues to be part of peoples daily lives. Julian of Norwich taught me to find joy in those circumstances and to be grateful for the blessings and beauty surrounding us in our garden of fruits and flowers. We delighted in simple pleasures, in the faithful company of our cats and dog and the witnessing of the various tropical birds flying around our home throughout the days. I am grateful for the opportunity of learning about Julian of Norwich. She has been a companion who offered me hope, comfort, assurance of our MotherFatherGod’s Love, and a safe place to be in the midst of unrest, the sound of gunfire and the cries of a population demanding relief from poverty, misery, insecurity and little hope for a future. Julian lived behind a permanent wall with a raging pandemic worse than what we live today and yet she offered us, hope, joy and a new way of viewing God’s wonderful creation as reflecting the love and beauty of the Divine Creator of the evolving Cosmos.

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