I see a Great Marriage of East and West, Buddha and Christ beginning to happen: Buddha’s holy patience and serenity; and Jesus’ holy impatience and passion for justice. We need both. We need a Sacred Marriage. Every individual and every community needs both holy patience and holy impatience.
Gandhi himself, representing the ancient eastern wisdom of Hinduism, said that he learned to say “No!” from the West. Hinduism was overly patient in Gandhi’s eyes with allowing the continuance of impoverishment toward the ‘untouchables.’ “Next incarnation they will do better,” was the shibboleth. “No!” said Gandhi. Justice needs to happen swifter. Gandhi represents a marriage of East and West.
So does his disciple (who was also Jesus’ disciple), Martin Luther King, jr. whose spirit-filled activism filled the jails and the streets with marchers demanding their rights and an end to racial injustice.
Father Bede Griffiths was an English Benedictine monk who lived and worked in an ashram in southern India for fifty years. In his book called The Marriage of East and West, Griffiths proposes that the Sacred Marriage of East and West will parallel the Sacred Marriage of the Masculine and the Feminine. The West specializes more in the masculine; the East more in the Feminine.
He says: The ideas of Western science and democracy have penetrated to every part of the world–they are marks of the growth of humanity to a greater maturity, to a greater realization of what it means to be human.
But he warns that something is missing as well. But the limitations of Western science and democracy have become more and more evident. The disastrous effects of Western industrialism, physical, social and psychological, polluting the world and threatening to destroy it, are only too evident.
Bede’s solution? The Western world…has now to rediscover the power of the feminine, intuitive mind, which has largely shaped the cultures of Asia and Africa and of tribal people everywhere. This is a problem not only of the world as a whole, but also of religion.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp.262f.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Guanyin, who originated as the Sanskrit Avalokitesvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion (all bodhisattvas were originally male), then was later represented as a goddess; in the Honolulu Museum of Art in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo by Thad Zajdowicz on Flickr. “Black Madonna of Montserrat” Photo by Patty on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that the limitations of Western science and democracy have become more and more evident—and even more so since Griffiths wrote his book in 2003?
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