Apech

Gospel of Thomas

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Here's a resource for the Gospel of Thomas http://www.sacred-te.../chr/thomas.htm and it doesn't say copyright for the translation but 'available to the net' - so I guess its all right for us to copy.

 


 

P) These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.

1) And He said, "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death."

2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."

 

First two parts for discussion ....

Edited by Apech
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Very Gnostic. Its a shame that such teachings were side lined so early in Christianities formation. Not wiped out, but it wasn't main stream either.

 

From Wikipedia:

"The Gospel According to Thomas, commonly shortened to the Gospel of Thomas, is a well preserved early Christian, non-canonical sayings-gospel which many scholars believe provides insight into the Oral gospel traditions. It was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. The Gospel of Thomas was found among a collection of fifty-two writings that included, in addition to an excerpt from Plato's Republic, gospels claiming to have been written by Jesus' disciple Philip. Scholars have speculated that the works were buried in response to a letter from Bishop Athanasius who for the first time declared a strict canon of Christian scripture.[1]

Edited by thelerner
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Real pity the way things turned against the Gnostics and experiential Christianity.

I find good resonance in the words of Brother Thomas...

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1. I'm not sure what the root word of interpretation is but my take on this is that 'those truly understand, practice, work His sayings will not die'. The death here isn't physical but Spiritual. Interpreting should be understood to mean a REAL understanding. REAL understanding of the Truth brings about REAL internal transformation. This type of "knowing" is an action word. You cannot know and not do anything with it. You must do.

 

2. I felt like this once I killed myself or rather God destroyed me. The 'I' that I knew died when a laying of hands happened. It's hard to put this into words but I had always been seeking for something. Once it was found there was in fact an agitated stirring of my internal spirit. The actual laying of hands ripped me apart from the inside. I believe that my ego was destroyed. With the ego gone the space inside became a vacant space for The Lord to fill. I've been astonished ever since :)

 

 

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Apech - Thanks for starting this thread. Also, I think these two saying go very well together...

 

1) And He said, "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death."

2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."

 

In the first, Thomas is saying that these following words give guidance to enternal life and overcoming the reincarnation.

 

In the second, he is saying that the words he brings are different than the historical old Testement. It is a new and "higher" understanding that will be vary hard for the Jewish people to accept. This is similar to other gospel statements about families having problems with it (3 against 2 stuff).

 

He makes a big break with historical Jewish beliefs and Indian/Hindu beliefs of the time is the "he will rule over the All". In the "ruling", he is defining that a "son of God" does not "cease" like in other traditions. Also, "The All" would be consciousness or oneness. In essence, stating that Jesus's words lead to a "Buddha-like" concept.

 

Finally, notice the departure with established institutional Christian beliefs. He says anyone who understands what he is talking about can "rule over the All". Not that he (Jesus), is the only son of God. This statement says that we are all children of God.

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Hi Jeff,

 

Interesting ... but some comments ...

Apech - Thanks for starting this thread. Also, I think these two saying go very well together...

1) And He said, "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death."
2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."

In the first, Thomas is saying that these following words give guidance to eternal life and overcoming the reincarnation.

If he is saying that you will not experience death then this points to a form of immortality - as its Jesus I would assume physical immortality or the equivalent to what he achieved in being resurrected. I don't see here anything about reincarnation ... or indeed overcoming it ...

In the second, he is saying that the words he brings are different than the historical old Testement. It is a new and "higher" understanding that will be vary hard for the Jewish people to accept. This is similar to other gospel statements about families having problems with it (3 against 2 stuff).

He makes a big break with historical Jewish beliefs and Indian/Hindu beliefs of the time is the "he will rule over the All". In the "ruling", he is defining that a "son of God" does not "cease" like in other traditions. Also, "The All" would be consciousness or oneness. In essence, stating that Jesus's words lead to a "Buddha-like" concept.

Finally, notice the departure with established institutional Christian beliefs. He says anyone who understands what he is talking about can "rule over the All". Not that he (Jesus), is the only son of God. This statement says that we are all children of God.

I would like to know what words are translated as 'troubled' and 'astonished' here - maybe something like amazed and in awe (in the trad. sense) and the All I take to be the Godhead .... ruling the All is an expression which needs more teasing out for meaning I feel. I don't recognise the Buddha-like concept of ruling the All - Buddha as far as I know does not speak like this. Ruling here must be Christ the king of course.

Edited by Apech

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Apech,

 

You can't expect every "saying" to be completely self contained (or in a easy order). Like sutra it must be looked at in the broader context of what every Jewish person would have known at that time.

 

You said... "If he is saying that you will not experience death then this points to a form of immortality - as its Jesus I would assume physical immortality or the equivalent to what he achieved in being resurrected. I don't see here anything about reincarnation ... or indeed overcoming it ..."

 

The concept of reincarnation was common in the Jewish tradition at that time. Jesus even describes that John the baptist had a previous life in the bible. But, reincarnation or not, it really doesn't matter as part of the tradition. The main point is that the body "dies", but the spirit/soul does not. The same point is further described in Romans.

 

Romans 8:6-17

6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 

Errands to run. I will respond to you second point later today.

 

Continuing to the second point, Aoech said...

 

"I would like to know what words are translated as 'troubled' and 'astonished' here - maybe something like amazed and in awe (in the trad. sense) and the All I take to be the Godhead .... ruling the All is an expression which needs more teasing out for meaning I feel. I don't recognise the Buddha-like concept of ruling the All - Buddha as far as I know does not speak like this. Ruling here must be Christ the king of course."

 

The "troubled" point is very common in the gospels, remember that Jesus was bringing a "new covenant" or higher understanding. Here is one example, he goes on to describe that family members will fight over his words...

 

Luke 12:51-52

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

 

On what Buddha's are like or do, I would suggest you read the Lotus sutra, but that is not really important. But, in general, Jesus gives examples of the "rule the all" in many places in the gospels...

 

Matthew 21:21-22

21Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

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These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.

1) And He said, "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death."

2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."

 

These are some of my favourite lines from all the Gospels. My interpretation is that they are all about non-duality, "whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death" I think is talking about the fundamental identity, who you were before you were born.

 

"When he finds he will become troubled" I have also heard it translated as "When he finds he will be disturbed", this is because realising the fundamental identity can be disturbing and threatening to the individual egoity. Many people talk about love and bliss and such things when talking about non-duality but here they say you will be troubled and I am personally glad someone said this as this is my experience of it, because what are the real deep implications that you and everyone else are on the fundamental level the same being? we are all one being, I bet even just reading these words is threatening to some people because it means that you as a separate individual will never be special, all the ideas you have held your whole life about who you are proved false and the question emerges as to who has been running the show the whole time.

 

Many teachers have described it as like waking up from a dream, so imagine waking up and realising that it is someone else than the person you see yourself now wakes up, someone else or something else wakes up through you, isn't that troubling or disturbing? It's almost like a Steven King novel from one perspective.

 

You become astonished by recognising that the universe is becoming aware of itself through you, then because you recognise you are the all you rule over the all because it is you.

Edited by Jetsun
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Many teachers have described it as like waking up from a dream, so imagine waking up and realising that it is someone else than the person you see yourself now wakes up, someone else or something else wakes up through you, isn't that troubling or disturbing? It's almost like a Steven King novel from one perspective.

 

You become astonished by recognising that the universe is becoming aware of itself through you, then because you recognise you are the all you rule over the all because it is you.

Hi Jetsun,

 

My perspective is that Jesus is describing something more (and different) than what most other teachers describe. Do you find that they also use terms like "ruling over all" and moving mountains on command?

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Hi Jetsun,

 

My perspective is that Jesus is describing something more (and different) than what most other teachers describe. Do you find that they also use terms like "ruling over all" and moving mountains on command?

 

My perspective is there is only one ultimate reality of things and most of the great masters are talking about the same thing, yet they all come from their own cultural and perspective viewpoint, the Christian ones are usually a lot more poetic and allegorical than the others which causes a powerful emotional impact, yet can also create a lot more confusion as has been shown for the last few thousand years. I think ruling over all and moving mountains is another way to talk about non-duality, if we all are one organism then the movement of the earths crust millions of years ago is just as much you as the body you currently inhabit.

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You may notice that the OP quote has become big and green. This is so people reading the thread can easily see which section we are discussing. I can't create lots of threads like the TTC section so I will just post a new part for discussion when it seems everyone has had a chance to comment. Once I've posted a new big green bit there's nothing to stop people commenting on the previous one(s) but would be better to cite it.

 

Still struggling with ruling the All ... as All means absolute to me ... and I don't see how you can rule it (rule in it possibly) especially as 'rule' has the connotation of 'provide a standard or measure for things ... or at least it does in my mind.

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Still struggling with ruling the All ... as All means absolute to me ... and I don't see how you can rule it (rule in it possibly) especially as 'rule' has the connotation of 'provide a standard or measure for things ... or at least it does in my mind.

On ruling the All... Do you believe in the concept of an all powerful Buddha or Taoist "Immortal", or do you see it more like Jetsun when thinking about the nature of existence/consciousness?

 

The definition of a "son of God" is a relevant point as we move forward.

 

p.s. Jetsun - I assume that then you also do not believe in a concept of "free will"?

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On ruling the All... Do you believe in the concept of an all powerful Buddha or Taoist "Immortal", or do you see it more like Jetsun when thinking about the nature of existence/consciousness?

 

The definition of a "son of God" is a relevant point as we move forward.

 

p.s. Jetsun - I assume that then you also do not believe in a concept of "free will"?

 

Does Buddha describe himself as 'all powerful' I doubt it. I recognise the primordial Buddha e.g. Samantabhadra or Dorje-Chang is that what you mean? But see you've cunningly lured me into discussing Buddhism ....

 

Yes what exactly does a son of God mean? To me it means the level of being in which you recognise in an immediate sense that you are not different to the power that is your origin.

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Does Buddha describe himself as 'all powerful' I doubt it. I recognise the primordial Buddha e.g. Samantabhadra or Dorje-Chang is that what you mean? But see you've cunningly lured me into discussing Buddhism ....

 

Yes what exactly does a son of God mean? To me it means the level of being in which you recognise in an immediate sense that you are not different to the power that is your origin.

:D

 

Definitely not my intent to lead it to Buddhism. :) OK, then does a does a son of God (or Buddha) have the concept of "free will" or the independently "act"?

 

I like your definition "To me it means the level of being in which you recognise in an immediate sense that you are not different to the power that is your origin.". So then since God has the "power" to create the world, would not also a son of God by your definition?

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On ruling the All... Do you believe in the concept of an all powerful Buddha or Taoist "Immortal", or do you see it more like Jetsun when thinking about the nature of existence/consciousness?

 

The definition of a "son of God" is a relevant point as we move forward.

 

p.s. Jetsun - I assume that then you also do not believe in a concept of "free will"?

Free will is something I always used to believe in, yet it is confusing to me at the moment. In the Christian context the highest prayer is "thy will be done" so it is all about relinquishing your individual will, so we seem to have the ability to resist or submit to what life throws at us, but in resistance we always lose and suffer.. so it seems like we have the choice to suffer.

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Free will is something I always used to believe in, yet it is confusing to me at the moment. In the Christian context the highest prayer is "thy will be done" so it is all about relinquishing your individual will, so we seem to have the ability to resist or submit to what life throws at us, but in resistance we always lose and suffer.. so it seems like we have the choice to suffer.

Interesting point... Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven... Does that mean on should relinquish or "align" with the natural state/order as in Heaven. Does one completely relinquish or go with the flow of Tao?

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Interesting point... Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven... Does that mean on should relinquish or "align" with the natural state/order as in Heaven. Does one completely relinquish or go with the flow of Tao?

 

Yeah I think "thy will be done" is the same thing as going with the flow of Tao, yet there is a sort of paradox in that if you give up what you think is your individual will what you really give up is the conditioning and beliefs imposed upon you, and what you gain through submitting to God or Tao is will in line with the truth of your individual life and situation, whose power comes from being aligned with the flow of Tao or truth. So through submission you actually gain a more authentic individuality, its just not the individuality of your own choosing.

 

Back to Thomas, to "rule over the All" could be a strong way to describe being identified with the all, not everyone can become a ruler over the All in the sense of power like a king has over his subjects so he can't be talking about that sort of power over others otherwise what would happen if a whole load of people got the power to rule over the all? in that domain there can only be one king and in this quote what Jesus says seems to be a universal statement.

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Yeah I think "thy will be done" is the same thing as going with the flow of Tao, yet there is a sort of paradox in that if you give up what you think is your individual will what you really give up is the conditioning and beliefs imposed upon you, and what you gain through submitting to God or Tao is will in line with the truth of your individual life and situation, whose power comes from being aligned with the flow of Tao or truth. So through submission you actually gain a more authentic individuality, its just not the individuality of your own choosing.

 

Back to Thomas, to "rule over the All" could be a strong way to describe being identified with the all, not everyone can become a ruler over the All in the sense of power like a king has over his subjects so he can't be talking about that sort of power over others otherwise what would happen if a whole load of people got the power to rule over the all? in that domain there can only be one king and in this quote what Jesus says seems to be a universal statement.

 

Maybe in the infinity of the All there can be an infinite number of kings?????

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Maybe in the infinity of the All there can be an infinite number of kings?????

 

Maybe, but if the all is one being then there is only one king ruling over the all

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Maybe in the infinity of the All there can be an infinite number of kings?????

Or think about being created in the "image" of the father. What about self aware beings each being like a small (and obstructed) "copy" of God in God?

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Maybe, but if the all is one being then there is only one king ruling over the all

 

Have you been reading Lord of the Rings :)

 

Or think about being created in the "image" of the father. What about self aware beings each being like a small (and obstructed) "copy" of God in God?

 

Or an infinite field of interconnecting/interpenetrating beings all reflecting the One by being one.

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Or an infinite field of interconnecting/interpenetrating beings all reflecting the One by being one.

Nice. :)

 

Think we are ready to move on to verse 3?

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3) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say, 'See, the Kingdom is

in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they

say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you.

Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you.

When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and

you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living

Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty

and it is you who are that poverty."

 

Lots to think about here :)

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Free will is something I always used to believe in, yet it is confusing to me at the moment. In the Christian context the highest prayer is "thy will be done" so it is all about relinquishing your individual will, so we seem to have the ability to resist or submit to what life throws at us, but in resistance we always lose and suffer.. so it seems like we have the choice to suffer.

 

Or the choice to not suffer, depending upon your perspective...

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