Yueya

Some general comments relating to spiritual paths and Neidan in particular

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I think Christianity often does as well--- when I read the historical mystical texts and modern commentaries, I am always struck by the subtle dualism. 

 

As for Dharma religions, some people take it very literally. Like the Buddha is a literal sentient being external to you and you should worship him so he will send you money. 


My Master Liao story can be found in this 14+ year old post below. However, it will not convince skeptics as the experience was subjective to me. For me, these things are like meditation experiences-- they come and go, and so many people get distracted by them that they miss the point. 

 

Spoiler

 

 

 

3 hours ago, dwai said:

Indeed. The mystical traditions did that for Christianity, the Sufis for Islam. Judaism has a very rich and deep mystical tradition -- I find that mystical Judaism tends to stop at the level of Vishista-Advaita -- they claim full nonduality is impossible for human minds. I had quite a long discussion with a Rabbi from Israel whose order's job is mainly to investigate other traditions and find out details.

[snip]

Haven't you yourself experienced something similar with Master Liao? :D (Do recount the story if you feel up to it -- might be quite apropos for this discussion). 

 

Edited by forestofemptiness
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6 hours ago, freeform said:

 

No - no intention, just similar practices to what you're doing.

 

It could be that my teacher added a transmission to assist the change - and it was actualised through my normal training.

 

As you progress and the tissues start to engage and fill - there's a certain pressure that builds from the inside outwards - it felt like one my body was like one of those fake sumo suits :)

 

  Hide contents

fun017_inflatable_sumo_suit.jpg

 

I think that in itself creates that expansion and eventually radiance.


This reminds me of spotless’ description of feeling like the Michelin man made of multiple rotating magnetic hoops. I wonder if it is the result of doing qigong. 

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3 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

If this Church's lineage and the authorship of the Gospel of Thomas are correct, then it's too bad that they didn't retain the book.


From the  Wikipedia article “The text's ‘ [gospel of Thomas] authorship by Thomas the Apostle is rejected by modern scholars”. 

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3 hours ago, Bindi said:


From the  Wikipedia article “The text's ‘ [gospel of Thomas] authorship by Thomas the Apostle is rejected by modern scholars”. 

 

The same can be said for many books that actually made it into the Bible as well as many of the sutras. It's commonly recognized that many of these were not written by the author that claims authorship. This tends to be more of a problem in the Western mind than in the Eastern mind..

Edited by dmattwads
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7 hours ago, dwai said:

I've had some interesting experiences wrt Christians -- one case being a born-again evangelical, an acquaintance -- whose only path of worship seems to be to convert people. When I asked her whether she has a practice, she replied "converting people is my practice!". Can't find even a trace of anything remotely spiritual in her -- quite the opposite.

 

This is the variety that I had the misfortune of falling into. I think the lack of genuine spirituality is due to the fact when you are trying to convert people all your attention is outward as opposed to inward.

 Ironically when I was doing my research to enable me to better convert Jewish people to Christianity I discovered that the Jewish people had valid reasons for not believing in Christianity, so much so that I left it myself lol.

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I was brought up without religion and scorned Christianity when I was young. However, reading Jung introduced me to his insights into Christian mysticism and the profound symbolism of Jesus’s life as mythologised in the Gospels as a parallel of what is also at the spiritual core of alchemical transmutation – Jesus as a symbol of the Self, the Philosopher’s Stone, the Golden Elixir. 

 

@freeform

Thank you for both your posts that reference me. I very much appreciate the content and especially the intent with which you wrote.  As always, you write with great clarity, but I won’t comment further as I’m still in the process of digesting the huge amount of non-verbal feedback I’ve felt since starting this topic. It’s been too much to take in all at once. Pleasingly, I’ve felt a great underlying positivity.  And that’s something I wasn’t sure I’d get when I posted my OP.  It’s all potentially very helpful for my practice and in ways I never expected. Profoundly so, heart-warmingly so. I put that down to my sincerity of intent and the potency of Dao Bums as a cauldron for alchemical change. My thanks extends to everyone else who has likewise contributed with sincere intent.

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8 hours ago, Bindi said:


This reminds me of spotless’ description of feeling like the Michelin man made of multiple rotating magnetic hoops. I wonder if it is the result of doing qigong. 


For me it was very physical... like being swollen from the inside out. No spinning, rotation, magnetism or anything like that - just physical tissues blown up like a balloon. I had to check to see if I wasn’t actually swelling. Also there’s a distinct feeling of ‘wetness’ - like you peed yourself - but all through your body 😅

 

Now I don’t really feel it at all - except when I catch a cold or get jet lag - then I feel the absence of it.

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6 hours ago, dmattwads said:

 

The same can be said for many books that actually made it into the Bible as well as many of the sutras. It's commonly recognized that many of these were not written by the author that claims authorship. This tends to be more of a problem in the Western mind than in the Eastern mind..

 

Without approval or scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the discourses and verify them by the discipline. If they are neither traceable in the discourses nor verifiable by the discipline, one must conclude thus: “Certainly, this is not the Blessed One’s utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu—or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.” In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. - Maha-Parinibbana Sutta

 

Monks, these two slander the Tathagata. Which two? One who explains what was not said or spoken by the Tathagata as said or spoken by the Tathagata. And one who explains what was said or spoken by the Tathagata as not said or spoken by the Tathagata. These are the two who slander the Tathagata. - Abhasita Sutta

 

Buddha recommends absolute discernment regarding his own discourses, and needless to say I am very much in line with his approach for all purported spiritual texts. The dating of the gospels is more indicative of their historical truth than what they’re called, and after reading a number of ‘the historical Jesus’ kind of books I believe a gospel’s resemblance to Judaism is key, after all Jesus was a thoroughly Jewish man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, freeform said:


For me it was very physical... like being swollen from the inside out. No spinning, rotation, magnetism or anything like that - just physical tissues blown up like a balloon. I had to check to see if I wasn’t actually swelling. Also there’s a distinct feeling of ‘wetness’ - like you peed yourself - but all through your body 😅

 

Now I don’t really feel it at all - except when I catch a cold or get jet lag - then I feel the absence of it.

 

That seems to be the same I had few years ago when practicing the taiji form I've learned. 

I also felt like getting big arms, legs, and torso from the inside out. And in the arms and legs it felt like a huge load of warm water which was pumped through the arms and legs...a few weeks later, that all stopped...and than in the following weeks, it happened something very interesting ...after standing in wuji posture for preparing the taiji form, "it" made the taiji form with me. Without doing anything "I" did the complete form. the form simply happened without any muscular effort. I only had the small intent to practice the form. That's all.  Can't describe it in a better way. 

My teacher said it is a good process because now the chi would lead my body doing the form...

But also this phenomenon stopped...

It seems to be an endless process of developing... 

Best wishes 

Feng69 

 

Edited by Feng69
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10 minutes ago, Feng69 said:

... 

 

Sorry double posted and quote. Sorry. 

Edited by Feng69

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3 hours ago, Feng69 said:

I also felt like getting big arms, legs, and torso from the inside out. And in the arms and legs it felt like a huge load of warm water which was pumped through the arms and legs...a few weeks later, that all stopped...and than in the following weeks, it happened something very interesting ...after standing in wuji posture for preparing the taiji form, "it" made the taiji form with me. Without doing anything "I" did the complete form.

 

Yup - from my understanding this is when Qi starts to fill the Jing Jin and the Huang (various layers of soft tissues). Then the form doing itself is one layer of the meaning of Yi leads the Qi...

 

And as you say this drops away - because you actually need to Song deeper past that stage - it's like you release a layer deeper and 'hang' off that movement more - and a whole new layer of discomfort and growing pain opens up :lol:

 

Then the lines rebuild again and again you'll feel the same floaty sense of the body moving you... and again you song a layer deeper... and on and on :)

 

It's the same process with neigong/qigong.

 

Sounds like you're doing great!

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8 hours ago, freeform said:


For me it was very physical... like being swollen from the inside out. No spinning, rotation, magnetism or anything like that - just physical tissues blown up like a balloon. I had to check to see if I wasn’t actually swelling. Also there’s a distinct feeling of ‘wetness’ - like you peed yourself - but all through your body 😅

 

Now I don’t really feel it at all - except when I catch a cold or get jet lag - then I feel the absence of it.

It was similar for me as well -- the "wet feeling" my mind translated as a "silk sheath through out the body".  Then it becomes an expansion outside the body too...like walking around like "bubble boy" :D  (multiple layers of bubbles) 

 

P.S. Another "symptom" was that when any physical pressure is applied on the body, there is a sensation of expansion within (like when you poke a balloon) 

Edited by dwai
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2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

Yup - from my understanding this is when Qi starts to fill the Jing Jin and the Huang (various layers of soft tissues). Then the form doing itself is one layer of the meaning of Yi leads the Qi...

 

And as you say this drops away - because you actually need to Song deeper past that stage - it's like you release a layer deeper and 'hang' off that movement more - and a whole new layer of discomfort and growing pain opens up :lol:

 

Then the lines rebuild again and again you'll feel the same floaty sense of the body moving you... and again you song a layer deeper... and on and on :)

 

It's the same process with neigong/qigong.

 

Sounds like you're doing great!

Well...sice that was, I've become stronger, but I'm "waiting" for the next layer when it begins to float again ;)

Could be that therefore I have to practice more, but with an 8 to 5 Job, a son and a partnership with a woman, there are only 2 hours the day for practicing...

But I changed some weeks ago  a bit of my practice... Doing now less form and daoyin exercises but longer standing in wuji and also san ti shi...and it seems to work. Sometimes the system needs a new input. 

 

Best wishes

Feng69 

Edited by Feng69
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7 minutes ago, Feng69 said:

 

 

Sorry, sometimes I'm to stupid for the technical things 

Edited by Feng69

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18 hours ago, Bindi said:


From the  Wikipedia article “The text's ‘ [gospel of Thomas] authorship by Thomas the Apostle is rejected by modern scholars”. 

 

I am aware of that, note that I wrote "if". However, academic views are constantly changing and tend to represent "the most recent state of error", so I generally take them with a grain of salt.

Edited by Michael Sternbach

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15 hours ago, dmattwads said:

 

The same can be said for many books that actually made it into the Bible as well as many of the sutras. It's commonly recognized that many of these were not written by the author that claims authorship.

 

And this would include the four Gospels that made it into the Bible! For that matter, the Gospel of Thomas is supposed to be identical with the elusive source text that the four "official" ones are based on by some researchers - or at least originated close to it.

 

Personally, I doubt the former (i.e. more extreme) position, as the Gospel of Thomas does not offer any of the details about the life of Jesus and the people around him which the Biblical Gospels are so articulate on.

 

Rather, it focusses on Jesus' words of wisdom and is on par with other foundational texts of that kind in my view, e.g., with the Dao De Jing and the Bhagavadgitta - regardless of who wrote it.

 

15 hours ago, dmattwads said:

This tends to be more of a problem in the Western mind than in the Eastern mind..

 

Yes, the modern Western mind is very discerning in this regard. It goes without saying that it's often exceedingly difficult to tell what is historically true from what is not, and in some rather profound respects, it doesn't really matter anyway.

 

Man needs myths and legends that resonate on an archetypical level. For a modern example, there are many who draw inspiration from the Star Wars saga, knowing full well that it's all imaginary to begin with. Since alot of people contributed to the narrative over the decades, certain inconsistencies occurred, so a cannon of films and books etc was officially acknowledged eventually... :lol: That's how far the parallels to religions go in this case!

 

The blending of myth and reality is characteristic of metaphysical systems in general and would best be taken for granted by their representatives. It is really only the Fundamentalists that are losing sleep over the question in which part of the whale Jonah could most likely have survived as long as he did...

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1 hour ago, Michael Sternbach said:

It is really only the Fundamentalists that are losing sleep over the question in which part of the whale Jonah could most likely have survived as long as he did...

 

Then they create two new denominations based on did Jonah live in the whale's stomach or lung. 

Edited by dmattwads
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3 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

And this would include the four Gospels that made it into the Bible! For that matter, the Gospel of Thomas is supposed to be identical with the elusive source text that the four "official" ones are based on by some researchers - or at least originated close to it.

 

Similar in its form as a collection of sayings of Jesus without any accounts of his deeds or his life and death, not similar in content. Have you read “Q”? Here is a link.

 

Quote

 

Personally, I doubt the former (i.e. more extreme) position, as the Gospel of Thomas does not offer any of the details about the life of Jesus and the people around him which the Biblical Gospels are so articulate on.

 

Rather, it focusses on Jesus' words of wisdom and is on par with other foundational texts of that kind in my view, e.g., with the Dao De Jing and the Bhagavadgitta - regardless of who wrote it.

 

 

If you were talking about “Q” I would happily agree. 

 

Quote

 

Yes, the modern Western mind is very discerning in this regard. It goes without saying that it's often exceedingly difficult to tell what is historically true from what is not, and in some rather profound respects, it doesn't really matter anyway.

 

Man needs myths and legends that resonate on an archetypical level. For a modern example, there are many who draw inspiration from the Star Wars saga, knowing full well that it's all imaginary to begin with. Since alot of people contributed to the narrative over the decades, certain inconsistencies occurred, so a cannon of films and books etc was officially acknowledged eventually... :lol: That's how far the parallels to religions go in this case!

 

The blending of myth and reality is characteristic of metaphysical systems in general and would best be taken for granted by their representatives. It is really only the Fundamentalists that are losing sleep over the question in which part of the whale Jonah could most likely have survived as long as he did...


Jesus lost a lot of sleep over the Pharisees interpretation of the Law, and the Buddha didn’t accept blending of myth and reality regarding his words, calling it slander if “One who explains what was not said or spoken by the Tathagata as said or spoken by the Tathagata”. I don’t see why I need to blur the lines regarding their words. 
 

P.S. I’m not against you or anyone having gnostic beliefs, if that’s what does it for you good luck to you, what I’m against is saying these are the words of Jesus. 

Edited by Bindi

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On 1/21/2021 at 4:26 AM, freeform said:

The practice had opened me up to such an extent that I felt like a magnet for everyone’s emotions. I was still working in a big office at the time - I’d meet someone’s eyes and feel this huge wave of sadness go through me... Another person would walk past and I’d feel the hangover they must be suffering with.

 

It was a pretty difficult time. Especially living in a city. I felt constantly assaulted with people’s ‘broadcasts’. I’d tear up reading the news. I’d get anxiety in the office because I couldn’t see a single piece of nature anywhere - no plants, no wood or stone - everything artificial - especially the people.

 

I remember feeling that I must leave society and be far away from people, news, politics and so on.

I was like this from birth! Generally speaking, I've always been able to feel that sort of thing in about a mile radius around me. It was definitely comparable to hell, and I would often feel the problems worse than the people suffering them themselves did! When I finally learned some sensitivity to energy, I figured out where my mood instability was coming from; it was from all the input from outside! I learned how to shield, and ended up being able to be more social than before, but still needed to shield whenever I talked to anyone or was around someone. Thankfully, in the more recent times, my cultivation practice has made it so that I no longer feel it as badly as before (though, I can still feel most intentions quite distinctly! Malicious postings are no fun to look at, for sure!), and I no longer am emotionally effected by these things. I feel it, go "oh, that poor person must be quite angry.", and move on.

 

Thinking about it now, it was both a blessing and a curse. I've definitely prevented at least five suicides thanks to this ability, as the more emotionally screwed people gravitated to me, but it also made my formative years a living hell. I think the net positives outweigh the suffering I went through because of it, but I also recognize that I walked a very thin line between sanity and insanity for the first twenty years of life! 

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13 hours ago, Bindi said:

Similar in its form as a collection of sayings of Jesus without any accounts of his deeds or his life and death, not similar in content. Have you read “Q”? Here is a link.

 

That's no more than one of over a dozen attempts to reconstruct "Q" from commonalities found in Luke and Matthew. For all we know, the actual "Q" was lost to posterity a very long time ago.

 

The history of academic research into the origin of the canonical Gospels is rather involved. The most widely accepted theory today seems to be the so-called Two-Source Hypothesis, stating that Luke and Matthew are based on Mark as their "narrative source" and on that ever elusive "Q" as their "sayings source". But there are  proposals that suppose four and more sources as well.

 

Since the Gospel of Thomas was found, the assumption that it constitutes at least one of the source texts also gained lots of support. Moreover, it revived interest in the question of the derivation of the Gospels in general.

 

Personally, I do see many parallels between its contents and Jesus' teachings according to the New Testament. That said, I make no particular claims as to the exact role it may have played in the derivation of other Gospels.

 

Quote

If you were talking about “Q” I would happily agree. 

 

Does that mean that, for you, the value of a metaphysical text stands and falls with its apparent "authenticity"? To me, such considerations are of academic interest, at best. What really matters is their intrinsic value for the cultivator today, regardless of their authorship.

 

Quote

Jesus lost a lot of sleep over the Pharisees interpretation of the Law, and the Buddha didn’t accept blending of myth and reality regarding his words, calling it slander if “One who explains what was not said or spoken by the Tathagata as said or spoken by the Tathagata”. I don’t see why I need to blur the lines regarding their words. 

 

Well, when it comes to Buddhism, only the Pali canon can seem relevant to you then! And even here you will be confronted with the fact that various schools have different takes on what texts are to be included, not to mention extant variant readings of particular passages.

 

Quote

P.S. I’m not against you or anyone having gnostic beliefs, if that’s what does it for you good luck to you, what I’m against is saying these are the words of Jesus. 

 

Gnosticism is an umbrella term. In my metaphysical search, I draw on many sources, some of which are indeed expressions of various kinds of Gnosticism.

 

Please note that in my previous post, I referred to the Gospel of Thomas as "Jesus' words of wisdom" to differentiate it from a supposed source of information focussed on his life. Little can be said in the latter regard from a rigorous academic perspective, though. As you probably know, even the very existence of Jesus is sometimes being disputed today.

 

Telling from the content of the Gospel of Thomas without a doubt these are the words of a Sage - timelessly true and relevant in my view. And I see no reason why we should not identify their author with the historical Jesus.

Edited by Michael Sternbach

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16 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

That's no more than one of over a dozen attempts to reconstruct "Q" from commonalities found in Luke and Matthew. For all we know, the actual "Q" was lost to posterity a very long time ago.

 

The history of academic research into the origin of the canonical Gospels is rather involved. The most widely accepted theory today seems to be the so-called Two-Source Hypothesis, stating that Luke and Matthew are based on Mark as their "narrative source" and on that ever elusive "Q" as their "sayings source". But there are  proposals that suppose four and more sources as well.

 

Since the Gospel of Thomas was found, the assumption that it constitutes at least one of the source texts also gained lots of support. Moreover, it revived interest in the question of the derivation of the Gospels in general.

 

Personally, I do see many parallels between its contents and Jesus' teachings according to the New Testament. That said, I make no particular claims as to the exact role it may have played in the derivation of other Gospels.


Here’s a parallel theme, but the positions that are taken are completely opposite. In Thomas - 

 

14 Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give alms, you will harm your spirits.

 

In the NT gospels Jesus enjoins unostentatious almsgiving, together with prayer and fasting, as one of the pillars of the religious life (Mt 6.1– 16. There are 100’s of other references to the value of charity, prayer and fasting, this one is just representative). 

 

Spoiler

 

Matthew 6

New International Version

Giving to the Needy

6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Fasting

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

 

 

 

 

 

So one has to choose on these specific topics, fasting, prayer and charity, between Thomas and the NT, it can’t be both. 

 

Quote

 

Does that mean that, for you, the value of a metaphysical text stands and falls with its apparent "authenticity"? To me, such considerations are of academic interest, at best. What really matters is their intrinsic value for the cultivator today, regardless of their authorship.


 

 

55 Jesus said, "Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters, and carry the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me."

 

Mt 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Mt 10:37-38, Lk 14:26

 

Wouldn’t you like to know which was the authentic text? So that following it you can brush up on hating your father and mother and brothers and sisters, or alternatively you can keep loving them but just love Jesus more. Knowing which came first, and was therefore closer to what Jesus actually said, would help in making that choice.

 

Quote

 

Well, when it comes to Buddhism, only the Pali canon can seem relevant to you then! And even here you will be confronted with the fact that various schools have different takes on what texts are to be included, not to mention extant variant readings of particular passages.


 

 

Well yes I’d take the Pali canon more seriously, and I’d go on my take on it first. This is an article regarding the Pali canon by an author who has the same intent in regards to Buddhism as I have in Christianity. He describes how in the second council 100 years after the Buddha dies the Mahasangikas desired a more visionary and mystical ‘Dharma’ practice that would establish the Buddha as a god and one of many Buddha-gods extending without limit to the past and future, as well as claiming that the Buddha’s life as a human being was merely an apparition. 
 

This revisionism seems to parallel the gnostic revisionism that was going on in Christianity, the original voice is overwritten by more visionary and mystical perspectives, and these seem to have a wide appeal. I’m not interested in these secondary voices, I’m only interested in the original voice. 

 

Quote

 

Gnosticism is an umbrella term. In my metaphysical search, I draw on many sources, some of which are indeed expressions of various kinds of Gnosticism.

 

Please note that in my previous post, I referred to the Gospel of Thomas as "Jesus' words of wisdom" to differentiate it from a supposed source of information focussed on his life. Little can be said in the latter regard from a rigorous academic perspective, though. As you probably know, even the very existence of Jesus is sometimes being disputed today.

 

Yes but there’s a conspiracy theory for everything under the sun anyway. I have looked into this particular theory, maybe a year or so ago, and I wouldn’t waste my time in pursuing it any further. 

 

Quote

 

 

Telling from the content of the Gospel of Thomas without a doubt these are the words of a Sage - timelessly true and relevant in my view. And I see no reason why we should not identify their author as the historical Jesus.

 
 

Edited by Bindi

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On 23.1.2021 at 2:06 PM, Bindi said:


Here’s a parallel theme, but the positions that are taken are completely opposite. In Thomas - 

 

14 Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give alms, you will harm your spirits.

 

In the NT gospels Jesus enjoins unostentatious almsgiving, together with prayer and fasting, as one of the pillars of the religious life (Mt 6.1– 16. There are 100’s of other references to the value of charity, prayer and fasting, this one is just representative). 

 

  Hide contents

 

Matthew 6

New International Version

Giving to the Needy

6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Fasting

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

 

 

 

 

 

So one has to choose on these specific topics, fasting, prayer and charity, between Thomas and the NT, it can’t be both. 

 

Why not? Truths are always bipolar, so to speak.

 

Your example actually only serves to illustrate, what I have been thinking all along: The Gospel of Thomas represents Jesus' more esoteric teachings, meant for initiates, as opposed to what he was telling the crowd.

 

We can suppose that the apostles were advanced 'cultivators', well familiar with the benefits of fasting, prayer and charity. Yet there may be times when such practices become self-serving and it's best to ease off on them - in order to simply be than to constantly try to become.

 

This is reminiscent of the zen story of a master watching a practitioner meditating in order to become a Buddha. He then started polishing a brick and, when asked by the meditating man what he was doing that for, replied that he was trying to turn the brick into a diamond!

 

Much of what Jesus shared - especially in the Gospel of Thomas! - was that kind of 'zen teaching', seemingly paradoxical and easily misunderstood by his general audience. 

 

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55 Jesus said, "Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters, and carry the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me."

 

Mt 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Mt 10:37-38, Lk 14:26

 

Wouldn’t you like to know which was the authentic text? So that following it you can brush up on hating your father and mother and brothers and sisters, or alternatively you can keep loving them but just love Jesus more. Knowing which came first, and was therefore closer to what Jesus actually said, would help in making that choice.

 

While either suggestion may seem like sensible advice for certain situations :D, first off, I don't think Jesus was recommending to literally hate anybody. It could be a poor translation, or a purposeful exaggeration used by Jesus to make sure he gets the message across (alas, the texts tell us nothing about the kind of voice, facial expression and gestures that accompanied his words).

 

Furthermore, the two statements are not contradicting each other, they only differ in pithiness. Either way, the message can be read as: "As long as you follow the ways of those around you [primarily], you will not be fit to follow your divine self [the inner Christ]."

 

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Well yes I’d take the Pali canon more seriously, and I’d go on my take on it first. This is an article regarding the Pali canon by an author who has the same intent in regards to Buddhism as I have in Christianity. He describes how in the second council 100 years after the Buddha dies the Mahasangikas desired a more visionary and mystical ‘Dharma’ practice that would establish the Buddha as a god and one of many Buddha-gods extending without limit to the past and future, as well as claiming that the Buddha’s life as a human being was merely an apparition. 
 

This revisionism seems to parallel the gnostic revisionism that was going on in Christianity, the original voice is overwritten by more visionary and mystical perspectives, and these seem to have a wide appeal. I’m not interested in these secondary voices, I’m only interested in the original voice.

 

Whereas I believe that Gnosticism, in some of its many forms, was in fact the most faithful expression of Jesus' philosophy. In fact, it was at the very root of the latter.

 

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Yes but there’s a conspiracy theory for everything under the sun anyway. I have looked into this particular theory, maybe a year or so ago, and I wouldn’t waste my time in pursuing it any further.

 

Nor was I suggesting that. I only brought this up to underline that we have so little hard evidence for what actually happened back then that there is no reason to reject the Gospel of Thomas on "historical" grounds.

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3 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

Why not? Truths are always bipolar, so to speak.

 

Your example actually only serves to illustrate, what I have been thinking all along: The Gospel of Thomas represents Jesus' more esoteric teachings, meant for initiates, as opposed to what he was telling the crowd.

 

We can suppose that the apostles were advanced 'cultivators', well familiar with the benefits of fasting, prayer and charity. Yet there may be times when such practices become self-serving and it's best to ease off on them - in order to simply be than to constantly try to become.

 

This is reminiscent of the zen story of a master watching a practitioner meditating in order to become a Buddha. He then started polishing a brick and, when asked by the meditating man what he was doing that for, replied that he was trying to turn the brick into a diamond!

 

Much of what Jesus shared - especially in the Gospel of Thomas! - was that kind of 'zen teaching', seemingly paradoxical and easily misunderstood by his general audience. 


 

Jesus himself is recorded as praying often, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray,” even on the night before his crucifixion, “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 
 

In the NT, Jesus is praying once again, and one of his disciples ask him to teach them how to pray. One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

He said to them, "When you pray, say: "`Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'"

 

What makes a gnostic superior to the master himself (and his disciples)? Especially a master who states the exact opposite, Blessed are the humble in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

 

Quote

 

While either suggestion may seem like sensible advice for certain situations :D, first off, I don't think Jesus was recommending to literally hate anybody. It could be a poor translation, or a purposeful exaggeration used by Jesus to make sure he gets the message across (alas, the texts tell us nothing about the kind of voice, facial expression and gestures that accompanied his words).

 

Furthermore, the two statements are not contradicting each other, they only differ in pithiness. Either way, the message can be read as: "As long as you follow the ways of those around you [primarily], you will not be fit to follow your divine self [the inner Christ]."

 

 

Whereas I believe that Gnosticism, in some of its many forms, was in fact the most faithful expression of Jesus' philosophy. In fact, it was at the very root of the latter.


We should be able to find our own ‘Christ’ within, I mean logically it makes sense, and it suits our individualistic nature. I only ever relied on myself to find whatever ‘truth’ lay within, until about a year ago that is. 
 

The way I work is very personal, I could say I ‘travel’ through my energy system, and there are points I have to pass and things I have to do. Sounds a bit weird but this is what I do. For 6 years or so I passed all the points on my own, but I came to one last year where I had to complete a metaphysical task, specifically I had to put a 3 pin plug into a socket. It was in the dark, and though I tried very hard for a few days in a number of ways, I was unable to get the three pins into the socket, and thinking this dilemma through I thought if I had some light I would be able to see, followed by the thought that Jesus was the name associated with Light par excellence. 
 

The next time I tried to get the plug into the socket there was a small light, just big enough and bright enough for me to see the pins and the socket and I put it in easily, and continued on my metaphysical way. I have mulled this over since then, and I am more and more drawn to the conclusion that the whole Jesus thing is real. This is a light that I couldn’t supply within myself, at least I don’t think so, though who knows if I had called on some other deity or God, maybe a light would have appeared, maybe not, it’s not something I can experiment with. 
 

But it also goes to explain why I am anti-gnostic, because a gnostic relies only on him/her self, and for me personally I came to a point where I didn’t believe I could pass without this added ingredient i.e., light from some other source. “I” was not enough. 

 

 

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Nor was I suggesting that. I only brought this up to underline that we have so little hard evidence for what actually happened back then that there is no reason to reject the Gospel of Thomas on "historical" grounds.

 

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