Jesus and Advaita Vedanta


 I didn’t know about Advaita Vedānta when I was a child and only recently discovered there were people like Alan Watts (and others) writing about non-duality in the Christian context, [link to part of the Alan Watts’ essay: This Is It].  Now I’m convinced it is important to focus on the fact that there is something at the heart of Christianity. The uncomfortable feeling that’s followed me all these years – that somehow I missed the point of the Jesus Teaching – all this has gone when I think of the Advaitist aspect of the teaching. It’s the missing piece of the puzzle I just stumbled upon, coming from an Asian perspective, an inductive knowing and that’s how it works.

The reason I didn’t see it before is because the Western concept of God, having human attributes (similar to the Advaitist idea of Ishvara), contradicts the rational scientific view. Accepting something that’s scientifically impossible, just because it’s written down in the Bible, doesn’t make sense. It’s like a myth and that’s why Christianity never had any reality in the West. What’s needed is to take it all a bit further.

‘… when human beings think of Brahman, the Supreme Cosmic Spirit is projected upon the limited, finite human mind and appears as Ishvara. Therefore, the mind projects human attributes, such as personality, motherhood, and fatherhood on the Supreme Being. God (as in Brahman) is not thought to have such attributes in the true sense.’

In Western countries, people are wandering around without a map. There’s the shopping mall and that’s all. How to let go of the individual ‘self’ if everything in the system is aimed at getting you to hold on? Looking for the way out by browsing possibilities will take a lifetime. The distractions built-in to window shopping behaviour are designed to keep you ‘shopping’ and prevent you from finding the way out too easily. By the time you get there you’ll have forgotten what it was you were looking for.

‘The Advaita Teachings are pointers, offered at the level of the audience, so to some people Jesus would talk about “a mansion with many rooms” and to other people he would say: “(heaven) is within.” (And) without understanding Advaita and the way pointers are adjusted depending on the audience, (most) Christians haven’t a clue what Jesus was talking about ….’ [link to Advaita Vedanta page]

Those who didn’t fall into the shopping mall trap just took the belief ‘thing’ to pieces to see what it was made of. That’s how it was seen that there was/is no substantial “self” in the centre of consciousness. It’s an operating system that keeps all working parts in the state of  ‘oneness’. ‘We are, right at this moment, God itself, and we can rejoice in that – if we can break out of our individual identity….’ If someone had been able to explain it to me like this when I was a child, the challenge to find out what it could mean would have been enough motivation for a lifetime.

‘When you fully understand that which you are and cannot not be, there is nothing to do to be what you are.’ [Jac O’Keeffe]

………………..

I wrote another post about this: ‘Jesus and Churchianity‘.

Note (i): There are two references in the Upanishads: aham brahmasmi (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1,4,10), and tattvamasi (Chandogya Upanishad 6,8,7), the instruction of Svetakatu by his father – very much earlier than the Jesus teachings. The 8th Century development by Adi Shankara is something for a later post. [link to ‘Christian Consciousness and Advaita Experience‘] 


54 thoughts on “Jesus and Advaita Vedanta

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  5. “We are, right at this moment, God itself, and we can rejoice in that – if we can break out of our individual identity”. Awesome sentence, I have this thought too as an intuition, but denied for my mind, of course. If we full realize this true, our personal mind must dissapear, at least in the way that now it works. But we live now through our mind, so here we have a difficult way.

    • I feel the same way, intuitively I can understand how this works but the ‘personal mind’ is an obstruction at this time. Maybe it’s enough to know that the process reveals itself if I’m indirectly paying attention…

  6. When the words were put in the mouth of the mythical Jesus, “The Father and I are one” he meant the same for all of us. This was political and the East developed differently, more accurately understanding the nature of Beingness. The essence of Christianity is not much different than Buddhism, just different words that Westerners usually don’t try to grasp. accepting only a literal interpretation that makes NO sense whatsoever. Weird world we live in. If one understands the nature of Consciousness and how it evolves and experiences Itself through us as separate individuated pieces of the whole, I think evolution will take us into realms unimaginable. I’ve noticed when having a small argument with someone I suddenly have the feeling I’m looking in the mirror bickering with myself. lol

    • The problem is, family and friends in UK function on Faith alone and I don’t want to hurt their feelings by talking about this kind of thing. I tried saying that God is Consciousness, same thing really, but that didn’t work for them… God needs to be separate from ‘us’. They start to give me that look, like there’s something wrong with me. So I keep quiet about it, and that’s okay with me. Most people don’t understand what it’s about… it’s been like that all the way through history. I’m a Buddhist and I live in Thailand, all I need to know is that there is something at the heart of Christianity and it’s there waiting to be discovered.

      • I never push anything on others, it never works. On WP I feel free to express my thoughts, but in the real world I just spectate, unless of course I’m with a like minded person, which is very rare in the US. Also I don’t knock Christianity, only the wide spread and organized misunderstanding of the true spiritual meaning of the poetry in the scriptures, which is a huge part of the Western lifestyle.t/y

    • “the essence of Christianity is not much different ”

      I agree in a sense ..also the life and death of Jesus go further practically explaining the extent of unfathomable and unconditional love.

      Jesus stresses on enemy love more clearly.

      • Jesus was a mythical character in a religious story. I’ve been studying this for 2 decades and this is what the evidence says. Makes no difference to me either way. Only that I prefer the truth.

      • Reply to ‘love’. This group of words, itself, blows me away completely, ‘the extent of unfathomable and unconditional love’ – not something to be used lightly in a post comment…

  7. Enjoyed this post. I like what Joseph Campbell has to say about all religions, that at the heart of the mystery lies the common thread that unites us all. What lies beyond belief is a powerful question to envision. What the heart knows the mind can never comprehend; of all that is possible. Nice to meet you here in this grand cyberspace community. Paulette

    • Yes, it’s exactly this. All religions are an interpretation of the one Truth that is inexpressible in our present state of consciousness. ‘What lies beyond belief is a powerful question to envision’… thank you for these observations and good to meet you. Please visit again

  8. I totally relate. I love the window shopping analogy. I often say in my writings, “I am, before I think I am”. That concept is lost in traditional Christianity. I say, there is no word of God. By creating the word of God you create the thought of God and its the thought that stands between us and what we already are which is, whatever God is.
    I find it quite fascinating that I can see in just a few words that someone else “see’s” the idea that, what ever God is, it isn’t a thought. I believe others do also. Some from a conceptual standpoint and others from a inner feeling or calling.

    • Thanks for this: ‘there is no word for God’, it’s the thought that gets in the way, and whatever God is, it isn’t a thought. We all came from a tradition of just following what others did without understanding or questioning – this is how television and consumerism took hold; whole populations got lost in that. So good to have broken free of it…

  9. Wonderful article! Yes, Jesus’ teachings are non-dual at their core.
    Just what Christianity has turned into is somewhat – twisted.

    I have read that the Jesus channeling A Course In Miracles has been called the Christian Advaita Vedanta by Bill Thetford ( the guy who triggered the receiving process of ACIM).

    • Thanks Karin, I arrived at this point in the Path (ACIM) by way of Theravadin Buddhism, then Advaita. There’s a plan, has been for a while, to just get the book and read a bit now and then. But it hasn’t gotten anywhere – I’m stuck with the Christian context; that sin/guilt, built-in conditioning. So I’m looking for a way around this. Just watched a video after receiving your comment and the mystery aspect, the channeling through Helen Shucman, could be a way to approach it. Thanks for these nice words and support.

      • I agree. ACIM is hard to digest. The easiest approach to understanding this book was for me The Disappearance of the Universe , by Gary Renard. Highly entertaining , but still uncompromising truth.
        I don’t know whether you will benefit from ACIM at all. Maybe you are beyond it. It is directed at the ego. Helen received it after a phase of fight with Bill.

        There are many Jesus channelings out there. And each of them in a slightly different tone of voice. Each of them directed at another target audience.
        Some for theosophists. Some for lightworkers.
        ACIM is tailor-made for brainy nerds. Hard to digest. Needs a good tin-can opener before it can be devoured.

        The basic concept is simple.
        I like to think of forgiveness as:
        Don’t get upset because it is not real anyway.
        Don’t get angry because there is always some hidden good in all bad things.
        Don’t get upset because this is just another tailor-made blow to my self-image (as describe in my Dark Night post, which you have read. Thanks for the Like).

      • Ok, so I just downloaded The Disappearance of the Universe on my Kindle. Let’s see how that goes. I recognise the thing about insight arriving after a crisis, it happened in a small way to me a long time ago, nowadays things are v stable. Not the ideal state to be swept away by overwhelming Truth, but I’m open to the Reality behind the self-image of course, it’s what I spend most of my time contemplating anyway.
        I like your three-part ‘forgiveness’ concept here, and also everything you say in the Dark Night post. I’ll reply later about The Disappearance of the Universe. Thanks for this new direction…

  10. ” the Western concept of God, having human attributes ”

    Always felt this was primitive thinking. I suppose its Western origins are Old Testament where God is chatting with everyone. The OT God is a fairy unlikable fellow. He is punitive, vindictive, directs and advocates murder, demanding, jealous, wrathful,and manipulative. Seems He needs therapy for all these human character defects. He is also loving, forgiving, caring and a source of fortitude(allegedly). And yet many are accepting of this primitive understanding. I wonder if God curses and swears when He stubs His toe when moving furniture(which is the cause of thunder by the way)and to whom does He curse and swear? The creator of atoms and universes is probably a bit more sophisticated .

    I think even as the Romans and Greeks were anthropomorphic attributing personalities but I think they saw gods as forces with which to contend and with whom to be in good graces with fate. Even today’s farmers hope Ceres will smile upon them this growing season in a subconscious and superstitious kind of way. For Romans the gods were aspect of fate be it fortune or disappointment and loss. For Roman military and aristocracy god was the state and all power to and from the state. God stuff made nice festivals .

    “It’s like a myth and that’s why Christianity never had any reality in the West. ”

    I would strongly disagree with this from a theological perspective and from a secular assessment of history. Religion quite a driving force in the external world and in an internal one and in the subsequent human expressions thereof.

    Realities of the physical universe and that of faith are on completely different planes and do not intersect. One benchmark of the teachings of Jesus is to simply never be the source of anyone’s misfortune and never pass the opportunity to perform a charitable act is very tangible and reasonable in heart and mind and is not dependent on Bible myths or other silly notions as it speaks for itself. Inherent truth unshackled by theorems and axioms.

    Glad I stopped by and thanks visit my blog.

    • Thanks for visting, some confusion however as the post is a comparison between the Jesus Teachings and Advaita Vedanta and there’s nowhere in you comment that addresses this…

  11. I came back to this again and wanted to thank you Tiramit. I have always felt uncomfortable with the personification of God, and thought adults a bit silly for taking the bible so literally. I feel more aligned with eastern philosophy and non dualism. I am not well that well read, so I enjoyed the conversation with Karin.
    How was “the Disappearance of the Universe”?

    • Thanks Val, I know what you mean about the personification of God. Although I have to be aware that there are many people out there who have a different view than us and respect to others of a higher consciousness. In the ordinary way of things it’s different. I read somewhere: ‘Man made God in his own image’ (rather than the other way round). The Buddhist view of ‘self’ as a self-created image could be extended to include the personification of everything, including (of course) God. In the Buddhist view, this is the fundamental error. In non dualism there is only oneness and within this there’s the tendency to create (and believe in) a separate self. Somebody pointed out on my blog recently, “Pure consciousness has no object.” It’s all a kind of subjectivity – no creator exists outside of what is already here. As far as reading “Disappearance of the Universe” goes, I’m at page 122 0f 408 on my Kindle and there’s an interesting section at the top of the page:
      “Before the beginning there was no beginnings or endings; there was only the eternal Always, which is still there – and always shall be. There was only an awareness of unflawed oneness, and this oneness was so complete, so awe-striking and unlimited in its joyous extension that it would be impossible for anything to be aware of something else that was not Itself.”

      These few lines say ‘subjectivity to me – oneness, no object. Although I’m uncomfortable with the word “God” and thankfully, the book Disappearance of the Universe refers to Jesus by the initial ‘J’ so I feel it’s possible to overlook the Biblical references that we were threatened with at school – ‘God in his wrath’ and instead of that, think of “God” as Consciousness or Reality. In Advaita they call it Brahman. It all seems to fit somehow, but I still have an open mind. Thanks for dropping in…

      • Thank you T for bringing more to savor and digest 😉 There are many pieces that fit together in my mind too … as well as others that seem to belong to are a different whole.

  12. Just starting writing a book on the Upanishads, a sequel to mine on the Vedas. Brahman is not god. The relationship between Brahman, god, the soul, and the world are complex and defined and interpreted in different ways.Advaita has numerous post-Shankara philosophers. Then there is Dvaita, Dvaitadvaita, Shivadvaita, Visishtadvaita, each with many philosophers and numerous interpretations. And other philosophies too.

  13. The Indian faith – the British rulers called it Hinduism to set Islamists against, divide the people and rule. – is a Godless religion at its roots. God is a concept invoked to help solve the puzzle, WHO AM I. The puzzle gets solved on realisation that I AM GOD – same as AHAM BRAHMA ASMI. The concept serves the purpose of a ladder to climb heights, or the boat to cross a river or a pole for the pole-vaulter. Therefore, all our known concepts of God are only means to the end, not an end in itself. This appears revolting, outrageous or a sacrilege but then IT IS THE TRUTH. Meditate on WHO AM I? and you will have the realisation.

    • Thank you for this and apologies that it has taken so long to reply. You are completely correct in what you say if not a little confrontational? I understand what you’re saying, being British myself and having to apologise for historical events sometimes. I’m completely with you…

  14. *** I enjoy this 🙂 ***

    Lankavatara
    http://huntingtonarchive.osu.edu/resources/downloads/sutras/08technicalMayayana/Lankavatara%20Sutra.doc.pdf

    The Bodhisattvas-Mahasattvas, Mahamati, will before long attain to the
    understanding that Nirvana and Samsara are one.

    Their conduct, Mahamati, will be in accordance with the effortless exhibition of a great
    loving heart that ingeniously contrives means [of salvation], knowing that
    all beings have the nature of being like a vision or a reflection, and that
    [there is one thing which is] not bound by causation, being beyond the
    distinction of subject and object; [and further] seeing that there is
    nothing outside Mind, and in accordance with a position of
    unconditionality, they will by degrees pass through the various stages of
    Bodhisattvahood and will experience the various states of Samadhi, and
    will by virtue of their faith understand that the triple world is of Mind
    itself, and thus understanding will attain the Samadhi Mayopama.

    The Bodhisattvas entering into the state of imagelessness where they see into
    the truth of Mind-only, arriving at the abode of the Paramitas, and
    keeping themselves away from the thought of genesis, deed, and
    discipline, they will attain the Samadhi Vajravimbopama which is in
    compliance with the Tathagatakaya and with the transformations of
    suchness.

    After achieving a revulsion in the abode [of the Vijnanas],
    Mahamati, they will gradually realize the Tathagatakaya, which is
    endowed with the powers, the psychic faculties, self-control, love,
    compassion, and means; which can enter into all the Buddha-lands and
    into the sanctuaries of the philosophers; and which is beyond the realm
    of Citta-mano-mano Vijnana.

    Therefore, Mahamati, these Bodhisattva Mahasattvas
    who wish, by following the Tathagatakaya, to realize it,
    should exercise themselves, in compliance with the truth of Mind-only,
    to desist from discriminating and reasoning erroneously on such notions
    as Skandhas, Dhatus, ayatanas, thought, causation, deed, discipline,
    and rising, abiding, and destruction.

    .***And this is fun, too***
    Gospel of Thomas
    http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom-meyer.html

    (3)

    Yeshua said,
    If your leaders tell you, “Look, the kingdom is in heaven,”
    then the birds of heaven will precede you.
    If they say to you, “It’s in the sea,”
    then the fish will precede you.
    But the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you.
    When you know yourselves, then you will be known,
    and you will understand that you are children of the living father.
    But if you do not know yourselves,
    then you dwell in poverty and you are poverty.

    (22)
    Yeshua saw some babies nursing. He said to his students,
    These nursing babies
    are like those who enter the kingdom.
    They said to him,
    Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?

    Yeshua said to them,
    When you make the two into one,
    and when you make the inner like the outer
    and the outer like the inner
    and the upper like the lower,
    and when you make male and female into a single one,
    so that the male will not be male nor the female be female,
    when you make eyes in place of an eye,
    a hand in place of a hand,
    a foot in place of a foot,
    an image in place of an image,
    then you will enter the kingdom.

    (51)
    His students said to him,
    When will the dead rest?
    When will the new world come?
    He said to them,
    What you look for has come
    but you do not know it.

    ***Mysterious things happen when we learn to relax the discriminating mind… things that cannot be brought down into words. I enjoy your writing. Thank you ***

  15. Wonderful post! The Advaita (the word literally means ‘unique’ in Sanskrit) Vedanta always says about the oneness of God and about finding Him, the Ishwara, within ourselves. The Srimadvagwad Gita says the same, that, God is one and unique. The Upanishadas have the same notion, ” “Ekam evadvitiyam”, that is,”He is One only without a second.” He resides within us and only by loving the fellow humans, by our selfless duties towards others, we can achieve oneness with Him.

    Well, I sometimes wonder, how every religion on earth teaches the same thing! The metaphors are different, the ways are different, but the crux remains same. 🙂 …

    • I’ve only discovered Advaita Vedanta since starting this blog. In the post I was talking about the discovery that it’s possible to find Ishwara, as you say. The phrase you have kindly translated, ‘He resides within us…’ really struck a chord with me, thank you. And yes, the similarities with Christianity are obvious, and other religions too. I find it’s very reassuring.

  16. As I explore the conflict (within mind) of Ishvaara pranidham with the inability to believe in a personal creator God, I get glimpses here and there of how the two can be reconciled. Thank you for providing one of these.

    • Sorry for lateness in reply, thanks for visiting. This post is nearly five years old and still receives comments… an indication of how meaningful the core of it is. The giving way to it, total acceptance of God, is a struggle for me too, although less of a struggle than five years ago. The conceptualising Western mind needs to run out of options in some kind of extraordinary state and the giving way takes place as the tidal wave engulfs. That too is an example of conceptualising…

  17. The personification of God is also called anthropomorphism – ascribing human qualities to the divine. Comparative religion is one of my favourite things to study and contemplate, but I think it’s worth noting that many Westerners who come to Eastern religions end up comparing very esoteric and advanced forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism to very simple and “mainstream” forms of Christianity.

    So, for example, there have always been theologians and saints who will happily explain that God doesn’t really have human attributes. When scripture depicts God as angry, etc., this has to be seen as a human interpretation of an unchanging, mysterious, divine reality.

    There’s a branch of theology called apophatic or “negative” theology that is premised on the fact that God so utterly transcends the created universe that there is nothing we can say to accurately describe him. It’s very similar to the approach found in Vedanta. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophatic_theology

    Unfortunately the popular practice and understanding dominates. So much of our experience of Christianity is informed by American Protestant theology that errs on the side of simplicity.

    But at the same time I’ve met Chinese Buddhists who are superstitious, believe in karma when it suits them, pray to Buddha or Guan Yin for luck, and go to the temple once a year because it’s what they’ve always done!

    Still, I think the exact correspondence between Christian teaching and Eastern religion is a fascinating mystery. Fittingly in the context of non-dualism, while I wouldn’t say they are all the same, I would agree they are “not two”.

    • This is a post I wrote nearly five years ago and amazed that it has been clicked on nearly every day since then. The title places it in SEOs catch areas. I find it a bit difficult to return to these words because things have moved on, of course. In the course of what has happened in the interim, I came across the Ishwara personification of Brahman, and the apophatic way of describing the indescribable in terms of what it is not.

      I suppose I must have some early Christian conditioning but almost forgotten now after more than 30 years in Asia with a Thai wife and her large family. There’s no going back to my North European roots now, too late, so I have to take on Eastern world view as it is, without seeing it all from a Western perspective. I’m interested in early Theravada Buddhism, the non-dual teachings also interest me. The difference is in one, the subject of a self (therefore God) is not discussed, in the other it is an essential part of everything. I now find I can live with these two on the same page.

      I’m interested in how the Christian teaching resembles the non-dual teachings in Eastern religion. The Jesus figure, whether he was real or a composite of others, was non-dual – how could it not be like this? Perhaps it’s the simple geography of that part of the world where Divinity thrived for several thousands of years, an area from North India to the Mediterranean countries, where the Old Silk Road traditionally brought culture and influence East West/West East. Consider this, it’s a distance of not much more than from New York to San Francisco. It makes sense to me…

      • It’s an enjoyable discussion, and a profound subject. Thanks for replying.

        I used to think Christ had to be on the same level as other enlightened teachers. But in the end I couldn’t resolve this with the known record of Christianity, or accept the idea that the scriptures were fabricated or misinterpreted.

        But I still thought all the mystics were having the same fundamental experience, albeit explaining it in different ways.

        Eventually I studied some metaphysics/theology, and it became clearer that what the Christian tradition was saying was no less profound or mysterious than the various Eastern religions…just that it’s presented in a radically different context.

        I happen to be more drawn to the Eastern religious presentation of these mysteries, but I can see that they exist in Christianity and are plausibly better represented in a Christian context, with some exceptions for people like me and maybe you, and billions of inhabitants of other cultures.

        Whatever we call it, the one reality that exists behind and within all things is in control. You could say that the whole universe is an expression or a reflection of the nature of that one thing.

        That being so, there’s a reason why other religions, other perspectives exist. And a reason why some people are drawn to them.

      • Thanks Zalstin, I also have the received knowledge of Christianity, even after 20 years studying Theravada Buddhism, I find I’m still cautious about accepting that the Early Church changed Christ’s message. It seems to me that it is the case, for whatever reason, if you take a look at this link and consider Jesus as a person who had a non-dual experience and started to preach, in the same way as Buddha, it could be said, or others.

        I’m convinced in the truth of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. For example: His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” 
 “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here it is’ or ‘there it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.”
        As you say, ‘all the mystics were having the same fundamental experience, albeit explaining it in different ways. This is the centre of it all. I found it necessary to let go of the Church conditioning and look at what Jesus was really saying. It’s the single most difficult thing to do, but we have to understand how the Church was required to change the original form as a result of pressure and influence by the authorities over the centuries. These days we are inclined to see politicians in their true light, changing the message of Jesus was/is a political act.

  18. I think that is one way of resolving the apparent points of conflict between Christianity and the Eastern religions, and I can sympathise with it. Besides, in a sense the orthodox understanding of Christ is a thoroughly “non-dual” one, in terms of his unity with God. And freedom from “original sin” (an unfortunately loaded term) essentially means that he lived in a state of constant communion with God.

    Elsewhere I’ve come across a distinction between knowledge and devotion as alternative spiritual paths within and across religions. Buddhism and Vedanta are very much knowledge-focused (jnana). But even within Buddhism there are traditions that practice devotion to Buddha, or to one’s teacher as a substitute for Buddha.
    Christianity is on the other extreme. It’s highly devotional, and though there are aspects of knowledge (the truth shall set you free, etc.), love of God is really the bottom line.

    I wonder if people like us are drawn to Eastern religions because we are simply more oriented to knowledge than to devotion? For instance, in the Gospel there’s a part where Christ says “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”, and “he who exalts himself will be humbled, he who humbles himself will be exalted”. But I always interpreted such statements as somewhat arbitrary, dependent on the whims of an all-powerful God. To me it always seemed a superficial teaching, like we should all go out and try to act humble in hopes that God would then reward us.

    But in Daoism there are various statements that tell us essentially the same thing, only it is presented like a law of nature, or description of how “the way” unerringly operates. Eg.
    “Is not the way of heaven like the stretching of a bow?
    The high it presses down,
    The low it lifts up;
    The excessive it takes from,
    The deficient it gives to.”

    I much preferred the impersonal description, because it was presented as a law or way that could be understood and followed. It took me a long time to realise the Christian depiction had the same significance, but was presented in much more devotional terms. I guess that appeals more to some people? It’s hard to deny that the path of knowledge draws a smaller crowd.

    Anyhow, I don’t mean to push my point of view. It’s just nice to have an opportunity to share perspectives on this. One final thing though: I agree that texts like the Gospel of Thomas are a much better match for a nondualist or mystical perspective. Likewise the Canonical Gospel of John is more mystical than the other three. And the four Canonical Gospels are, from a teaching perspective, disappointing. I tried looking in the Gospels for something resembling Buddhist or Vedantan teachings, and there’s really not a lot in there.

    But finally I realised that it was actually the events, not the verbal teachings, that complete the picture. That is, the process or story of his voluntary death and resurrection actually signify the true nature of what we can call non-dual reality. That is, this mysterious being/sunyata is constantly pouring forth all of what we perceive as mundane reality, and the answering to our dissatisfactory lives is to stop seeing ourselves as little gods striving for control, and instead realise that God (or sunyata I suppose) has always been in control. I think I finally understand why Christ says in John’s Gospel: “Truly, I tell all of you emphatically, the Son can do nothing on his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing, What the Father does, the Son does likewise.”

    Thanks again for this conversation!

    • Hi Zalstin
      Thanks for your reply. Some of it has reminded me how significant it is to see the Christ/God relationship is “non-dual” in the same way as Atman/ Brahman in North India a few thousand years before the story of Jesus, and located in the same geographical region. It stands to reason that this is the lineage of the character Jesus. But there’s no mention of it, the Jewish leaders had to possess the teachings themselves. It would have been the right thing to do of course but they removed the essence of the Teaching and turned it into a lesson in atonement. Here’s a link to an older paper by Indian Christians. Start reading at: 1. Swami Vivekanda

      We can agree on the basic point, as you say, the love of God is really the bottom line. Beyond that, my feeling is the spiritual path can only be knowledge-focused, devotional characteristics are part of it as one goes through the detailed study of knowledge/wisdom from centuries past, and without that, devotion, faith etc., on its own is delusion.

      You’re right, Westerners who arrive in the spiritual place of inquiry have this wisdom approach because we are simply more oriented to knowledge than to devotion. It’s worth saying though, India needs to be included in the knowledge based approach, faith for its own sake doesn’t mean anything. It needs to be grounded. The teachings of Jesus have had the actual practice removed by the Church for whatever reason as we discussed above. And I should say my brush with Christianity as a child amounted to ‘thou shalt not’ and thus burdened with guilt so I abandoned it – apologies if I find I can’t have much respect for it. The person Jesus on the other hand is full of light, clear as a diamond, non-dual. It’s the mechanisms of power who are responsible for creating Christianity as we know it. Impossible to see Jesus clearly without dismantling the politics of the bible and then you’re left with not a great deal. There’s so little in the way of knowledge based instruction. Devotion without knowledge is a superficial teaching. Guesswork, speculative conjecture.

      Early Buddhism (Theravada) consists of thousands of pages of detailed instruction, focused on the central idea that we need to examine our suffering rather than our joy. Suffering is a characteristic of the human condition, it has a cause, and it has an end,’ and there is a way to bring about its end completely. Meditation, awareness of one’s actions and discovering our built-in self correcting mechanism. It’s about the practice, the teaching comprises a detailed ‘map’ for us to apply in all events of life we experience, every aspect of the human behaviour has been explored, analysed, documented.

      I have no real knowledge of the gospels but I’d think the pages of actual instruction, the actual insightful instruction, don’t amount to much. So we can go on discussing this but it’ll still come down to this. I’ve enjoyed our dialogue
      T

      • Thanks Tiramit.
        I’ll respectfully bow out at this point and wish you well on your path.
        Our perspectives are (quite rightly) different, but it’s been a fruitful exchange.
        Zac

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