POSTCARD #180: Chiang Mai: For most people in the Christian world, the Christmas festival has jingle-bells, santaclausisms and the Jesus Teachings are embedded in this but that’s okay. Somehow the essence of it got assimilated in the warmth of our Christmas-shopping and why not, it’s all-inclusive isn’t it? For a reason that seems odd and perplexing to us, somehow the two go together; spending money and generosity means exercising the purchasing muscle… and it feels like there should be more to it than that but we’re not willing to say there’s anything wrong with it because we’re all in some way compromised. A tacit approval of consumerist behavior integrated into our lives. The essential part of our spiritual Truth got shifted out of the way and consumerism came along in its place.
The Truth of the Jesus Teaching can be applied today of course in the same way as it has been for centuries. What’s missing is the gnosis (knowledge) part of the teaching. The instructions on seeing the constructed nature of appearances and the stepping-through the illusion of our world to discover the non-duality between God and ourselves:
‘His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” <Jesus said, > “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 (113).”’ [Nag Hammadi Manuscripts].
The Jesus Teaching is immersed in a oneness of spiritual teaching all of which say something happened, in a particular geographical location. An event (or events) took place, somewhere in the region stretching from Israel and the Mediterranean through to North India, a distance of about 3000 miles. There was an ancient highway there, a road not unlike the East/West route in the early days of the expansion by American pioneers – except of course along the way, there were already communities and townships, and here and there a populated place hundreds of years old or more. This road, formed through the necessity of trading, had become part of what was called the Old Silk Road trading route stretching all the way from the Pacific side of China to the Mediterranean Sea.
We can quite accurately imagine the people living there then – some of them traveling on the Road as a livelihood because it had always been there. Facilities were set up alongside for travelers, rooms and all kinds of industries and businesses were connected with it. There’d be talk about politics, marriages, births, deaths and there was the Mystery, whatever name it was called in one place and different in another.
Others would discern the truth, discuss and explain aspects of it and an understanding of the Mystery evolved; refined learning, study and excellent teachers instructing students: it’s not about worshipping someone else doing it on your behalf, the Truth is within, you can do it by yourself. This Truth, though, was thought to be subversive by the power structures, and in that sense there’s no difference between then and now.
It is interesting that all the world’s religions arose here in this same region: the three Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and those related. Also the Brahamanic religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta and those related. We could quite reasonably propose that something took place here long ago that changed the world – maybe more than one event, enlightenment had become possible. All sorts of discoveries happened in the vicinity of this route… as long as the width of America coast to coast – the impact of it spread everywhere and all through time.
I found it fascinating that there were hundreds of different Jesus teachings in the first century after his death and the one teaching that took hold from the Roman Emperor Constatine was nit necessarily the “correct” one rather the one teaching or teachings that one out over the others that created the orthodox Christianity we know now and the resulting hieratic versions of it that fell by the waist side. As the Emperor Constatine chose the teachings and indoctrinated the many Priests he needed to spread that version of Christs throughout the Roman Empire.
It is said that there were much more liberal views or teachings of Christ in many of the Hieratic teachings that had, as you mention, a connotation of non duality.
I find it quite easy to see in how Christ is quoted often in his teachings especially to the disciples of how he used analogies or metaphors and it is said that if the disciples did not grasp what he was implying that he would explain it to them.
That is extremely relevant to the appreciation of duality to non duality as it less intuitive in the definition of a word to appreciate non duality then it is to a concept or a visual the word it is pointing too that gives a appreciation of one. That to me is pivotal in realizing The One of Everything is quite possible the same of many other philosophies and religions..
Even though non duality is taken out of context in comprehending a words meaning. The actual “letting go” or ” no mind” is the same result to someone if they see a unified consciousness that encompasses everything or they believe in a God of there salvation that they embrace and let goi of the thought of duality or mind or I am to embrace the oneness of no mind, non duality or let go of I am to embrace the ai am that I am.
It is a different path but the destination is the sane if you look at it metaphorically
Yes I can see how it would have to be all the same, all the way through time…
Reblogged this on Melting-Pot Dharma and commented:
I’m on a different sort of road trip this Christmas season but pausing to share this pearl from a fellow traveler on the wisdom road.
Thanks for the re-blog Mel and thoughtful comment
I’ve liked the Gospel of Thomas for a long time. I wish they would find more of the earlier Greek fragments.
Interesting how things can be so grossly distorted over time. (Probably minds that are grossly distorted may have had something to do with it!)
Thanks Tom. Yes there are these grossly distorted minds of course… and if that’s so, then it’s because they misunderstood the Jesus Teachings as children. Most likely thing is there was nothing to hold their attention. If the Gospel of Thomas were included in the Church, it might have made more sense… the missing piece.
The early “Bishop-oriented, orthodox church” persecuted and killed people who cherished the Gospel of Thomas. Some top biblical scholars are now saying that the Gospel of John was written (by others, later) as a rebuttal against the Gospel of Thomas.
I’ve read all kinds of material that criticize the Church in this way and I see a lot of truth in it. I’d like to know a bit more about Thomas, however it’s necessary to respect those readers here who’d be hurt if we continued a discussion like where this could be leading…
I agree and we should look within ourselves to find and feel the humanity in each of us.
It’s humanly possible to do this and if there were more direction to do it, using the media in new and interesting ways, perhaps more people would find and feel the humanity in each of us as you have said, thanks Kimberly
This can be a tricky topic as it can step on some beliefs.
It’s no surprise the geographic region described takes credit for the origin of religions or creation. It’s probably been occupied longer than any other geography, with Africa or the Nile Valley considered to be the earliest stomping grounds of our species. Events that occurred, or stories of them, or invented events, would have been passed solely by vocal lore prior to the invention of written language.
Note also that a number of major events: e.g.: the birth of Christ, the Jewish Miracle of the Temple, the life of Buddha, crucifixion of Christ, etc., are described as occurring in this region.
Viewing the Christmas season and its giving practices from this perspective is quite short-sighted. You must go back more than 2,000 years, past the Christians’ story. Another 2,000 years back includes the Jewish Miracle story, and starts to get closer to the starts of Eastern practices.
Now you need to go back another four or five or ten thousand years, get yourself back to the first Stonehenge (the one that doesn’t even exist any more), and you’re getting closer.
Note how many of these things are related to December (Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, and others), specifically the solstice.
Now imagine these people twelve thousand years ago giving gifts to the Mother Earth when the days are growing ever shorter and the sun is disappearing below the horizon (more noticeable in the British Isles than on the Silk Road).
It seems we’ve forgotten about the Celts and sun worshippers. The stories developed with human or superhuman characters are more easily related to.
In modern times, we can’t make a clay pot with a sun painted on it and expect others to understand its meaning as a Christmas gift, so we need to go to the store and buy something recognizable as having value.
And there you have it.
It’s not just consumerism, it’s actually the continuation of a twelve thousand year old custom!
This is it, I have no wish to offend anyone here. The essence of it remains, the act of giving may no longer be a hand made clay pot but what’s missing is the gnosis aspect, the stepping into non duality with God. In some Christian circles it may be understood and people are working towards that but it’s not openly practiced. Other aspects remain, even after thousands of years asyou have shown here. Thanks Paz
I just wanted to say ‘Merry Christmas’ Tiramit, and have a wonderful 2016! xx
Thanks Jude, same to you and thanks too for visiting…
And here we are.
A sort of ‘There and Back Again’ story…
Have a wonderful new year.
Thanks and the same to you…
I look forward to reading more of your journey through life in 2016.