Showing posts from October, 2010

Wisdom Teacher, Guru, Dharma Teacher

A strange shift in my consciousness has occurred in my meditation on the Gospel of Thomas.  I am now better able to appreciate Jesus.  I am able to see him as wisdom teacher, a guru, or dharma master.  Like the Buddha, he attained realization of who he was, where he came from and what the nature of reality is.  We don't know when exactly when it happened, however stories grew around it...was it at his birth?  Was he born awakened?  Perhaps at age 12 or 13?  His immersion in the sacred river Jordan?  His time in the wilderness?  We really do not know, and yet we know he awakened.  His dharma or teaching is similar to that of the gurus of India or the Buddha and his students.  Yet it is distinctly his.  He takes students/disciples and seeks to teach them the way to awaken to this knowledge (gnosis).  Many of them are slow at realizing.  Like the Buddha he rejects some of the ways of his birth religion.  He is no longer bound by it.  He has transcended it...he will use what is helpfu…


Well I survived my first week of increasing the intensiveness of my spiritual practice.  I have started getting up at 5am, perform a simple puja and sit in meditation for 30 minutes.  After that I do spiritual reading.   Then after I get home from work, I sit for another 30 minutes.   Then one more set of puja and meditating for 30 minutes before bed.  My mind is the most focused at 5am.  My sleepiest time seems to be the afternoon meditation.   

I know it takes 21-22 days to form a habit.  Two more weeks to go!

The Same Message

He who has known that all beings have become one with his own self, and she that has seen the oneness of existence, what sorrow and what delusion can overwhelm such a one?  Isa Upanishad

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 live in poverty, and you are the poverty."  Gospel of Thomas 2

Vedanta and the Gospel of Thomas

I am convinced that the Gospel of Thomas is a wisdom text.  More and more as I meditate on the words of the text, I see how Jesus speaks in the role of a an enlightened man.  He challenges his disciples to know themselves and through knowing themselves they come to know God who is within them and all things.  For Jesus the guru, the kingdom is not in some heaven out there but rather is found within.  I spent three years with a guru, and recognize the teachings really are the same.  Jesus may very well have had contact with those from the east.  He could have traveled there with his family as a child.  Whatever the case, I am firmly convinced that Jesus spoke as a spiritual master for the liberation of those who followed his teaching.  He came from God, and called us as an elder brother to help us know the life and saving knowledge of God he himself knew.

Thomasine Universalism

One of the things I love about the modern Thomasine path is that it is truly universalist.  It does not try to set up a religion but allows the individual to follow the religion of his or her choice (or not to be religious as well).  The primary message is that we came from the light.  We are all sons and daughters of God.  In knowing ourselves, we will begin to know God.  This worlds systems are corrupt and dehumanizing, so protect your brother or sister like the pupil of your eye.  Belief in the divinity of Jesus or any of the stories told about him (his miracles, virgin birth, sacrifice etc.) are not required and yet allowed if one so believes in these things.  So by all means there could be Jewish Thomasines, Quaker Thomasines, Muslim Thomasines, Neo-Pagan Thomasines, Christian Thomasines...  The Gospel of Thomas, in my humble opinion is a truly universalist text!

My Personal Conclusion

I had really been wrestling with something that will be of little interest to those of you who are not Thomasines.  In many ways it is a completely minor matter and not at all central to the message of the Gospel of Thomas, but has been something that haunted me.  The matter is the issue of who is Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas.  Is he just a man?  a prophet or messenger of God?  Is he Divine?  Like a sticker that gets under the skin it has brought my attention back to it again and again.  My personal bias is that I WANTED to be a Oneness Thomasine.  I believed and still do that believe in One God allows for some common ground with other faiths that also affirm one God.  However I would come across sayings that made Jesus sound divine.  They would speak of his pre-existence, himself as the light, and with an authority that almost seemed divine.  At other times he speaks as a human, reminding them there will be a time when he is not going to be around, that he too is surrendered to the …

Oneness/Trinitarian Thomasines

I wanted to post here a couple more types of Thomasines. However they could fall within either the monachos or the ecclesial spectrum. Keep in mind that regardless of these differences in the descriptions I use (monachos/ecclesial/oneness/trinitarian) that they are one family. The differences do not keep them from wonderful discussions and recognizing each others as brothers and sisters in the faith. In fact, by the end of this post, I think you will see the differences are very minor and minuscule indeed.

Oneness Thomasines are strict monotheists. They believe in one God in the way their Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters do. God is not divided into a trinity but is simply one God. This God could be called Father or Mother but in reality these are just terms of affection. They believe Jesus was a man, perhaps a messenger, perhaps a prophet but still a man who awakened...much like the Buddha. They follow Jesus as their spiritual teacher and seek to live by his words in the Gospel o…

Hey Buddy, Got a Dime?

Jesus said, "Why did you come out to the countryside? Did you think you would see a reed shaken by the wind? Perhaps to see a person dressed in soft clothes, like the rulers and the ones in authority? They are dressed in soft clothes, and yet they cannot understand truth." Gospel of Thomas 78

This saying is very similar to the one said in the mainstream gospels though in them Jesus was talking about John the Baptist.  However in this gospel it is implied that Jesus may have been speaking about himself.  In this saying Jesus is reminding us that the wrapper does not tell us the deliciousness of the candy.  There are folks with shiny suits, nice cars and beautiful looks who will make you feel like a million bucks and perfectly validated who are poison to the soul.  There are those who are the rejects of the world that may have realized the truth and if we are not careful, may ignore in favor of the bright shiny lights.

Hey! That Rock is My Dad!

Jesus said, "I am the light that is above all things. I am the all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."  Gospel of Thomas 77

This saying became famous due it being quoted repeatedly in the movie Stigmata.   There are two possible interpretations on this (and probably many more but I only know these two).  For some ecclesia Thomasines they would point to this as part of their understanding of a high Christology.  They would see Jesus speaking as divine.   I personally would argue more from the monachos (Oneness) Thomasines.  Jesus is speaking from his recognition of union with God.  We are all sparks of God.  We came from God, and are his children.  However we share the nature of our Father.  And thus are called back to merge back into the All which is God.  Jesus was one person who realized this.  Thomas was too, thus was Jesus twin.  We all too are called to the same thing.  This r…

Buy Your Stuff Here!

Jesus said, "The Kingdom of the Father is like a store owner who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was wise; he sold his merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So you also, seek God's treasure that does not fail, that endures, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys." Gospel of Thomas 76

There is a spark of God in you and me.  In fact, that is one of the things I love about being a Thomasine.  There is no separation between me an other people.  I can honor and see that same Holy Spirit within us all.  However Jesus, our elder brother on this journey, reminds us that this pearl is hidden and must be uncovered.  This is done by contemplation, knowing yourself and loving your brother or sister like the pupil of your eye.  These three are not really separate things at all.  In contemplation and meditation we sit with God....basking in the light of our loving Father.  From this light we are better able to know ourselves, as the …

Listening at the Bridal Chamber Door!

Jesus said, "There are many standing at the door, but those who are alone will enter the bridal suite." Gospel of Thomas 75

Our union is not with another person, a church, or organization.  It is not with a religion.  Our union which is offered freely to any who want it, is with the Beloved.  With God.  The Beloved waits in the bridal chamber for us.  The one who has attained the ability to seek and love the Beloved will be ready to shed off the clothes of the ego and enter the revelation of union and Oneness.

Like saying 74, (see previous post), there are those standing around.  But apparently there are very few who will fetch the water or enter the bridal chamber.  May we have the grace to receive this.
Jesus said, "God, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is no water in the well."  Gospel of Thomas 74

What is interesting about this saying is that it is an example of Jesus praying.  This is one of those sayings that can be meditated on daily for a month and one may only scratch the surface of meaning.  There are many around the drinking trough.  So many are spiritually thirsty, both in and outside organized religion.  I have belonged to churches who simply want to be a bit of a social club or committed to a certain social justice issues but does little or nothing for those who want to go deeper into spiritual matters.  I ask myself...what is the point?  My compassion and passion for social justice stems from a living relationship with God.  Otherwise I would burn out quickly.  There are also people who dig shallow wells here and there, looking into a multitude of religions and spiritualities, but they don't stay long, finding reasons to move on.  They di…

Let's Race To The Fields!

Jesus said, "The crop is huge but there are so few who will work, so plead with the one in charge of harvesting to dispatch the workers to the fields." Gospel of Thomas 73 

I remember when I was first learning to try to live the message of the Gospel of Thomas, that I asked person after person what it meant.  I read commentary after commentary.  I felt like a man dying of thirst in the desert.  The next stage was where I would venture interpretations of the scriptures but then quickly seek validation for it through books and others more learned for myself.  Sadly, the Gospel of Thomas is not so well known to have many teachers or guides.  Even fewer are those who make the GoT their primary scripture.  I believe that its message is life changing and many people would find their lives a better place if they would know of it.  The GoT does not condemn ANY person.  Each person is a son or daughter of God.  We are called to do the work to realize and live that.  The kingdom of Go…

The In-Between Places

A man spoke to Jesus saying, "Tell my brothers to divide my father's possessions with me."
He said to the man, "Sir, who designated me to be a divider?"
He turned to his followers and said to them, "I'm not a divider, am I?"  Gospel of Thomas 72

This is one of the most comical sayings in the Gospel of Thomas.  Jesus whose whole message is becoming one and union, is being asked to divide and be judge.  Jesus points out that this is not why he has come.  In a very real way he is shirking the idea of himself as messiah.  In Judaism the Messiah would be a king like David who would rule the nation of Israel, free them from oppressors and rule with justice.  Jesus however seeks not this role but that of a teacher...a guide.  To follow Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas is to enter those in-between places...where things are not easy spoken or explained.  The disciples of this rabbi don't fit fully here nor there.  The original Jewish disciples seemed to no…

Burning Down the House!

Jesus said, "I will destroy this house, and no one will be able to build it."  Gospel of Thomas 71

The gospels in the New Testament have this saying in conjunction to the Temple and as a foreshadowing of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection.  Yet I want to throw out another of many which could be made from meditating on this saying.  We came into this world unprogrammed.  As a baby or young child, we did not care what brand our clothes were, what color our friends were, or anything like that.  But as we grow older, we learn to distinguish this from that....I want this and I do not want that.  We buy into the worldly system that makes our lives and often the lives of others a living hell.  We are idiots buying into the commercialization of brand names and wanting more and more and more.  What if the spiritual life is tearing down that buildup of brainwashing we are participants in?  What if the house we destroy is our buying into a system that dehumanizes us, those ar…