Friday, February 14, 2014

Gospel of Thomas: Yeshua's Vedanta, Logion 12

Logion 12

His students said,
We know we cannot
hold onto you,
so who will lead us then?
Yeshua said,
“Where-ever you find yourselves,
turn to James, one of the Just,
for whom heaven and earth
have come into being.”

                                 Translation:  Lynn Bauman in 
The Gospel of Thomas:Wisdom of the Twin

The First Response:
James, the Just,
a Bishop would name himself after you
I hear a haunting laugh from
out of the cosmos—
the hidden trickster,
who plays so ably with words,
who has convinced the smokey-eyed and needy to
believe you
the successor of Yeshua.
As if words, ideas and institutions
could contain fire.
As if being led is the same
as holding our hands to living flame
warming or burning ourselves
moth-like in light.
Are we not asked, demanded even,
to stand?
Those that have ears,
I hope they heard,
all those thousands of years ago
and smiled.

KBN 2014

Journey through Logos:
            For a long time this Logion contained very little meaning for me.  There were aspects of the Twin I saw here, as well as the "obvious" sense of Yeshua calming the fears of his disciples.  That was sort of sweet, in its’ own way, but I always felt I was missing something important.

Finally, I did some reading about James (and there are a great many of them) and suddenly I could see the themes of the search and our ability to practice discernment spring out with a loud “HA!”  So often, when we begin to search, we want very much to be led, to know we are on the “right” path.  That is a role that both poor gurus and institutions slip into, becoming the leaders we so desperately want at the cost of our own personal experiences.

James the Just was a name picked up by the first Bishop of Bishops who died around 63-69 CE.  Both James the disciple of Yeshua and James the Just worked hard to create institutional religion, and in the process, began to craft the “right answers” to pass a teaching forward so it solidified into a tradition.  Tradition is incredibly important--it is a bowl that holds the history of personalities and thought, those before us on the caravan trail.

But in that act, something also happens to the original flame, to the transformational alchemy that demands we stand up and embody the flame itself.

The search is sometimes a frightening and lonely state to be in.  It’s natural that the disciples, who were beginning to love their teacher, would try to find ways forward that were continuous with his teachings and presence.  But over and over again, Yeshua is trying to teach them that they must not look at him, but rather, become the kind of person who is in union with the divine. It is a state of being he will name "standing" later in this text and it resonates through all his words. Only then, when we stand, does the state of searching begin to shift into finding and all that comes after.


Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
Toward the end of his life, the Buddha took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha’s followers sat in a small circle around him, and waited for the teaching.
But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck and pulled up a lotus flower. And he held it silently before them, its roots dripping mud and water.
The disciples were greatly confused. Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbollized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha’s teaching.
When at last the Buddha came to his follower Mahakasyapa, the disciple suddenly understood. He smiled and began to laugh. Buddha handed the lotus to Mahakasyapa and began to speak.
“What can be said I have said to you,” smiled the Buddha, “and what cannot be said, I have given to Mahakashyapa.”
Mahakashyapa became Buddha’s successor from that day forward.

Practicing Unity:
It is said that there are seven levels of meaning as we read the Koran, and we are fast becoming a Christian culture that is learning to see “into” texts in ways that are not strictly literal. So much of the Gospel of Thomas requires us to shift our view, to put on a different reading lens.  Today, go to any verse at random in your favorite poem or scripture.  First, read the lines aloud and simply hear them.  Then, read them again and ask, “what else might be going on beneath the literal? What does that deeper meaning gift me with today?”  Finally, after a bit of silence, ask, “what one word or phrase seems particularly important this day?”  Hold that phrase and enter into at least ten minutes of silence, then offer up a gentle thank-you for the insight and time of peace.

Hokmah’s Gnosis:

To Search we must not cling to institutions, teachers or books, but recognize the fire of the cosmos within us as our greatest authority.

You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link:

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