Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gospel of Thomas: Yeshua's Vedanta, Logion 13

Logion 13

Yeshua asked his students,
Tell me, then, who am I like?
To whom
will you compare me?

Simon Peter said
“You are just like an angel.”
Matthew said,
“You are a philosopher of wisdom.”
Thomas said,
“Master, I cannot find words to express who you
really are.”

Yeshua said,
“Thomas it is no longer necessary
for me to be your Master
for you are drinking from the gushing spring I
have opened for you,
and you have become intoxicated.”

Then Yeshua took Thomas aside and spoke
three sayings to him in private.
When Thomas returned to the company of his
companions they, of course, asked him,
“What did Yeshua say to you?”

“If I were to tell you even one of the things
he spoke to me,” Thomas replied,
“you would pick up these rocks
and stone me
and then
fire would blaze out of them and
burn you.”

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

The First Response:
Name an object,
and you think you know it.
Name a person,
the same happens.
Conflate object and person
and you’ll reap misery a hundred fold times.
Pass on Mystery with words?—good luck.
The little mystery of communication
tangles on itself while
the greater Mystery
shakes such dust from its feet,
reaches out to help the neighbor,
drinks the wine and eats at your table.
And when you see the Mystery then,
just out of the corner of your eye
where words cannot quite reach,
then will you light up,
the next Big Bang already in motion.

KBN 2014

Journey through Logos:
This Logion calls to mind the Transfiguration story in the Bible, without all the fireworks of course.  I’ve always liked these words, the way they point us past objectification of a human being into the heart of seeing all the miracles moving around us.  We cage our world in words and think we know it.  We feel the urge to build altars and temples to it, trying through action to come into relationship with the divine. 
But true relationship is not about doing; it’s about being.
The only way the disciples can move from being students to walking fully with Yeshua is to see beyond his human form, to get past the mythological metaphors his students try to cage him in.  Only when they are able to do so will they partake in the same light and life that Yeshua embodies.
Our search, then, must take us past the labels we apply, the words we use, the concepts that make us feel like we know where the ground is beneath our feet.  Yeshua is challenging us to go deeper, to see without thinking we know.  That groundlessness, that not-knowledge, is the beginning of finding.

Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
Language, objects, concepts are all binary thinking—ways we create duality and thus control our experiences by creating a sense of ground and knowing.  Contrast this idea with the philosophy of Vedanta as explained by Swami Vivekananda:

"Swamiji, what is Vedanta, please?" I began.
He (Vivekananda) answered in his soft, firm voice, "Vedanta is the essential philosophy original to the Hindus, but we claim it is the essential philosophy of all religions. The major ideas of Vedanta are, first, the ultimate existence. We hold that all the things we see around us are ultimately reducible to one substance. Normally, in every philosophical system, there will be three main questions: What is the nature of man? What is the nature of God as the ultimate reality? What is the nature of nature?
"Different religious systems and different philosophical systems have different answers. Vedanta, especially the non-dualistic Vedanta — Advaita, as it is called — says that all three are one. Man in his ultimate nature, nature in its ultimate nature, and God in His ultimate nature are the same. This is the basic position of Vedanta.
-- Swami Swahananda

Practicing Unity:
Lay out three objects on a surface.  First, simply name them:  match, cup, and a spoon for instance.

Then, pretend you have never seen such things before, that they have no names, no assigned roles to play in daily living.  They are mysterious and ancient pieces, and you are gazing at them for the very first time. 

How does this experience change how you interact with “objective” reality?

Hokmah’s Gnosis:

To Search means we must leave our comfortable words, concepts and personal mythologies behind so we are open enough to find.

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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