Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gospel of Thomas: Yeshua's Vedanta, Logion 35

 Logion 35

Yeshua says,
You cannot take
 a strong man’s house by force
unless first you bind
his hands and remove him.

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

The First Response:

I was reading Rilke today,
how he soared as high as angels in light,
but found God actually dwelled
in the inner darkness.
That’s a path I’ve walked before,
able to name this tree of success,
that bird of hoped-for applause on the way
to what I thought was an open sky
to what I thought was security and freedom.

Words and concepts are seldom such precise things
after all.

 Humbling to know that God was in the shadows,
watching it all
in amusement, I think.

Laughter cuts what ties us tight—
don’t forget that.

There will be a time
when we are all bound
and pulled from our homes,
from these little lines and boundaries and expectations
we call,
so easily
and thrust into the larger
that is spacious, and free
and so dark our eyes will
ache with the beauty of it
and if we are lucky,
all of us,


 Journey through Logos:

Violence laces through-out the words of wisdom teachers, and Yeshua’s sayings are no exception.  They make literal readers scratch their heads and mumble about “inconsistencies” and “later additions to the canon” and such things that force the sayings into their comfortable conceptual boxes.  But what house are they trying to protect when they do this, in the way of the strong man or woman?  Mostly, it is the house that is called in western parlance “the ego.”
Yeshua is actually asking us to submit to being bound and removed—in “nicer” language, we call this surrender.  It is not a sign of weakness—notice that the man (or woman) in the logion is strong.
 Whether it is the Tibetan bodhisattva Manjushri (see the picture above) cutting the bonds of ignorance with his flaming sword or Yeshua metaphorically dragging the bound man beyond his imagined boundaries of comfort and security, this is an intrinsic and sometimes painful and frightening part of searching if we are serious about actually finding. It is also a warning that the spiritual path is not at all about shoring up the ego, but in fact, dismantling it, pulling the ground out from beneath its feet and leaving us like naked children before the immensity of our truer self that is continuous with God. 
After all, can you imagine God cramming itself into one small house? Are you not, as Emerson once wrote, “part and parcel of God”?

Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:

One day, a fire broke out in the house of a wealthy man who had many children. The wealthy man shouted at his children inside the burning house to flee. But, the children were absorbed in their games and did not heed his warning, though the house was being consumed by flames.

  Then, the wealthy man devised a practical way to lure the children from the burning house. Knowing that the children were fond of interesting playthings, he called out to them, "Listen! Outside the gate are the carts that you have always wanted: carts pulled by goats, carts pulled by deer, and carts pulled by oxen. Why don't you come out and play with them?" The wealthy man knew that these things would be irresistible to his children.

The children, eager to play with these new toys rushed out of the house but, instead of the carts that he had promised, the father gave them a cart much better than any he has described - a cart draped with precious stones and pulled by white bullocks. The important thing being that the children were saved from the dangers of the house on fire.

The Parable of the Burning House appears in 
Chapter 3 (the Hiyu Chapter) of the Lotus Sutra

Practicing Unity:

As in my poem above, what shape do the walls of your house take on for you?  What keeps you caged and egoic?  Can you draw a picture for yourself that captures what holds and contains the small sense of yourself and what it might be like to be pulled from such a house and given the freedom that is your birthright?

Hokmah’s Gnosis:

To Find means to be willing to be ousted from “house” of our small egoic self so that we have room to “find” the spaciousness that is our truer Self.

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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