Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gospel of Thomas: Yeshua's Vedanta, Logion 93

Logion 93

Yeshua says,

Do not give what is sacred
to dogs who will only
discard it on a manure pile.
Do not cast pearls in front of pigs
who will only trample and ruin them.   

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

The First Response:
both the dog and swine, to
the people of Yeshua’s place
and time—
or that is what their professional religious
tried to tell them.
My lab looks up at me,
her great pink tongue thrust out
in a wide grin
and I smile back.
To my eye,
sacred pearls
are no more or less than this—
my hand gliding over her soft ears,
the way she puts her paw on my knee
and looks deeply at me.
Sometimes, I notice people have trouble meeting my eye,
but she?
She studies me a moment,
then runs to fetch a ball.

I know nothing about pigs,
though I showed them once,
at a little county fair
framing the stout arch of their backs with the cane,
like weighing dew-dripped hills
on a desert’s flat scale.
Their eyes are small, squinting, but
and my father feared for me
when I stepped into that pen.
Competitive omnivores,
pig and I,
and he knew my show clothes
would not protect me.

Perhaps the injunction isn’t about the spiritual readiness at all—
“do not give what is sacred to dogs who will only
discard it on a manure pile.
Do not cast pearls in front of pigs
who will only trample them.”

The layman, canny, resourceful,
kind, sensitive,
knows the human being,
mantled and powerful,
is the only animal of creation who will try
to wring sustenance and love
from abstractions and clammy excretions.


Journey through Logos:

I know there is a “pat” way of interpreting this particular logion.  It appears in the Synoptics (Matthew 7:6) and most of us who have graced pews in our lives have heard over and over about spiritual readiness.  But I scratch my head when I find it here, settled amongst the “reigning” logion, a pearl and a bit of wisdom cast before us.
For Yeshua, everyone was theoretically ready, inherently able to hear, and he is usually quite free in using nature, animals, indeed rocks and chopped wood to reveal the sacred.  So what is it besides a fuzzy “unreadiness” that keeps us from hearing?  That is the more interesting question to me.  The injunction against “unclean” practices, “unclean” animals, are all based in the purity codes of the religion of his day.  Those who would see such animals as unclean would be the professional religious, and we have by this time heard many times the ways that Yeshua warns us against outer piety and outer cleanliness.  To me, what he is warning us of here is not to try to instruct the professional religious—the metaphorical dogs and swine that do not understand what treasures they have been given because they are operating out of a wholly different senses of what constitutes reality, and exhibit deeper and more profoundly damaging kind of uncleanliness: ignorance.
I don’t mean to target all religious professionals; here, in this context, we’re looking at the priests of the Temple who may have been not only colluding with Rome to keep their own people subjugated, but who were also deeply invested in the status and wealth of their powerful positions. To try to instruct them would have been foolish and dangerous, something that Yeshua learned first hand. Those who reign should follow the good counsel of St. Benedict:  “Offer advice only when asked and then with great reluctance.”

Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:

“Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.” 

“By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower.” 

Practicing Unity:
Can you recall a time when you offered spiritual insight that was not asked of you? How did that feel to you, both emotionally and intellectually?  What was its outcome?

Hokmah’s Gnosis:

We reign when we offer spiritual advice only with great reluctance and only when asked for.

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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