Archive for the Nag Hammadi Category

The Key of Keys

Posted in analysis, books, Buddha, Christianity, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, Jesus, must-read, Nag Hammadi, ontology, peace, philosophy, psychology, quotes, reading, religion, religious philosophy, resources, science, spirituality, theology, truth, wellness, world religions with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by jtoddring

Egoless divine pride: the most glorious concept I have ever heard – from Tibetan Buddhism. The Uttara Tantra elaborates:

There once was a prince, who lost his memory and forgot who he was. Lost in forgetfulness and confusion, he wandered aimlessly, and became a homeless beggar. Years later, a minister to the king came across him, and recognized him in his dirty rags and filth. He exclaimed, “My prince! Your father has been worried sick about you! What are you doing? You must come home at once!”

The Upanishads tell a similar story. There once was a god who dreamed he was a pig. For years he wallowed in the muck and the mud, oblivious to who he was. After a long time, the other gods became pained by his confusion and his delusion, and called out to him: “You are not a pig – you are a god! Stop this madness, and remember who you are!”

Or again, from the Uttara Tantra: There once was a poor farmer, desolate in his impoverishment and despair. Daily he ploughed his fields, eking out a meagre existence, never knowing there was a great treasure buried right beneath his house.

Or as Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

Or as Meister Eckhart, the 13th century German Christian mystic, the archetypal Western mystic said, “There is nothing I can point to that is not God. God is within me, and God is all around me.”

Or as Lao Tzu phrased it: Return to the source – return to your original nature. There you will find peace, joy, liberation, the ultimate happiness, and your authentic self – your true nature.

Or William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite.”

This is the perennial wisdom. It has surfaced in all cultures in all times. It is the timeless wisdom. It is the voice of wisdom leading you home to yourself.

Know thyself. You are not less than you think you are, but inconceivably more. Your being is commensurate with the universe itself. Awaken!

Don’t be absorbed in yourself. Everyone has pain; everyone suffers. Life is full of suffering, as well as beauty and joy. Shift the focus from your own happiness to that of others. If you do, you will be surprised, maybe even amazed – and you will find happiness.

It is not always easy, no doubt: it takes effort, and practice, but it is worth it, and it pays off. And it pays off the most when you seek nothing and expect nothing. Love others, and peace and joy will come flowing in. It is a matter of a subtle shift of perspective – that is the entire answer to everything: a subtle shift of perspective. Parallax is the word. Shift the perspective, and everything becomes clear.

And remember, the yin – to use the Eastern terms  – that is, the receptive, is in certain important ways superior. The yang, the assertive principle, is useful, and also essential, vitally essential; but the yin is the foundation.  Knowing and opening to the yin, the receptive, will allow you to harmonize with others, and with life and nature: and that is the basis of relative happiness, ordinary happiness.

Deeply opening to the yin, the receptive, is the gateway to true knowledge, to prajna, to wisdom, to knowing who you are, and to returning to the source, the true nature of your own being.

Therefore, protect and nurture the yin, just as you respect and embrace the yang. Harshness will damage the yin, as the Taoists have rightly remarked. Beware of aggression, which is the exaggeration of the yang principle of assertion – either in others, or especially in yourself. Be gentle with yourself as well as others. There are times for firmness, and times even for fierceness; but gentleness is the best general rule.

With gentleness as the general rule, not only will you avoid harming others, not only will you avoid the blowback and negative repercussions that come from harming others, but you will avoid harming yourself – and avoid harming your vision, which is most important. To sow your own suffering is tragic, ill-advised and unwise. To cut out your eyes and perpetuate your own blindness, is worse by far.

Don’t rush, and don’t hesitate. Rushing is an imbalance toward the yang, and leads to aggression and strife, as well as stress, strain and exhaustion. Hesitation is an imbalance toward the yin, an excess of yielding or receptivity which creates a collapse into passivity, which leads to self-disempowerment and a loss of vitality, as well as a loss of satisfaction and joy. Find the middle way. Not too tight; not to loose. When in doubt, be gentle, and pay attention: the cues to action will reveal themselves in their own time.

Remember also, as the Zen saying goes: Before enlightenment, the dishes. After enlightenment, the dishes. The little things matter. Show care in all you do. And enjoy the journey.

Seek. Contemplate. Combine method and wisdom, effort with seeing – like the two wings of a bird, which give it flight. Then glimpse. Taste. Meditate. Know. Understand. Have confidence. And abide in your true nature, which is the infinite ground of being itself, commensurate with the entire cosmos in all its vastness, emptiness and glory. There is no more to be said. This is the key of keys.

J. Todd Ring

Sept 16, 2013

(See Lama Yeshe, Namkai Norbu or Sogyal Rinpoche for further reading, along with The Power of Myth, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Prajnaparamita Sutra, the Uttara Tantra, The Mother of the Buddhas, The Gospel of Thomas (Marvin Meyers, transl.), The Perennial Philosophy, The Divinity School Address, Ken Wilber’s No Boundary, Michael Talbot’s The |Holographic Universe, Holgar Kalweit’s Dreamtime and Inner Space, Joanna Macy’s World As Lover, World As Self, and Alan Watts’, The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.)

The Truth About Christianity: What Jesus Really Said

Posted in Christian church, Christianity, Gospel of Thomas, history of Christianity, Jesus, Nag Hammadi, philosophy, religious philosophy, secret teachings, theology, world religions on February 4, 2008 by jtoddring

Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.”

I have come to show you the deeper things, which you have forgotten, and which now must be uncovered. It is time for the secrets to be revealed. And they were only ever secrets for two reasons: one, it was not Jesus who kept them secret, but those who would conceal or destroy the deeper teachings of Jesus, namely, the Roman Emperor Constantine and his collaborators; and more essentially, it has always been that the secrets will be revealed when you yourself learn to see. I will now tell you of the true history of the Christian church, and of the lost teachings.

The Christian church lost its deeper teachings when in the 4th century the emperor Constantine decided to edit the scriptures. There was no official cannon at that point. There were a number of scriptures, but no official cannon. Constantine took it upon himself, as holy emperor, to decide that this scripture stays, this one goes. “Mark, I like, Thomas, no.” Having selected the scriptures he liked, he set out to purge the land of the scriptures he didn’t like. The scriptures he didn’t agree with were burned, wherever they could be found. Those who held them or spoke of them were killed. It was a religious cleansing, through state terrorism, backed by the newly minted Christian church, as a church hierarchy formed around the emperor Constantine. This is the creation of the official gospels. This is the beginning of Christianity as most people have come to know it. But this is only a chapter.

At that point, when a church hierarchy formed around the emperor, and selected scriptures were enshrined as cannon, while others were burned and destroyed, Christianity lost its depths, or most of it, and went into literalism. It was at that point that the deeper teachings of Christianity were buried. Literalism triumphed with Constantine, very early in the history of Christianity, less than four hundred years after the death of Jesus.

Also at that point, the newly created orthodoxy of the Christian church aligned itself with the empire – essentially, aligned itself with a police state of vast proportions. You do not maintain your integrity when you align yourself with a police state – you lose it. (This is an important point to remember today as well.) What is surprising, in light of the Christian church aligning itself with a bloody, brutal empire, is not that Christianity was corrupted, which would seem to have been inevitable, given such a choice as to unite with the empire, but that there remained any integrity at all. The fact that the teachings of Jesus can still, to this day, cut through two thousand years of fog and smoke and mirrors, is almost amazing.

The laity and the monks and nuns, in spite of the church hierarchy, kept alive as much as they could of the original spirit and teachings of Jesus. It is they, not the clergy, who deserve the credit, although, to be fair, there have always been the best and the worst among the clergy, and the failings of Christianity are tied in some very significant degree to ordinary Christians, and not only to the hierarchy of church institutions. (The Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch trials, the conquest of the Americas, the slave trade, the pogroms, the protection of Nazi war criminals, the continuing and present support for empire and wars of conquest, the silence on the current war of robber barons against the people of the earth….)

On the whole, however, the spirit and teachings of Jesus have been kept alive by the hearts and minds of the people, in spite of the failings of the institution, ever since the time of the great conversion of that holy editor under God, Constantine. The priests and ministers, with few exceptions, as Jesus said, have been “dogs that lay in the manger,” then as now, ever since 325 AD and Constantine’s declaration of holy war on the scriptures – “for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat.”

Here is what the church forgot to tell you – and in most instances, it has become the case, and has been the case for a very long time, that they don’t know themselves, and are not so much concealing something, as they are simply ignorant.

If you want to know the whole truth, and particularly, the deepest truths, go, immediately, and find this book. It is the most important of the missing gospels, which has now been found, was found in a desert cave some sixty years ago. It is the Gospel of Thomas. I will say no more, but let the scripture speak to you directly. You decide.

“I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind.”

“Knock and the door will be opened.”

“Those who have ears, let them hear.”

“Those who have eyes, let them see.”

“Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven.”

“The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth and men see it not.”

“The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

“Split a piece of wood and I will be there. Lift a rock and I will be there.”

“See what is before your nose and all will be revealed.”

“When the two are made one, the male and the female, the above and below, the inner and the outer, then you shall see.”

“The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and the do not let the cattle eat.”

Christianity is now in crisis. Either it will rediscover its deeper teachings, or it will die. Fundamentalism is not the answer. More fervent clinging to a shallow literalism is not the answer. The answer lies in your heart, where it has always been, and nowhere else.

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17: 21

See what is before your nose and all will be revealed.

J. Todd Ring,

February 1, 2008

We Have it in our Power to Begin the World Again

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus