(27) Jesus said,
“If you do not fast from the world,
you will not find the Kingdom of God, and
if you do not keep the Sabbath for the whole week,
you will not see the Father.”
(110) Jesus said,
“Whoever finds the world and becomes rich,
let him renounce the world.”
(111) Jesus said, …
“Whoever finds himself is superior to the world.”
“The Sabbath was made for Man,
not man for the Sabbath”
(capitalization for emphasis, mine)
“Do not suppose that I have come
to abolish the law and the prophets;
I did not come to abolish, but complete.
Truly I tell you: so long as heaven and earth endure,
not a letter, not a dot, will disappear from the law
until all that must happen has happened.
In Gnostic thought, “the world” is to be considered inferior to both the realm of the soul and the realm of the Spirit. Although Thomas does not appear to be radically ascetic, the disciples are to be on their guard against becoming too deeply infatuated with material possessions.
The Sabbath is one day of physical rest per week,
but the Gnostic’s goal is to achieve a mental state
of repose “24 / 7”. Although Matthew 5:17,18 is traditionally interpreted as referring to a future apocalyptic messiah, what if “so long as heaven and earth endure,” means as long as heaven and earth are separate, as long as they are two? Once the two are made into One, “on earth as it is in heaven”, then you become free of the law!
The above summary of Thomas 27 states:
In Gnostic thought, “the world” is to be considered inferior to both the realm of the soul and the realm of the Spirit
As the text states Thomas is not overtly ascetic. Many “modern Gnostics” seem to be happy to take the idea of asceticism to heart. They embrace the “world is a prison” idea too literally.
I think this is wrong. I believe the key is to not value anything over anything. The world to a Gnostic is false and illusion. But it is still OF the father. It is still sacred. Yin and Yang, opposites must be embraced and unified and transcended. Not one over the other.
“In the beginning, Ein Sof emanated ten sefirot , which are of its essence, united with it. It and they are entirely one. There is no change or division in the emanator that would justify saying it is divided into parts in these various sefirot. Division and change do not apply to it, only to the external sefirah.
To help you conceive this, imagine water flowing through vessels of different colours: white, red, green and so forth. As the water spreads through those vessels, it appears to change into the colours of the vessels, although the water is devoid of all colour. The change in colour does not affect the water itself, just our perception of the water. So it is with the sefirot. They are vessels, known, for example, as Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferet, each coloured according to its function, white, red, and green, respectively, while the light of the emanator – their essence – is in the water, having no colour at all. This essence does not change; it only appears to change as it flows through the vessels.
Better yet, imagine a ray of sunlight shining through a stained-glass window of ten different colours. The sunlight possesses no colour at all but appears to change hue as it passes through the different colours of glass. Coloured light radiates through the window. The light has no essentially changed, though so it seems to the viewer. Just so with the sefirot.”
- Moses Cordovero (Pardes Rimmonim [Garden of Pomegranates])
It is a basic truth, that there is no beginning or end.
In Gnosticism we find this in the Oroborous symbol. The snake eating its own tail. Often this is seen as the end being eaten by the beginning (mouth and tail)…but if we dive deeper into an inner insight we could argue that it explores the idea of transcendence. That there is no end OR beginning, far more than the end is in the beginning.
In kabbalah we can see that the first emanation is closer to the last than it is to the second. The end is in the beginning, the end IS the beginning…thus there is no end or beginning.
One could argue that a hidden 11th emanation or 12th is the entire tree itself, in one big “sphere”…. a sphere has no end or beginning…
The passage states the nature does not change only our perception of it. Thus a simple example would be states of matter. H2O is H2O, whether it is ice, steam or water….the substance is still H2O. As regards the divine, thus it does not change, our perception of the divine changes…or our perception of “AIN” changes
Thus to tie this in with the nullification of ourselves we see that we are really the divine, the water in the example, we are that water. We conceive of ourselves as being red, green, blue or purple etc. However really we are water….
“It and they are entirely one.”
We find this idea of not valuing one over the other echoed in the Isa Upanishad:
He who knows both knowledge and ignorance together, crosses death through ignorance and attains immortality through knowledge.
This union of duality can be seen:
Yin is yang, yang is yin
Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].” (Gospel of Thomas)
Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal. (Gospel of Philip)
He who knows that both the unmanifested prakriti and the manifested Hiranyagarbha should be worshipped together, overcomes death by the worship of Hiranyagarbha and obtains immortality through devotion to prakriti. (Isa Upanishad)
What does this mean?
Spirit is form, form is spirit. Yet when spirit becomes form and form becomes spirit neither exists. All will dissolve into their origin that which is beyond spirit or form, beyond up and down, beyond male and female, beyond good and evil.
What does this mean? To Gnostics (some anyway lol) it means ascending the 7 heavens of the archons. To reach the 8th noble heaven….the realm of our heavenly parents, our origins.
22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist
in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their
own roots. (Gospel of Mary)
So it is not spirit, it is not form…..
Penis + vagina =child…. Child = penis + vagina, both and yet neither. Transcendence….
In the world but not of it.
This to me is Gnosticism, which is why form is as important as spirit. BOTH are required, but neither should be valued over the other.
You are Aphrodite and Adonis as soft flesh endlessly dances on flesh
among the brilliant flowers of Mount Olympus.
You are the roll and roll of the universe
in the never ending movement of creation.
You are mastodons in rut,
but you are also a point of light beyond
That point explodes into a million fragments
like fireworks in cosmic eternity.
The two of you are one
but even the one melts into nothingness.
Finally, beyond thought, concept or even feeling at all
is the indescribable ecstasy
as your personality dies.
There is only god-consciousness in all directions and in all time
which is out of time forever.
“They do not eat meat either, on the grounds that the divine substance has fled from the dead or slain bodies, and what little remains there is of such quality and quantity that it does not merit being purified in the stomachs of the elect. They do not even eat eggs, claiming that they too die when they are broken, and it is not fitting to feed on any dead bodies…Moreover, they do not use milk for food…” – Augustine, De Haer 46:103-113, Faustum 16
I think the key to anything is BALANCE
Too much of one thing is always bad. Extremism in any form is bad.
Asceticism has its place but once it has gained what it was meant to do, loss weight, cleanse the system, gain spiritual insight etc. It should be dropped. Total asceticism imo is largely insane.
Take a group who I won’t mention by name, they deny caffeine in their lives. Fine, a sensible option you’d think yes? Caffeine is bad, it raises the blood pressure, is highly addictive etc etc etc. So denying yourself caffeine is a sensible option, and thus is holy. But is it?
“I’m often asked, ‘well, as a vegan, what do you eat?’ which seems like such a strange question. What do non-vegans eat? Meat, cheese, milk, eggs? Vegans eat everything else. Indian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, Thai food, Japanese food, African food, and so on, and so on.
“Whether I’m having a pan bagnia sandwich (olive tapenade, roasted red peppers, basil and onions, on ciabatta bread) at Teany, my restaurant, or having marinated exotic mushrooms with mixed baby greens and an orange vinaigrette in Paris, or having fajitas in Los Angeles, or vegan Chinese food in lower Manhattan, or vegan Pad Thai in Melbourne, or etc etc – I’m always a very happy eater.
“Primarily I’m a vegan for ethical reasons, but if the truth be told it’s the culinary aspect of veganism that has sustained me for 16 years of animal-product free living.” –Moby (muscician)
God is ALL, all that IS, WAS and WILL be…there is nothing that is not God. Does this mean then that if we are concentrating on caffeine and denying it we are concentrating upon the divine? Or are we focusing upon ourselves? Who should we be focusing on?
Asceticism is thus a useful tool, but like all tools once used should we not pick another? Just because eating soup with a spoon is better than a fork, should we use the same spoon to paint walls with? With the logic of extremism, yes, we should paint walls with a spoon.
Now bearing this in mind we must also consider that every one’s dietary needs are important and DIFFERENT. No two people have the exact same digestive system. Some people thrive on meat, others do not. Myself I eat meat three or four times a month. Coupled with how meat is produced along with the fact I have been surrounded by vegetarianism all my life, I cannot in all conscious promote the eating of meat. But no one can gain gnosis FOR another. Each must decide in their own hearts what is right for them.
Raw vegetables are great. I love raw carrots and tomatoes. Unfortunately I love potatoes. Eating raw potatoes make you sick. There is no two ways around that. So what are we faced with? BALANCE…. Let us not make it a crime to actually cook food. Cooking brings so much to our table. The interaction of preparation, herbs, spices, colors, smells and tastes. Food and cooking food are ever so holy things. Let us celebrate what the divine has given us, not become extremists. Of course this does not mean we should ingest poison deliberately; arguably mass produced meat is a poison. For some Alcohol and drugs is a poison. Each must decide for themselves unless we seek to paint walls with a spoon forever and ever.
“In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel 1978
Of course the cooking of food does have repercussions:
Johns Hopkins Hospital reports:
“The combination of heat, water and oxygen is disastrous to vitamins and minerals. Cook all foods at a very low temperature (below boiling) so as to retain the vitamins and minerals. Unless we eat food properly prepared, we suffer from inferior physical development, mental instability, low endurance and lack of resistance to infection”.
For more of the above and suggestions on cooking, vegan and vegetarian Gnosticism see:
The Buddha said:
“If a man can (control) his body and mind and thereby refrains from eating animal flesh and wearing animal products, I say he will really be liberated.”
Buddhist Wisdom/ The Middle path
Let me tell you about the middle path. Dressing in rough and dirty garments,
letting your hair grow matted, abstaining from eating any meat or fish, does not
cleanse the one who is deluded. Mortifying the flesh through excessive hardship
does not lead to a triumph over the senses. All self-inflicted suffering is
useless as long as the feeling of self is dominant.
You should lose your involvement with yourself and then eat and drink naturally,
according to the needs of your body. Attachment to your appetites–whether you
deprive or indulge them–can lead to slavery, but satisfying the needs of daily
life is not wrong. Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for
otherwise the mind will not stay strong and clear.
This is the middle path.
From “The Pocket Buddha Reader,”