Just in case there are those who refuse to be caught forever by ugliness and seek some alternative, the evil of cruelty makes its claims. Cruelty is something we recognize so easily as a physical activity, yet find so hard to identify in its finer but no less dangerous forms. It is essentially an intentional misuse of power by a strong entity toward a weaker one on the same plant’ of action. For instance, a helpless cripple could scarcely be physically cruel to a strong and healthy person, yet could very well be diabolically cruel mentally to the same person if he were intellectually vulnerable. Cruelty is only possible as a calculated discharge of destructive energy directed at feebler creature unlikely to retaliate effectively. Thus cruelty automatically implies cowardice as well.The motivation of cruelty is commonly again the artificial ego-enlargement resultant from its practice. It makes the little boy feel bigger when he kicks his baby brother. If we can make others frightened of us we seem larger by comparison to their shrinking. That is the secret of cruelty. A false sense of boost because of aggressive action which appears to avoid injurious reprisals. To hurt and kill some helpless and defenseless creature makes cruel people feel enormously powerful by contrast. They may even delude themselves for an instant that they are acting like gods. Taking their pathetic little share of life energy, they are willing to expend this on damaging the lives of weaker beings for the sake of supposing themselves more powerful than they truly are. None cry louder than such cowardly criminals when justified retribution rebounds on them. Nobody hates being hurt more than those who hurt with hate.

We need not always look for evident violence in order to recognize cruelty. It is possible to be extremely cruel in the “nicest and sweetest” ways. Staging little scenes deliberately to humiliate and hurt someone’s feelings while remaining righteously on the side of conventional virtue meanwhile. With the aid of a little intelligence people can contrive all sorts of cruelties yet themselves keep in the clear so far as rule books apply. Attendants in mental hospitals, for instance, have ample opportunity on these lines. So has anyone in charge of children or animals, or whoever is unable to hit back where it hurts most. Let those who think they could not be cruel examine what conscience they have within their own life-frameworks If we are still in human bodies then we are yet capable of cruelty in some degree or another. It is well to see this and convert our energies otherwise as we can.

–William G. Gray (Exorcizing the Tree of Evil)


Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge. 
  --Kahlil Gibran 
Only crime and the criminal, it is true, 
confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; 
but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
--Hannah Arendt



"Jesus said, `Blessed are those alone and chosen, for you will find

the kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will return'" (Gos.

Thom. 49).


In our Yahoo chat room the other day, someone asked me about this

verse, and generally what it means to talk about "the chosen"

or "the elect" in a Gnostic context. This concept has been another

of the many subjects through which Christianity has attempted to

denigrate Gnosticism, in this case by suggesting that we Gnostics

believe that only a certain (small) class of people are capable of

gnosis, creating a kind of fundamental soteriological hierarchy. In

other words, this would mean that being "chosen" would be a kind of

volitional and constitutive act, presumably by God, without which

one cannot enter through the gate of knowledge.


There may indeed have been some Gnostics in the past who believed

this, and who suggested that initiates into their religious groups

could only be drawn from a very small "gnosis-capable" part of the

human population, so to speak. However, the earliest articulations

of Gnosticism, and pre-Gnostic texts such as the Gospel of Thomas,

suggest in contrast a radically inclusive version of "the chosen," a

version that is flowering again today in our neo-classical Gnostic

Renaissance. I would like to take a few minutes here to suggest the

outlines of this understanding, which I hope may be helpful for you

in considering the history and theology of Gnosticism, and your own

personal spiritual outlook.


While the limited, exclusive theory of "the chosen" is attributed to

Gnostics by mainstream Christians, it actually is far more clearly a

part of THEIR religious traditions. The notion of predestination,

in particular, has made this idea of "divine election" profoundly

volitional in its metaphysical origins and constitutive in its

metaphysical effects on human beings. What many do not realize is

that a fairly robust form of predestination continues to be

theologically present in the belief systems of many denominations

that no longer emphasize it publicly, such as the Catholic Church –

in the case of Catholicism, as recently as the Council of Trent that

followed the Protestant Reformation, a Catholic doctrine of

predestination was solemnly affirmed. I say this only in passing to

provide you another example of the many inconsistencies in Christian

denunciations of Gnosticism – although, as I have said before, we

should not expect to find any consistency, because Christian polemic

against Gnosticism is not fundamentally concerned with being either

rational or coherent, but rather with foisting off on Gnosticism all

the difficulties, repressions, and forms of guilt that have

accumulated over the centuries in the massive social and cultural

edifice that calls itself the Christian church.


Now, on to the contrasting INCLUSIVE theory of "the chosen." What

in fact does it mean to be chosen or set apart? Is this setting

apart purely self-referential, or does it have an object? In other

words, are we just chosen, or are we chosen FOR something? This is

the key distinction that allows us to make sense of the whole

concept. When we embark on the path of gnosis, we are responding to

the basic call of the spirit within us, and the spirit beyond us

that ultimately is God. Because of this response, we are chosen by

God and set apart to be as it were the avatars of the spirit in the

world. As we move forward toward enlightenment, we have more and

more responsibility for the actualization of our own spirits but

also for true spiritual compassion of those all around us. We

are "the chosen" not indeed as if those around us are incapable of

gnosis, but in fact to be the instruments by which their gnosis can

come about as well! This is, of course, not at all the same as the

mainstream Christian notion of conversion, because that is about

dominating the other, about forcing the other into your own

prefabricated "truth." Being called and chosen, we are to form a

kind of sacred river, flowing through the world with what looks to

those outside to be passivity and even surrender, but gently picking

up the salt of the spirit as it were on our way to the sea.


So, the idea of a certain "chosen" group does not necessarily mean

in any way that other individuals are incapable of gnosis, for it

seems certain that other human beings, who share the basic

experiences of life with us, must have those experiences rooted in

the same kind of spiritual nature. Rather, being chosen, or

constituting an "elect," is in many ways a practical description,

since most of the people around us, fully capable of gnosis as they

are, are held back by many painful and frightening things from

taking those first steps that set us apart at the very beginning.

This point is made clear by another saying from the Gospel of

Thomas, which is included in the canonical New Testament as

well: "Jesus said, `The harvest is great but the laborers are few.

Beseech the Lord, therefore, to send out laborers to the harvest'"



Look around you: how great is this harvest, how ripe the fruit of

human beings standing just on the front porch of enlightenment,

ready to take that first step through the door! How late the time

is, my dear friends, and how quickly the sands of time are falling;

look at the darkness descending and the blood-red sun sinking low on

the horizon, as our world is weighed down ever more by the pain of

violence and hatred. How many sit in the lingering twilight,

yearning for the night to come – for the pain of living in this

world without joining in the life of the spirit has become

unbearable without drugs, and distractions, and addictions that ease

the pain.


We have been called to be those laborers, to be those shepherds, to

live not only for ourselves, but for all. To be chosen is to be set

apart as a gift to others, not to be elevated above others. Pride

is extinguished in love, and the ultimate love leads us to the

sacrifice of the bodhisattva, to the sacrifice of Christ. While the

light is still with us, before the clock strikes the closing of the

day, let us seek love and the fruits of love. For truly "there is

light within a person of light, and that person lights up the whole

world" (Gos Thom. 24).


In Christ and Sophia,




Sūn Wùkōng, Xuánzàng, Zhū Bājiè, and Shā Wùjìng. (Journey to the West)

The four heroes of the story, left to right: Sūn Wùkōng, Xuánzàng, Zhū Bājiè, and Shā Wùjìng. (Journey to the West)

I never did anything out of the blue, woh-o-oh
Want an axe to break the ice
Wanna come down right now

Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know major toms a junkie
Strung out in heavens high
Hitting an all-time low

My mother said to get things done
You’d better not mess with major tom

David Bowie

“When we seriously practice any authentic spiritual exercise, we sooner or later come to the recognition that we are not individuals seeking some exalted goal for ourselves, but are sparks of Oneness, the Only Being, aspects of the total embodiment of the Spirit of Guidance that leads all of creation back to the Source, the perfection of love, harmony, and beauty. In our motivation to attain the highest levels of awareness, we eventually release our personal identification and become completely connected with an inner guide, a metamagnetic urge that prods us at all times to let go into the Oneness.”

David A. Cooper (Invoking Angels forBlessings, Protection and Healing)


Striving to be absolutely right is a very common attitude among humans. When we are trying to prove to an adversary that he is totally wrong, we fantasize about a moment when the Heavens, the forces of the cosmos itself, will come to our aid. Like small children, we imagine being able to set fire to the blackboard, to call attention to an injustice on the playground. To our disappointment, the blackboard does not catch fire –or, even if it does, the reaction defies our expectations.

The reality of dissension is that when it is based on and legitimated by human experience, it is not built on right/wrong or hero/villain dichotomies. To be able to overcome it or continue in the name of Heaven, we must understand that Heaven has no power to resolve discord. This is because the dynamic of such discord is to produce something unknown to and not invented by the Heavens.

We are like children who wish that their parents would come to school one day to teach everyone, for once and for all, who we are. It is painful, but we know this is impossible. Communication can truly take place only within the reality of the school, its playground rules, its etiquette, and its own conventions. A parent’s presence in school breaks communication and prevents us from being our true selves.

It is very difficult to deal with the expectation that justice will be done. Justice does express itself, as the sages say, but in its own time. And even though time seems ungrateful, leaving many situations unresolved, these will persist for as long as they are issues for the sake of Heaven. We will always have the comfort of knowing they won’t see closure until they are resolved.

Discord that is not for the sake of Heaven will not last, and the energy spent proving who is right is wasteful, not at all constructive. Knowing when to invest in discord and when to avoid it is a question of economy and intelligence.

–Rabbi Nilton Bonder (The Kabbalah of Envy)


“Monkey,” the Bodhisattva said, “do you know who I am?” The Great Sage opened wide his fiery eyes with their golden pupils, nodded his head and shouted at the top of his voice, “Of course I recognize you. You, thank goodness, are the All−Compassionate. All−Merciful Deliverer from Suffering, the Bodhisattva Guanyin from Potaraka Island in the Southern Sea. You’re a very welcome visitor. Every day here seems like a year, and nobody I know has ever come to see me. Where have you come from?”

“I have received a mandate from the Buddha to go to the East and find the man who will fetch the scriptures,”

she replied, “and as I was passing this way I decided to come over and see you.”

“The Buddha fooled me and crushed me under this mountain−−I haven’t been able to stretch myself for five

hundred years. I desperately hope that you will be obliging enough to rescue me, Bodhisattva.”

“You wretch,” she replied, “you have such an appalling criminal record that I’m afraid you’d only make more

trouble if I got you out.”

“I have already repented,” he said, “and hope that you will show me the road I should follow. I want to

cultivate my conduct.” Indeed:

When an idea is born in a man’s mind

It is known throughout Heaven and Earth.

If good and evil are not rewarded and punished

The world is bound to go to the bad.

The Bodhisattva was delighted to hear what he had to say.

“The sacred scriptures say,” she replied, ‘”If one’s words are good, they will meet with a response from even a

thousand miles away; if they are bad, they will be opposed from the same distance.’ If this is your state of

mind, then wait while I go to the East to find the man who will fetch the scriptures; I’ll tell him to rescue you.

You can be his disciple, observe and uphold the faith, enter our Buddha’s religion, and cultivate good

retribution for yourself in the future. What do you say to that?”

“I’ll go, I’ll go,” the Great Sage repeated over and over again.

“As you have reformed,” she said, “I’ll give you a Buddhist name.”

“I’ve already got a name. It’s Sun Wukong.” The Bodhisattva, very pleased, said, “I made two converts earlier,

and their names both contained Wu (‘Awakened’). There’s no need to give you any further instructions, so I’ll

be off.” The Great Sage, now aware of his own Buddha−nature, was converted to the Buddha’s religion; and

the Bodhisattva devotedly continued her search for a saintly monk.

Journey to the West


The problem in my country is war and malnutrition. My parents and my brothers were killed in the war. I joined the forces when I was twelve because I was told I would have food and should take revenge on the death of my parents. Please don’t be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore. I am just a child. And what I want to say is that people fight because they think they can take revenge. But there is no revenge. You kill and you kill, but it will never stop. There is no such thing as revenge.

Ishmael Beah, Age 15 (Sierra Leone)


It was kind of strange, dintcha think, that John McCain came to the defense of his supporters last night after Barack Obama pointed out that people at McCain/Palin rallies were shouting out “terrorist” and “kill him!” in reference to Obama.
Now an Al Jazeera camera crew caught the honest sentiments of McCain/Palin supporters at an Ohio rally:

“I’m afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”

“When you got a Negra running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”

“He seems like a sheep – or a wolf in sheep’s clothing to be honest with you. And I believe Palin – she’s filled with the Holy Spirit, and I believe she’s gonna bring honesty and integrity to the White House.”

“He’s related to a known terrorist, for one.”

“He is friends with a terrorist of this country!”

“He must support terrorists! You know, uh, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. And that to me is Obama.”

“Just the whole, Muslim thing, and everything, and everybody’s still kinda – a lot of people have forgotten about 9/11, but… I dunno, it’s just kinda… a little unnerving.”

“Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white. That he might hide that.”

“I don’t like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash… because we’re not!”

A look at women’s Healthcare under Palin and McCain

The Doctrine of the Origin of Evil


Lurianic and Sabbatian Kabbalah

and in the

‘Awakening of Faith’


Mahayanistic Buddhism


Evgeny A. Torchinov

The doctrine of evil is a crucial question for every religious and mystico-theosophical system of thought. In Christianity this problem was a source of a serious controversy which led to the appearance of a number of systems of theodicy, i.e., explanations of the coexistence of an all-good God Creator and evil in the world created by this God.

One of the most influential answers to this theological challenge was the theodicy of Leibniz who argued the tenet that in any case God has created the best world from all possible worlds. The explanation of evil as the consequence of the human free will and freedom of choice was also rather popular. But it could not explain the necessity of the choice itself: how there appeared the very possibility of evil if the source of the world (that is, God) was absolutely good.

Some theosophically oriented thinkers were ready to explain evil by postulating, in the very substance of God, the presence of some dark, or ethically indifferent foundation. The Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev developed this idea, proclaiming that before God there was a dark foundation which was also the source and root of God Himself, and which had potencies to explicate itself equally as good and evil. He called this pre-Divine substance ‘meonic freedom’ (‘nonexistent freedom,’ or ‘non-being-less freedom’). In this he followed Schelling who insisted that the sentence ‘God has his foundation in Himself’ means that this foundation is something really (not only formally and logically) different from God, existing nevertheless inside God and before God.

Kabbalah has always been extremely attentive to the problem of evil. Kabbalistic gnostics and theosophists as a rule followed the same course of thinking (or the same pattern) as the successors of Boehme and Schelling. It can even be ventured that Kabbalists were the real predecessors of this pattern of thought in Christian mysticism; but the question of the historical influence of Kabbalah on Boehme or Schelling is still open. Nevertheless, Kabbalistic theosophy suggested very original varieties of this pattern, sometimes even avoiding the dangers of dualism as well as those of pure illusionism.

In the very brief outline of the Kabbalistic approach to evil suggested below I will limit myself to the approach of Lurianic Kabbalah, mainly because of its role in the history of the Kabbalistic movement and the predominant importance of the doctrine of evil in its gnostic-theosophical system. I will add some brief references to the Sabbatean Kabbalah of Nathan of Gaza, which is directly derived from Lurianic Kabbalah as its source and paradigm.

The Lurianic Kabbalah, as explicated by R. Hayyim Vital, teaches that the hidden transcendent Absolute, Deus Absconditus (En Sof, Unlimited, or ‘Or En Sof � Unlimited Light) had to contract Itself to produce the place for the creation. If En Sof is everything, if It is unlimited and endless, there is no ‘space’ for the created universe. Therefore, En Sof, or Unlimited Light, contracted from the center outwards to ’empty’ a place within itself for the world to be created.

The technical term for this contraction is ‘zimzum‘ (tzimtzum). Throughout the ages, different interpretations of zimzum were suggested, from the literal and mytho-poetic to the philosophical. For instance, some Kabbalists interpreted zimzum as God’s self-limitation for the benefit of creation.

It is noteworthy in this regard that Nathan of Gaza, in his ‘Book on Creation‘ (Sefer ha-Beriy’a), taught the existence of some duality or even contradiction in the Divine Will: a wish to contract and to create (i.e., ‘thought-some lights’), and a wish to be in an eternal state of the hidden mystery without any contraction or creation (i.e., ‘thought-less lights’).

What was the cause of this divine contraction? Lurianic Kabbalah proposes that the nature of the Divine Will itself eternally strove to the unfolding of the hidden mystery of En Sof. But another source has been pointed out for the initiating of the cosmogonic process. It was the wish of En Sof to liberate Itself from the roots of evil potentially present in Its nature, understood as the roots of the power of Stern Judgement (din).

These roots had to be objectified, to be manifested so that it became possible for En Sof to emancipate itself from them. The Absolute had to become conscious of those roots in order to be liberated from them. Thus, the very process of creation as that of ordering, limitation and bordering is the process of the objectivization of the roots of the Stern Judgement.

Hence, It can be said that the moving force for the creation process (and for zimzum as its first stage) is the tendency within the Absolute (En Sof) to liberate itself from the potentially evil roots of Stern Judgement. But this process, by its very nature, is closely related to the explication of the roots of evil and their transition from potentiality to actuality. Only by giving existence to the powers of Stern Judgement, can the Absolute be liberated from them, or transform them into the principles of goodness and holiness.

This idea can be expressed as the immanence of the explication of the powers of Stern Judgement (and consequently, of evil) to initiate the process of creation: that is, the beginning of creation by necessity is contraction, zimzum. But every contraction, or limitation is a function of the powers of Stern Judgement. Thus, these powers are necessarily involved in the creation at its very foundation, and this involvement is pregnant with the appearance of the actual evil. Hence it is important for the aims of this paper to underline the following points:

  1. According to Lurianic Kabbalah the roots of evil (expressed as the power of din) are immanent to The Absolute (En Sof) itself and are contained in its depths.
  2. The process of creation explicates these potential roots of evil.
  3. This explication of din is the foundation of the very beginning of the creation through zimzum (contraction).
  4. The purpose of creation is the elimination of the element of din (and consequently of evil) through its explication and subsequent liquidation in the process of ‘divine catharsis.’ Keeping these points in mind we can now outline some Buddhist materials relevant to our topic.

In early Buddhism and in Theravada (Sthaviravada) tradition the problem of evil has been decided in a very simple way. Evil was understood as ‘suffering,’ duhkha which was thought to be one of the most fundamental qualities of being as such (together with anitya – non eternity, non constancy and anatma – essencelessness, or devoidedness of essence/’ego’). Briefly speaking, early Buddhism only demonstrated the fact of evil as a principal attribute of every existence as such. It also analyzed the cause of suffering and involvement of the sentient beings into the cyclic existence of the world of births-and-deaths (samsara), and this cause of this involvement was ignorant affectivity and desires, or defilements (klesa). Moreover, in the Abhidharmic texts (e.g., Vasubandhu’s famous ‘Compendium of Abhidharma,’ Abhidharma kosa, chapter 3, Loka nirdesa, ‘Exposition of the World‘) even the Triple Cosmos (traya lokya) itself was thought to be the objectivization (‘materialization’) of the summarized sequences of the affects of the living beings of the preceding cosmic cycle (kalpa). Nothing else but klesas (affects and desires in their latent, or subtle form) produce the material foundation of the universe at the beginning of every cosmic cycle. And this universe is only an expression of the beginningless desires and lusts which lead every being to the painful samsaric existence according to the Law of Interdependent Origination (pratitya samutpada). And this ‘evil’ character of samsara is confirmed by the doctrinal essentials of Buddhism, that is, the Four Noble Truths:

  1. every existence is painful/unsatisfactory,
  2. desires and attachments are the cause of pain,
  3. there is a state free from pain (nirvana), and
  4. there is a path toward liberation from samsara and attainment of nirvana (Eightfold Noble Path).

But the question of the origins of ignorant volitions and affects did not arise at all. Moreover it was thought to be an incorrect one because of the beginningless character of the cyclic existence of samsara. This position was tightly connected with the empirical treatment of the problem of consciousness: early Buddhism was interested only in analyses of the given contents of the psychic without an attempt to examine the question of the root, or source of consciousness (vijnana) and its contents.

In Mahayana (Great Vehicle Buddhism) the situation has been radically changed. Mahayanistic schools of Buddhism (first of all, Yogacara, or Vijnaptimatra) tried to find the source root of consciousness as well as the root of all samsaric existence. The Yogacarins proclaimed a famous tenet that all three worlds of samsara are but consciousness (vijnana, citta) and its states (vijnapti, caita). If samsara is but consciousness, it means that the roots of consciousness are the roots of samsara as well. The Yogacarins introduced a notion of alaya vijnana (store consciousness) as a source of all samsaric experiences. It is important to note that in the classical Yogacara this store consciousness was not understood as substance, or even substratum of the experiential world. The Yogacarins often used the image of the stream of water to depict alaya vijnana: it is a pure continuity of impermanent, or even momentary nature. The Tibetan word for ‘alaya vijnana‘ is sems kun gzhi, that is ‘consciousness which is the all-root.’

The concept of alaya vijnana was sufficient to explain the nature of samsara but it mostly failed to explain the nature of the final liberation, nirvana and Enlightenment, or more exactly, Awakening (bodhi) as attainment of the exalted state of Buddhahood.

This drawback was corrected by the doctrine of Tathagatagarbha the examination of which is essential for this study. Tathagata (Thus Coming One) is one of the most frequently used titles of the Buddha. The Sanskrit word garbha has double meaning. The first one is embryo, or foetus. The second one is a container of a foetus, that is the womb. In the first case Tathagatagarbha is the embryo of Buddhahood (state of the Buddha) not only immanent to our own original nature (as well as to the true nature of every sentient being) but it even composes this nature (every being is a potential Buddha, Buddha-to-be). In the second case Tathagatagarbha is One Mind, the Absolute Mind (eka citta) embracing all existence being the substratum of both � samsara and nirvana.

This Absolute Mind has four noble qualities which are contrary to the qualities of samsara: if samsara is unconstant (anitya), full of sufferings (duhkha), devoid of essence (anatma) and dirty (asubha), then Tathagatagarbha is constant (nitya), blissful (sukha), it has Essence, or Self (atma) and it is pure (subha). This Absolute Buddha-Mind is also the nature of every state of consciousness like water is the nature of every wave.

Here, the problem of Enlightenment/Awakening has been solved: it is the realization of our own inner nature which is but Buddha Nature. But the question of the origin of samsara with its unending chains of sufferings and frustrations obtained new actuality. If the nature of every existence (of all dharmas in the Buddhist terminology) is absolutely perfect, translucent and enlightened how is it possible for samsara to come into being (even conditioned and relative) at all? What is the source of samsaric existence with all its evils? Briefly speaking, the Buddhist Mahayana thinkers became trapped by the problem of theodicy.

The most detailed and distinct exposition of the Buddhist doctrine of the origin of evil (and samsara) as well can be found in Mahayana sraddhotpada sastra (Chin.: Da sheng qi xin lun), or the ‘Awakening of Faith in Mahayana‘. This text, now existing only in Chinese is a pseudoepigraph of the Indian author of the 1st century C.E., Asvaghosa. In reality it appeared in China in the 6th century. According to the Buddhist tradition it was translated into Chinese from Sanskrit in 550 by the famous Indian Buddhist monk and translator, Paramartha (499-569) but there are strong suspicions that it was written in Chinese by Paramartha himself or by one of his Chinese disciples, though the text artificially imitates the form and style of the Indian theoretical treatises. Additional strength to these suspicions are strengthened by the fact that there are no quotations from this work in any known Indian-Buddhist texts, as well as that there is no Tibetan translation of it. The famous Chinese pilgrim of the 7th century C.E., Xuanzang, was so struck by the fact that the Indian scholars he encountered were ignorant of such an important text that he even translated it from Chinese into Sanskrit.

The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana (henceforth: Awakening) became one of the most important texts of the Buddhist tradition of
Eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam); it exerted an extremely powerful influence on the process of formatting the Far Eastern Buddhist schools (such as Tiantai, Huayan and Chan/Zen) and their doctrinal teachings.

From the theoretical side, it represents the highest point of the development of the Tathagatagarbha theory contaminated with some Yogacara doctrines, the most important of which was the doctrine of alaya vijnana, store conscious. Thus, the Awakening combined to form strong sides of both doctrines: the Yogacara theory of the origins of samsara, and the Tathagatagarbian teaching about Enlightenment and the Buddha-nature. Here we will try to examine the character of this doctrinal synthesis and its contents.

It is important to note that the Awakening declares the primeval existence of the only reality (tathata, or Suchness) which is but One Mind (ekacitta, yi xin). This Absolute is empty of our thinking being a kind of transcendent reality but not empty in itself, being the pleroma, or fullness of innumerable good qualities. Nevertheless, just this Suchness is a source of samsara with all its sufferings as well as nirvana with its bliss. The Awakening proclaims:

‘From the very beginning, Suchness in its nature is fully provided with all excellent qualities; namely, it is endowed with the light of great wisdom, [the qualities of] illuminating the entire universe, of true cognition and mind pure in its self-nature; of eternity, bliss, Self, and purity; of refreshing coolness, immutability, and freedom. It is endowed with this [excellent qualities] which outnumbered the sands of the Ganges, which are not independent of, disjointed from, or different from [the essence of Suchness], and which are supra-rational [attributes of] Buddhahood. Since it is endowed completely with all these, and is not lacking anything, it is called the Tathagata-garbha [when latent] and also the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata‘.

The text declares that the Absolute Mind (Suchness) has two aspects: the aspect of Enlightenment and that of non-enlightenment.

Original Enlightenment (Original Awakening, ben jue, literally, ‘root Awakening’) is a substance of Mind devoid of conceptual differentiating thinking. It is like unlimited empty space which pervades everything, and it is ‘One without second’ as the absolute body of the Buddha (dharmakaya, fa shen).

Non-enlightenment (bu jue) is also grounded in the original Enlightenment being of secondary and non-substantial nature. Nevertheless, because of its empirical existence there appeared the necessity for living beings (human beings) to cultivate mind by contemplative practices to realize their substantially enlightened nature. This kind of Enlightenment obtained empirically through psychological practices of the Buddhist yoga is called here ‘Enlightenment which has its beginning’ (shi jue).

Original Enlightenment is intrinsic, but non-enlightenment is accidental. The latter is a non-actualized state of the same original enlightenment. That is to say, man is originally enlightened or saved, but suffers because he does not realize that he is enlightened or saved and continues on as a blind or faithless man, groping for enlightenment or salvation elsewhere. The premise is that if man is not enlightened or saved originally, there is no possibility of his attaining enlightenment or salvation at all.

This obtained Enlightenment in its complete and perfect form is but the original Enlightenment by its essence and substance. Forms and types of the practice (bhavana) of the bodhisattva who will to attain Buddhahood and the stages of this practice have been described in details in the text of Awakening.

The unenlightened aspect expresses its nature in not realizing oneness with the True Nature of Suchness and illusory independence from it. This ignorance gives rise to the differentiating thoughts and then to subject-and-object dichotomy, passions and last and, finally, to all qualities of the miseries of the samsaric existence. Nevertheless, those ignorant thoughts have no substantiality of their own. Therefore, ‘they are not independent of the original enlightenment’. And commentators of the Awakening as well as the Buddhist thinkers who were connected in their philosophies with the doctrine of this work often graphically depicted this aspect of Absolute as the black dot in the center of the white circle of original Enlightenment (as it was done by Zongmi, 780-841, in his famous ‘Chan Preface‘ ).

The text also is attentive to the problem of the relationships between Enlightenment and non-enlightenment. It examined two kinds of such relationships: identity and nonidentity.

Because all phenomena in their foundations have no substance different from their Suchness, just as all kinds of pottery are of the same nature being made of clay. Therefore even magic-like appearances (maya; huan) in their root substantiality have the basic intrinsic nature of the Absolute Mind and its Suchness. Here the author of the Awakening refers to the canonical text of the unidentified sutra:

‘…all sentient beings intrinsically abide in eternity and are entered nirvana. The state of enlightenment is not something that is to be acquired by practice or to be created. In the end, it is unobtainable [for it is given from the beginning].’

The aspect of nonidentity has an accidental nature, just as different kinds of pottery have different images and forms. Therefore, empirically, illusions of samsara have their existence. The differences between the reality of Suchness and the illusory phenomena of samsara exist in accordance with the defiled consciousness of the sentient beings and their effective ignorance of the nature of Reality.

And, rather curiously, it can be said that the ignorant consciousness of the sentient beings has its relative non-substantial existence due to the non-enlightened aspect of One Mind which in its turn exists only for the deluded consciousness of the sentient beings having no existence of its own (svabhava; zi xing).

Let us see now, what is the way of the explication of samsara produced by the operation of the non-enlightened aspect of One Mind.

The Awakening describes three stages of the origination of samsara:

  1. Because of the existence of the non-enlightened aspect of Mind it becomes agitated, and this agitation is the activity of ignorance. The result of this activity is suffering (complete frustration, or anxiety � duhkha).
  2. Agitation destroys the unity of Suchness. As a result, the empirically perceiving subject appears to be existent.
  3. The world of empirical objects obtains its illusion-like existence because of the perceiving subject. The objects have their being only with their relation to subject. Without perceiving subjects there can not be the perceived objects. The subject as well as objects are devoid of their intrinsic nature. Their being is only relative to the unsubstantial non-enlightened aspect of Suchness and is completely conditioned by its erroneous nature. Mind, as such, by its true nature is calm and transcendent to the subject-object dichotomy.

On the third stage the mind became conditioned by the character of the objects. In this state it produces the following six aspects:

  1. Depending on the erroneously perceived world of objects the subject obtains the intellect discriminating between liking and disliking.
  2. Then the consciousness produces the awareness of pleasure and pain regarding the world of the objects. This awareness becomes uninterruptedly continuous.The consciousness superimposes its deluded thoughts on the world of objects and becomes attached to what it likes.
  3. The discriminations and mental constructing (vikalpa, fen bie). The consciousness attached to the objects produces analytical ability related to the words and concepts which are devoid of the true meaning. The words and concepts become substitutes of the true reality for the deluded consciousness.
  4. The attachment to the mentally constructed signs of word-and-concepts creates all manifold kinds of evil karma (ye); the consciousness becomes a subject of the cyclic existence of births-and-deaths.
  5. The consciousness suffered from the fruits of karma and is not free any longer. Thus, all the defiled states of consciousness are produced from ignorance, and ignorance has its illusion-like existence due to the aspect of nonenlightenment which is the relative and provisional aspect of Suchness.

Describing the beginning of the process of the emergence of samsara, the Awakening uses the word vasana (xun xi) which is the Yogacara technical term. Here it means the influence or actions which have abilities to permeate something. In the case of the origin of samsara it can be said that the nonenlightenment, having its ground in the original Enlightenment of Suchness, produces ignorance which is the primary cause of the defiled state that permeates into the substance of Suchness itself. And this permeation (vasana) is the cause of the appearance of the deluded consciousness. While the principle of Suchness has not been yet realized in the ‘Enlightenment which has its beginning’, the deluded consciousness continues to predicate the erroneously conceived objects of senses and mind. These objects, in their turn, permeate the deluded consciousness ‘and cause the deluded mind to attach itself to its thoughts, to create various… karma, and to undergo all kinds of physical and mental suffering’. An end can be put to this process only by Enlightenment which, being empirically a result of psycho-practical mind cultivation, is substantially the same as the original Enlightenment, just as the nature of Reality is such.

How does the Awakening describe the liberated enlightened mind? Here the text uses the rather popular metaphors in Buddhist works of waves and water. Here follows two rather important quotations from the text:

  1. All modes (laksana) of mind and consciousness [under the state of nonenlightenment] are [the products of] ignorance. Ignorance does not exist apart from enlightenment; therefore, it cannot be destroyed [because one cannot destroy something which does not really exist], and yet it cannot not be destroyed [in so far as it remains]. This is like the relationship that exists between the water of the ocean [i.e., enlightenment] and its waves [i.e. modes of mind] stirred by the wind [i.e., ignorance]. Water and wind are inseparable; but water is not mobile by nature, and if the wind stops the movement ceases. But the wet nature remains undestroyed. Likewise, man’s Mind, pure in its own nature, is stirred by the wind of ignorance. Both Mind and ignorance have no particular forms of their own and they are inseparable. Yet Mind is not mobile by nature, and if ignorance ceases, then the continuity [of deluded activities] ceases. But the essential nature of wisdom [i.e., the essence of Mind, like the wet nature of the water remains undestroyed.
  2. Question: If the mind ceases to be, what will become of its continuity? If there is no continuity of mind, how can you explain its final cessation?
    Answer: What we speak of as ‘cessation’ is the cessation of the marks of [the deluded] mind only and not the cessation of its essence. It is like the case of the wind which, following the surface of the water, leaves the marks of its movement. If the water should cease to be, then the marks of the wind would be nullified and the wind would have no support [on which to display its movement]. But since the water does not cease to be, the marks of the wind nay continue. Because only the wind ceases, the marks of its movement cease accordingly. This is not the cessation of the water. So it is with ignorance; on the ground of the essence of Mind there is movement. If the essence of Mind were to cease, then people would be nullified and they have no support. But since the essence does not cease to be, the mind may continue. Because only stupidity ceases to be, the marks of the [stupidity of the] mind cease accordingly. It is not that the wisdom [i.e., the essence] of Mind ceases.

Therefore, it can be said that Enlightenment stops the winds of ignorance from blowing under the surface of calm by its intrinsic nature of water. Water (which is an image of the self-nature of the Absolute Mind) does not change, its nature remains just the same, and only the accidental and substantially unreal waves (cyclic existence of samsara), produced by the wind of ignorance (avidya, bu jue) rooted in the depths of One Mind itself, cease to appear. It means literally that for the Enlightened mind all spheres of objects cease to be. And for this perfectly Enlightened Mind the ‘black dot’ of the aspect of non-enlightenment does no longer exists. This is a ‘correction’, or ‘catharsis’ of Suchness. It becomes what it really is from the very beginning: non-dual, self luminescent, absolute One Mind possessing innumerable good and excellent qualities of the Buddha as Dharmakaya. This is presented in the Awakening as follows:

In fact, there are no corporeal objects, because all objects are original from the mind. And as long as there are no corporeal objects at all, ’empty place’ can not be maintained. All objects are of the mind alone; but when illusions arise, [objects which are regarded as real] appear. When the mind is free from its deluded activities, then all objects [imagined as real] vanish of themselves. [What is real,] the one and true Mind, pervades everywhere. This is the final meaning of the Tathagata’s great and comprehensive wisdom.

Examining in brief all the most important teachings of the Awakening related to the roots of samsaric evil and the liberation from them, we can now to analyze and compare the typologies of the Mahayanistic and Kabbalistic approaches to these subjects.

In the attitude of the Awakening towards the problem of evil we can find a number of features which are comparable to the attitudes expressed in Lurianic Kabbalah.

  1. Both teachings support the view that the roots of evil lie in the Absolute itself. According to Lurianic Kabbalah these roots are the potential force of din (Stern Judgement) which can find its overdevelopment and isolation from the power of Mercy as qelippoth, or ‘shells’. Therefore, the dark side of being is latently immanent to the Absolute. According to the Awakening, the cause of evil and of the samsaric cyclical existence with all its sufferings originates from the unenlightened aspect of Absolute (Suchness as luminous One Mind), which has a secondary and accidental nature but nevertheless is responsible for all defilements and attachments of the empirical consciousness of the sentient beings.
  2. The very process of creation is seen as an objectivization, or explication of the roots of evil. In Lurianic Kabbalah the first point of the creative activities of the Original Unlimited Light of Absolute (‘Or En Sof) is its contraction (zimzum) — that is, its limitation. And every limitation can be seen as the manifestation of the powers of din which are the root of evil as well. Therefore, the explication of evil is the primary characteristic of the process of creation as such. In Awakening the first point of the emergence of samsara is ignorance originated from the unenlightened aspect of the Absolute. This ignorance manifests itself in the discriminating thought which erroneously takes itself to be different from the substance of Suchness. The development of this process results with the mental constructing, or appearance, of subject-object oppositions and different kinds of attachments.
  3. The process of creation is not only the process of the explication of evil, but also a means for the liberation of the Absolute from the potential roots of evil, and can be understood as a kind of cathartic activity of the Absolute. In Lurianic Kabbalah this process of the Divine catharsis results in the tiqqun, or restoration of being. (In some kinds of Lurianic Kabbalah the powers of evil, qelippoth, devoid of the forces of the Light, must be eliminated as a ‘waste product’ from the essence of the Godhead, in others they must be transfigured into the powers of holiness worthy of restoration in the realm of the Divine Lights). In Awakening the samsaric beings, because of the influence of their substantial original Buddha nature, attain Enlightenment which leads to the complete elimination of the non-enlightened black dot inside the Absolute, and its complete Enlightenment. The text does not speak explicitly about the cathartic character of the emergence and empirical existence of samsara but it can be easily supposed because of the very structure of the process of the movement from the Original Enlightenment through unsubstantial nonenlightenment to the empirical Enlightenment resulting with the complete Enlightenment as the absolute elimination of the shadow of ignorance.

Nevertheless, there are also very important and theologically substantial differences between the understanding of the nature of evil and the ways of its elimination in these two kinds of the mystical theosophies. And they are also important for an understanding of the essential specific features of the soteriological attitudes of Lurianic Kabbalah, as rooted in the Biblical world-view, and those of Mahayanistic Buddhism which is closely related to the traditional Indian ways of thinking.

First of all, it must be noted that the end of the world-process in the Lurianic Kabbalah is tiqqun � that is, the restoration of the purified creation to its perfect and undefiled state, or even its inclusion into the sphere of the Divine pleroma. In the Awakening, Enlightenment is seen as the state of elimination of all subject-object relations and the extinction of the manifold world as such: mind returns to its own intrinsic nature, and the waves (i.e., the world) caused by the wind of ignorance cease to appear in the phenomena, revealing the true calm self-nature of the Mind as the plain surface of the Ocean of the Absolute. Therefore the Lurianic attitude toward the creation (manifold world produced from the depths of the Absolute) is ontologically optimistic, while that of the Awakening is pessimistic.

Secondly, the very evaluation of the creative process is rather different in both systems: the moving power of the unfolding of One Mind/Suchness in the world of phenomena is delusion, and only by complete Enlightenment are the effects of this delusion (the influence of the unenlightened aspect of Suchness) and the universe (three worlds of samsara), eliminated. On the other hand, the corresponding attitude in Lurianic Kabbalah is more complicated. There, the shadow of potential evil participates in the process of creation from the very beginning, but that creation is also a positively evaluated act of the Divine unfolding. Moshe Hayyim Luzzato had even suggested that the Absolute En Sof was obliged to give up His omniscience and omnipotence, in order to be able to create the space-and-time dependent world. The Absolute is by its nature static, as Aristotle had asserted; therefore, in order to achieve a dynamic state of creation, the Absolute had to give up being absolute.

Summarizing the above-mentioned differences, it would be rather convenient to use metaphorically Nathan of Gaza‘s images of the thought-some and thought-less Lights. (Thought-some lights express the Divine Will to create, while thought-less lights express its Will to remain in the primordial quietness of its hidden mystery, understanding the creation only as an explication of the powers of evil and even as a revolt against the Absolute itself.) Comparing this problem of creation in Lurianic Kabbalah and the Awakening, the former expresses mostly a position of the thought-some Lights, while the latter expresses that of the thought-less Lights.

And last but not least, these two systems use very different languages to express their ideas: that of the Lurianic and Sabbatean thinkers is the gnostic mytho-poetic language of a highly suggestive character, while the language of the Awakening is a philosophical and speculative one, relating this text to the traditional treatises of the learned Buddhist scholasticism.

Moreover, it is important to note that the problem of examining Kabbalistic mysticism within the broad frames of intercultural researches is rather substantial, and this paper is only one of the first steps on this way. But an ancient Chinese sage said: ‘The way in ten thousand miles begins with one step’. And if this step has been done here, then the author can consider his task to be fulfilled.


On evil in Christian thought, see J.H. Hick Evil and the God of Love, New York 1977; G.R. Evans, Augustine on Evil, Cambridge Mass. 1983; S. Runciman, The Medieval Manichee: A Study of the Christian Dualist Heresy, Cambridge, Mass. 1982.
For a review of Leibniz’s theodical system see S.C. Brown, Leibniz.
Minnesota 1985; L. E. Loemker, Struggle for Synthesis: The Seventeenth-Century Background of Leibniz’s Synthesis of Order and Freedom, Cambridge, Mass. 1972.
Explanations of this sort were suggested, for instance, by A. Schopenhauer who ardently denied not only Christian approaches to the problem of freedom of will but even this principle as such (at least on the phenomenal being of existence). For a critical review see B. Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer,
Oxford 1983.

Notable examples are J. Boehme, and Schelling who followed Boehme on this point. For review see R. F. Brown The Later Philosophy of Schelling: The Influence of Boehme on the works of 1809-1815, Bucknell University Press 1976 (Henceforth, Brown, The Later Philosophy of Schelling); M. Heidegger, Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom, Translated by Joan Stambaugh, Ohio University Press 1985.

For a review of Berdyaev’s position on evil see N. Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man, translated by N. Duddington. New York and London 1979; L. E. Allen Freedom in God: A Guide to the Thought of Nicholas Berdyaev, New York 1980; A. F. Zamaleyev Lektsii po istorii russkoi filosofii (Lectures on the History of Russian Philosophy), St. Petersburg 1995, pp. 232-233.

For a review of Schelling’s position on the dark foundation of Godhead see F. Schelling, Of Human Freedom, trans. J. Gutmann, New York 1985; R.F. Brown, The Later Philosophy of Schelling.

For a review of Kabbalistic influence on Boehme and Schelling see Secret F. Les Kabbalistes chr�tiens de la Renaissance, Paris 1964; W. A. Schultze, ‘Schelling und die Kabbala‘, Judaica 13 (1957).

However, see J. Dan, ‘Kabbalistic and Gnostic Dualism‘, Binah 3 (1994), pp. 19-33 [First printed in Hebrew in Da’at 19 (1987), pp. 5-16].

G. Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi. The Mystical Messiah 1626-1676, Princeton 1973, p. 28. (Henceforth, Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi.)

For the sources of the doctrine of Zimzum in Lurianic Kabbalah see M. Idel, ‘On the Concept of Zimzum in Kabbalah and its Research‘, Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, X (1992), pp. 59-112 [Hebrew]; B. Huss, ‘Genizat Ha-Or in Simeon Lavi’s Ketem Paz and the Lurianic Doctrine of Zimzum‘, Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought 10 (1992), pp. 341-362 [Hebrew].

Scholem has asserted that philosophical approach to Zimzum was suggested first of all by Italian Kabbalist Israel Sarug. See G. Scholem, ‘Israel Sarug – a disciple of R. Yizhak Luria?Zion 5 (1940), pp. 214-243 [Hebrew]. Altmann, however, disagreed and asserted that Sarug’s interpretation was actually mythical. See A. Altmann, ‘Notes on the Development of Rabbi Menahem Azariah Fano’s Kabbalistic Doctrine‘, Studies in Jewish Mysticism Philosophy and Ethical Literature Presented to Isaiah Tishby on his Seventy-Fifth Birthday, Jerusalem 1986, pp. 241-268 [Hebrew]. For a philosophical analysis of Zimzum in the thought of Herrera, Sarug’s disciple, see N. Yosha, Myth and Metaphor: Abraham Cohen Herrera’s Philosophical Interpretation of Lurianic Kabbalah, Jerusalem 1994, pp. 188-210 [Hebrew].

The most notable example is Moshe Hayyim Luzzato

Ch. Wirszubski, Between the Lines: Kabbalah, Christian Kabbalah and Sabbatianism, ed. M. Idel, Jerusalem 1990, pp. 156-159 [Hebrew]. A. Elqayam, The Mystery of Faith in the Writings of Nathan of Gaza, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Hebrew University, 1993, [Hebrew]; [henceforth The Mystery].

I. Tishby, The Doctrine of Evil and the ‘Kelippah’ in Lurianic Kabbalah. Jerusalem 1984, [Hebrew]. Tishby’s interpretation was also taken up by Scholem in Sabbatai Sevi, p. 30.

On the Yogacara philosophy see: L. de la Valle Poussin, Vijnaptimatra siddhi sastra (Le siddhi de Hsuan-tsang). T. 1-2, Paris 1928-1929; Th. E. Wood, Mind Only: A Philosophical Doctrinal Analysis of the Vijnanavada, Honolulu 1991; Th. A. Kochumuttom, Buddhist Doctrine of Experience, New Delhi 1982; Th. Stcherbatsky, Buddhist Logic, Leningrad 1930-1932.

The scriptural sources of the Tathagatagarbha doctrine are such canonical texts of Mahayana as Tathagatagarbha sutra, Maha parinirvana sutra and Srimaladevi simhanada sutra.

On the theory of Tathagatagarbha see: E.E. Obermiller, The Sublime Science of the Great Vehicle to Salvation. A translation of Uttaratantra of Bodhisattva Maitreya with the Commentary of Asanga, Acta Orientalia 9, 1931; Jikido Takasaki, Study on the Ratnagotravibhaga (Uttaratantra), Serie Orientale Roma 33,1966; D. S. Ruegg, La Theorie du Tathagatagarbha et du Gotra. Etudes sur la Soteriologie et la Gnoseologie du Bouddhisme, Paris 1969.

Peter N. Gregory, ‘The Problem of Theodicy in the Awakening of Faith‘, Religious Studies 22 pp.

All the citations from the Awakening will be given by the English translation of Yoshito S. Hakeda: The Awakening of Faith. Attributed to Asvaghosha. Translated with commentaries by Yoshito S. Hakeda, New York 1967 [henceforth: Hakeda]. The text was also translated from original Chinese into Russian by E. Torchinov: Traktat o probuzhdenii vey v Mahayanu (Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana), St. Petersburg 1997. The original text of the Awakening is included in the Chinese Tripitaka (Buddhist Canon). See: Taisho shinshu daizokye (Tripitaka Taisho – TT), vol. 32 (No. 1666), pp. 575-583.

Hakeda, p. 65. The tenet that ‘one and the same mind which is a source of samsara as well as nirvana is rather common to such radical trends of Mahayana Buddhism as the tradition of the mahasiddhas (Great Perfect Ones) of the Tantric Vajrayana, Tibetan rdzog-chen and Sino-Japanese Chan/Zen. It is interesting that the idea that mind and mental attitudes are responsible for samsaric bondage or nirvanic liberation obtained its expression in the form of a kind of ethical antnomianism (compare with the mystical antinomianism of the Sabbatians). Thus, Candamaharosana tantra says: ‘The same fearful deeds which lead living beings to terrible hells, without doubt lead to liberation when done in accordance with the method of release. It is the established opinion that the mind is forerunner of everything, evil as well as good; the distinctions regarding state of existence, place and so on are forms of imagination of the mind’. See Lal Mani Joshi, ‘Religious Change in Late Indian Buddhist History, Part III‘, Buddhist Studies Review 9 (1992), p. 159.

Hakeda, p. 37. The words ‘without any second’ have been added in brackets by the translator (Yoshito S. Hakeda) but the notion of advaya (bu er), non-duality is extremely important for the Mahayana thought.

Ibid., p. 38.

Hakeda, p. 43.

Chan Preface (or Preface to the Collection of Explanations of the Origins of the Chan Truths) is included in the Chinese Tripitaka (TT, 48, pp. 409-414) with the title: Chan yuan zhu quan ji du xu. English translation: Broughton J. Kuei-feng Tsung-mi: the convergence of Ch’an and the Teachings’. Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University, 1975. Russian translation by K. Yu. Solonin: Zong-mi. Chanskie istiny (Chan Truths). St. Petersburg 1998, pp. 36-110 (diagrams and their explanations on pp. 102-103).
Hakeda, p. 46.

Hakeda, pp. 44-45.

Awakening, p. 57.

Awakening, p. 41.

Awakening, pp. 55-56. It is rather interesting that Nathan of Gaza also uses the image of water and waves regarding the relations between Absolute and the creation (personal communication with Prof. A. Elqayam).

Awakening, p. 75.

Professor A. Elqayam’s personal communication.

Elqayam A. The Mystery.

On the comparison of the Kabbalistic and Oriental mystical teachings see also: Torchinov E. Kabbala I Vostok (Kabbalah and the East), Vestnik evreiskogo universiteta v Moskve (Works of the Hebrew University in Moscow), 3 (16), Moscow-Jerusalem 1997/5758, pp. 96-128. Here I am very glad to express my profound and sincere gratitude to Prof. Avraham Elqayam for his invaluable assistance and consultations without which the aim of this article could not be attained.

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.

–Thomas Merton


Anyone can meditate in a silent place. Where it is calm, restful and relaxing, often people seek meditation. This is however a falsehood. Like taking a special place outside the world, when really outside the world is still the world. In Gnosticism we embrace this idea wholly. Often many seek to “escape” or remove themselves from the world. No matter where you turn to you are in the world. This is a Gnostic truth.

Many see Gnosticism as a spiritual “escape hood”. The same could largely be said for Buddhism. However as opposed to escaping the world, Gnosticism in its “escape” actually embraces. For example in some forms of Gnosticism there are 7 false “heavens” run by “evil” forces called Archons. Archons can be thought of in many ways. One simple way is the inner forces in a person that holds us back; anger, greed, sloth, envy, lust… These “forces” are seen in Gnosticism to hold the individual and the universe “down” or “keep everyone asleep.” This battle or inner struggle is often seen as the greatest battle a seeker must face.

Often we are tempted to speak up, for others, for ourselves, our voices need to be heard:

“First they came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemöller

Speaking up is often thought to be the best way to approach life. It is for a seeker just the reverse. The more we speak, the less we say. In Gnosticism we know that the more silent we are, the closer to the “mark” we are. This silence is beyond simply speaking or not speaking, it is a silence of transcendence, when two become one and they reach beyond the sum of their parts. Thus this silence as Merton mentions is a special one…Often this is mentioned in spiritual texts as having “left” or “escaped” the world. If we penetrate below the surface though we find it is not escaping at all, it is embracing the world at a heightened state.

So where as often people seek calm and silence to meditate , true silence is not found in silence at all; as I hope I have explained, this is a false silence, one that really does not exist, as there is no escaping the world. Thus to truly find silence, one seeks noise. When one can find silence in a cacophony, in an argument, in a turmoil, in LIFE!, then one is truly on the road. Thus a seeker seeks no the easy road of calmness, but seeks the hurricane, and seeks to be calm within the eye of the storm, knowing the loudest sounds are also the quietest. Just some thoughts…


The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.

–Rachel Naomi Remen

The Oklahoma Dominionist Crisis
Thomas Saunders

Wikipedia defines ‘Dominionism’ as “a tendancy among some conservative politically-active Christians to seek influence or control over secular civil government through political action….” The following is a statement which confirms the movement in the American culture.

”Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the ‘Vice Regents of God,’ we are to exercise Godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”http://www.theocracywatch.org/about_us2.htm

In describing Dominionist Theology Wikipedia states….

“All strains of Dominion Theology are small minorities, and are rejected by most mainstream Christians.”

According to an accumulation of information by me from members of several political activist groups, Oklahoma’s mainstream Legislators are selling out the state and federal Constitutions in favor of funding, and making laws which reflect Dominionist activities. So much so Dominionist Theology is no longer a minority, it has become the ruling force.

Several books are available about the methods of the Christian Dominionists to dominate politics like, ”Tempting Faith,” by David Koa. ”American Theocracy,” by Kevin Phillips, and ”Faith and Politics,” by Senator John Danforth. All outline the political goals of the religious right to influence aspects of American life. All confirm the corruption of the Faith Based Initiative programs….

In Arnold Hamilton’s March 25th article, “Church-State, Separation In Peril, Wall’s Tumbling Down?”, the editor of the Oklahoma Observer, points out prima facie, some of the felonies being committed in regard to criminal violations as to Oaths of Office, to protect both the Oklahoma State Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution. Hamilton’s article points out specific Legislators and their actions, as did an entire conference I attended on March 29th of supporters of the Oklahoma Americans for the Separation of Church and State.

I’ve been collecting information on Dominionists for several years. I have on a regular basis shared this information with the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma, The Drug Policy Forum of Oklahoma, the National Judicial Conduct Disability Project, and several other political activits, and organizations. I currently serve as the Field Investigator, on the Board of Advisors for The Congress Against Racism, and Corruption in Law Enforcement.

One of the big parts of the Oklahoma crisis for me is that none of the organizations mentioned above can officially endorse any legal action against any of the Legislators they have documented proof against. This seems to me on one hand to be a little too ‘Catch-22.’

One of the ways in Oklahoma for people to seek indictments is to petition the Oklahoma Grand Jury. None of the Organizations I mentioned above, could officially endorse steps to present evidence and circulate the needed signatures of the electorate. One of the reasons for this is none of these organizations can stand up to any liability in case they are sued. There primary mission as they see it is to raise public awareness.

This means the only viable solution to put together a petition for the Grand Jury is to do it with a force of individuals who need to meet the criteria of proofs, and collect the signatures for the required petition. Then it has to be submitted and reviewed by a District Court. It has to be done so no organization gets involved. Very tricky, but other Oklahomans have done it. According to one of my attorney friends people in Florida (clients) have been murdered going up against the Dominionist forces.

If the Dominionists see a Grand Jury action comming there is a chance they could stop it, due to the last provision of the Oklahoma Grand Jury section of the state Constitution which allows citizens to petition. The last sentence of the Section II-18 provision of the Oklahoma State Constitution…. “The Legislature shall enact laws to prevent corruption for convening a grand jury.” There is little question the Dominionists would interpret such an action as an unlawful insurrection of sorts. There are ample horror stories of violence, and outrageous abuses against people who have stood up to the Dominionists.

I have spoken with Mikey Weinstein the Founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and I know he, his supporters, and family have been shot at, threatened, and abused by minions of the Dominionist movement. There is no doubt that Dominionists see Mikey and his organization a serious threat. Mikey has documented the infiltration of the Dominionists into the United States Military, and they have created the same kind of crisis there as in the Oklahoma Legislature. Mikey’s experiences as an activist are proof the Dominionists will use any means.

Those that take an ‘Oath’ to defend the Constitution need to know, this is a serious commitment, and subversion of it, is a serious crime. Few politicians in the state of Oklahoma have much regard for this obligation. The Dominionists have taken over the Legislature and their abuses have become a matter of public record. The ‘Americans United’ presentations at the March Conference, disclosed a number of serious violations of the state and federal ‘Separation’ clause, and the state mandate…

Section II-5, of the Oklahoma State Constitution…

“No public money or property shall ever by appropriated, or used directly or indirectly for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such. ”

This provision of the Oklahoma State Constitution makes it clear that no money ‘directly or indirectly’ should go to any religious organization. There can be little doubt this provision is related directly to the Separation clause of the First Amendment. This is only one of many concerns which involve the criminal negligence to protect constitutional mandates.

It has become a matter of public record that Oklahoma State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton diverted funds to her own church. The anti Gay outlawing and rantings of Rep. Sally Kern, have become as much a national embarrassment as did the rantings of Florida’s Rep. Katharine Harris. The Dominionist movement has permeated the entire Oklahoma government, at all levels. Dominionist legislation that has to be challenged in courts is costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

One of the claims of the Dominionists is that they are distributing federal money, and does not apply to their state obligations. I ask, “If I claim to ‘indirectly bitch-slap’ you upside your head does that make me ‘not quilty’ of battery, or manslaughter?” I don’t think ”Barbara Jean” on “Reba” is stupid enough to believe that theory.

The question is how would an Oklahoma Grand Jury look at this problem? Perhaps an entire Grand Jury of Dominionists has to be a consideration, by anyone who might use this method for the redress of grievances, or the fair reporting of crimes. Taking on Dominionists is a nightmare no matter how you look at it.



Do not involve others in your unrighteousness,
Nor destroy your mind by believing your own untruths.

Do not flatter or give false praise
When there is fear compelling you.

Do not converse falsely with any man,
For it is abhorrent to the Gods.

If you do not separate your mind from your tongue,
Then all your plans will succeed.

You will be revered before others,
And you will be secure in the sight of Rah.

The Gods hate he who falsifies his words,
His duplicity is a great abomination.

–ancient egyptian



One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants.

he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him.

Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied,

“A piece of truth.” “Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?”

his attendant asked. “No,” Mara replied. “Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it.”

From 108 Treasures for the Heart: A Guide for Daily Living by Benny Liow

In Buddhism Mara is the lord of misfortune, sin, destruction and Death. Mara is the ruler of desire and death, the two evils that chain man to the wheel of ceaseless rebirth. Mara reviles man, blinds him, guides him toward sensuous desires; once man is in his bondage, Mara is free to destroy him.

Buddhist tradition holds that Buddha encountered Mara on several occasions. When he abandoned the traditional ascetic practices of Hinduism, Mara reproached him for straying from the path of purity. Mara later reappeared as a Brahmin, criticising him for neglecting the techniques of the yogins. At another time, Mara persuades householders in a village to refuse to give alms to the Buddha. Mara also accuses Buddha of sleeping too much, and not keeping busy like the villagers.

In a famous incident similar to the temptation of Jesus in the Christian religion, Mara urges Buddha to become a universal king and establish a great empire in which men can live in peace. He reminds Buddha that he can turn the Himalayas into gold if he but wishes so that all men will become rich. Buddha replies that a single man’s wants are so insatiable that even two such golden mountains would fail to satisfy him.”

While Mara is unable to subjugate Buddha, he is more successful with Buddha’s followers, even approaching the Buddha’s own brother, Ananda. As the source of evil, he causes misunderstanding between teachers and pupils, casts doubt on the value of Buddha’s sayings by calling them nothing but poetry, or encourages monks to waste their time on abstruse speculations. Worse, he appears in the guise of a monk, nun, relative or prominent Brahmin, bringing false news that a disciple is destined to be a new Buddha. If the disciple succumbs to the temptation, he will be filled with sinful pride. Mara could even appear in the form of Gautama Buddha in order to confuse Buddhists or lead them astray.

Mara is lord of all men who are bound by sense desires. His origin, according to Theravada commentators, was as a rebellious prince who seized control of our world from the supreme god of the highest heaven. As prince of this world, Mara can boast of possessing great majesty and influence. Though he has only a spirit body, he is endowed with the five modes of sensual pleasure, has plenty to eat and drink, and lives to amuse himself.



I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

–Revelation 22:13

Actually, the ground of everything is within me and it is God, and it’s within everybody too. And there’s one ground for everybody, and this ground in the Divine Mercy. . . . The peo­ple of the unveiling, that is to say the Sufis, ask the Mercy of God to subsist in them. These are the ones who ask in the Name of God and He shows Mercy upon them only by making the Mercy subsist in them. This is a totally different outlook. It is the outlook whereby the Mercy of God is not arranged on the outside in events for me-in good and bad events-but it is subsisting in me all the time. Therefore what happens is that if the Mercy of God is subsisting in me-and that goes to say if I am united with the will of God- . . . if I am completely united with the will of God in love, it doesn’t matter what happens outside, because everything that is going on outside that makes any sense is grounded in the same ground in which I am grounded. The opposition between me and everything else ceases, and what remains in terms of opposition is purely acci­dental and it doesn’t matter. And this is . . . a basic perspective in all . . . the highest religions. You ought to get down to this, you get down to it in Christianity, you get down to it in Buddhism, you get down to it in Hinduism, and so forth. It is arriving at a unity in which the superficial differences don’t matter. It doesn’t, mean that they’re not real, it doesn’t mean that they’re not there. They still subsist… .

–Thomas Merton

1. Left Hand Path Practices in the West

Satanism is not a white light religion; it is a religion of the flesh, the mundane, the carnal – all of which are ruled by Satan, the personification of the Left Hand Path

The Satanic Bible, Book Of Lucifer 3:paragraph 30

The Left Hand Path is solitary, individualistic, personal, based on self development, self analysis, self empowerment. Altruism is materialistically equated as long term selfishness. I think all forms of Satanism are considered Left Hand Path, even Devil Worship and inverse Christian-Satanists are Left Hand Path, although they are frequently considered deluded. Frequently called “evil” and “dark” by non Satanic religions, the followers of the left hand path often have had to remain in the darkness or face severe persecution from the religions that ironically call themselves “good”. This is testimony enough that the image of the purely “good” icons is a veneer; a non-truth.

Features of LHP philosophies frequently include:

  • Emphasis on freethought, not dogma or strict systems.
  • Highly individualistic
  • A distinct rejection of absolutes and moralism
  • Personal, not universal.

Freethought, Individualism and moral relativism
Left Hand Path philosophies all have an emphasis on freethought; not dogma or strict systems. The “rules” in LHP religions are frequently merely “guidelines”. The same attitude it applied to all knowledge, including that of the knowledge of reality and morals. Subjectivism and relativism are almost universally assumed amongst followers of the left hand path.

Personal Belief, not Universal
Left Hand Path philosophies do not claim that they are the best religion for all people and frequently claim they are only a valid religion for some people. “Satanists are born, not made” Anton LaVey. Satanism and the LHP is striking for the lack of missionizing. This is probably the result of the admission that no religion, philosophy or belief system is suitable for all people.

Yes, I can see why the idea of free thought, individualism and moral relativism (which requires the effort to think for yourself before judging something right or wrong) may be a turn off for some people or why they just don’t get it. I hope that doesn’t apply to you.”


oh I get it, I understand it fully

at a fundamental level I think it is un-Christ like though…

give and receive…vessels and light…kabbalah, that is all there is.

I know many see the divine as a nice treasure chest to plunder…I don’t.
I think the “gimme gimme gimme” approach to life and the divine is childish.
At a very real fundamental level it is rape to my mind, forcing the hand, taking the fruit before it is ripe

Agenda is agenda. Agenda is always wrong, as you are not following the true self, the “divine will”; I realize it is your path and that it embraces selfishness and sees that as divine will…to some extent.

However I will never agree to something that is fundamentally about the self, survival is one thing, taking and empowering at the expense of others is another

This is not meant to be an attack, it is just my view.

You wrote
” Self development? Isn’t that what spiritual training is supposed to offer? Isn’t this the point of alchemy?
Self Analysis? Aren’t we supposed to learn about ourselves? Don’t we value the inward path?
Self Empowerment? Don’t we prefer to be beings that have significance in the world of others or do we prefer to be

No it is Self development, not self development. In the east views generally speaking there is ONLY self. This is the root of one of the misunderstandings of the LHP since its inception. That self is NOT the self, it is THE SELF; or, GOD. The self development of alchemy etc. is to grow the true self as Thomas Merton calls it. It really has nothing to do with the self at all.

The I before is I and WE, the I after is I, and only I as there is no WE. And there is no i.


That is the fundamental point. Your view is like a man who opens a door..but refuses to enter. They are happy quickly going in, and running back out. Having gotten something that they want it is time to stay outside the door. This makes illusion more attractive, nicer, you are indeed self empowering. But illusion is illusion.


Like a drug addict you have to carry on taking more drugs to keep that high. That is of course part of where other people come in; little fish feed on big fish at a very real physical and spiritual level. Exploitation. There is someone at the top of the pyramid, sat back laughing, gaining all the power.

Just as the Buddha gained many great powers along the way, he also rejected them all. For trinkets and power is not what it is about. That is the temptation of Christ by Satan in the desert.

So no, I would say spiritual training has nothing to do with self development, no matter how many paper bags you put over your head to “look nice”, you are still wearing a paper bag… This goes for knowing yourself also, knowing yourself is NOT KNOWING YOURSELF. This is fundamental basic thing.



“He who sees himself only on the outside,

not within, becomes small himself and makes others small.”

–Mani (turfan fragment M 801)

Power and influence, again this is a false notion. God is the only Rabbi as the Jewish proverb goes. Only God has power. Mankind may think he can build a dam and conquer nature, but he is fooling himself. Power is for the weak. Power in its “correct” application is about serving and sacrifice. Agenda is agenda, and again is un-Christ like.

You said

Emphasis on free thought, not dogma or strict systems? What’s wrong with respecting members to be conscious and
sentient adults who are capable of thinking for themselves and deciding what is the right or wrong course of action
instead of slavish devotion to some ancient text or the words of some “authority figure”?

There is nothing wrong with free thought. But often it becomes childish. Too often people seek the mysteries, spirituality etc etc out of rebellion.
Free thought is good, rebellion is good it helps grow new branches, new plants, where none would have grown. However it soon devolves into as what James Dean said “What you got?” Until the point is reached when all you are doing is rebelling. You gain a new uniform, a new prison. Your prison becomes that of the “rebel”, the “free thinker”

The fruitfulness of our life depends in large measure on our ability to doubt our own words and to question the value of our own work. The man who completely trusts his own estimate of himself is doomed to sterility. All he asks of any act he performs is that it be his act. If it is performed by him, it must be good. All words spoken by him must be infallible. The car he just bought is the best for its price, for no other reason that he is the one who has bought it. He seeks no other fruit than his, and therefore he generally gets no other.

If we believe ourselves in part, we may be right about ourselves. If we are completely taken in by our own disguise, we cannot help being wrong.


–Thomas Merton

We exchange one strait jacket for another. Instead of embracing what is called the middle way. If we are rebelling we eventually miss the basic truth, the basic truth is we are all on the same boat. Spending your life preening and shouting “look at me, I am special, I think for myself, not like you” is great and dandy, but it really is childish. Like a teenager who dresses up as a punk or a Goth. Nihilism and solipsism only serve to embrace the self as opposed to the SELF. Spiritual masturbation serves no purpose, it may feel good, and seem good..But again, like a drug addict you have to carry on doing it perpetually; or you are back to square one.

Instead there is another way…you open yourself to the wind and fly like a kite, like a kite that is unrestrained..guided by the wind…taken and changed and moved by what is. Instead of fighting the wind and insisting that the wind does not exist. Like the Shakespearean king….you can try to hold back the sea all you like, you are really fooling yourself.

You wrote

” A distinct rejection of absolute moralism? What is wrong with seeing that what may be considered right yesterday may not
be right today (such as burning witches, jews, locking jews up in ghettos, killing in the name of religion, executing
homosexuals, not giving women the same rights as men, etc.). And what is wrong when thinking that what may be
acceptable may not be so tomorrow and that there is a better way? Is this “moral relativism” worse than the moral
absolutism that created the atrocities mentioned above?
Personal, not universal? What is wrong with accepting that there are many paths to spiritual growth and development and
that each person has a right to choose which is the best for them?

Now right and wrong are arguably subjective terms, yes I agree. In Gnosticism (as you’ll read below if you read it) there is no good and evil per se, there is more “levels of imperfection.” So what are we to do when faced with good and evil, morals and dogmas? We have discernment. Like a good parent would never hand a box of matches and gasoline to a child, we need to work out what is helpful and what is not. For the LHP there is often stated the phrase “nothing is wrong, everything is permissible.” This is the mantra of Chaos magicians, as I am sure you know. Well find and dandy, if we follow this logic, it means we should stick pencils in our ears and nose…after all it is not wrong, and ultimately will help in our spiritual development. Clearly this is absurd. Everything is permissible is nonsensical, an excuse for debauchery and to again bathe in temporary pleasures…back to taking drugs, again.

Your rejection is based upon the idea that absolute moralism=hatred. This is untrue. Anything taken to extremes and to an unswerving ascetic extreme is wrong. Atrocities are atrocities, and are again about the individual not the group. The individual hates the Jew and the homosexual. The individual wants them gone, dead, removed. These people are of the collective, the collective is the collective. By singling out the Jew, the witch, the homosexual…these acts are selfish. Suffer not a homosexual or Jew to live.

“The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.” –Adolf Hitler.

The act of purification, inquisition…again is serving a part of the collective, it is serving individuals. NIMBY or “Not In My Back Yard” mentality. “I do not mind homosexuals or blacks, as long as they don’t live near me.”

In the end LHP becomes miniature acts of solipsism, misanthropy and nihilism.
Solipsism is, well just plain “silly.” I have interacted with the non physical since I was child. Before I even knew what I was doing. So I reject solipsism.

Nihilism is rejection, to take it to a tongue in cheek extreme; I would say the ultimate goal of nihilism is suicide. I would argue nihilism is suicide on a smaller lesser “vibration.”

Just as Nihilism is suicide, misanthropy is purely selfish. But that is the LHP, “selfishness and indulgence.” There really is nothing else to the LHP at a fundamental underlying basic level. If Nihilism is suicide, then misanthropy in its embracing hatred of all mankind can only lead to one conclusion. Misanthropy requires you to kill everyone, but yourself…in order that you are more and more self empowered. Of course this never happens, but on a smaller level people try… Or as the rock star Marilyn Manson wrote “There’s no time to discriminate, hate every motherf****** that gets in your way.”

To conclude, this is what is wrong with the LHP, as you can see, I have indeed thought about this…for a very long time. I really do like to think for myself. But I am not afraid to admit and embrace knowledge, experience “energy” etc. that is far more wise, profound and simply BETTER than my self….as opposed to my SELF.


“To respect the personal aspect in man is to respect
his solitude, his right to think for himself, his need
to learn this, his need for love and acceptance by
other persons like himself. Here we are in the realm
of freedom and of friendship, of creativity and of
love. And it is here that religion begins to have a
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, (N.
Y: Doubleday, 1989) p 82.

Further (although flawed, but still interesting):



Dear Friends,

I am posting my response to a question in our Yahoo chat room about

the meaning of the term “archon.” I hope this very brief discussion

may interest you in finding more about the subject, perhaps in the

Nag Hammadi text “Hypostasis of the Archons.”

I will be posting a brief discussion before the end of the week in

combination with this one — What is an “Aeon”?


Here is the archon discussion:

An archon, sometimes translated as a “power,” is a spiritual entity

or force that serves the demiurge, the creator of the physical

world. To be really crude about it you could say they are bad

angels, but it is a lot more complicated than that.. just consider

them the forces that define and limit physical existence.

One of the Nag Hammadi texts is called the “Hypostasis of the

Archons,” and has a mythological discussion of their nature.

You know how in Christian mythology there are some beings

called “archangels?” That is borrowed from this same greek word,

meaning “ruler..” so an arch-angel is an angel that is really

powerful and rules over the others, whereas in Gnosticism the

archons are the “rulers of this world,” the princes of the world

that Christ referred to, for example, in the story of Christ being

tempted in the desert. The tempter shows him the world and promises

to give him the “principalities of the world” if he will bow down in

homage…and we would interpret those principalities as the realms

of the archons, so to speak.

The thing I should caution you against is thinking that they

are “demons” or something like that… there are no demons or devils

per se in Gnosticism, because ultimately there is no metaphysical

category of “evil,” just various forms of imperfection. The

demiurge is in some way the full realization of imperfection, just

as God is of perfection. The demiurge personifies and draws within

himself the ultimate manifestations of physical form, limitation,

physical space, time, as well as the dimensions of space-time, as

well as natural laws and natural processes that govern the physical

world — including the law that everything that lives must die.




Better than one thousand verses
Where no profit wings the word,
Is one solitary stanza
Bringing peace of mind when heard.

At the beginning were Two Principles, Good and Evil, Light and dankness also called Matter. Each of them was uncreated and beginningless, both the Good that is Light, and the Evil that is at the same time Dark ness and Matter, and they have nothing in common with one another. The Good is a Tree of Life; it occupies the regions of the East, West and North; the Evil is a Tree of Death (and) it occupies the Southern regions The difference between the Two Principles is as great as between a King and a pig the one lives in the places suited to him, as a royal palace; the other like a pig wallows in the mire, feeds and delights in decay, Or squats like a serpent in its lair. Like him, this pig and this serpent are born of themselves.


As for the things which exist perpetually and without beginning, each of them exists of its own nature. That is how the Tree of Life exists, which is there adorned with all its beauties and splendors , which is filled and clad with all its good things, firm and stable in its nature. His Earth contains three regions: that of the North which is outside and below, the East and the West, outside and below and beneath it there is nothing which could be plumbed or taken up by Him in any of these regions, but infinity is outside and below. There is no body outside, around or below infinity, nor in any one of these three regions, but He is of Himself below and outside at the North, the East and the West, and in these three regions nothing surrounds Him or encloses Him. But He is in Himself, of Himself enfolding His fruits in Himself, and the Royalty is in Him. He is not in the Southern region, and that because He is hidden in what is its bosom. God has, in fact, surrounded this place with a wall 1 and this wall is autophyte, that is, self subsisting.


His Light and His beauty are not visible, so as not to give occasions for desire to the Evil Tree that is in the South, and lest it be a cause for its excitement, torment and exposure to danger. But He is enclosed in His Glory, and because of His Goodness He gives w) occasion but He is protected by His Justice. And He is in this Glory, in being altogether continuously in the nature of His Greatness in the three regions.


Now by its (very) nature the Tree of Death has no life, nor has it any fruits of Goodness on any of its branches. And it is ever in the Southern region, and it too has its own place, namely that which is above it.

The Tree of Death is divided into a great number (of branches); war and cruelty are among them;
They are strangers to peace, filled with complete wickedness, and never have good fruits. It is divided against its fruits, and the fruits against the Tree; they are not united with what has borne them, but all produce corruption because of the corruption of their state; they are not subject to what has borne them, but the entire Tree is bad. It never does any good, but is divided against itself, and each of its parts corrupts what is near to it.


Now these things refer to Matter, to its fruits and its members; but the chance of ascending to the worlds of the Light was given them by their kev6lt. Indeed, these members of the Tree of Death did not know each other and had no idea of each other, for each of them knew nothing more than its own voice and they saw (only) what was before their eyes. When one cried; they heard; they perceived that, and hurled themselves impulsively towards the
sound they knew nothing else They were so excited and impelled, one by the other, as to reach the frontiers of the glorious World of Light.

When they saw that admirable and splendid spectacle, which is far superior to their own, they joined together and plotted against the Light in order to mingle with it Because of their madness they did not know that a mighty and strong God dwelt there , thus they tried to rise and to lift themselves because they had never noticed who God was. But because of this blessed. world they threw a frenzied look, and they thought it would become their own.

Then all the members of the Tree of Darkness, with its corrupting Matter, rose up and ascended with the many Powers whose number cannot be told. Now these members differed: some indeed had hard bodies and were of infinite size; others, incorporeal and intangible, had a subtle tangibility like the demons and ghostly apparitions. After raising itself, all Matter ascended, with its winds, its tempests, waters, demons, phantoms, its Rulers and Powers all earnestly seeking how they could enter into the Light.

Because of the disturbance, roused from the depths against the World of Light and against the holy fruits, it was necessary for a fragment. of the Light to come and mingle with these Wicked Ones, so that by means of the mixing the foes might be captured and there. might he peace for the Good, and that the Nature of the Good might be preserved, this blessed Nature having been saved from the fire of Matter and of the destroying corruption; that on the other hand the Lights be freed from Matter by the Power which had been mingled therein, so that Matter should be destroy-ed and the Tree of Life be God in all and over all.

In the World of Light, indeed, there was no burning Fire which could be thrown against the Evil, no sharp Iron existed, there were no drowning Waters nor any other such evil thing. Indeed, all is Light and a noble region and one could not injure (in) it. But there was this problem: that after being dispersed by the fragment detached from the Light, the enemies should stop their rush and be taken by means of the mingling.


–Manichaean (Severus on the “Two Sources”From Alfaric’s French.)




Evil only exists if we allow it to.  The demiurge exists if we awaken it within ourselves.  Evil is thus a choice.   Some argue about the problem of the dichotomy of good and evil.  I think from a certain level of being or perception this is true.  Much like duality itself. It is very true duality does exist.  Much like seeing the world through Newtonian science.


With gnosis and a deeper understanding we move to a different view (quantum science in the above example).  Philip tells us that good and evil are brothers, but that good is not good and evil is not evil.


“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.”


 This to my mind tells us that good and evil are a part of mundane consciousness, agnosia (without gnosis).  At the top of the mountain we see that evil is indeed false..and truly nothing like good.  Good in this instance is no longer the brother of evil…good is BEYOND good and evil.


Much like the I before gnosis is I and we, after Gnosis it is I, as there is no we. There is only I.


So good and evil only exist because we allow them to exist, through our actions and our perceptions.  Some would argue good and evil are purely subjective terms. however it is clear is you bathe in poop you are not going to smell like a rose…you can scream all you like, you are still going to smell like poop.


GOOD which is beyond good and evil…when we see the big picture..when all is joined, into a monad..To the point of the ineffable, where there is no concepts, no words….. is thus VERY different to evil…


and yes thus GOOD is akin to evil as a king is to a pig….this really IS true.


All concepts are ultimately false, thus good and evil truly are false.  The GOOD is the Tao, the way of the Father…etc.  This really is far different from “good and evil.”


So the world really is evil, a carcass as the gosp of Thomas tells us…because we are seeing the world not as it really is….


As the Basildeans tell us, “all is the pleroma.”




So the world really is evil, a carcass as the gosp of Thomas tells us…because we are seeing the world not as it really is….


As the Basildeans tell us, “all is the pleroma.”


We see this further explored in Philip logion 2.  Discussed is being of the light land and not of the light land. The dead inherit the dead, the living inherit the living.  Truly to be of the Father evil is so unlike “good” there really is no point in even considering them as “brothers.”


These themes can be of course found elsewhere..in Gnostic and non Gnostic texts.


But that is how I see things.


There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.

Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.

Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.

It’s easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love,

All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

All you need is love (all together now)

All you need is love (everybody)

All you need is love, love, love is all you need.


2a The Slave only seeks to be Free, he does not expect to receive the property of his lord. The Son not only acts as a Son, but claims his father’s legacy for himself.

2b Those who inherit the dead are themselves dead, and so they inherit those dead. Those who inherit the living ones are alive and they inherit the living one along with those who are dead. The dead do not inherit anything, for how can someone who is dead inherit the dead? If he who is dead inherits the living he shall not die, but the dead shall be alive.


–Phillip Smith


The slave seeks only to be free, but he does not hope to acquire the estate of his master. But the son is not only a son but lays claim to the inheritance of the father. Those who are heirs to the dead are themselves dead, and they inherit the dead. Those who are heirs to what is living are alive, and they are heirs to both what is living and the dead. The dead are heirs to nothing. For how can he who is dead inherit? If he who is dead inherits what is living he will not die, but he who is dead will live even more.



The slave desires freedom; the extent of his master’s wealth is of little importance.

The Son, he who is Son, posses the heritage of the Father.  To inherit from the dead is to die, to inherit from the living is to live.

The Living One gives us birth and death as our heritage. The dead do not inherit; how could they inherit? If the dead were to inherit from the living, they would live.



2.  The slave seeks only to be set free, yet he does not seek after the estate of his master. Yet the son not only acts as a son, but also the father ascribes the inheritance to him.

3.  Those who inherit the dead are themselves dead, and they inherit the dead. Those who inherit the Living-One are alive, and they inherit both the living and the dead. The dead do not inherit anything. For how will the dead inherit? When the dead inherits the Living-One, he shall not die but rather the dead shall instead live.

–Patterson Brown


A slave longs for freedom

and doesn’t hope to own a master’s estate.

A child claims the father’s legacy,

But those who inherit the dead are dead.

Heirs to the living are alive

and are heirs to life and death.

The dead are heirs to nothing.

How can the dead inherit?

Yet if the dead inherits the living,

the living wont die and the dead will survive.



A slave seeks only to be free and does not seek the master’s estate.

For a child it is not enough to be a child, but a child claims the father’s inheritance.

Heirs to the dead are dead, and what they inherit is dead. Heirs to the living are alive, and they inherit both the living and the dead. The dead inherit nothing, for how could a dead person inherit? If a dead person inherits the living, the living will not die and the dead will come to life.




Genesis 15:

 2Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”

 3And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”



John 8


 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.

 36“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

 37“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.

 38“I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”