Jim Bauer wrote:
I would like to close this little set of ideas with a number of questions: what precisely is the mind-body problem in Thomas? ...Oriental philosophy....
In regard to the (Taoist) Dao there are several references throughout the Nag Hammadi that could be exact descriptions of the philosophies from the Dao-yin 163 B.C. The major departure is the relationship of the soul in the Gnostic texts. The Dao does not recognize a difference in the soul as separate from the spirit. There is also a difference in the thoughts concerning the mind and its relationship to the body.
In terms of the Dao the mind and the body are seen more as the same entity, and even today in China mental illness is mostly treated with the idea the illness can be treated through treatment to the body.
In Mary the mind is seen as a tool which sees the 'vision' between the soul and the spirit. In many spiritual models throughout the world we see a mind, body, spirit composite. The Gnostic Gospels make it clear the soul is a factor in this model. This is a similar perspective to the Daoist cosmology but it also makes it unique to itself.
The roll of spirit changes in the model the Nag Hammadi suggests. In the Daoist model the spirit is seen to flow throughout the body through different body organs, then to the mind. In the Gnostic model (Nag Hammadi) the spirit flows through the soul, mind and body. The soul is seen as a receptive tool. (Exegesis of the Soul) Spirit is seen as both internal and external to the body. (A of James)
The SMSB (Soul, Mind, Spirit, and Body) model of the Gnostic texts make the flow of spirit a tool for the mind, and soul that can be applied as a meditative tool. In the Daoist model meditation is focused on the mind/body (organs). With the SMSB meditation can be focused on the spirit and the soul. I believe the "Discourse of the 8th and 9th" make it reasonably clear that meditation on this model is its primary aim:
"My father, yesterday you promised me that you would bring my mind into the eighth and afterwards you would bring me into the ninth. You said that this is the order of the tradition."
I am currently working on meditation specific to the SMSB based upon the Nag Hammadi model. If interested please contact me privately.
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