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Re: Reply to Cari

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  • Gerry
    ... life who was obsessed with death; he felt God had cheated him out explanations for his life and eventual death. After slipping in and out of consciousness
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 15, 2009
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gvasquezneo" <gvasquezneo@...> wrote:

      >
      > I'm going to reply in a roundabout way. Forgive me.
      >
      > My father-in-law died recently. He was an militant atheist all his life who was obsessed with death; he felt God had cheated him out explanations for his life and eventual death. After slipping in and out of consciousness in the hospital he told his daughter " I have fought with death my whole life and it's such a little thing". I'll come back to this in a bit.
      >
      > The Buddha is now considered an avatar of Vishnu by Hinduism, but way back he was considered a heretic because he did not believe that the personal soul, the Atman, was identical with Brahman— God. He felt their was no Atman at all. By extension this would mean we are Brahman. The Secret Book of John, I feel, is about this. We are a discreet fragment of God, like a wave in the ocean.
      >
      > Stephan A. Hoeller in one of his lectures talks about the Gnostic sacrament of the Bridal Chamber which is now lost. Maybe this was the marriage of the personal soul with the universal soul ending in the unifying realization that we and God are the same.
      >
      > Now getting back to my father-in-law. Maybe he saw that he was a figment in God's imagination, a kind of character in a dream before he died. Maybe that is why death was such a little thing to him then.
      >
      > Maybe this world is a game with rules—rules of duality, diversity, and adversity. But outside none of these apply. If this is true, the demiurge being evil or God being good is inapplicable since these labels are dual in nature. It's like a piece on a monopoly board (the game) thinking it can understand our motives by studying the cards or the board, or by buying all the hotels, or utilities. It can't get anywhere until it looks up and sees an utterly foreign world outside its scope of understanding.
      >
      > I feel getting overly caught up in what's good or what's evil, keeps us on the game board, and I feel some Gnostics, Buddhists, Kabbalists, Neoplatonists have fallen into those judgments. BUT I FEEL THERE WERE GREAT EXCEPTIONS LIKE VALENTINUS. LIKE BUDDHA or JESUS of NAZARETH. I think they saw duality as a trap.
      >
      > One example of "anthropomorphic bent" is the idea that being good or righteous, a Hassid in Kabbalah, will give you gnosis. I just don't think so. I you are compassionate that might tear down the differences between you and your fellow man, and might expedite gnosis. But if it is used to separate yourself from your fellow man as it often is, it may delay it indefinitely. After all if you are good then someone else must be bad. That is duality.
      >
      > I just feel the "real" is like what is described in the Tao Te Jing – ephemeral, indescribable, irrational, and utterly boundless. A place both scary and incredible.
      >
      > I apologize if I came off "preachy".
      >

       

      I don't think you came off "preachy" at all, George.  Your elaborations helped.  I'm fond of the quote Cari used to explain the use of Gnostic imagery, even in Valentinian writings.  Personally, I think that such symbolism can be misconstrued in virtually any religious system.  I'm also quite fond of the Tao Te Jing, and even used a verse from it in the holiday card I sent out last year.  It took me a while though to find one that really resonated with me, and with the message I was trying to convey.  There were many that I felt fell short of the Infinite and Indescribable that I have come to appreciate from both Eastern AND Western approaches.  I'm getting ready to head off for an extended weekend out of town, but I'll try to find some of my materials and take them along; maybe I can find you an example or two of what I'm talking about.

      Gerry

    • pmcvflag
      Hey gvasquezneo, welcome to the group. You state; ... adversity. But outside none of these apply. If this is true, the demiurge being evil or God being good is
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 15, 2009
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        Hey gvasquezneo, welcome to the group. You state;

        >>Maybe this world is a game with rules—rules of duality, diversity, and
        adversity. But outside none of these apply. If this is true, the demiurge being evil or God being good is inapplicable since these labels are dual in nature. It's like a piece on a monopoly board (the game) thinking it can understand our motives by studying the cards or the board, or by buying all the hotels, or utilities. It can't get anywhere until it looks up and sees an utterly foreign world outside its scope of understanding.<<

        It may be worth exploring the possibility that the Gnostics were intentionally using a literary device. What I mean is, do you think it is possible that they were well aware that the language and mythological structure they created was not completely literally accurate? I think the quote that Cari posted for you could certainly be read as a sort of warning to keep this in mind.

        Also, to add to this speculation is the fact that some Gnostic texts speak of the high "Father" in apophatic terms. That is to say they describe it as not good or evil, dark or light, big or small and not part of our existance in the Kenoma. If we then see the same father talked about as "good" it could simply be that there is an attempt to explain something as best as language will allow.

        Just a thought.
        PMCV
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