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Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: mind cessation

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  • Scott Fraser
    ... From: pmcvflag To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com Date: Saturday, 1 May 2004 17:37 Subject:
    Message 1 of 35 , May 1, 2004
      -----Original Message-----
      From: pmcvflag <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
      To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com <gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Saturday, 1 May 2004 17:37
      Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: mind cessation

      Now Scott, you get to a meaty subject....

      << Scott: Maybe we can compare this understanding to Jesus'
      statement from the Gospel of Thomas: "Woe to the body that depends
      on the soul and woe to the soul that depends on the body". By tying
      itself to the body and physical senses, the mind/psyche becomes a
      purely contingent phenomenon. The soul, in the unenlightened human,
      is therefore, in a very real sense, *generated* entirely by the body
      and the senses. Our sense of self is likewise inseparable from the
      body. We are 'this" body, "this" person and not another. When we
      depend on the soul/mind, it tells us we are this body and its
      perception, that there is in fact NO DIFFFERENCE between body and
      mind. This sort of perception is what separates us also from the
      deeper mystical states and the possibility of spiritual re-birth,
      since the mind is directed outward instead of separating itself from
      the body/senses in the act of introspection or meditation which
      leads it to its source.

      > Plato equates spirit with true philosophy. That love of Sophia is
      > the pure intellectual process of genuine logic and experience in
      > objective context of that logic.... beyond agendas of personal
      > desire. The scientist/philosopher then, is the Pneumatic who looks
      > at the essence, the spirit of reality, an a true intellectual way
      > rather than simply a rational way. This is because the spirit is
      > led by physical agenda. Stopping the animal mind would not be the
      > same as stopping THINKING in the case of Plato's definition.

      <<Scott: This sounds something like a "pure philosphy", of intellect
      or thought separating itself from the "content" of thought. Form
      made separate from content. In Plato, philsosphy means something
      like the contemplation of universal forms. The intellect divorces
      itself from concrete, *particular* sense objects ie "this beautiful
      object* and contemplates the universal form underlying this sensual
      experience..ie Beauty itself. This is exactly what happens in
      meditation, specifically Pratyahara, or sense withdrawal. If carried
      far enough, this process leads to the cessation of our particular
      psychological conciousness, since it is deprived of content or the
      objective forms that feed its existence and activity. But this is
      where philsosphy, even in its highest sense, is superceded by
      meditation. There is something *beyond* Platonic forms, universal
      archetypes, and only true mystics who have gone beyond thought have
      known this ultimate reality. The intellect is necessary *up to a
      point* though. Beyond this point, words and language automatically
      fall away and deeper levels of being are experienced, eventually
      culminating in union with the Divine within us >>

      Sure there is something beyond the Forms, it is called the Prime
      <<Scott: That is still something nameable. If you can name it, your mind can form an image of it. The thing that is doing the naming, rather than the thing that is named is what interests me.  Jesus says in one text that he will teach his disciples, "what has not entered into mind at all"..ie what is beyond name and form.

      <<Scott: Perhaps, we should stop thinking of these things as merely
      ideas stated in different languages and cultures and try thinking of
      them as timeless experiences. Surely the *similarities* strike you
      as more than haphazard coincidence>>. Of course cultural
      discrepancies will creep in, but we are obviously dealing with the
      same underlying truths here.<<<

      Here is the difference, Scott, the Gnostic scriptures don't anywhere
      that I can remember describe Gnosis AS this mystical exprience that
      you equate it with here. It is certainly an ASPECT of Gnosis, but
      where does it state that it is Gnosis in and of itself?
      <<Scott: I don't know. By Gnosis I mean knowledge, and a direct knowledge, knowledge by aquaintance with the thing known. Or knowledge that is so direct that it actually dissolves the knower and the known in a mystical union which is at the same time liberating. I think Jesus sums it up in (yes, again) John 17 -- "And this is salvation, that they *know* you, the only true God...". So, as has already been said by every scholar it is knowledge that has a soteriological value.
      Some of the
      descriptions of the baptismal experience certainly seems to equate
      it with the mystical experience, but consider the place of Baptism
      in some of the texts... obviously we see a discrepency here. What I
      am trying to bring into question here is the specific context of the
      prime goal of Gnosticism... I.E., Gnosis. If we can't equate Gnosis
      with this kind of blank mind mystical experience, then
      overemphasizing that experience would be against the Gnostic beleif
      <<Scott: We should look at a few texts that are considered gnostic and actually deal with what gnosis is, and how salvation is acheived. So far, all I have talked about is a single quote by Cari. What of other texts? Thomas has Jesus say that no one will enter the kingdom of God at his bidding, "but only because you yourselves have become full". Full of what? Is this fullness related to the "Pleroma"? Since it leads to the kingdom of God/heaven, I'm assuming it as at least one description of salvation in gnosticism.
      Do we have to empty ourselves of something else before we can full ourselves with whatever Jesus is talking about? C.f "You do not put *new wine* into old skins"...you first empty yourself of old wine, or renew the skin. This "becoming full" that Jesus mentions....what does it mean? It is obviously a process. But is it a technique? Jesus says he can't do it for us. Or at least, that we have to do our part. If you do not want to discuss this text, let's look at other texts that deal with what salvation is, and what gnosis is. I am taking a non-scholarly interest in this subject. I consider knowledge of this type vital to the survival and eventual regeneration of the entire human race.

      Perhaps it is possible that Gnostics did not consider the experience
      in and of itself to be "truth", but only a stepping stone on the
      way? Just a possibility to ponder.


    • Gregory D Torres
      I agree with you on your opion on how important history is. Those who dont remember the past are doomed. After 15 years of research on the nature of people. I
      Message 35 of 35 , May 6, 2004
        I agree with you on your opion on how important
        history is. Those who dont remember the past are
        doomed. After 15 years of research on the nature of
        people. I have found that we all judge every thing and
        everyone. It is the way that one goes about it that
        maters.This will have a negative or poitive influence
        on the responce they will get. BE kind and choose
        carfully the words you use to judge...

        aude sepre

        --- lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "synthesehalevi"
        <synthesehalevi@y...> wrote:
        > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > BTW, Scott, I realized there are a couple of
        points I did not
        > > (due to your formatting problems)
        > >
        > > you state...
        > >
        > > >>There is no evidence that these are *levels* of
        initiation or
        > > initiations at all. We do not know if they were
        *seuqential* or
        > > *progressive* (stepping stone) or any such thing.
        > > perhaps, but that's about as much as we can say
        with any
        > >
        > > SO, by your reasoning we could equally state that
        Gnostics meant
        > > leave the pneumatic behind and find hylicism.
        Actually, Philip
        > > states quite explicitly that the person reaches
        levels in a
        > > sequential order. Gentile, Jew, then Christian.
        AND, all the
        > > agree that the bridal chamber does not happen
        before baptism.
        > > for me a single scholor that does not agree that
        these are
        > > initiatory levels, or a single source that
        disagrees with the
        > > intances that ARE stated.
        > > PMCV
        > Hi -
        > What about the actual EXPERIENCE of the living
        Gnosis, as opposed
        to scholarly theses about It?
        > From what I have gleaned during the past few days of
        reading the
        recent posts, only Scott Fraser is demonstrating some
        experience of Gnosis. The rest of the contributing
        members seem to be
        quite content in theorizing, academiciszing about it.
        > To me this seems to be the difference between a
        psychic and
        pneumatic (true Gnostic). This is all okay, of course,
        but as the
        wisdom of Dirty Harry testifies: "A man has to know
        his limitations!"
        > Would it not be wise to listen and seek through a
        man who
        demonstrates some actual living experience?
        > Even a dumb mule can carry lots of books!
        > Sincerely,
        > y

        y ~

        I was tempted to delete this post, as I find it
        inflammatory, but I
        decided to respond to make a point. You are a new
        member. You read
        a few posts and disparagingly decide whom to label
        psychic or
        pneumatic. I find that rather sophomoric and not at
        all encouraging
        respectful, constructive dialogue. Oh, surely, there
        have been
        other members who have suggested these labels of other
        group members
        during discussion. They have usually been less
        direct. I still view
        it as heckling and not acceptable in our group.
        Whether or not
        anyone even might be considered hylic, psychic, or
        pneumatic is not a
        reason for insensitive criticism.

        Perhaps I need to yet again reiterate the focus of our
        group. The
        focus of our group is historical, classical
        Gnosticism. This focus
        does not mean that we are only a history club. We
        invite those who
        wish to discuss their personal paths, to discuss
        Gnosis, "their
        actual EXPERIENCE of the living Gnosis." BUT, in our
        group this
        discussion is compared/contrasted to those historical
        Gnostics. We
        discuss within a *context*. Now, y, how can we do
        that if we don't
        try to explore what those Gnostics said, thought,
        experienced? Did
        they become "one with God," but still maintain a faith
        in atonement
        theology? Not to my knowledge. Did they become "one
        with God" and
        believe that "all is one" in a pantheistic or
        solipsistic sense? Not
        to my knowledge. How do I know that? I find out
        information through
        reading original sources in addition to academic
        exegesis provided by
        people who care to take the time to explore these
        ancients. I also
        learn much from discussion with others. And, in the
        end, my own
        experience comes into play when interpreting this

        Members in this group are here for a variety of
        reasons. Some are
        following a path of Gnosis and wish to share with
        others; some are
        just curious and would like to find out more
        information. There are
        many internet lists that define Gnosis very broadly
        and are in
        existence for the sole purpose of discussing inner
        spiritual paths.
        We choose to do so within a specific context, one that
        needs to be
        discussed at times in order to describe and relate to
        it. So, please
        do not be misled into thinking that reading a few
        posts will give you
        insight into the spirit within this group. Not all
        members even care
        to openly discuss their personal paths. That is their
        On the other hand, we are not looking for
        proselytizers or gurus. We
        all learn from each other here.

        And, it is our prerogative to insist that you desist
        from identifying
        group members categorically according to your
        perception of their
        grasp of Gnosis.

        Thank you.


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