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[gthomas] Jesus' Spiritual Practices.

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  • joseph baxter
    ... First let s be clear about what is meant by meditation practices. What are sometimes known as meditation practices does not mean it is meditation. For
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 6, 1999
      At 01:04 AM 5/18/99 -0400, you wrote:
      >Is there any credible evidence that suggests that Jesus practiced
      >meditation in any form similar to anything that is practiced in our time?

      First let's be clear about what is meant by meditation practices. What are
      sometimes known as meditation practices does not mean it is meditation. For
      example, from a Hindu standpoint, meditation is synonymous wit "going to
      God." This is a very high state. By contrast, doing a mantra may be a
      practice to lead to meditation, but it is not meditation itself.

      Secondly, from a Buddhist standpoint (and possibly from a Taoist
      standpoint, but I know less about Taoist practices) meditation is something
      one does, not for a half-hour, or whatever, a day, but all your waking hours.

      Let me now summarize some of the GOT evidence:

      (1.) The Yeshu practices seem definitely maverick. This is consistent with
      quite a bit of GOT, e.g.,

      66 Jesus said, "Show me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the

      (2.) Probably the closest contemporary comparable to the Yeshuine practices
      are the Taoist practices. Vide:

      6 His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How
      should we pray? Should
      we give to charity? What diet should we observe?"

      Jesus said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are
      disclosed before heaven.
      After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is
      nothing covered up that will
      remain undisclosed."

      41 Jesus said, "Whoever has something in hand will be given more, and
      whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little they have."

      67 Jesus said, "Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are
      utterly lacking."

      70 Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will
      save you. If you do not have
      that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you."

      These are just a few examples and are not meant to be comprehensive. The
      sayings, however, are consistent with the philosophy underlying Taoist
      meditation practices. For example, it is said that for the first few days
      of Taoist meditation practices the practictioner sleeps a lot, as opposed
      to meditation practices, say of Zen, where one fights the tendency to sleep.

      (3.) Notwithstanding what I just said, many of the sayings have a Zen koan
      aspect to them. So in this sense there is a parallel to Zen practice.

      (4.) Note the practice proscribed by 27:

      "If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the kingdom. If you
      do not observe the
      sabbath as a sabbath you will not see the Father."

      Practicing the sabbath is seen as a paradigm for fasting from the world.
      This is a very interesting practice, and is in fact similar to certain
      Buddhist vipassana meditation practices. In particular, the practice of
      fasting from the world is akin to practicing the Third Noble Truth through
      a vipassana meditation practice.

      (5.) Some of the sayings suggest a practice of vigilence. This is somwhat
      comparable to Buddhist vipassana practice. Buddha, for example, compared
      mindfulness practice to having an axe always theatening to chop one's head off.

      (6.) Note 22:6:

      ". . . when you make eyes in place
      of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image
      in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

      This very accurately describes a state achieved in Buddhist vipassana

      (7.) Many of the saying also parallel the meditation practices of Hindu
      teachers like Ramanamaharhsi, e.g., those which refer to what is sometimes
      known as the Self.

      With kind regards,


      >For example -- Here are three sayings that relate to practice
      >6) His disciples questioned Him and said to Him, "Do you want us to fast?
      >How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet shall we observe?"
      >Jesus said, "Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things
      >are plain in the sight of Heaven. For nothing hidden will not become
      >manifest, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered."
      >104) They said [to Jesus], "Come, let us pray today and let us fast."
      >Jesus said, "What is the sin that I have committed, or wherein have I been
      >defeated? But when the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber, then let them
      >fast and pray
      >14) Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will give rise to sin for
      >yourselves; and if you pray, you will be condemned; and if you give alms,
      >you will do harm to your spirits. When you go into any land and walk about
      >in the districts, if they receive you, eat what they will set before you,
      >and heal the sick among them. For what goes into your mouth will not
      >defile you, but that which issues from your mouth - it is that which will
      >defile you."
      >Let us say --for argument's sake --that the word "pray" could be related to
      >meditation. The GOT Jesus seems to be against prayer!
      >Our focus on this list is on the GOT. I ask a simple question ---- is
      >there anything in the GOT that indicates that Jesus practiced or advocated
      >any form of meditation as we might understand it? Is there evidence that he
      >was AGAINST meditation as a path to the Kingdom?
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