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The Ineffable

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  • Tom Saunders
    The Ineffable by Thomas M. Saunders Ineffable means: (American Heritage Dictionary).... 1.. Incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable. See
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 12, 2005
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      The Ineffable
      Thomas M. Saunders

      Ineffable means: (American Heritage Dictionary)....
      1.. Incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable. See Synonyms at unspeakable.

      2.. Not to be uttered; taboo: "the ineffable name of God."
      Recent research of Gnostic works has revealed that many Gnostic works refer to monad, meaning 'one,' and are studies of the monad or Monadologies, known from the time of Pythagoras, 500 BCE. Pythagoreans where familiar with Eastern ideas of the Tao, and I Ching. (Early Greek Philosophy,Barnes, Penguin, 2000, See Pythagoras, Empedocles, and 5th Century Pythagoreans.) There have been some misconceptions on the relation of the concepts of the Tao (Taoist Philosophy), and the relationship to other monadologies. The Tao and the description of the Monad in many works lay the same claim, they are both 'ineffable.'

      The concepts of internal and external, ascending and descending, in and out, up and down, become muddled between the concepts of rest and motion. The value of the trigram, and the value of lesser Yin and Yang to complete the four directions are also confused because these concepts are in different values, or effected by different essential elements in the paradigm.

      One cause for the confusion is that two concepts must be understood in reading monadologies, Aphorist philosophy, and Scientific philosophy. These terms come from the 5th B.C. Pythagorean school of philosophy, and represent two different standpoints in monadological study. Aphorism is always a part of Taoist writings, and apparently Pythagorean writing, and 1st Century Christian writings like the "Gospel of Thomas," the "Apocryphon of John," and the "Valentinean Exposition," to name a few. We get the term Monadology from the work of the 17th century philosopher, Gottfried Leibnitz, who coined the phrase in modern Philosophy with works that rival Newton. (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

      The Scientist (Pythagorean) is more prone to the explanations given to the mathematical Pythagorean description of the right angles in a triangle. "In right angled triangles, the square on the side opposite to the right angle is equal to the squares on the sides next to the right angle." (Early Greek Philosophy, Penguin, p.170) Aphorist writing is by its design more illusive in its meanings.

      The above Scientific conclusion could have a dozen Pythagorean Aphorist parallels that are not understood until they are explained or discovered. This is the 'way' Taoist teachings are traditionally presented, as with Lau Tzu's, "Tao Te Ching." These concepts developed over time, test, and trial.

      A triangle or triad is described in the Pythagorean "Table of Ten Numbers" as: "This number is called wisdom, because men organize the present, foresee the future, and benefit by the experiences of the fast. It is cause of wisdom and understanding. The triad is the number of knowledge--music, geometry, and astronomy, and the science of the celestials and terrestrials. Pythagoras taught that the cube of this number had the power of the lunar circle.

      The sacredness of the triad and its symbol--the triangle--is derived from the fact that it is made up of the monad and the duad. The monad is the symbol of the Divine Father and the duad of the Great Mother. The triad being made of these two is therefore androgynous and is symbolic of the fact that God gave birth to His worlds out of Himself, who in His creative aspect is always symbolized by the triangle. The monad passing into the duad was thus capable of becoming the parent of progeny, for the duad was the womb of Meru, within which the world was incubated and within which it still exists in embryo.

      The triad--3--is the first number actually odd (monad not always being considered a number). It is the first equilibrium of unities; therefore, Pythagoras said that Apollo gave oracles from a tripod, and advised offer of libation three times."

      The use of oracles, or prophecy is also parallel to the I Ching's use of trigrams in methods of using the I Ching with cards, sticks , dice, coins, and other things that represent the structure of the I Ching, in divination or prophecy.

      The I Ching is based upon the 8 humps of the "River Dragon" which is a turtle common in the "Yellow" river in China. The use of the 8 humps was seen by Emperor Fu Hsi, as the basis for using the number 8 to build the I Ching. From the frame of the 8 trigrams, which represents Wu Chi, which would be the empty frame, we can descend into the paradigm, and see the 8 trigrams. Then we descend further into the paradigm and see the Yin and Yang circle, which represents Tai Chi, or the great force, within the circle and power of Wu Chi. (I Ching, Craze, Sterling, 2000)

      The union of Yin and Yang represent one. This allegory is very illusive, because the concept of "One" in the I Ching is hard to grasp when there are more than one entity to consider in the form of structure. Further the use of the term duality in Yin and Yang comparisons is also misleading. In the Yin and Yang paradigm is the union and separation of the two forces. This makes a trinity, or tripartite structure, which is referred to in the "Apocryphon of John," as the Father, Mother, and Son. This trilogy is also seen as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost or Spirit, is allegorically seen as Sophia or Wisdom, in Gnostic texts. (The analogy of Father, Wu Chi, Son, Tai Chi, and Tau, Holy Ghost might also be made. (See "The Jesus Sutras, Palmer, Ballantine, 2001, which might suggest this analogy was made.)

      The Gospel of John, the term Word is used meaning Logos, which is seen as the same meaning as 'Tao.' ( The Way of Gigong, Cohen, Glossary of Terms) Tao can also mean "Way," which was also used by Early Christians, however the use of the term is still not directly connected to the East and West, yet. The alignment of Pythagorean Philosophy with Eastern Philosophy can be noted in the influence of Persian teachers for Empedocles and other influential Pythagoreans. (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, See Empedocles)

      In the Gnostic texts, "All things are seen to emanate from the Pleroma {heaven, or "One"}. (Gospel of Truth) This statement holds for both the I Ching and the Pythagorean monadologies. This concept speaks to ascending or building from the concept of "One" in the I Ching, and the Monad, in the Christian, and Pythagorean models. Building from the "One" can also be seen as "Ascending." This is clear in the Pythagorean system of one to ten.

      From the concept of the "One," or emanating from it, we can see another perception or contemplation building which is different than the "Descending" model, which starts from the outer frame, of the '8 Dragon Humps,' or the "Ten Aeons" constructed in the "Apocryphon of John" from the Monad. These two perspectives have to become one to be understood, the references in the monadologies to the concept of dualities are too numerous to mention. Up becomes down, and visa versa, then it becomes sideways, all the way to the allegorical reference, of 'ten thousand things,' (Lau Tzu), all from the power or "Polarity" of the "One" or the Monad.

      How does one achieve clarity?

      Empedocles is noted for establishing the roots of essential elements, fire, water, earth, and air. (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, IEP). These elements are also seen as essential elements in the I Ching. (Craze) The idea of essential elements may differ in the Pythagorean, and Gnostic Christian works, including the outer frames of 8 and 10 elements. It should be noted that these concepts in both Eastern and Western Philosophy did not come from just one person or one time, but evolved over time from Pythagoras, and Lau Tzu to the First Century. They have many parallels.

      The element of water is used throughout the texts of the Gnostic Gospels and the Tao Te Ching. The allegory is in different forms of bubbling springs, ripples on the pond, and 'Reflection' on the calm mirror like pools of tranquillity. The reflection is the symbol of 'clarity.' In terms of water, clarity or reflection requires tranquillity, or calmness of the mind, like liquid in a cup or platter that reflects an image. This calmness in the I Ching, the Gnostic Gospels, and many aphorisms in Philosophy in general are harmonic in this analogy.

      Now let us examine the Scientist and the triangle, and the Aphoristic qualities of the triad. If an Aphorist poses a theorem, and the Scientist looks at it, and understands the allegory of the description, and it is sound by his own calculations, then they are in harmony. If the Aphorist has missed a Scientific description, then the Scientist can show the Aphorist is Sophic, or incorrect. If the Aphorist sees a flaw in the Scientific theorem, then the Scientist is the Sophic. The harmony or the 'calm' is in the balance of the two.

      How is the Scientist, and the Aphorist in harmony when the triangle is three points? How can this be related to the Pythagorean Theorem? The Aphorist looks for the reflection of the triangle and sees the two becoming one. The triangle can change its shape, but it cannot change its form. When the two sides, the reflection and the triangle become one, they become the quadrangle. This is the outer form, or the external.

      The Pythagorean Theorem is an inner reflection. It is the measurement of the inside of the triangle, and it is therefore an internal reflection. Understanding this is like a reflection in the same paradigm as the ascending and descending models, in Pythagorean and Yin and Yang analogies. Lau Tzu says, "Empty yourself of everything, Let the mind be still. The ten thousand things rise and fall, while the Self watches their return" (Tau Te Ching, No 16 a., Feng/English, Vintage, p. 18.)

      The inner reflection is analogous to the Psyche. The outer reflection is like the Kosmos or Kenoma, in modern terms, like a broad understanding of the Environment. This would include the ideas of the Tao, Pythagoreans, and Gnostic Christians that 'man is part of heaven and earth.' (Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, and the 'Kenpo Gokui,' see the Bubishi, McCarthy, Tuttle, 1995, 'Eight Precepts of Kenpo')

      This is what is meant by Clarity..... Like that I mention above and below.......
      Thomas Saying 2. Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

      'Rest' in the Gnostic sense means perfection, or the reflective state where all the elements are neatly aligned. This is the idea the model of the I Ching is designed, and referred to as the "Heaven Sequence". (Craze) Motion reflects the state we see the world in, like ripples on the pond. We are in constant motion, rest is only an illusion, although one that feels good.

      Thomas Saying 50. Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.' If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.' If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"

      Lau Tzu defines the term "Ineffable" when he states in (32), "The Tau is forever Undefined....Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea." (Feng /English) He means it is therefor unseeable, i.e. ineffable.

      Further Reading:

      The Nag Hammadi Library, Robinson, Harper, 1988.
      Ten Great Works of Philosophy, Wolfe , Signet, 2002
      Early Christian Mystics, McGinn/McGinn, Crossroads, 2003
      The Jesus Sutras, Palmer, Ballantine, 2001
      Hidden Wisdom, Smoley/Kinney, Penguin, 1999
      The Bible of Karate, Bubishi, McCarthy, Tutle, 1995
      The Gospel of Mary Magdala, King, Polebridge, 2003
      The Gospel of Philip, Leloup, Inner Traditions, 2003
      The Gospel of Thomas, and Christian Wisdom, Davies, Bardic, 2005
      Early Greek Philosophy, Barnes, Penguin, 2000.
      Tao Te Ching, Lau Tzu, Feng/English,Vintage, 1972
      Secret Tactics, Tabata, Tuttle, 2005

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