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Re: [neoplatonism] Gnosis in (neo-)platonism

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  • Avyorth
    From: Marilynn Lawrence Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 2:34 PM ... Thanks for that, Marilynn. A most useful summation of Gnosticism
    Message 1 of 65 , Jan 27, 2006
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      From: "Marilynn Lawrence" <pronoia@...>
      Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 2:34 PM

      > Avyorth,
      > For a general online resource on gnosticism in western
      > philosophy, I recommend our list moderator's article :
      > http://www.iep.utm.edu/g/gnostic.htm

      Thanks for that, Marilynn. A most useful summation of Gnosticism although it
      doesn't seem to address my question of the place/role, if any, of the word
      'gnosis' within (neo-)Platonism.

      > P.S. I have seen the Sanskrit term 'Jnana' translated as
      > 'wisdom', and this type of yoga was contrasted with other
      > forms of yoga such as bhakti and hatha. What fell under
      > this term did not seem to me to be non-discursive, since it
      > included knowledge of such things as yugas and cosmology.

      Yes, you're correct about the use of the word 'jnana' within the Hindu
      'yogic' traditions, but its use within the Mahayana/Vajrayana Buddhist
      traditions is different. If you go to:


      and type in ye shes (which is the Tibetan equivalent) you'll get some idea
      of its meaning within those traditions. You'll also see that it is
      translated as 'gnosis'.


    • Avyorth
      From: Kees Voorhoeve Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 9:44 AM ... Indeed! I have dipped into Matrix Of Mystery several times but
      Message 65 of 65 , Feb 6, 2006
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        From: "Kees Voorhoeve" <keesvoorhoeve@...>
        Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 9:44 AM

        > I have participated in Buddhist groups and the same time studied
        > phenomenology. I started with Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty.
        > At the momenet I am reading with much pleasure books of Jean-Luc
        > Marion (Being Given. Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness) and Michel
        > Henry (I Am the Truth. Toward a Philosophy of Christianity). So when
        > I stumbled in the past on Guenther, I was enthusiastic to see a
        > combination of Buddhism and phenomenology. I agree that it is very
        > difficult. Especially the `Matrix of Mystery : Scientific and
        > Humanistic Aspects of rDzogs-chen Thought'.

        Indeed! I have dipped into 'Matrix Of Mystery' several times but have always
        come to the conclusion that my phenomenological background was not yet
        sufficient. There's also the issue of Guenther's wide use of Tibetan.

        > `Reductionism to
        > Creativity' is easier, it is my favourite because I was involved in
        > a Dzogchen group.

        My own background is Vajrayana Mahamudra based on the Highest Yoga Tantra of
        Heruka-Vajrayogini, and I suspect that 'Matrix Of Mystery' might well be of
        great use. Guess one day I'll just have to 'bite the bullet' and read the

        > I found in Guenther's book different relations between Buddhism of
        > Padmasambhava and the Gnostic and Western tradition, which is of
        > interest for deeper study.
        > For instance:

        Thanks for these possible correlations. An number of issues with
        'Gnosticism' are presented in Williams' 'Rethinking Gnosticism' and I tend
        to believe that so-called 'Gnosticism' is actually a derivative of the
        'Orphic' tradition (eg Pythagoras - Empedocles - Plato). I'm particularly
        interested in exploring the correlations between the Orphic and Buddhist

        > You are totally right about this Christian domination, mostly not
        > even speaking about gnosis, but transformed in dogma and in my
        > opinion arrogance.
        > But the gnosis of the western mystery tradition is a direct
        > universal revelation from the Divine, expressing itself in different
        > traditions, every where in everybody. Only often Intuitional
        > religions can not handle it and most people can not make it
        > conscious. Mostly it will express itself in counter culture, or
        > hidden in the underground. Because it is a delicate process, you can
        > not manipulate it. It is beyond cultural and political powers.

        Here I would disagree with you, Kees. I believe that anything can be (and
        inevitably has been) manipulated by "cultural and political powers". Let me
        assure you that I'm not some conspiracy paranoiac - it's just that I believe
        our 'existential' ignorance leads us to distort just about everything. It's
        an inevitable consequence of living in 'the cave'.

        > Plato is saying so beautifully: "This knowledge is not something
        > that can be put into words like other sciences; but after long-
        > continued intercourse between teacher and pupil, in joint pursuit of
        > the subject, suddenly, like light flashing forth when a fire is
        > kindled, it is born in the soul and straightway nourishes itself" --
        > Seventh Letter, §341 c


        > You are right that there are differences and especially concerning
        > the surrender to God. But for me there is a great correspondence,
        > looking at my personal experience. There is a similarity between
        > Emptiness or Tathata and En Soph in the Kabbalah, the Ungrund of
        > Jacob Boehme, the One of Plotinus and the Godhead of Meister
        > Eckhart. It is the Void, the Source, totally transcendent and hidden
        > and at the same time immanent, shining light. This immanence is the
        > Buddha or Christ. (Or the body of Christ/God and the tree Kaya's of
        > Boeddha)

        Yes, I have some sympathies with your position although I believe that Jesus
        of the Christians did not actually exist as a historical character. Instead
        I believe he is a conflation of Jewish and 'Pagan' mythic elements. This, of
        course, raises the question of what we mean by 'Christ', the Anointed One.

        I think that as well as taking historical aspects into consideration we also
        need to consider the implications and consequences of our hermeneutic of the
        One. In other words we need to be more integral (cross-disciplinary) in our
        'spirituality' or philo-sophia.


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