JESUS AS A TEACHER OF ADVAITA (non-duality) Non-Duality • Non-duality "points to the idea that the universe and all its multiplicity are ultimately expressions or appearances of one essential reality” (1)Espín, Orlando O.; Nickoloff, James B. (2007), An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies, Liturgical Press Non-duality • Non-duality is taught in the Wisdom Traditions of the East as Advaita Vedanta in Hinduism, BuddhaNature/No-Self in Buddhism, and Taoism. • Non-duality is taught in subsets of the Abrahamic traditions because the Abrahamic religions primarily teach that God is separate from man. The Abrahamic subsets that suggest that God and man are One are Sufism in Islam, Kabbalah in Judaism, and Mysticism in Christianity. • Non-duality is also taught “non-spiritually” in modern physics. Non-duality in Spirituality and Physics Both explain the non-dual nature of the universe as one, infinite, non-divisible Entity from which “formed” things (called mass) instantaneously arise and disintegrate. To better understand the non-dual teachings within Christianity, let’s first see how those non-dual teachings are taught elsewhere. Hinduism’s explanation of non-duality 1. Brahman is the Only Reality. Nothing else exists but the non-divisible Brahman. 2. Brahman comes together in infinitely constantly changing forms known as Atman. They are illusory forms because they are not permanent. 3. The constantly changing atman forms of Brahman are formed by the Energy of Brahman known as Shakti. Non-duality in “nonspiritual” terms ‘Non-spiritual” non-duality is taught as Quantum physics (quantum mechanics). This is the science of the very small: the body of scientific principles that explains the behavior of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. (Wikipedia) “Non-spiritual” Nonduality Modern physics teaches that all mass (Atman) is constantly changing and is formed from infinite energy (Brahman) as Energy =Mass x the Speed of Light squared (Shakti). Mass forms when Higgs Boson particles are dragged through a field of energy. Their slowed speed generates mass. A Higgs Boson particle being dragged through an energy field, generating mass. Quantum Physics Explanation of Nonduality Christianity’s nondualism 1. God the Father is the only reality (Brahman/Eternal Energy). (God replied to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM," and then said, "Tell the Israelis: 'I AM sent me to you.” [Exodus 3(14)] 2. God the Sons (and all illusory forms in the universe) are the illusory forms (Atman/mass) of the manifestation of God the Father. 3. God the Holy Spirit is the Energy form (Shakti/Higgs-Boson particles) that emanates from God the Father that then forms the illusory forms of the Sons. The Bottom Line Whether we approach non-duality from a Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, JudeoChristian or Quantum Physics perspective, if we train ourselves to shift our identity of self from our human form into “All That Is”, (via meditation, mantras and renaming of reality from “things and people” to “me”) we conclude that: We conclude that: 1. All that there is is the infinite One. 2. We are Infinite. 3. Our realized True Nature is that of health, balance and wellbeing. So what does Jesus have to do with this? Who was Jesus? Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph • Born in Bethlehem, part of Ancient Judea, in either 1BC or 4BC. • Grew up in Nazareth, part of Ancient Galilee. • Spent his first 30 years in Galilee, where he first started teaching. • His last teaching weeks are spent traveling towards Jerusalem in Galilee. • Last week of his life was in Jerusalem. Jesus- an educated carpenter’s son • Galilee was a very cosmopolitan area, because it lay on the Silk Road. • Silk Road = For thousands of years, a vitally important conduit of human travel and commerce between the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and Central Asia/China. Jesus- an educated carpenter’s son 1. Jesus was able to read and write. In Luke 4:16, he reads from the scrolls of the words of the Prophet Isaiah. 2. He was most likely exposed to Eastern teachings (remember the Wisdom traditions?!)from merchants and travelers from the East who were moving along the Silk road running through his land. Jesus- an educated carpenter’s son He spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, and most likely Greek. He also spoke Latin, as demonstrated by his verbal exchanges with the Roman Pontius Pilate. 1.These facts about Jesus are important because the concepts of nonduality are nonAbrahamic. 2. Understanding non-duality also requires quite a bit of deep reflection, which can be hard to achieve if one is a starving peasant (which Jesus was not). Records of the Life and Teachings of Jesus 1. Known as Gospels. 2. "Many scholars doubt that the Gospels were written by eye-witnesses as their attributions seem to suggest that there is too much evidence of the reworking of oral traditions”. Riches, John (2000). The Bible: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-19-285343-1. JESUS AS A TEACHER OF ADVAITA (non-duality) 1. Canonical Gospels = The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 2. St. Iraneus (130-202AD), an early church founder, insisted that only these four gospels be a part of church’s teachings (“canons”) within the New Testament). Gnostic Gospels 1. Gnostic Gospels - a collection of about 52 ancient texts discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. 2. Felt to have been buried for safe keeping by early Christian monks who were wary of the dangers of possessing non-canonical gospels. Gnostic Gospels 1. Based upon the life and teachings of Jesus, written from the 2nd to the 4th century AD. 2. The Gospel of Thomas, compiled circa 140AD, may include some writings even older than parts of some of the four canonical gospels of the New Testament. JESUS AS A TEACHER OF ADVAITA (non-duality) Jesus’s non-duality teachings are most evident in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, but are also present in the canonical Gospels. In the parlance of Jesus: Kingdom of God = Heaven = Nondual Realty Jesus used many metaphors to explain to the very “dual reality based” members of his society what a nondualistic state of identity was all about. He attempted to teach them to let go of their identity of self as a separate, finite body that can die and decay and instead view themselves as the Infinite, Non-Dual Reality of the universe, which he called God’s Kingdom. It is very hard to explain non-duality to hard core dualists, especially those that are busy all day just trying to survive, as most people were in ancient Judea. Jesus had a tough audience! The Gospel of Thomas Consists of 114 brief “logions”, which are defined as “communications of divine origin”. (Wikipedia) Jesus is referred to as “Yeshua,” which is the Hebrew word for Jesus. (http://www.gotquestions.org/Yeshua-Jesus.html) The Gospel f Thomas Logion 1 “I who write this am Thomas ,the Double, the Twin. Yeshua, the Living Master spoke, and his secret sayings I have written down. I assure you, whoever grasps their meaning will not know the taste of death. “ “I who write this am Thomas ,the Double, the Twin.” Scholars feel that the twin refers to his “double identity” as Thomas the man and Thomas the Eternal Oneness. “I assure you, whoever grasps their meaning will not know the taste of death. “ If we assign self to be All That Is, we are Infinite and can never die. The fact that the Gospel of Thomas starts with this fundamental teaching underscores the fact nonduality of self identity was the sole message of Jesus. The Canonical Gospels are filled with Jesus’s teaching of shifting the identity of self from finite to infinite with eternal life. Gospel of Matthew (19:16-19) Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One Who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” The commandments that Jesus refers to is how we act and think when we define ourselves as the Eternal One Jesus taught that when self is identified as Nondual Oneness, our consciousness shifts into a profound state of peace and happiness, which he refers to as “the Kingdom of God”, or “Heaven”, which he taught is “within”. The Kingdom of God (Nirvana) “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”. Luke 17:20-21) ( The Kingdom of God (Nirvana) This is a state of consciousness in which our identity is All That Is so that we live our lives caring for everything around us because Everything Is Us. The Kingdom of God (Nirvana) In this state, we have no hatred for any enemy because that enemy is us. We grieve for the “us’ that is feeling such hatred and aggression, and is not in the perfect state of peace that comes from knowing that he (the aggressor) is the Infinite One, completely perfect and magnificent, and that everywhere he looks, all there is is Him. ”You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” [Matthew 5(43-45)] In non-dual reality, there is no righteous or unrighteous, and no enemies or saints! It’s All One! Remember: We create the world of opposites when we define ourselves as separate beings. If there is only One Entity of Reality, there can be no opposites! The Kingdom of God (Nirvana) In this state, we drop all fear of death because it is meaningless; it is simply the shedding of this coat of bodily form. Actually, our bodily forms are constantly changing every nanosecond (remember the discussion of quantum physics earlier in this presentation!) The third logion of the Gospel of Thomas summarizes all of this well. The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 3 “Yeshua says, If your spiritual guides say to you, “Look, the Divine Realm is in the sky,” well then the birds will get there ahead of you. If they say, “It is in the sea,” then the fish will precede you.” The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 3 (continued) “No, Divine Reality exists inside and all around you. Only when you have come to know your True Self will you be fully known- realizing at last that you are a child of the living One. If, however, you never come to know Who you truly are, you are a poverty –stricken being, and it is your “self” which is impoverished.” The Gospel of Thomas also reports that Jesus taught the nuts and bolts of achieving a non-dual identity, telling his followers that they must want to achieve that state, or else they would not be able t do it. The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 2 (first part) “Yeshua says, If you are searching, you must not stop until you find.” It’s also in the canonical Gospels! The Gospel of Matthew (7,7-8) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”. In order to achieve the state of consciousness that is the Kingdom of God, we first have to figure it out rationally, then make the changes deep with us. Using either the spiritual approach, or the quantum physics approach, or a combination of the two, just keep on trying to figure it out, and you will!!!! The requirement of desiring to achieve this non-dual state of identity actually has neural plasticity basis! The brain is a pleasurebased organ and is malleable. If you tell your brain you can experience a more pleasurable state, it will rewire itself to achieve that state (that process is called deep learning, and it takes a lot of determination, concentration and repeated refocusing!) That process of brain rewiring with deep learning has many names: meditation, prayer, mindfulness, etc. Back to the Gospel of Thomas. Remember how he was talking about the importance of searching (for your true identity) until you find (your true identity)…… The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 2 (second part) “….When you find (your true identity), however, you will become troubled. Your confusion will give way to wonder. In wonder, you will reign over all things. Your sovereignty will be your rest.” Remember the rich man from the Gospel of Matthew? As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said “Keep the Commandments”. “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Jesus was talking about giving up our most cherished possession: our self identity. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven….” Jesus is telling us that we must give up our cherished self if we want to be always at peace…. ”Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” [Matthew 19(24)] Jesus taught that he knew how hard it is to give up our old idea of self in exchange for the Identity of the Absolute, but he promised that it is worth it! “I tell you this: there is no one who has given up home, wife, brothers, parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not be repaid many times over in this time, and in the time to come [will] know eternal Life.” Matthew, Gospel Of, 19:16 20 But we aren’t really giving up our selves…we are just trading in how we define self from this body to All That Is. And once we have given away everything, we enter the state of mind that Jesus called the Kingdom of God. But that means giving up EVERYTHING….including our biographical stories!!!!! We must give up our self story of being a son, daughter, man, woman, father, mother, artist, banker, Buddhist, American… we must let go of all of the stories we have been telling ourselves all of our lives, and replace it with the One Truth. No wonder Thomas wrote that Jesus said “You will become troubled”, but also remember he told us “Your confusion will give way to wonder”. Jesus taught that: 1. We can trade our definition of self as this corporal human body that suffers addictions and attachments, anger and aversion, will grow old and die. 2. And instead replace it with the definition of self that is All That Is: Everything, Everywhere, Non-dual Infinite Oneness, Always Perfect. Not a bad trade off!!! Jesus did encourage his followers to know that it is indeed possible to make this reassignment of our self identity. “I tell you this,” he said to them; “there are some of those standing here who will not taste death before they have seen the kingdom of God already come in full power.” Mark, Gospel Of, 9:1) ( Further, Jesus taught that experiencing the Kingdom of God (aka Our True Identity) is not achieved by throwing oneself into the external trappings of organized religions. Instead, he taught that this shift in self-identity comes instead come from going deep into ourselves through quiet, deep self inquiry and meditation/prayer. And, as he sat among the orthodox religionists in the Jewish temple, he said, “You say that He is your God, yet you have not known Him. But I have known Him.” 3 Ibid., 8:54 When Jesus said “I know him” (last slide), he meant the internal knowing of the Absolute. “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret. Matthew 6(6)) ( Jesus was often frustrated that people didn’t seem interested in going deeply into their inner beings and knowing Who they really are. “O righteous Father, the world has not known Thee, but I have known Thee.” [John 17(25)] Jesus spent a great deal of time trying to tell people that who they are is the Oneness. He prayed about the people: “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me”. [John 17(21)] Jesus knew it was radical to teach about a reassignment of self identity, so he took it slowly, first using himself as an example. “If you knew who I am,” he said, "you would also know the Father. Knowing me, you know Him; seeing me, you see Him. Do you not understand that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? It is the Father who dwells in me doing His own work. Understand me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me." [John 13(40)] Jesus frequently tried to describe to his followers the non-dual nature of Reality, as well as how to train their minds to turn towards that state of consciousness. “Yeshua replied, "When you are able to make two become one, the inside like the outside, the higher like the lower, and when a man is no longer male, and a woman female, but male and female become a single whole; you make the male and the female into a single one, then you shall enter the kingdom.“ (Gospel of Thomas, portion of logion 22) And: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.“ [Matthew 20(6)] “ Jesus had one message: non-duality • “Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is single, your whole body is full of light; but if it is hurtful, your body is full of darkness”. (Luke 11:34) Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (“The Beatitudes”) was all about non-duality • “Blessed are the poor in spirit (poor of body-self identity), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5(3)] • Blessed are the pure in heart (pure in Oneness identity), for they will see God. [Matthew 5(8)] Jesus reminded folks to not to sweat it if they were not understood when they decided to live their lives with an identity of Infinite Oneness. • “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me (“me” meaning my teachings about non-duality). Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. [Luke 6(21-23)] I could go on and on, but I am already at slide #86, and I know you want me to end! The bottom line is that Jesus only taught one message: We need to replace our identity of self as a physical body which is finite and prone to the suffering of attachment, aversion and ignorance and replace it with the knowledge of our True Identity: Infinite Non-Duality. • Once we make that shift, we move out of hell and into heaven, out of samsara and into nirvana, out of finiteness and into infinity, out of death and into life. We can start living out our days in the perfect happiness and peace of what Jesus called “the Kingdom of God”. Let’s just do it !!!!!!!