Category Archives: Christian Quotes

The three dualities

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Greetings from Sankhu

Dear readers,

As I am currently reading a truly amazing commentary about the Gospel of Thomas, I would like to quote some paragraphs of that book. The book is called “The Nondual Teachings of Christ”. I will give further details about that (partly finished) book at the end of the quoted text. As spirituality, when it comes to teachings about nonduality or oneness, goes beyond religions, creeds, beliefs or rituals, and brings us to the highest commonalities shared by all mystics from all traditions, it does not really matter if teachings in this subject matter are originally from Jesus Christ or from the Upanishads. Here is a part of the commentary on the forty eighth saying:

There are different  dualities which exist that need to be penetrated, and they are often penetrated in sequence.

The first is the duality of value or aspect to things. We conceive of phenomena as good or evil, pure or impure, pleasant or painful. However, when we apply the principle of being a mere “passerby” to them, and do not make any conceptual elaborations about them, then comes the realization that there is no real purity or impurity, good or evil, etc. in phenomena at all, and they are of one taste and characteristic. Our thoughts of them do not define them or characterize them, and, as such, our thoughts are baseless and without merit. As this is seen, then all phenomena become clear in the sense that what they are is precisely unfathomable. When we do not think of things, or picture them to ourselves, then we see them as they are in terms of our experience. This is the first duality that is surmounted.

The second is the duality of subject and object. Paradoxically, one surmounts this by seeing a new, different “subject” behind the commonly perceived subject. Normally we perceive our sense of self to be identified with our mind, our wishes, our thoughts, etc. but these are all objects which occur in a more fundamental awareness. When we negate our mind and all its attendant phenomena, then we break through to the awareness in which this mind occurs. It is as if the former subject becomes an object of a new, deeper subject. This new “subject” has no sense of “I” or “mine” at all, but is like a clear, vast and empty presence in which all things live, move and have their being. Here we know ourselves to be the soul, and not the mind or body, and from this realization comes the first real breakthrough into the kingdom of God. We see that there can be a way out of ignorance, because we are not ignorance, inherently. We are awareness and awareness is the very definition of existence. The calm that comes from this truth is deep and joyful, but it is not the end, however.

The third is the duality between essential, nondual awareness and phenomena. Once the witnessing awareness is realized, we often begin to reify or solidify its difference and distinction from phenomena. Awareness is empty while phenomena are full; awareness is still while phenomena are in motion. By resting in this awareness more and more, however, such distinctions also begin to fall away and one realizes an unbroken unity to all things. It is not the same as conceiving of all things as consisting of primordial matter – as materialists and secularists do – nor is it like viewing all things as God’s creation. It is something inconceivable.

I think that the author has done a great job in skating around a subject matter that is beyond words. One should always remember that such texts are only pointers. Everybody has to inquire on his own in this subject matter to realize what has been described here.

About the Gospel of Thomas: “The Gospel of Thomas is perhaps one of the most enigmatic of religious scriptures. Yet it is also very likely that it is the earliest account of the teachings of Jesus, and therefore the most authentic record we have today as to what he truly taught. Therefore, to understand this Gospel is to get at the heart of what the historical Jesus said far beyond how he has been (mis)interpreted through the centuries and by later followers.”

The quote is from the e-Book “The Nondual Teachings of the Christ” from Charles Limcango. Please note that this book is still not finished and new volumes are published regularly. The latest (9th) has been published this month. He releases sets of 4 volumes in one book as the work gets done. So, books with volumes from 1-4 and 5-8 are already available.

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Anthony de Mello

Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!

— Anthony de Mello – Awareness

(image source: unknown)

Happiness cannot be acquired

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Thomas Merton

The mature person realizes that life affirms itself most, not in acquiring things, but in giving time, efforts, strength, intelligence, and love to others. Here a different kind of dialectic of life and death begins to appear. The living drive, the vital satisfaction, by “ending” its trend to self-satisfaction and redirecting itself to and for others, transcends itself. It “dies” insofar as the ego is concerned, for the self is deprived of the immediate satisfactions which it could claim without being contested. Now it renounces these things, in order to give to others. Hence, life “dies” to itself in order to give itself away and thus affirms itself more maturely, more fruitfully, and more completely. We live in order to die to ourselves and give everything to others. …This “dying” to self in order to give to others is nothing more or less than a higher and more special affirmation of life. Such dying is the fruit of life, the evidence of mature and productive living. It is, in fact, the end or the goal of life.

— Thomas Merton – Love and Living (p. 102.)

(image source: http://www.newcastle.anglican.org)

Life Affirms Itself In Giving

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There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.

— Thomas Merton – Love and Living (Christian Humanism)

To be born again is to become ourselves.

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The inherent contradiction of human life has now reached an extreme degree of tension: on the one side there is the consciousness of the beneficence of the law of love, and on the other the existing order of life which has for centuries occasioned an empty, anxious, restless, and troubled mode of life, conflicting as it does with the law of love and built on the use of violence. This contradiction must be faced, and the solution will evidently not be favourable to the outlived law of violence, but to the truth which has dwelt in the hearts of men from remote antiquity: the truth that the law of love is in accord with the nature of man. But men can only recognize this truth to its full extent when they have completely freed themselves from all religious and scientific superstitions and from all the consequent misrepresentations and sophistical distortions by which its recognition has been hindered for centuries.

— Leo Tolstoy – A Letter to a Hindu

The law of love is in accord with the nature of man

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I look deep into my heart,
to the core where wisdom arises.
Wisdom comes from the Unnamable
 
and unifies heaven and earth.
 
The Unnamable is always with you,
shining from the depths of your heart.
Her peace will keep you untroubled
even in the greatest pain.
 
When you find her present within you,
you find truth at every moment.
 
She will guard you from all wrongdoing;
She will guide your feet on her path.
She will temper your youth with patience;
She will crown your old age with fulfillment.
 
And dying, you will leave your body
as effortlessly as a sigh.

— Psalm 121 – Stephen Mitchell – A Book of Psalms: Selected and Adapted from the Hebrew
(found in the non-duality highlights)

To find Truth at every Moment

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A religious belief is not a statement about Reality, but a hint, a clue about something that is a mystery, beyond the grasp of human thought. In short, a religious belief is only a finger pointing to the moon. Some religious people never get beyond the study of the finger. Others are engaged in sucking it. Others yet use the finger to gouge their eyes out. These are the bigots whom religion has made blind. Rare indeed is the religionist who is sufficiently detached from the finger to see what it is indicating — these are those who, having gone beyond belief, are taken for blasphemers.

— Anthony de Mello – One Minute Nonsense – p. 134

When the sage points at the moon, all that the idiot sees is the finger