The TAO of JESUS CHRIST
by Jeanne M. House
For me, the only way of looking at Jesus the Man and Jesus the Christ is to unite the two, just like a figure-eight flow. ‘As on earth as it is in heaven.’ A Master is not only understood by the message of which he is the mouthpiece, but also by the messenger’s own character as an individual. (“Be it the easiest thing in the world to copy the works of god,’ a well-known Christian saying).
‘A man is not great merely because he thinks lofty thoughts or preaches beautiful phrases…. A man is great only in proportion, as these, (thoughts and phrases), through his own deliberate will; manifest themselves, in daily life. A true Teacher is one by example, as well as, by precept,’ says, G. de Purucker, in “The Esoteric Tradition”, vol.# II, pg. 1074, Theosophical Publishing House, 1935.
He goes on to say, “ Such a man becomes a Light, lighting not merely his own pathway on the endless pilgrimage of eternity, but shining afar as a star giving light unto his fellows, providing an ever-flowing explanation into their hearts.”
Let’s compare two bright stars of life and thought, which appeared at an interval of a half of millennium or so- Gautama Buddha and our Syrian Sage called Jesus the Christ. Both teachers, as many avatars before them, provided a light or WAY for all of us to follow. The greatness in these teachers lies in their doing. They inspired because they were both doers.
Unlike, Gautama, (a prince named Siddhartha before he was called a Buddha), Jesus was looked upon by many of his followers as god incarnate or virtually the second person of their Trinity. Is this really the goal Jesus had in mind? As some of us worship the statues of Jesus or Gautama Buddha, are we not at risk of turning them into frozen idols and missing their message altogether? Merely personal devotion and personal fervor directed towards their personalities was probably not what these two great Teachers had in mind. ‘Words, (or simply faith), without works is dead.’ In the book, “Twelve World Teachers”, by Manly P. Hall, on page 178, he says, “True Christianity is not a faith but a discipline, not an acceptance, but an achievement.”
After his enlightenment while under the Bodhi-Tree, the great Indian, Gautama, (now the Buddha), began to preach the sublime doctrine of self-control, duty and universal love. Jesus’ example was similar to the Buddha, when he resurrected from the tomb and became Jesus the Christ. He demonstrated for each of us, a WAY to resurrect our personal self in order to become the greater Self. Both Jesus and Gautama, demonstrated a path of Self-mastery through, self-forgetfulness. They both sacrificed their personal, human selves for the greater Self and united with the Father or the source of all life. “I and my Father are one,”(John 10.30).
If we combine these two concepts of Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ, or Gautama the man, (Siddhartha) or Gautama the Buddha, we get the Tai Chi, (wholeness) or:
The Great TaoThere is a being wonderful, perfect;
It existed before heaven and earth.
How quiet it is!
How spiritual it is!
It stands alone and it does not change;
It moves, but does not on that account suffer.
All life comes from it, yet it does not demand to be Lord.
I do not know its name, so I call it Tao, the Way,
And I rejoice in its power, (25th chapter of the Tao Te Ching).
Both Jesus and Buddha taught the Path of The Middle Way. Harmony, like in the Tao, was a signature of their teachings. This is best seen in the Kabbalah, the mystical teachings of Judaism, also called the Tree of Life. In the Tree of Life, Jesus represents the Sephira Tiphareth, (Balance/Wisdom), which is between Geburah (Letter of the Law) and Chesed, (Mercy/Love). The sun is the Tiphareth of our solar system; in the body, Tiphareth is placed at our solar plexus, the center of balance. Moses brought the law, but Jesus brought mercy and compassion, in order to demonstrate the balance between love, wisdom and power. He also integrated the masculine, (Spirit or the Father) with the feminine, (the Holy Spirit or the Mother). He was the nexus of the figure-eight flow between Heaven and Earth or the Christ and the man, (Or in this case the “Son”).
THE MIDDLE WAY AND THE TREE OF LIFE
The Exoteric and Esoteric Jesus
Jesus’ life and teachings can be viewed in two different ways- the exoteric way, (the more literal or metaphorical) and the esoteric way, (the analogical, a mystical approach or personal revelation). I was fortunate enough to experience both of them in my life. I grew up in a Catholic school where I was introduced to the more exoteric notion of the teachings of Jesus. Concepts such as ‘original sin’ and Jesus being the Only Son of God were foremost in the doctrine. Repentance of sin and grace were our two strongholds, but even they were conditional. I never really knew Jesus, just fear and trembling. Well, it didn’t help that I had a precocious twin sister. Needless to say, our life in Catholic school resembled the movie “The Trouble with Angels.” Most of our time was spent with gum on our noses while we had our faces up against walls or we wore toilet paper on our heads when we forgot to wear our hats in church. This school was still living the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law.
As I wrote this paper, I realized that the four gospels-Mathew, Mark, Luke and John and Paul’s letters were their own personal ways of “seeing Jesus.” When you put them all together and read between the lines and then check into your own heart for answers, the miracles begin. There is Jesus Christ right in front of your nose. If we have to split Jesus the man with Jesus the Christ, I would say that the man was an example of the Christ consciousness in action, both then and now.
In my early twenties I was introduced to the notion of Ascended masters and a Brotherhood of these men and women who embodied at key times in the history of mankind to be teachers and way showers. This felt more natural to me and I could easily relate to Jesus as my guide, my teacher, my divine brother and my truest ‘friend.’
When I took the foundation of the teachings of the gospels and combined them with the more mystical ways of interpreting the New Testament, which originated from the Essene communities, the Gnostics, the Gospel of Thomas, and other esoteric literature such as Theosophy, and Eastern religions, I discovered some of the inner mysteries of the life of Jesus the Christ:
Jesus showed us a Way back to our own identity in Christ. Paul referred to this as “putting on the new man.” Jesus is our redeemer. He came to remind us of our own spark of God hidden in each one of us and he gave us “keys” to realize God’s Kingdom right here on earth. In Mathew 6.33, it says, ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Through these four keys- selflessness, sacrifice, service and surrender, we too can become the Christ incarnate. He also, demonstrated that through him, (or the Christ in each of us), we could access the divine spark within our very own hearts. By focusing on this higher part of ourselves, (our individual mediator, our Christ Self or Higher Self), we could ultimately become one with the Father, (The I AM Presence that Moses witnessed in the burning bush.) He gave us grace by reminding us of our true identity and he demonstrated a path to help us achieve wholeness or union with God. ‘I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life,’ ‘No one comes to God accept through me’ (14.6)
The Catholic's just froze the Holy Spirit on the cross with Jesus. But, instead of freezing Jesus on the cross, we can view Jesus as a living Christ, and Gautama Buddha as a living Buddha, as Thich Nat Hahn writes in the book, “ Living Buddha, Living Christ.” He says on page 10, that in the Psalms, it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” “Be still” means to become peaceful and concentrated.” “Know,” means to acquire wisdom, insight or understanding. The Buddhist term is vipasyana, (insight or looking deeply.) “Looking deeply” means observing something or someone with so much concentration that the distinction between the observer and the observed disappears.
I believe that this is our ultimate destiny; we are to live like Jesus did so that we can be one with him and ultimately the Father. The word destiny comes from deification. It is our destiny and our birthright for us to use this light or energy of God, to become God-Free beings too. We must accept this as our own common heritage. After all, Moses said, “Ye are Gods.”
Purucker continues in the Esoteric Tradition, vol II, on page 1076…
The Baby Buddha, Sochu Sazuki
"You yourself, child, within yourself holds the keys to wisdom, great beyond human description; and all that I can do is show you how you yourself may cultivate and develop these your own inner faculties and power, which has been before your time developed within themselves by the titan intellects, the spiritual Seers and Sages, of the human race-the god-men of the past. Chelachild----look therefore within yourself! There lie the secrets of all the bygone mistakes, and your present sorrows. In yourself lies likewise treasures ineffable which you will realize when some day you will have found them and have brought them into activity into your life. Within you lies the only wisdom, you shall ever, you can ever obtain. Within yourself is the Path, and that Path O child, is Yourself, your Spiritual Self, your Divine Self, that starry celestial power which is the root of your being. It ----- it, is also the heart of the Universe, for you and the All are essentially and fundamentally one and not the twain. Can you, O child, separate yourself from the Universe, which encompasses you around? Can you ever leave it? Are you not an offspring of it, body of its body, blood of its blood, life of its life, thought of its thought, being of its being? Verily you are IT. So, when you have found yourself, your greater Self: the inner god, the divinity within: Then have you found not only the Path which leads to the heart of the Universe, but you have found yourself and it to be One."
‘Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.’ Mathew 18.3
THE BIRTH OF THE CHRIST AND THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM
In some circles, it was said that when Jesus was born, the Christ Light could be seen all over the world!
Jesus’ birth is a metaphor for the initiation we must all undertake, by using the symbol of his own birth, the Christ child, within all of us. When Christ is born in our hearts, we will be as Jesus was at his birth, emitting the ‘Light of splendor.” This splendor is the Christ-light within. In the Orient, they call it the Buddhic splendor and in Greece, they called it the mystical Apollo.
The journey of the Wise Men or Magi represents our own inner journey. In order to birth the Christ child within us we must have journeyed through our own four lower bodies, which Jesus referred to as “our many mansions,” and purify them in order to obtain Christ-consciousness. According to the book “Life and Teachings of Jesus and Mary”, by A.D.K. Luk, ‘the wise men paid homage to the child and presented their gifts. Melchior had brought gold, Kaspar, frankincense and Balthazar myrrh….Some relate these gifts with mans nature, gold representing man’s material nature, frankincense the emotional, and myrrh the mental. The family used some of the gold during their flight to Egypt and also during their exile there. The myrrh and frankincense were saved for Jesus, to be used during his resurrection…. The three Magi are representatives of three phases of man’s experiences, physical, feeling and mental. I believe that the mental, emotional, physical and etheric parts of our being are the “many mansions,” that Jesus referred to in his Father’s house…
We must challenge our own inner demons in our feeling world, our mental world and our physical world, like Jesus demonstrated his own power to challenge Satan and Buddha challenged Mara under the Bo’ Tree. We must have peace, balance and harmony on all levels of our being, if we are to inherit the ‘Kingdom of God’. Carl Jung calls this our Shadow or repressed parts of ourselves that still rears up in our lives from the unconscious. Since God is all-Good, evil is just the misuse of God’s energy by man, through Free Will. Evil is live spelled backwards and Devil is lived spelled backwards. Our own demons are wrong actions, desires or thoughts that we have created. Our initiations are our choices of whether to choose evil or choose good, (Life). Moses asked, ‘Whom shall you serve?’ (Your higher Self or your lower self.)
The Bhagavad-Gita, considered the bible of India or an epic poem or story, is about a battle between two rival branches of royal houses-good and evil. On the good guy side, the most heroic of five brothers is Arjuna who represents man asking God questions. Krishna, a charioteer of four horses, is a personification of God. Some consider this an allegory of one’s pursuit for the higher life. Arjuna represents our human will showing us that our battles must be fought here on earth. Krishna represents our higher nature that rules our “Christ -conscience.”
At Arjuna’s request, Krishna reveals himself as the impersonal, universal God, while at the same time his role in the story is to be Arjuna’s personal guide. Symbolically, the four horses that pull the chariot represent our four lower bodies or our unbridled desires and senses. The reigns represent the mind and the chariot the soul. Our goal is to tame our senses by the use of our will and our mind, so that our soul is in charge and therefore we become one with the Atman or our real self. Once we have tamed our selfish desires, we work for the good of others. Truth can never come to us as long as we are selfish.
The story begins by Arjuna’s doubting whether he should be fighting this war at all. He asks Lord Krishna, Why should I fight this battle? He is in anguish and cannot understand why he should be killing his brethren no matter how bad they are. He would rather get killed by the enemy than be killing any one of them.
Krishna responds, “Arise, O Prince! Give up this faint-heartedness, this weakness! Stand up and fight!” He goes on to say, ‘You cannot die, nor can I.’ ‘ There was never a time when we did not exist.’ ‘There is nothing in the universe that does not change.’ ‘Knowing this, stand up and fight.’ Fight your own inner battles. This story represents action and not just belief.
Then he describes Jnana yoga, which is wisdom or knowledge of the true self. The true self is the Atman, the soul within. The foundation of the self is divine. Spirit never dies. He explains how Brahman is both the creator and the destroyer, so these men will die anyway. But not in a real sense, since the Spirit is eternal. Consider it a change of clothes. Arjuna still doesn’t understand why he must fight.
Krishna responds by reminding him of his caste. He is of the warrior caste. It is his duty to fulfill his dharma and fight the righteous war. Just as “the knights of old” in King Arthur’s days. The knight’s duty was to search for the “grail” or his own personal inner Christ, his true nature). He should not shirk his duties. One’s duty is derived from his nature. Find out what your own true nature is and you will find the Christ.
‘Seek and ye shall find.’ “KNOW THYSELF!” (as God).
Not long ago, at the “Jesus at 2000” Symposium, Huston Smith, a renowned religious scholar, started his discussion by asking, "What Jesus do we see when we place him in the context of history in its’ entirety?”
He goes on to say, on pages 113-115 of the book, Jesus at 2000, ‘ We begin with God, who created the world and human beings within it. As with other beings, she created the human beings perfect in its’ kind, and this perfection included freedom, which at some point people misused. This led to confusion, chaos, and strife until God, seeing the people were probably not going to work their way out of the mess they had made things, concluded that they needed a helping hand. God needed a human agent to work through and spotted Abraham as promising material. God may have approached other candidates, but it was Abraham that rose to the overture. He managed a special attentiveness to God’s will, which he transmitted to his descendants. There were ups and downs along the way’.
He continues to explain that there was a problem. An ethnic religion needs to give birth to a universal religion, without its losing its’ distinctive identity. How was this to come about? By God becoming incarnate. He describes how God offers Himself to Jesus at his baptism and how Jesus opened himself to that offer unconditionally. Thereafter, Jesus was God. He was unconditionally accepting, forgiving, healing and loving.
He explains that the divine power that Jesus became by allowing divinity to consume his person completely, attracted and transformed his followers to the point that it launched one of the world’s greatest religions. Christians right down to today can tap into Jesus’ divine substance and become members of his extended body, his church.
Smith also, goes on to describe that all human attempts to describe the ultimate nature of things are metaphorical in being unable to map reality. It becomes a half-real and half-unreal world of maya and truth. He calls these ‘tales.’ For example when looking at Mt. Everest the peaks appear just a few inches apart from our vantage point, when they actually are miles and miles apart. (He previously mentioned that gestalt therapists have shown us that things look different when their background is changed; peripheral vision affects focused vision.)
The Cabbalists, see God as both everything and no-thing. This describes the progressive revelation of God from Dueteronomy, ‘There is No one Else.’ Now we say, “God is only God, there is Nothing else.” This is an evolution of the concept of God from a Being separate from us to a Being who is both in ‘us and outside of us’ or ‘on earth and in heaven’. Moses knew God by what God called Himself-I AM THAT I AM. A Rabbi friend of Dr. Culver’s said that this best translates as, “I will be who I will be.”
So, with this statement in mind, God could be someone different to everyone. The best way to “see” God and (live as humans), is to not know all of God but to get a glimpse of God. According to the Cabbalists, God is concealed and in order to know Him, He must be revealed. We reveal him in our own metaphors.
Jesus, himself would have to reveal God to us through parables and by demonstrating God working through him. Jesus introduced for us the concept of the “Son of God”, which, NOW gave us a new relationship to the “God the Father,” of Moses and of Abraham. By Jesus positioning himself as the Son of God, he was able to present a more personal approach to the Father and give us hope that, we too, could reach God the Father by becoming a Son of God or the Christ.
I discovered that there were always two lenses of which to view the life of Jesus. One layer is our humanity and other is the path of the Christ. One layer is the outer teaching and one is the inner teaching. One layer is the physical/ literal meaning and one layer is the mystery teachings for those who have “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.”
THE HISTORICAL JESUS
Jesus, the physical man, is shrouded with mystery, but Jesus, the mystical man, resonates as more truth than fiction. Why is this so? Take for instance the resurrection and the multiple versions of it in all of the gospels. John, Paul, etc….all say different things. How could the physical resurrection be true? Maybe the reason is that in order to even witness the resurrected Christ, one might need “eyes to see’ and “ears to hear” as having a corresponding resonance in ourselves of perceiving someone in that state. Some could perceive while others would be “blind” to the spiritual and more etheric version of Jesus the Christed man.
Paul never knew the historical Jesus. He was introduced to Jesus through a “vision.” In his letters, he doesn’t even distinguish his visionary experience and the visions of the risen Jesus of Jesus’ close friends Mary Magdalene, Peter, John and even the doubting Thomas. He does not advance any evidence of the resurrection. So, naturally he was more comfortable with the mystical Jesus or risen Christ. Faith was all that was needed in order to be a successful Christian. For him, ‘belief in Jesus’ as our redeemer is the key to Christianity.
Jesus the man; Jesus the Christ
While listening to the PRS lectures of Dr. Culver Nelson about Jesus of Nazareth, many qualities came to the fore. Jesus was a boundary breaker, a redeemer, a reformer, a unifier and a champion of the downtrodden. He preached non-judgment, he did not focus on sin, he emphasized forgiveness and he was inclusive. When does Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ separate? Or do they? There are always to layers to consider- the layer of his humanity and the path he took in order to become the risen Christ. The Inner, (hidden meanings or esoteric), and his outer teachings.
Jesus was the ultimate Taoist. He was the Zen Nothingness and the void of the Cabbalist. He was simple, humble, and self-effacing. He showed us a path and a way. “I AM the Way the Truth and the Life.” He demonstrated Christ qualities, grace, love, kindness and forgiveness.
Jesus demonstrated all of these qualities, he was the Christ. So how can I really separate his humanity from his divinity? Since we do not really know Jesus or have not met him personally, we can only use our intuition or (Christ-discernment), when it comes to deciphering his real identity. We have the second-hand sources of the four gospels and the letters of Paul and more recently the Nag Hammadi texts. But they are all someone else’s first-hand accounts of the man we call Jesus. The only authentic word that Jesus spoke in Aramaic was Abba.
Jesus insisted, often in lively stories or parables drawn from familiar, everyday life, that the activity of God, (the Kingdom of God or of Heaven), is truly at work here and now. His two greatest commandments were, ‘Love God whole-heartedly and love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mathew 22.32-8, Mark 12.28-31, Luke 10.25-28).
To continue the progressive revelation of God from the Old Testament to the New Testament- what did Jesus mean by referring himself as The Son of God? He was not an angel, a prophet or a Messiah; he called himself quite simply the son of man. Jesus was related to God in a unique way. Jesus wanted to establish he was in every way human. This was a dramatically new and different teaching from the Old Testament. The phrase the Son of Man was not a title. In Psalms and Job it means a mortal human being, one who has to die. In Daniel 7, the son of man represents the faithful who, after persecution are vindicated by God beyond death.
God is now, the God of peace, of hope, of comfort and of love. God seeks to bring healing and redemption to the whole world. The New Testament writers wanted to demonstrate that Jesus was a continuation of God, through his life, death and resurrection, and the fulfillment of the purpose of God throughout the whole biblical period.
The New Testament writers also presented God as the Holy Spirit present to particular people, inspiring them and changing them in many ways. Spirit meant originally ‘breath’ and hence it came to represent the way in which we are inspired by God, (the latin inspiro means I breath into). In Galatians 5.22, the Christians believed that this spirit was present all through Jesus’ life and it is also inspiring and changing our own lives. The Jews felt that the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn as punishment for at the time of their exile.
According to John Bowker, in God a Brief History, ‘from the outset it was the person of Christ, much more even than his teaching, that made the Christian story of God take off in such a radically new way. Far more than that, it remains the reason why Christians find their access to God in and through the risen and ascended Christ.'
Marcus Borg describes this period as ‘post- Easter.’ He uses the term ‘pre-Easter’ for Jesus’ life before the resurrection. In this we can safely demarcate Jesus the man with Jesus the Christ.
I don’t believe that Jesus was a stamped image of God that day he was born, but had the imprint of God, which it was his mission to out-picture. I believe that the soul of Jesus was pure, however it could be lost if he did not maintain his single focus on God and not fall into the mass human consciousness that surrounded him and his mother and father. I believe that they all had to work diligently on keeping purity and he focus of the Christ consciousness. This was hard work and could only be pulled off by very high souls. His mother Mary kept the immaculate concept for him his entire life and it has been written that they were all trained with the Essene community. Therefore they had to live their lives in strict discipline and pass their severe initiations.
So, I have embarked on my own personal journey to the heart of Jesus, by listening to the lectures, reading several books and tuning into my own inner meditation.
I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t that be the goal that Jesus had in mind for each of us? Wouldn’t he want us to interpret His life and His message through our own eyes and in the context of our own lives? After all, if He were the Living Christ, than he would be alive in each and every one of us regardless of our religion, creed or culture. Wow!
MY JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF CHRIST
NOW AND ZEN
When I stopped all that mental chatter, I realized that Christ’s message was as simple as a begging bowl or a cup of light. The best way for me to interpret Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ was to unpeel all the layers of doctrine I learned from my years in Catholic school and let Christ show me Himself directly. You might think that this was a mystical experience, but it really wasn’t as numinous as all that. Jesus showed me a begging bowl or empty cup and he poured his essence into it.
We all have a cup of light in our hearts and it is our responsibility to use this Light wisely. (This reminds me of the cup of water that Jesus received while carrying his cross and His burden was heavy. If we use this Christ Light in the service to mankind or raising ourselves for the good of mankind, we will get another cup of Light.) “My burden is light.”
The other cup he revealed to me was the cup of both good and bad karma we receive daily. Since we all create our own heaven and hell for ourselves, depending on our past actions. We must realize that it is God’s will for us to balance our karma daily so that we can swiftly move on to higher worlds. Jesus demonstrated this when he said, “Take this cup from me, nevertheless, it is not my will, but thine be done.”
Each night, we can redeem ourselves, by surrendering our transgressions without self-judgment to the Lord and strive to do better on the ‘morrow. In this way we can forgive others, ‘even those who have trespassed against us’, as Jesus would have done.
Isn’t that just like Jesus, to be so simple and practical? My soul reflected back that simplicity and I “saw” Him for the first time! It had been right in front of my nose all the time. One revelation after another flowed through this tiny cup that if I don’t tell you soon, I won’t have an empty cup with which to continue my journey to the heart of Jesus. (however, Jesus revealed to me that when you “Love God with all of your Heart,” this journey will naturally lead you to him and to your own Real Self, which was called the Holy Grail in the tales of King Arthur.)
“ I AM the Life, the Truth and the Way”…Jesus was showing me a Way to work with my life NOW, currently and not 2000 years ago. The mantra, ‘All I see is Christ in me,’ overshadowed my mind and I realized that the answers to all of my perplexing dilemmas and questions were always there in the “deep small voice within” my own heart. All I needed to do, was to heed this VOICE within. This was the Real Me. I realized at times I have crucified it and I was not honoring it as my Savior. Jesus came to give me grace so that I would have opportunity to resurrect this part of me in order to fulfill my own destiny of becoming One with my own True Self. “I and my Father are one.”
Here is the important part, though, the trick was that I would know this voice by its’ utter simplicity and practicality. Now this really sounded like Jesus, because he did tell us that we needed to become as “little children” to enter the kingdom of God. Isn’t it true that the most obvious and simple solutions seem to slip right past us and we try to come up with some complex way of solving our dilemmas because it makes us feel more in control and smart?
The Christ Consecrated Rose of Sharon
It is finished!
Completeness is the allness of God.
Day unto day, an increase of strength, devotion,
Life, beauty and holiness occurs within me,
Released from the fairest flower of my being,
The Christ-consecrated rose of Sharon
Unfolding its petals within my heart.
My heart is the heart of God!
My heart is the heart of the world!
My heart is the heart of Christ in healing action!
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end ,
When with the voice of immortal Love,
I too shall say, “It is finished!”
poem copyrighted by The Summit Lighthouse
Books at Amazon.com:
The Esoteric Tradition, by G. de Purucker
Twelve World Teachers: A Summary of Their Lives and Teachings, by Manly Palmer Hall
Christ the Eternal Tao, by Hieromonk Damascene
Jesus and Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings, by Martin Aronson (Editor), David Steindl-Rast (Introduction)