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January 28, 2019

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db: christ wasn't rejecting the physical creation. By world in context he was referencing the world, aka worldiness, aka 'humanism', of humanity. The vain self-centered, selfish, creator denying, world of human culture. Don't want to devolve into deeply theological discussion of Christianity. Only wanted to inform that gnoticism has been regarded as heresy by the apostles of Christ and stated as such clearly by those of whom wrote the new testament bible inspired directly through/by God(the third person of the trinity- the Holy Spirit.) Rejecting or misinterpreting or denying what the apostles and new testament bible say about the gnostics as heretical and thereby anti-Christ self-evidences itself as the same by definition. In our post-modern marxist world centuries of anti-Christian work is rampant and thoroughly manifest. With all due respect to this buddhist forum, I was only countering any who might otherwise have been mislead that gnosticism is or was ever embraced by Christianity or actual Christians(the elect/the 'Christian church').

To follow what David B said, I would add that any honest read of the scriptures cited should also include the indispensable qualifier of 1 John 4.4, found within the cited passages, which quite clearly states the divine is within not without:

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

This is, by the way, rather than being the antichrist is by some Christian thinkers considered to be the key to defeating evil (i.e. evil being things of the world which are inferior to the spirit).

The gist of this is quite consistent with Buddhist thought in my view.

And as for the doctrine of reincarnation in the Bible, it is found in Matthew 17: 10-12 where John the Baptist is said by Yeshua to be the reincarnation of Elijah.

@Smith, I see this Gnostic rejection of the physical world as evil in 1st John 2:15-17, and even Marcion's doctrine that Jesus' Father is a different God than the creator:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

Obviously the creator would not consider those who love the world he created to be contrary to his love or his enemies. Therefore John is like a Marcionite in his understanding. He is teaching world-renunciation, or that matter is evil.

I think its obvious also that such a doctrine must involve the idea of escaping a cycle of reincarnation. The church fathers don't mention Marcion teaching that part, but are strangely silent on his views of what the bad afterlife is. Probably because they knew if people knew he had taught reincarnation people might flock to Marcionism, or get the idea that maybe the apostles had taught it.

Jack: Gnosticism
“Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist” (v. 7).

- 2 John 7
Montanism was not the only movement that believed there was a unique, mystical knowledge of the truth available only to a special few. We have already seen in our study of Galatians that Roman citizens of the first and second centuries were predisposed to look for a doctrine of salvation that was available to an elite group. Many different groups taught such a doctrine, but the most influential of all of them embraced what is known as Gnosticism.

It is difficult to classify Gnostic beliefs because they were highly malleable and absorbed trappings of many different religions. The Gnosticism that plagued the early church was an amalgamation of Persian, Egyptian, Jewish, and Christian ideas, along with a healthy dose of Greek philosophy. Many early Christian apologists identified Simon Magus (Acts 8:9–24) as the first Gnostic.

The Gnostic view of the creation will be our focus today. As with many Greek philosophers, Gnostics said spirit is good and matter is evil. In creation, they argued, a being of pure spirit emanated levels of spirit outward, much like a rock dropped into a pond produces a series of ripples from its point of impact. These ripples or emanations produced the different aspects of the world we live in, and the closer the emanation is to the source, the purer the object is. Physical things like rocks were those emanations farthest from the spirit. Human beings, because they are mixtures of body and spirit, are the result of an emanation closer to the source. The gods are yet a higher emanation.

Marcion is the best-known Gnostic opponent of the church, and tomorrow we will study him further. Note today that the idea of matter being evil in Greek philosophy and Gnostic thought made the incarnation of Jesus Christ the most scandalous Christian affirmation to those living in the first few centuries. A variation of Gnosticism known as docetism even said that Christ only appeared to take on human flesh and did not possess a physical body at all.

Yet Scripture never says matter is evil. Creation is presently fallen, but fallenness is not inherent in physicality; God made everything “good” (Gen. 1:31). Anyone who denies that Jesus came in the flesh is not a believer (2 John 7).

Coram Deo
The early church rejected Gnosticism, but certain aspects of Greek thought linger even today. Many believe our bodies are just shells for our souls — the “real” us. Yet though our souls are with the Lord at death, we are incomplete without our physical bodies, and we look forward to the resurrection of the body on the last day (Dan. 12:1–2). In creation, God blessed our bodies, and the way we treat them reflects our understanding of this truth.

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/gnosticism/

"which is the adept’s mind before a single thought arises" - it is also the adept's mind during, and after the thought

ultimately, before-, during- or after- thought is all the same, when it is realized all thoughts are the dharmakāya, as it is taught in Mahāmudrā

a deluded sentient being is like an ice block in the ocean; it is all water; whether an ice block, a wave, the essence doesn't change

but that is advanced, for us beginners, it is important to seek that stillness, even though it's a provisional expedient, more traditionally stillness is achieved through śamatha - traditional śamatha

Asanga's 9 stages of śamatha, and Kamalaśīla bhāvanākrama

from my studies I realized there is no real innovation in either Tibetan, or Chinese (let alone Japanese/Korean) traditions, to quote Śramaṇa Zhiyi: "The attainment of Nirvāṇa is realizable by many methods whose essentials do not go beyond the practice of śamatha and vipaśyanā. Śamatha is the first step to untie all bonds and vipaśyanā is essential to root out delusion. Śamatha provides nourishment for the preservation of the knowing mind, and vipaśyanā is the skillful art of promoting spiritual understanding. Śamatha is the unsurpassed cause of samādhi, while vipaśyanā begets wisdom."

Fundamentally neither Tibetans, nor Chinese contributed anything essential, they tried to innovate with the methods, one may find their methods useful or not, depends on the person; in my case, I find it's greatest benefit to return to
the śamatha of Asanga - there is a simplified approach to his stages of śamatha provided by Culadasa in the book "Mind Illuminated"

Internet forums are full of people who are fascinated with Japanese/Chinese culture and love "Mu" and Zen masters' abrasive, laconic style, thinking that is the essence of cultivation, when it is really just culture/style

Those who have luck with the Zen approach, I admire and salute, but those who feel they're not progressing with it, why not try a more traditional śamatha-with-support and then gradually ascend to non-dual insight

Good luck y'all, much love to all of you, the point of all of this stuff is ultimately what I call "intelligent love" , love that liberates

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