"Old Testament" and Demiurgos

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lleyr
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"Old Testament" and Demiurgos

#1 Postby lleyr » Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:09 am

I recently had a long time gnostic voice concern that we (Sophians) use the Judaic tradition as part of our path. He was adament that YHWH is a false god and that we are wrong to consider him part of our path. He does believe in Yeshua and Magdeline.

I explained the fact that Yeshua was a Jewish mystic. I explained the nature of his Hebrew name being translated as "YHWH delivers". I also explained the view that the "Old Testament" is "different' from the new because of the law and the influence of the demiurge, but that YHWH is not the demiurge. It ended up being futal, but did clarify some things for others in the thread.

How should we address this view that many gnostic recreationists seem to have? I understand that our goal is not to convert, but the view does confuse those caught in the middle of the dialog.

Blessings, Mark

Tau Malachi
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Diverse Traditions

#2 Postby Tau Malachi » Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:32 am

Greetings Mark!

On occasion I hear this view from modern Gnostics and when I do I remind them that there was/is not a single Gnostic Tradition or single Gnostic view, but rather many and diverse traditions, and that there are both dualistic and non-dualistic schools of Gnostic Christianity - that, in fact, we acknowledge both trends of thought among Gnostics, but hold to the non-dual school of thought. Likewise, I remind that ours is an older school, one that existed prior to the Nag Hammadi and other finds of sacred Gnostic text, thus our school developed independently. Because of this it is not surprising that we hold a very different view. It is not an issue of "right" or "wrong" but of different views.

To a point I will explain of view of the demiurgos and archons according to the Sophian perspective, and I will point out that Yeshua was Jewish as well as point out the meaning of the name Yeshua as you did. However, unfortunately, fundamentalism pervades all forms of spirituality and if I am dealing with a person who is disrespectful of other traditions or is telling me I'm "wrong" there is not much to talk about. It is one thing to have a conversation comparing schools of thought, it is another to pontificate the "only correct view." All I can do is share the Sophian perspective and leave it at that. I'm not prone to argue with anyone as I don't see it as productive or loving.

Typically I also remind that the whole point to any Gnostic system is something experiential - self-realization or Divine illumination, that a Gnostic system is simply a mystical language and symbolism - a vehicle for experience.

If I have been involved in a Gnostic Tradition virtually all of my life and someone is telling me my tradition is "wrong" or telling me what Gnosticism is or isn't, what am I going to say to that? For me Gnosticism is not a religious belief but a spiritual life and practice, I really don't know what to say to a person who takes it as a dogmatic religion.

What is often not understood is that Gnosticism represents a vast spectrum of views and practices - no one can speak for all Gnosticism or all Gnostics. In this light we must constantly speak from the perspective of our own tradition and do our level best to be respectful of the views of others.

At the end of the day it is my hope that a person acquires gnosis by whatever system they choose to follow - after all, that is what it is all about.

Sorry if this is not exactly helpful, but I'm not sure I have an answer to this question - generally I try to remain peaceful and walk away from unnecessary arguements.

As for folks on the side watching an exchange, I imagine each individual can make up his or her own mind and pursue the way that seems best to them. All one can do is share the Sophian perspective of Gnostic Christianity and speak from one's own experience in a respectful and friendly way.

Blessings & shalom! :)
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Zeke
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#3 Postby Zeke » Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:44 am

I personally think if Judaic tradition is a wrong path, then Yeshua wouldn't say this:

"The pharisees and scribes have taken the keys of knowledge and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. You, however, be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves." GOT 39 :wink:

Tamara
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#4 Postby Tamara » Sat Sep 03, 2005 5:28 pm

Greetings, Mark, Malachi and Zeke,

I was glad to see this question raised, as I've run into some of this thinking in Gnostic circles myself. For many years I felt that much that I at least perceived as lacking in mainstream Christianity was because we'd lost the connection with our roots in the Jewish mystical tradition. Jesus clearly taught from that tradition, at the same time that he warned against the legalism and literalism of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The theory of some Gnostics, of course, is that the Yahweh of the old testament is really the demiurge, who had enslaved the Jewish people for centuries. It seems to me, though, that the demiurge can be confused for the true divine in the practice of any religion. And I wonder if that was what the Buddha was really talking about when he warned against worshiping "samsaric gods." We can't always tell whether we are seeing into the face of God or just looking at the reflection of our own personal ego--or for that matter the collective ego of a race or culture.

David Cooper in his workshops and in his book God is a Verb talks about the importance of being able to read scripture (which for him is exclusively the Old Testament) at 4 levels, up to and including the mystical understanding of the kabbalists. Most of us brought up in a Christian context haven't been taught how to do that so it's easy to dismiss the God we see in those scriptures as the demiurge.

And having said all that, there are always those who just need to hold a particular view as correct and are not comfortable with dialog. We will inevitably acquire some fundamentalist gnostics (no, not entirely an oxymoron! ) along the way. Having grown up in the Bible Belt south, I agree with Tau Malachi. You just have to let them hold their ideas and walk away peacefully. Hopefully we'll never have to see a "Gnostic" Pat Robertson declaiming on cable television! :lol:

Yours in the Peace of the Pleroma,
Tamara
Student, tell me: what is God? The breath within the breath.

Tau Malachi
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Concepts in the Mind

#5 Postby Tau Malachi » Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:40 am

Greetings!

Tamara, I believe you bring out an important point with regard to the demiurge, at least from a Sophian perspective, for what the Buddha taught with regard to “samsaric gods” is essentially the same as the Sophian view of the demiurge. Samsara is the state of ignorance or state of confusion – the unenlightened condition. Samsaric gods, then, would be any concept of God fashioned in this ignorance or confusion, or anything we may worship as “god” which is not God; hence, in Judeo-Christian terms, “idolatry.” If we actually look into the monotheistic ideal, it may well intend the same basic message that the Buddha was speaking – our concepts of God or Enlightenment are not God or Enlightenment, they are merely concepts in the mind.

This is really very interesting, for this not only includes concepts we may fashion before direct spiritual and mystical experience, but includes the conceptualization of our experiences themselves. For example, if I experience a state of cosmic consciousness – the peak of mental consciousness, and I perceive Reality or God from that state, I may assume cosmic consciousness is the highest possible form of consciousness, and that my experience of Reality or God is the ultimate Truth; if I hear a term such as Supernal or Supramental Consciousness, I may assume it is the same as my experience of cosmic consciousness, though, in fact, it is not. Yet, conceptualization is even more subtle than this, for our experience is in the moment, but conceptualization is like an echo after the fact – it removes us from the moment and the experience of what is happening in the moment, and quite naturally it is always outside of the actual experience, whatever the experience of the moment might be.

We may consider this in terms of the Name of Yahweh, and the idea of this Name as a Verb – it literally means “That Which Was, Is and forever Shall Be,” and implies the flow of Reality as It Is in the very instant it is transpiring; hence, what we call the “Light-continuum.” Generally speaking, in any state of mental consciousness, we perceive everything after the fact, always outside the instant it is occurring. In other words, our perception of Reality isn’t Reality as It Is, but always as It Was, if only an instant ago.

This, of course, speaks to a very subtle level of the unenlightened condition, a very subtle level of samsara. On a gross level, we fashion an I-thought in the mind, which is sustained by the reference points of concepts about ourselves, others, our world, reality and God or Enlightenment. This taints all our perceptions, distorting and obstructing our perception of Reality as It Is or God as God Is; yet, all the while we believe we are “seeing” and “hearing” with perfect clarity! In this is the demiurge, the ignorance.

The “kingpin” in all of this is the I-thought or self-grasping, from which all of the conceptual reference points are generated – everything we think we know and understand about ourselves, reality and God. All of this is the “demiurge,” put simply.

In order to look and see, listen and hear – to know Reality as It Is or God as God Is, the I-thought must be brought into cessation and we must abide in a state of Pure Radiant Awareness, or “Naked Awareness,” as it has also been called. (One can’t help but think of Adam and Eve who become clothed after the fall here, when the I-thought came into dominion and they knew that were naked, and thought themselves separate from Reality and/or God!)

Outside of the immediate experience of Reality as It Is, or the immediate experience of Enlightenment, are we ever speaking the essential truth of Reality or Enlightenment? Even if we are in the immediate experience, can the essence of the Truth and Light be spoken, or is it only reflections that are thought and spoken – reflections of the Spirit and Truth, but not the Spirit of Truth itself?

I’m reminded of a saying of the Buddha about spiritual teachings: they are all “a finger pointing at the moon.” It seems we often confuse the “finger” with the “moon.” In fact, this is the fundamental error.

I’m also reminded of what is taught at the outset of the oral transmission of Melchizedek Teachings in the Tradition: The thought “I know” and the thought “I do not know” are the same fundamental obstruction to the Light Transmission or Divine Gnosis.

Looking and seeing, listening and hearing – Just Being, in this we may experience Divine Gnosis.

Perhaps this enlightenment experience is not a fixed or static state, but is fluid and flowing – a very rapid flickering between confusion and clarity, which produces what appears to be a constant Divine Illumination. Perhaps if we grasp at confusion or clarity, in that very instant, we fall into the Ignorance (the “dominion of the demiurge”), for then we break the continuity of awareness of what is happening in the moment. It would seem that the “demiurge” is the tendency to grasp, the dualism in consciousness that is the cause of all grasping.

The radiant display of consciousness is truly spectacular – quite delightful in its splendor!

May we abide in the lap of Mother Sophia as Christ, amen.

Blessings & shalom!
Tau Malachi

Sophia Fellowship

Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Tamara
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#6 Postby Tamara » Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:32 pm

Dear Tau Malachi,
Thank you so much for this post. I have wondered if the ideas of samsaric gods and the demiurge were essentially the same. And as I was reading your post, before I got to the last couple of paragraphs, you had me thinking about a translation of the Heart Sutra mantra that has always been my favorite:

Oh, Buddha, going, going, going on beyond and always going on beyond...
Always becoming Buddha

If the Divine is infinite is there really any end to enlightment, or are we infinitely coming closer to the absolute?

Shalom,
Tamara
Student, tell me: what is God? The breath within the breath.


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