Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Gospel of Mary, Part I

Angkor, Cambodia

Last night (December 6) Parabola Magazine hosted a salon at which we discussed the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, specifically, the question of ignorance and its relationship to sin, which is the subject of the upcoming issue of the magazine.

I haven't read this gospel in a number of years, so I opened it this morning. I found some striking remarks.

The gospel begins in the midst of a discussion; the pages that introduce it are missing.

"... will matter then be destroyed or not?"

 The Savior said, "all natures, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots. For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its nature alone. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

— The Nag Hammadi library in English, Harper & Row, 1998, page 524

  In discussion about the inner teachings of the Gospels — that is, teachings Christ passed on which are meant to be taken as inward teachings, that relate not to the outer world, but to inward being — it's worth mentioning that whenever Christ says, he who has ears to hear, let him hear, he means, the teaching is an inner or esoteric teaching, that is, it cannot be taken literally or interpreted according to the rules of the ordinary world.

In order to understand this better, we have to reconfigure our understanding of what it means to listen, and to hear. To listen and to hear is not just a matter of listening and hearing with attention. One can have a very good outward attention and listen and hear quite well, and take in an enormous amount of data and have sophisticated intellectual exchanges, a strong memory of everything that's been said, and so on. This isn't listening and hearing as it is referred to in the Gospels; nor, as it happens on it to be the understanding of listening and hearing as it relates to inner work, be it Sufi, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, or otherwise.

 As it happens, the inward parts that listen and hear are much deeper within Being then our ordinary parts. When we encounter the words,  he who has ears to hear, let him hear, we encounter an admonition that the impression of the ideas be taken deeper into Being.

 Now, this may seem like a new idea... what precisely does that mean?

It means that one must have an organic sensitivity, a connection to sensation, and that the understandings must flow inward as a result of that connection and relationship, which creates a transparency. This transparency represents a kind of clarity. It's extremely difficult to explain this clarity in words, but generally speaking, in this clarity one will distinctly feel that one receives things more deeply. Personality is far more passive in this condition, and essence is active.

 We can't know precisely what the condition under which matter might be destroyed was; the questioner may have been asking about the durability of the material world, or the nature of experience after spiritual enlightenment. Nonetheless, Christ's message on the subject is fascinating.

Essentially, he discusses a condition I have mentioned in past posts.  All natures, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another.  Everything contains everything else; all objects, events, circumstances, and conditions are so directly and deeply connected to one another that a grain of sand objectively contains the entire universe, if this were properly sensed and understood. The idea seems ridiculously inflated, but there is a sacred truth within it: the absolute and entire expression of God and Being find perfection within each instant and instance of manifestation.

Christ expands on this fundamental truth, which is certainly expressed in Buddhism, by pointing out that  they will be resolved again into their own roots. For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its nature alone.

 I'll ponder this point and attempt comment on it tomorrow, after allowing it to digest more deeply during the night.



  1. Fascinating. My tithe for the new year is to no longer comment...I look forward to all the interesting comments...merry pagan xmas
    'A grain of sand' understands nothing...and effectively does not exist apart from our awareness of's a conglomerate/composite, not a natural unity..just like the moooon

  2. Un-empsyched entities are not integral: the wholeness of such and such a kilogram of sugar or – to use Heidegger’s example – the wholeness of the Earth’s Moon, eventuate only in their observers’ mental representations, or in a integrative level of nature (the fields) where the Moon and the sugar no longer keep a particularity. Exception are the discrete increments in field excitation modes (“elementary particles”) that, independently of the physicists’ multiple mental representations purported to allude to them, occur as wholes with extramental intactness.
    There is certainly an area of the earth's surface that we refer to as a 'sandy beach', for example, but the 'grains' have no wholeness...apart from human distinctions...altho the 'elementary particles or field excitation modes' of those 'grains' do exist independently of our representations because they are wholes...Fortunately psyches/souls are also wholes.
    Just thought I should finish with that xmas clarification :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.