Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Turn Back, Woman" (Buddhism-Gnosticism)

Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; "Turn Back, O Man" (Godspell)
(Vanessa Painter) Marlington High's production of Godspell with Megan Husk as Sonia, 2010.
Turn back, woman. Forswear thy foolish ways. Old now is Earth, and none may count her days. Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flames, still will not hear thine inner-god proclaim.
Turn back, woman! (Is your seat comfortable sir?) Turn back, woman! (Mmm, I like that.) Turn back, woman! (Can you take it?) Forswear thy foolish ways. (See ya later; I'm going to the front of the theatre.)
Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise. Age after age their tragic empires rise. Built while they dream and in that dreaming weep. Would Man but wake from out his haunted sleep.

Turn back, woman... (I'll say it again.) Turn back, woman... (Can you see from where you're sitting?) Turn back, woman... (Hi, ya big boy.)  Forswear thy foolish ways. 

HOLYMAN: "Earth shall be fair and all her people one. Not till that hour shall God's whole will be done. Now, even now, once more from Earth to sky, peels forth in joy Man's old undaunted cry. Earth shall be fair and all her people one."
Come here, Issa. I got something to show ya!
Turn back, woman. Forswear thy foolish ways! Old now is Earth, and none may count her days. Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flames, still will not hear thine inner-god proclaim. Turn back, woman! Turn back, woman! Turn back, woman! Forswear thy foolish ways!
Play it again, honey!

(BBC Four/ Anglican priest Pete Owen-Jones explores the huge number of ancient Christian texts that did not make it into the New Testament (Christian Bible).
Shocking and challenging, these were works in which the historical Jesus did not die on the cross, did not resurrect, but took revenge on his enemies, and kissed Mary Magdalene on the mouth -- a Jesus unrecognizable from the one remade for the popular canon. 
Owen-Jones travels through Egypt and the former Roman Empire looking at the emerging evidence of a Christian world that was very different from the one the world knows. He discovers that aside from the gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, there were over 70 gospels, acts, letters, and apocalypses all circulating in the early Church (Nag Hammadi texts).

UFOs, angels, and celestial "saucers" from heaven figure in Christian art (
Through these lost Gospels, Owen-Jones reconstructs the intense intellectual and political struggles for orthodoxy that was fought in the early centuries of Christianity, a battle involving different Christian sects, each convinced that their gospels were true and sacred.
The worldwide success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code sparked new interest as well as wild and misguided speculation about the origins of the Christian faith (as opposed to the knowledge of Gnosticism). Owen-Jones sets out the context in which heretical texts like the Gospel of Mary emerged. He also strikes a cautionary note: If these lost gospels had been allowed to flourish, Christianity may well have faced an uncertain future, or perhaps not survived at all.

The documentary, although a great feat of scholarship, falls short of exploring some other important manuscripts such as the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Barnabas. It also fails to explore the evidence in the gospels of the other possibility of Christ's nature -- that he was entirely human.

Buddhism and Gnostic-Christianity
Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly edit of Wikipedia entry
St. Issa (Jesus) in Hemis Gompa, Ladakh, India
Certain modern scholars, most notably Buddhologist/Heart Sutra translator Edward Conze (1966) and Princeton Professor of Religion Elaine Pagels (1979), have proposed that similarities exist between Buddhism and Gnosticism. The latter term derives from the name "Gnostics" (Greek, gnosis = "knowledge") given to a number of Christian sects by those who study heresies.
An early suggestion of the connection of gnostic-theosophic teachings with Buddhism came from the Saint Petersburg (Russia) Tibetologist and Mongologist Isaac Jacob Schmidt in his pamphlet, Über die Verwandtschaft der gnostisch-theosophischen Lehren mit den Religionssystemen des Orients, vorzüglich dem Buddhaismus (Leipzig 1828).
This was developed by the American Edward Conze in his paper "Buddhism and Gnosis" presented to the Origins of Gnosticism Colloquium of Messina, held from April 13-18, 1966 -- a seminal event in the modern revision of scholarship on gnosis and gnosticism in Judaism and early Christianity. 
Silk Road from Jerusalem to Kashmir (India)
Conze pointed out that his starting point for Mahayana (Universalist) Buddhism is contemporary with the starting point for universal Christianity. He noted that, "This Buddhism I propose to compare with 'Gnosis' rather than 'the Gnostics,' because the connotation of the latter term is still so uncertain that this Congress has been specially convened for the purpose of defining it." 
(Holger Kersten)
Conze's suggestion was supported and expanded by Pagels in her book The Gnostic Gospels (New York, 1979). It was followed by appeals to Buddhist scholars to find evidence for contact between Buddhism and Gnosticism. 
Pagels' suggestion, however, has not gained academic acceptance or generated significant further study. Although the book was a bestseller, Donald Akenson (2001) concludes that the success of the book was due to it being a message the American popular audience was ready to hear. More

There is a strong and obvious connection between Mahayana-Buddhism, Christian-universalism (Catholic, Gnostic, Coptic), and devotional Hinduism (centering on Krishna), not to mention Islam. This is perfectly apparent to anyone who studies them. They deviate from what their historical founders -- notably the Buddha Gautama and Christ Jesus/Issa -- taught, but groups of men rewrote canonical history to create astro-theological salvation "religions" to manipulate the masses. Only by studying the original mysticism with instruction stripped of myth can one hope to get to the heart of the spirituality often missing in the West. And understanding the originals leads to a great appreciation for the beauty of the universalized message we were sold in place of authentic teachings.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Interesting topic and very well written.