Moksha for my Christian-Buddhist friends.

Moksha (/ˈmoʊkʃə/; Sanskrit: मोक्ष, mokṣa), also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism which refers to various forms of emancipation, liberation, and release. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha

So, I study, practice and share about Buddhism. It’s one of my favorite things. But, I have Christian roots. Jesus is a spiritual ancestor of mine.

Understanding the historical context, and content, of the various flavors of his teaching has been important to me since I was young. After some years of focused study and practice, I am now at a point where I am clearly seeing how these two traditions (Christianity and Buddhism) are similar and different. It feels good, so I want to share some of what I see.

Moksha

Moksha means liberation, emancipation, freedom. Freedom from what? That depends on what system of thought you are operating within. Christianity is focused on Moksha too, but the emphasis is a bit different than what we see in Buddhism.

Mystics

When I look closer at our western traditions, I can see that the mystics have been with us all along (enduring all sorts of abuse from the authorities), constantly creating new methods and new ways of seeing. They have been holding a lamp on the path of liberation, but they have been continually snuffed out by zealous, arrogant, ignorant fools.

Nag Hammadi Collection

Luckily, not too long ago we (humanity) discovered many previously unknown early Christian texts in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, that help to fill in some important details. These texts show us how diverse the early Christian movement really was. Ideas about Jesus (who he was and why he was important) varied widely. To learn more about the diversity of early Christianity, I highly recommend you go read Elaine Pagels’ work. She will show you. To explore my approach to this synthesis, continue reading.

Not Two.

There are texts that show early Christians were engaging in nondual contemplative practices. It is clearly spelled out. Let’s take a look at that. It is worth understanding.

The Gospel of Thomas (GOT), presents a Jesus that any Mahayana Buddhist should
recognize. He is a Mahayana Jesus. This Jesus, or “Yeshua”, encourages us to surpass even him on the road to complete and perfect liberation. This Jesus we are introduced to by Thomas, is not the *ONLY* Son of God that we have been told about– this Jesus (Jesus means Savior) is a fellow seeker who, with great compassion, wants to impart his wisdom to us in order to help us along our way. This Jesus is not some sacrificial goat that we have killed in order to quench the blood-thirst of an insane and jealous Mountain / Storm-God. This is not even the Saviorthe prophets have predicted. This Jesus, this Savior, is our own true nature.
Do not disregard the living one among you!

Gospel of Thomas, (52):

His students said to him,
Twenty-four prophets have spoken in Israel
and they all spoke of you.

He said to them,
You have disregarded the living one among you
and have spoken of the dead.

Become like the one who has made the two into one, the inner like the outer, the upper like the lower!

Gospel of Thomas, (108):

Yeshua said,
Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me.
I myself shall become that person,
and the hidden things will be revealed to that one.

Move beyond dualistic false imagination, clearly gno the emptiness of suchness:
Gospel of Thomas, (22):
Yeshua saw some babies nursing. He said to his students,
These nursing babies
are like those who enter the kingdom.
They said to him,
Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?Yeshua said to them,
When you make the two into one,
and when you make the inner like the outer
and the outer like the inner
and the upper like the lower,
and when you make male and female into a single one,
so that the male will not be male nor the female be female,
when you make eyes in place of an eye,
a hand in place of a hand,
a foot in place of a foot,
an image in place of an image,
then you will enter the kingdom.

The GOT is a collection of wisdom sayings. I like to call it the Gospel of the Twin (Thomas means twin). It presents a simple and profound path to Moksha. It teaches what some English speaking Mahayana Buddhists might recognize as ‘no-birth, no-death’.

Gospel of Thomas, (1):

And he said,
Whoever discovers what these sayings mean will not taste death.

Materialists may even be able to understand the value of the teachings contained herein, if they consider the principal of the conservation of matter and energy.

Nothing is created (no-birth), nothing is destroyed (no-death).
This observation of ceaseless transformation is like watching fire.
The Buddha said, “the all is on fire”.
Jesus said,

Gospel of Thomas (82)
Yeshua said,
Whoever is near me is near fire,
and whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom.

The Kingdom is the cosmos seen by the liberated mind.
The Kingdom is Amitabha’s Pure Land that is always available to those who seek it!
But, we’ll get back to this (someday).

One Mind.

Zen Master Huang Po talks about One Mind and Sentient Beings. Long story short, One Mind and Sentient Beings are one [non]thing.
When One Mind stops its process of differentiation and discrimination, it is Buddha. It is awakened to its actual nature. When it is engaged in that process of discrimination and differentiation, it is Sentient Beings. It is that simple. Buut, getting to that point, where that process ‘stops’, that is (more than) a little bit tricky. It is beyond effort, yet getting to that point of effortlessness requires the greatest effort. Here, you must get used to paradox.
 This is both a conceptual and nonconceptual effort. With more tranquility, we are able to see more clearly (meaning: with more tranquility, there is more insight).

It’s like how two sticks, when rubbed together, eventually get warm, warmer, hot, hotter and start a fire. In the fire they are both burned away.

Neither conceptuality nor nonconceptuality is present in the fire of awakening, yet the fire is indeed burning. We clearly see the fire before us, we can feel the bliss-warmth. We gno, from the inside out. With this effort, a fire of awakening emerges and burns away conceptuality and nonconceptuality. Both conceptual and nonconceptual methods are the cause of the fire, but both are transformed and ultimately eliminated by the flames.

No single metaphor, allegory, simile, or any kind of story whatever, will ever perfectly represent the truth. There is Gno Truth. We have to taste it for ourselves!

One Mind clings to a particular stream of becoming, a karmic stream, a person, a being, and becomes totally identified with it. Becoming addicted to wrong views over infinite thought-cycles, the experience is characterized as Dukkha.

Thankfully, there are many little nirvanas on the way to mahaparinirvana, but finally, recognizing the true nature to be emptiness (seeing tathata in shunyata and vice versa, they say we come to gno that form is emptiness and emptiness is form and they say that whoever is near this fire is near the kingdom).

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