Peace, Love, Compassion: The Teachings of Jesus
You may be a practicing Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Wiccan, or walking the Good Red Road but if you have lived most of your life in a country where Christianity is the predominate religion, such as the United States, then you are a cultural Christian. What this means is you know the Christian stories, myths, icons and so forth and you live your lives directed by those, knowingly or unknowingly. Some of those stories and some of the Christian dogma present humankind as inherently sinful (Original Sin) and disconnected from God. Let’s look at this from another perspective.
Jesus never wrote a word of his teachings and neither did his disciples. They committed Jesus’ teachings to memory. It wasn’t until at least forty years (some religious scholars estimate 80-100 years) after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection that Paul (a.k.a. Saul) saw a vision of Jesus on the road and began writing the New Testament and Paul’s writings greatly influenced every book of the Bible that followed. Paul wrote about persecution, crucifixion and redemption which, as Leonard Schlain points out, “was then substantiated by the church and supported by the government who gave the Orthodox Christians the power to use the army and the police to destroy the Christian Gnostics who were following Jesus’ teachings of nonviolence.” Everything that is recorded in the Bible that is concerned with what Jesus said pertained to the qualities of love, compassion, equality, and mercy.
As cultural Christians or practicing Christians, we rarely learn that Jesus taught nonviolence. However, Jesus of Nazareth didn’t preach persecution, crucifixion and resurrection. His life was exemplified by love, understanding and compassion. Jesus was a revolutionist. He taught nonviolence when political and religious leaders were proclaiming an eye for an eye. He taught to turn the other cheek and to love your neighbor as yourself. In Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, neighbor meant anyone you ever thought of. Even your enemies.
Unlike those that worship today’s golden calves, Jesus of Nazareth was indifferent to power and wealth. “He spoke out about the hierarchical ordering of society. To Jesus, the poor, the disabled, and women were equal to the richest male slave owner. By word and deed, he exemplified a humanist credo.”. He taught us to be merciful and compassionate. His teachings were radical. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provided us with instructions and…methods for evaluation progress toward living the “Greatest” and “Second” Commandments––the keys to peace, life and health. Jesus gave us the thread to mend a fraying societal fabric. “Love God with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Appearance comes from Latin: ad plus parer––to come forth; that something is present and we perceive its presence. For W.S. Merwin, both the ground and the notions built on it are tenuous. Appearances are deceiving because of our way of looking at things impedes their coming forth. Our self-importance prevents us from seeing beyond what appears to us.
We’re on an evolutionary projection, perhaps more than just physical in nature, conceivably noetic—a transformation or mutation of consciousness, a revolution of humankind. To take this step, we can’t sidestep our reality that we are of the material. Some believe that the material world is an illusion. Thus, we needn’t concern ourselves with our political doings.
What is the relationship between reality and the illusion? By what miracle or mystery does the illusion come to be or how does it manage to appear or to abide in Time forever?
According to Sri Aurobindo of India, if God created everything, then this illusion must have been the creator’s handiwork also. The material world is an illusion only if we consider it finite and unfixable. After all, it is all energy, infinite and changeable. On some levels subtle, on others dense, but changeable, fixable, and healable nonetheless. Scientific technology is only beginning to be able to measure the energy, only beginning to prove to our egoic minds what Buddha and others said over two thousand years ago; we are all One.
 Schlain, Leonard, 1998, The Alphabet and the Goddess: the conflict between world and image.
 Schlain, Leonard, 1998, The Alphabet and the Goddess: The conflict between word and image.
 Enlightenment: An Ancient Text of the Syriac (Aramaic) New Testament. Yonan Codex Foundation. Heartland Aramaic Mission.
 Schlain, Leonard, The Alphabet and the Goddess: the conflict between word and image. 1998.
 The Be-Attitudes From the Aramaic by the Yonan Codex Foundation.
 Merwin, W.S., United States Poet Laureate (2010-2011)
 Ghose, Aurobindo, (Sri Aurobindo), First published in America in 1990. The Life Divine, Book II.