Sunday, July 4, 2010

Luke Chapter 17: The Second Coming

I wanted to do a commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Luke, Chapter 17, verses 20 to 37. This section is about the coming of the "kingdom of god". The Pharisees, who are representatives of the orthodox spiritual traditions of the time, ask Jesus when the kingdom of god is coming. Jesus says to them, "The kingdom of god is not coming with visible signs, they will not say, "here it is" or "there it is", but behold, the kingdom of god IS within you and around you." The Pharisees ask a question about when, about the future, and Jesus answers in the present tense. The Aramaic word that is used in this passage is sometimes translated as "within" and sometimes translated as "in your midst" (aka around you). I have taken the approach of the Amplified Bible where all relevant multiple meanings are included. In Aramaic and sometimes in Greek, a word can have multiple simultaneous meanings. In English, even when a word has multiple possible meanings, usually only one of them is relevant within each individual context. Some authors, however, using irony and puns, sometimes have an English word have multiple meanings in the same context, but this is stretching the language further rather than normal use.

When Jesus talks about the kingdom of god, it is almost always in the present tense. The one exception is when he talks about the "son of man coming into his kingdom". My belief is that this verse refers to the near future, the very next event in the story, where Jesus transfigures his physical body into a light body. The kingdom of god is a kingdom of light. On this level or dimension of existence, there is no war, no famine, no aging, no death, no poverty, no injustice, no disease, no accidents, and no natural disasters. This dimension is already here and already now. We can get in touch with this dimension within us and it always surrounds us.

By saying what Jesus says, he negates all the apocalyptic doom prophecies that have been shared in his past, were being talked about during more recent times, and which are being talked about even now. The Pharisees were expecting it and hoping for it. Christians later on also expected it and hoped for it. Every 40 years for the last 2,000 years, Christianity has had apocalyptic movements. The new age has taken this over and created more of their own. Other religions, like Islam, have also done the same.

Jesus goes on further and talks about people "longing for the days of the son of man" and talks about how prophets will comes and say, "look here it is" and "look there it is". He sees in the future time when there will be a lull, where no obvious homo telepathicus being will appear and interact with homo sapiens. Beings like Jesus and Buddha are few compared to the number of homo sapiens. There are more homo telepathicus beings. They have mainly learned to hide and work in secret, carrying on the great work of transformation, gently uplifting the planet and gently guiding it. They cannot stop all wars from happening, but they have stopped many wars from happening. They have reduced the effects of wars, built healing centers when possible, taken most advanced artists and scientists of homo sapiens and lead them away from harm, and helped them to continue their work. They have been advisors to rulers when possible and helped to restrain them from generating bad karma for their sake and the sake of all others. But only rarely, when it is important that some spiritual and evolutionary teachings be released to the public, to the masses, do they teach. They often get crucified if they hang out too long in public. Jesus does get crucified. Devadatta tries to kill Buddha three times. Orthodox Hinduism tries to humiliate him in a three debates. Both fail and Buddha teaches the dharma for over 40 years. This was a rare event. People miss the climate that such higher beings create around themselves. They can feel the peace around such beings that the world will eventually feel all the time, when the age of barbarism is over. I personally have seen that humans will eventually arrive, will overcome the three poisons of the mind (craving, negativity, and delusion), will realize their true nature, and will establish a lasting peace on Earth, and then eventually translate their physical bodies into light bodies.

Jesus tells people to not go after these prophets or follow them. He wants people in the future to not get caught in apocalyptic second coming stories. He does not want people to lose their focus in the inner work and manifesting the light body which is the real access to a kingdom of light that is already here and already now.

He goes further. Having established that the prophecies all miss the point and having established that the core reality that is worth seeking is already within us and around us, he does point to a future, another kind of second coming, where it will be "like lightning flashing across the sky" and says, "so shall the son of man be in his day". What he means by this is that when the day comes when homo telepathicus is the dominant species on this planet, it will be everywhere, illuminating everything, and will be visible everywhere. Everyone will have gone through the mutation and awakened to this level of life. It will be like a flash of lightning and illuminate the entire landscape. The dimension of light will be revealed within everyone and around everyone.

There is a phrase in English called "having your day". It is usually refers to birthdays, but it also refers to any day where everything is going your own way. Homo telepathicus has not had its day yet. The world is still dominated by homo sapiens. This species is an intelligent ape species. They are the clever apes who learned to make better weopons that the primitive clubs of his ape rivals. But humans still have ape territory battles, still have alpha leaders and pecking orders, still have jealousy and competition, still have tribes dominating tribes, and still have prejudices. The third brain, the cortical brain, has still not been integrated with the two more primitive brains. Without this event happening, a certain kind of evolutionary change cannot yet happen.

Jesus talks about homo telepathicus suffering many things and being rejected by the present generation (species) of humans. Right now, homo telepathicus humans are the misfits, those that do not fit in, who are rejected, considered softies and weakies. They are naive people who think that love is more powerful than guns and bombs. They think honesty is more important than cunning and deception. They think that "turning the other cheek" is better than wanting revenge and retaliation. Yet "the meek, the gentle, and the humble will inherit the Earth".

Jesus further shares how the world will be until this day happens. Everything will be as it always has been with homo sapiens. They are eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. They are buying, selling, planting, and building. He could have added, too, other activities, like fighting each other, lying, cheating, stealing, and other things. In Mark 13:7 and Matthew 24:6, Jesus talks about "wars and rumors of wars" (and tells followers, "do not be troubled," because everything is happening as it should in the unfoldment process). Luke 21:9 says the same thing with some variation, as if the same speech of Jesus was remembered differently. The context of all this is that homo sapiens does not transcend its usual way of doing things. Wars and rumors of wars is how homo sapiens has always been. We are having them even now. In terms of the current oil spill, this is how homo sapiens has dealt with things. It is still fighting for resources. They first battled for water holes, killing rival tribes for access to the resources it needed, and assumed a might makes right attitude. Buddha gets distressed at this tendency when two kings fight for a river and gets them to share the river. He uses reason to have them think through what they are doing and to stop.

Jesus shares for those undergoing the mutation to not get upset when homo sapiens acts like homo sapiens. Do what you can for your world, keep staying focused on the mutation process, adapt to the changes that happen, but expect this kind of activity to happen and do not worry. The law of karma will balance things. Its mechanisms may be crude when the imbalances are very large, but they will happen and bring things back into alignment.

Jesus then gives some more cryptic metaphors after speaking rather easily and plainly. He talks about remembering how Lots wife turned back and turned into a pillar of salt. He talks about if you are on your housetop to not go back inside to get the goods that are there. Literally, being on a housetop exposed to an apocalyptic event is not a wise thing. But the advice has to do with the last stages of the mutation process. You do not want to get caught in primate fears and primate attachments. You do not want to go back to illusory primate security in money, oil, gold, social status, and even relationships. You will turn into a pillar of salt (in stark terror) if you do. This because you will have evolved enough to see through their illusory security and will have not evolved enough to find a deeper security of the dimension of light.

Jesus expresses the principle next, "whoever seeks to keep his life shall lose it, whoever loses his life will preserve it alive". This is the core Buddhist theme of letting go of "self clinging" in order to find inner peace. This self clinging is the root sorrow that must be uprooted in order to find inner peace. When we are going deeper into the process, first the three poisons arise, then sensual craving and arrogance, and then, finally, the self clinging behind all of them. At the very end, the deepest root is revealed. Jesus undergoes crucifixion in order to release this last root.

Jesus goes further with more cryptic advice. He talks of two men in one bed, one is taken and one is left behind, two women grinding in the same place, one taken and one left behind, and in some versions, two men in one field, one is taken and one left behind. Some evangelicals take this as an event called the rapture, where some people are taken up to heaven to later come with Jesus when he descends, where they disappear from the Earth. Yet what is a righteous homophobic Christian male doing in bed with another male? In any case, the meaning behind this is similar to a passage in the Upanishads, where there are two birds in one tree. One bird is "the watcher" and the other bird is the "empirical self". The one that is taken is the empirical self, which disappears when identification with thought ends. The one that is left is the real self, which is radiant awareness. Practicing watching, watching, and watching eventually reveals this. It is the key meditation practice that allows this mutation to happen. It is the dawning of the fourth element that unifies the three brains together into a harmonious whole. It is why Jesus says, "watch and pray", not just pray, and also why the most repeated phrase in the New Testament is about having "eyes to see" and "ears to hear" (awareness).

The Pharisees are puzzled why Jesus gives those cryptic sayings. They really only have meaning to one who is meditating, to one who is involved in the process. They ask him "where" the one taken is, and Jesus replies a little cryptically, "where the body is, there also will vultures by gathered". He points to letting go of attachment to the body and its survival, and gives a visualization of a dead body with vultures circling around it. By visualizing this, like the visualization that the Buddha gives of seeing your body on a funeral pyre and being burned to ashes, if you are sensitive, it will help you to let go of the root attachment (to body survival) that keeps self clinging and fear alive. He also points to the truth that the empirical self merely vanishes away, like life from a corpse. It is an illusion that is held together by identification and by attachments. When this identification ends, it disappears, it does not go anywhere.

The discussion Jesus has with the Pharisees closes with the cryptic body and vulture sentences. I found this whole section to be very simple and clear. It is different from the apocalyptic focus of much of modern Christianity which has, to me, moved away from the focus Jesus gives to the "kingdom of god". When Jesus starts teachings, he first words were, "Move beyond ordinary consciousness, because kingdom of god is within your reach." It is usually translated as "Repent, for the kingdom of god is at hand." But "within your reach" is what "at hand" means. Once again, it is in the present tense. It does not say, "it will be at hand", but that it is at hand now. The word that is translated as "repent" is "metanoia" in Greek. "Meta" means above and "noia" means consciousness. It is a more profound change that what the usual meaning of "repent" implies. It means lifting oneself totally above a certain kind of consciousness (being on the roof top, rather than being in the house, in the cryptic metaphors that Jesus uses in Luke 17).

In terms of traditional preaching, when a teacher taught something, they would do something called "sounding the doh note". They would state the theme that they would develop throughout their whole teaching. The first discourse or sentence would be a summary of everything else that they would say. For Jesus, this was the kingdom of god. It is not heaven. It is not about making a reservation in heaven and avoiding hell. It is about connecting with something right here and right now that changes everything, even the very cells of this physical body. It is not about some strange god who visits plagues and more terror on a humankind that is already sowing and reaping enough karma to perpetually terrify itself. Jesus is really very practical, straight to the point, and scientific about the needs for transformation. He gives a lot of powerful one liners that can really only be understood by those who are involved in the mutation process, to those who are dying and being reborn into a new being, who "die daily". It is about learning to love, learning to love so deeply and so strongly that you bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you, turn the other cheek when struck by another rather than retaliating back, being gentle with the Earth rather than raping it for all its resources, loving all enemies rather than hating them, being a loving neighbor all all races of people, letting go of status and privilege, not judging or condemning anyone for being who they are, and forgiving everyone until even the last trace of resentment ends. He focused on this kind of love, because it went beyond primate love which barely can love its partners and children, which can be jealous, vengeful, possessive, controlling, and petty. He spoke some challenging sayings in order to point out what this deep love really requires, and wanted people to not be miserly with this love, but to go the second mile, even giving more than what was asked of us.

In terms of primate psychology, what Jesus says is impractical and stupid, counter to primate common sense, where might is right and you never give up power willingly, that you battle to possess and keep valuable resources, hoard them and not share them, and kill anyone who tries to mess with your possessions. Primate politics is what is creating this mess that the planet is in, greed, negativity, and delusion do run a lot of what is seen. The whole world is, as Buddha said, "burning with the fire of craving, burning with the fire of negativity, and burning with the fire of delusion." There are also the more wholesome activities of primates of buying, selling, building, and planting (unless, of course, it harms the Earth in the process or has greed and stealing behind it). This is why the "son of man" must be rejected by this species of humans. But there are those who will hear and understand this voice, who will let themselves be called out of this whole world (the ekklesia) and live differently and eventually join together to create communities of light around this world, and then let the glory of the primate age gently fade away.

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