Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jesus Sutras

The Jesus Sutras are a set of eight Chinese scrolls date from between 635 AD. They are connected with the 7th century mission of Alopen, a Church of the East bishop from Persia. It's a very interesting combination of the teachings of Jesus with the principles of Eastern thought. It is a fragment called "The Nature of the One Spirit".
Heaven stands without supporting beams or posts. But heaven does not stand on its own. It does so through the power of the One Spirit, without supporting beams or posts and free of walls and fences. It is like when an archer shoots an arrow. We see only the arrow, not the archer. We see no archer, but the arrow could not have appeared on its own. There must be an archer. This is how we can understand that heaven and
earth, with the sustaining powers of the One Spirit, neither crumble nor collapse, but endure because of the power of the One. We do not see this force, but we know it sustains heaven and earth. Once the arrow's force is spent it falls to earth. Similarly, if heaven and earth were not sustained by the one spirit, they would crumble. Because of the power of the One, heaven and earth do not collapse. So the existence of heaven and earth affirm the power of the One Spirit.

Since heaven does not collapse, we know this supernatural power is something we cannot fathom. For it appears that the One Spirit created itself. Pondering this we realize there is no left and no right, no before or after, no above or below. It is a single thing, the sustaining power of the One. There is no second or third, and it cannot be made. We see the One Spirit dwelling in heaven and earth without teacher or maker. We see this force as one who invisibly sustains heaven and earth and nourishes all living things.

The One Spirit cannot be seen in heaven and earth just as the human soul cannot be seen in the body. The One Spirit alone resides everywhere just as the soul permeates every place in our body.

There is the One Spirit under heaven who lives in the divine palace of the intangible realm. This Spirit is never in just one place and is not attached to any one place. In fact, in the intangible realm one place is actually two places, and the first is the second in time. Time in the intangible realm is always seen as present, like the Holy
Lord's transforming influence. It follows from this that the intangible realm has not been produced nor made. Words such as first and second do not apply. The One Spirit, therefore, is intangible, not created and not made.

Do not ask whether everything that exists under heaven also resides in the intangible realm; or how it is that what we see is not created, not located anywhere and without time. Not by questions will you understand where the One Spirit is, or that the One, located in the intangible realm, has been neither produced nor made. Do not ask when the One Spirit was made or produced. This also will not be understood through questions. Not by questions will you understand.

Permanent, inexhaustible; exhaustible, impermanent. The One Spirit resides within all the myriad thing. The One has been neither produced nor made, and permanently resides without end. Among the things existing under heaven, there are those that can be seen and those that cannot be seen. For example, the soul cannot be seen by human beings. Our desire to see the soul indicates a spiritual consciousness in human beings.

Just as two kinds of sprouts can share one root, human sight is of two kinds and both share one root. We have both a soul and a spiritual consciousness. Just as a person without a body is not complete and a person without a soul is not complete, so is someone without a spiritual consciousness also incomplete. Anything seen under heaven, it is of two kinds, from one root.

If someone asks in what way the myriad of things are made by the One Spirit, or if they ask where the unseen things reside, you should answer in this way: They reside under heaven and are what the One Spirit sent. If someone asks how many things there are or how many people have been made, say to them: The myriad things under heaven all consist of the four elements.

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