Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ravi Ravindra and Priscilla Murray: The Call to Awakening in the Gospels of John, Thomas and Philip

Ravi Ravindra is my Sutra Teacher.  He is at Krotona for 3 weeks presenting with his wife? Priscilla Murray on the Gospels.

The course happens from 10 to 12 Tuesday thru Friday at the Krotona School from Tuesday, Feb 23 thru March 12.  I wish I could go every day, but even a little taste is such a blessing.

This is my first time with Priscilla, and I really like her.  She holds the question and the invitation of the teachings and invites us in.  Much like Ravi, but without any of his occasional cynicsim.

This is the course description:

This course will explore the call to awakening in the gospels of John, Thomas, and Philip, one canonical and two non-canonical. They are less concerned with our sinful nature and more with awakening to our essential divine nature. Series $95/week $35/single session $10
Recommended Texts: Course participants should have copies of the gospels of John, Thomas and Philip, and a copy of The Yoga of the Christ (more recently published under the title The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism) by Ravi Ravindra.

Ravi Ravindra, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, where he was Professor and Chair of Comparative Religion and Adjunct Professor of Physics. Known for his ability to communicate with and inspire students, he is recipient of several awards and research grants and author of more than 100 papers in physics, philosophy, and religion. The latest of his many books is The Wisdom of Patañjali's Yoga Sutras.

Priscilla Murray, PhD, holds degrees in philosophy, education, and mathematics. A retired educator, Dr. Murray was the Associate Editor of the eight-volume series of books, The Inner Journey: Views from the Major Spiritual Traditions, published by the Morning Light Press.

These are notes from DAY 1.

Priscilla Opened:
Gospel means "good news".
In the interest of helping us get in the mood, P asked us to consider the quality of waiting for good news and receiving good news.

"Christ brought a teaching that was radical"
"And his teachings required a radical change in the lives he affected."

Consider the impact that Christ had on the world.

"Can this be good news for us?...Can we hear something we did not already know?"

It is through an open quality of relationship that something can be offered.  Like with scriptures and poetry, the results can be new each time.

Priscilla created some historical context of the Gospels, defining canonical and non-canonical gospels.

Canon of the Church
those scriptures and materials that have been accepted, received the stamp of approval.

Non-canonical Material
all other materials not accepted or considered orthodox

Priscella presented that as the Church became more organized, the teachings became more orthodox and rigid.  The method of teaching "from above" meant that the ways were unquestionable.

Gnostic Gospels
Gnosis - from the same root that makes Knowledge
- a particular kind of Knowledge
- wisdom, insight, intuition, mystical, esoteric
- not obvious knowledge
- not captured in a technical manual
- a relationship coming to be, a teaching
- to help us towards an inner knowledge
- invites and allows us a new perspective
- we are all a part of this new look

"Christ revealed himself to the people as they were able to see him."
"Human beings are a variety of levels of understanding."
"All our ways of knowing can be very limited"
"He came not to make us Christians, he came to make us Christ" (Phillp)

If we are 7 billion on the planet and 98% are just surviving, we need some Good News.

"Balance of Life and Organization of Group is always in tension"
We have the "wonderful possibility of giving up our knowledge"

The Discovery of the Gospels:
1945 in a clay pot in the desert of Egypt by a Shepard or Farmer

They were not translated into English until the 70s.

"Every translation is an interpretation."
Thomas: "Whoever finds these interpretations of these sayings will not experience death."
Invitation to find a deeper relationship with these words, the Self, and God.

Ravi reminded us that context is not random and to consider the needs of the planet around 1945.
At the end of WWII, there was a major emotional shit.   Up until that point, it had been fine to conquer another's culture.  After that it became "a bankrupt idea".

1960s saw the movement of Turning East.

"Like the red-letter edition"
Everything starts out with "Jesus said"
Thoughts have not been organized.
Not really in logical order.
Instead, little gems to treasure.
"For people already turning towards hearing from Christi"

Literal vs understanding
"Any translation will not be the translation"

More reflections, comments and teachings in line of Christ, about him, to a select group

Ravi and Priscella spoke of the page numbers and how we will find the verses

"very little mention of what Christ DID, always what Christ SAID"

these works regard Christ as a teacher, less as a Savior
A teacher requires something of the students.  One has to be a disciple

Saviour requires a different attitude.

[a member of the group mentioned Christ as a healer]

"Go beyond the ordinary mind"

Ravi opened Second Half

Christ remarked, "I stood in the midst of the world and I appeared to them in flesh; I found all of them drunken; I found none among them thirsty. And my soul was pained for the children of men, for they are blind in their hearts, and they do not see that they came empty into the world seeking also to leave the world empty. But now they are drunken. When they shake off their wine, then they will repent" (Gospel of Thomas II, 2; 28).

Ravi spoke of the sadness we feel for the ignorant.
"Jesus wept for the sins of Jerusalem"
Humanity is a source of sorrow.

Ravi spoke of our need for approval.
"Teachers bring freedom from this anxiety"

Peter: "Christ needs to keep dying on the cross as long as we keep sleeping."

Buddha: "We live as if asleep"

"Teachers come to connect us to a quality of life to which we are not usually connected." oppose to the conflict, sorrow and meaninglessness.

"How long oh Lord, will though forget me?...Give me light to my eyes or i will sleep with death." Psalm 13, versus 2 and 4

Is it Enough to be Thirsty?

"A lot of work from the day of deciding to the day of enlightenment."

There is a time pressure when a real teacher appears.
"Search while the light is among you."
"99% of the people are not interested."

"Who is admonishing me to change?"

Ravi spoke to our ignorance of believing we are the center of the universe.
he referenced the statistic that thousands of galaxies will appear and disappear this morning and 120 million people will die this year.
"We can be slaves to all this or servants to all this, the rest is just politics."

"The miracle of transformation lies in seeing."
"Can i see this without blaming someone else?"
"Suffer the fact of the way I am."

There is a constant exchange

Who am I? is the seed Question.

The highest state is radically different in Indian and Biblical Traditions:

In Indian traditions, the emphasis in generally on the ONENESS of everything.
In Biblical traditions, the emphasis is generally on the Uniqueness of everything, even in the presence of Divinity.

"Moses talked to God as a man to a man."

UNO - uniqueness, oneness, from the same Latin Rot

"What is said, cannot be said."
"Reality is not expressible"
"The words are not the same, but the words are required.  The Real cannot be expressed."

"WORDS become the tradition, notion of sounds, meanings, and certain words become symbols and the rest is just noise."

We must return to the experience of the sages, not the WORDS.
Language is a Frame of Reference.

"We cannot understand until we are transformed to UNDERSTAND."

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