Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Final Nail in the Coffin: 1 John 5:7

I have read the bible literally from cover to cover. I have also reread the New Testament in the (approximate) order the books were written in.

No small task. It took me two years to do so. I was trying to find a balance. You could spend your entire life studying the bible. But on the other side of the coin, I didn't want to read it simply to say I read it; to race to have it 'under my belt'.

I was looking for truth. In fact, to those who have accused me of having an ulterior agenda, I was hoping to find that Christianity was true. That Jesus was the answer. I truly was.

Reading the New Testament in the chronological order the books were written in sheds a very different perspective. This can be difficult because we approach this with our own biases and information - right or wrong. The challenge is a read the New Testament chronologically, and bring nothing to the table with us.

(And yes, I know I'm glossing over a great amount in an extremely simplified way).

c. 100 AD
Very basically, we see all the Pauline Epistles, followed by the first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), the Acts of the Apostles (the sequel to the book of Luke), the various misc. letters, and finally (nearly  a century after the event) the Gospel of John, his 3 letters and Revelations (all Johannes).

We can see Paul, Peter, James, John (and Thomas?) bickering over interpretations (Jew - Gentile, Temple, Salvation by deeds - by Grace), bickering over authority (Paul's conversion by a post-crucifix Christ, John's "most beloved disciple", the discredit of 'Doubting Thomas', etc.), and ultimately, the bold Johannes "God-Incarnate" statement (an attempt at the most authoritative and final word).

c. 400 AD
The establishment of the Bible's Canon didn't help  (c. 397 AD the Council of Carthage establishes the canon of 27 books, and solidified in c. 400 AD by the Latin Vulgate).
The silencing of some groups or factions by discrediting their source material.
Even if the books of the bible were divinely inspired, its Table of Contents (the Canon itself) was not. The Table of Contents was a man-inspired fabrication.

4th Century AD
The establishment of the Doctrine of the Incarnation (Jesus literally being God) would ultimately and directly force the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Again, we see inter-bickering over authority and agenda. The Arian controversy of the 4th century, the  1st Council of Nicaea of 325 AD, the 2nd Council of Constantinople of 381 AD, the 3rd Council in Ephesus in 431 AD over the issues of Nestorianism, and ultimately, the establishment of the Doctrine of the Trinity.

The final nail in the coffin - and the end of the search for me - was 1 John 5:7.
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" NLT
Footnotes for this verse state the following:
NLT: Some very late manuscripts add "in heaven - the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And we have three witnesses on earth"
NIV: Late manuscripts of the Vulgate  "testify in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth" are not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century.

It is odd that during the various debates and arguments and interpretations over what eventually lead to the establishment of the Doctrine of the Trinity, this verse wasn't quoted or referred to.
It strikes me as suspicious that this verse may have been added by the winning Trinitarians to support their agenda and put this potential debate forever to rest.

This says one of two things, or both, to me.

1) The Canonicity of the Bible was propaganda and a great lie and the authenticity of the books themselves are compromised.

2) The original and core message of the historic Yeshua of Nazareth has been obscured and lost between the pages of history and the bible.

We have no core source to return to.

The red letters of Jesus are, at best, second hand information, and likely with their own spin. (Paul's Jesus openly embraced Gentiles, Peter's reluctantly allowed them. James was strictly temple-based Judaism, John meant for Jesus to be God himself, Thomas, not so sure).

Ultimately, Christianity is all about cherry-picking, isn't it?
We choose and build the belief-system and Jesus we want to see. 
I know I do. I can admit it.

Ultimately, all Christians (and ironically, non-Christians alike) all follow their own personal imaginary Jesus.

Although I'm sure it wasn't Matt Mikalatos' intention, his Imaginary Jesus, although a piece of fiction, makes a good point. We all - Christians, non-Christians, and atheists alike - hold an imaginary Jesus.
Assuming we can bring ourselves to this realization (and admit it) we should begin questioning our imaginary Jesus's

I know I have, and it lead me to think in my endeavors to avoid Entrapment, to avoid and escape Delusion, to try to embrace what I've labeled Dharma, I had to address this issue.

(This Dharma that I speak of isn't the teaching or 'doctrine' of Buddhism. This Dharma is our openness and willingness to accept the truth, whatever it may be. Our receptiveness to it and our ability to allow it to lead us, rather than force it to fit our preconcieved notions and agendas. The truth never needs defending. Only our truths needs defending. If we are open and aware and allow ourselves to be led where ever it is that the truth leads us, we consistently reduce the levels of delusion in our lives. Delusion is Dharma's enemy.)
I had to either abandon my Imaginary Jesus, or replace him with the real one.... but how?
The only 'real Jesus' is the historic one.

I have long since come to the conclusion that the Historical Jesus (the heretical rabbi, Yeshua of Nazareth) has long been either lost or inaccessible between the pages of history and the bible. (See Above & Beyond Christianity, and  The Christian Criterion: Lines of Division for further details).

I have come to the point where I believe he is ‘accessible’ through the bible. It is because of the canonized bible that he has become isolated in a hidden and inaccessible part of history. Locked between various interpretations.

So, in the spirit of striving against Delusion, to travel a path away from Entrapment, the issue of Jesus is inconclusive.
Let's be thorough and clear here.
I am not saying I am undecided, a seeker, in a state of transition.
I have found my answer.
There isn't one.
To focus on this a dog chasing its own tail.

We must avoid allowing (willingly or not) confusion, denial, and delusion into our lives and minds. Beliefs are fine to have so long as we acknowledge them as such. When we mistaken our beliefs as facts we enter into delusion and are the cause of human suffering.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mindlessness, Mushin, and Mindfulness

Before I attempt to briefly define what I understand these things to be, allow me to preempt myself by saying, volumes of books can be read or written on these topics. People can (and have!) dedicated their entire lives understanding and mastering these – topics? Precepts?.
I'm attempting to define these things in a few short paragraphs. It should be obvious they will be lacking.


Most of the time, our minds function by generating a constant swirl of remarks and judgements that create a barrier of words and images that separate us from our own lives. This mental condition is called mindlessness and makes it difficult to be mindful, or attentive, to the experiences of our lives.

Most of the time, most of us exist in mindlessness, a state of semi awareness governed by habit and inattention. Most of our daily lives are essentially governed by routine.
Have you ever driven home from work, for example, only to arrive at home, not remembering the actual drive home?

The great value of these habits is that they free our minds to do other things; we do these things without having to expend precious energy trying to make up our minds. The bad thing is what we ultimately do with our minds during this time. (This could potentially be the point in which mushin should come into 'play') Unfortunately, the freedom such routines afford the mind is not well used. If they find a moment when complete attentiveness to the present is not demanded, our minds tend to gravitate to one of two places: the past or the future. Your thoughts may alternate between past and future, but they will tend to avoid the present as much as possible. If you pay attention to your ordinary thought processes, you will discover that you probably spend very little time living in the present.


Mindfulness is moment-by-moment awareness; it is the process of attentively observing your experience as it unfolds. Mindfulness allows us to become keep observers of ourselves and gradually transform the way our minds operate. With sustained practice, mindfulness can make us more attentive to our experience and less captive to the whims that drive our minds.


“No mind” in Japanese.
When you do something, you have to concentrate to do it the first time, and the 2nd time; 3rd time, 4th time, and the 10th time, but eventually you can perform the activity without thought; the same way you would dial a telephone number you've dialed a thousand times. Ultimately, the goal is not to have to concentrate, to be able to perform the task with “no mind”. This is how the mind is cleared and readied for enlightenment. This is Mushin.

~  ~  ~

How does Mushin relate to and interact with Mindfulness?
The example (of Mindlessness given of driving you car home without any memory of doing so could very much sound like mushin). What makes the difference between this act being an act of Mindlessness or a state of mushin?

Are the practices and/or goals of Mushin and Mindfulness compatible?
Are Mushin and Mindfulness opposites; or are Mushin and Mindlessness opposites?
Are they different paths to the same place; is one a path to enlightenment and the other a path to well-being?

Mindlessness would seem to be incidental, maybe even a poor default position, whereas Mushin and Mindfulness are deliberate, or strived for 'states'. (But even having said that, it's possible to find oneself in either Mushin or Mindfulness states). Maybe it's better to describe them as a higher state of mind.

Are Mushin and Mindfulness in conflict with one another. By some definitions what Mindfulness describes as Mindlessness also fits Mushin.