Religion does not mean just precepts, a temple, monastery, or other external signs, for these as well as hearing and thinking are subsidiary factors in taming the mind.
Although Gnosticism thus rests on personal religious experience, it is a mistake to assume all such experience results in Gnostic recognitions. It is nearer the truth to say that Gnosticism expresses a specific religious experience, an experience that does not lend itself to the language of theology or philosophy, but which is instead closely affinitized to, and expresses itself through, the medium of myth.
Indeed, one finds that most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myths. In the following summary, we will attempt to encapsulate in prose what the Gnostic myths express in their distinctively poetic and imaginative language.
The Cosmos All religious traditions acknowledge that the world is imperfect.
These stories are from the Jataka Tales, a large body of stories about the earlier lives of the Buddha. Many are in the form of animal fables that teach something about morality, not unlike Aesop's fables. The Jataka tales are dated between BC and AD. Many of the tales are set in or near Benares, now called Varanasi, a city in north central India on the Ganges River. One of the world's oldest cities, Varanasi is the most sacred place for Hindus. The Gnostic World View: A Brief Summary of Gnosticism. GNOSTICISM IS THE TEACHING based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means. Although Gnosticism thus rests on personal religious experience, it is a mistake to assume all such experience results in Gnostic recognitions.
Where they differ is in the explanations which they offer to account for this imperfection and in what they suggest might be done about it.
Gnostics have their own -- perhaps quite startling -- view of these matters: Like Buddhism, Gnosticism begins with the fundamental recognition that earthly life is filled with suffering. In order to nourish themselves, all forms of life consume each other, thereby visiting pain, fear, and death upon one another even herbivorous animals live by destroying the life of plants.
In addition, so-called natural catastrophes -- earthquakes, floods, fires, drought, volcanic eruptions -- bring further suffering and death in their wake.
Human beings, with their complex physiology and psychology, are aware not only of these painful features of earthly existence. They also suffer from the frequent recognition that they are strangers living in a world that is flawed and absurd.
Many religions advocate that humans are to be blamed for the imperfections of the world. Gnostics respond that this interpretation of the myth is false. Since -- especially in the monotheistic religions -- the creator is God, this Gnostic position appears blasphemous, and is often viewed with dismay even by non-believers.
Ways of evading the recognition of the flawed creation and its flawed creator have been devised over and over, but none of these arguments have impressed Gnostics. The ancient Greeks, especially the Platonists, advised people to look to the harmony of the universe, so that by venerating its grandeur they might forget their immediate afflictions.
But since this harmony still contains the cruel flaws, forlornness and alienation of existence, this advice is considered of little value by Gnostics. Karma at best can only explain how the chain of suffering and imperfection works.
It does not inform us in the first place why such a sorrowful and malign system should exist. To appreciate it fully, however, a familiarity with the Gnostic conception of the Godhead is required, both in its original essence as the True God and in its debased manifestation as the false or creator God.
Deity The Gnostic God concept is more subtle than that of most religions. In its way, it unites and reconciles the recognitions of Monotheism and Polytheism, as well as of Theism, Deism and Pantheism.
In a certain sense, it may therefore be true to say that all is God, for all consists of the substance of God.
By the same token, it must also be recognized that many portions of the original divine essence have been projected so far from their source that they underwent unwholesome changes in the process.
To worship the cosmos, or nature, or embodied creatures is thus tantamount to worshipping alienated and corrupt portions of the emanated divine essence. The basic Gnostic myth has many variations, but all of these refer to Aeons, intermediate deific beings who exist between the ultimate, True God and ourselves.
They, together with the True God, comprise the realm of Fullness Pleroma wherein the potency of divinity operates fully.
The Fullness stands in contrast to our existential state, which in comparison may be called emptiness. In the course of her journeyings, Sophia came to emanate from her own being a flawed consciousness, a being who became the creator of the material and psychic cosmos, all of which he created in the image of his own flaw.
This being, unaware of his origins, imagined himself to be the ultimate and absolute God. The Human Being Human nature mirrors the duality found in the world:The Jataka tales are dated between BC and AD.
Many of the tales are set in or near Benares, now called Varanasi, a city in north central India on the Ganges River. One of the world's oldest cities, Varanasi is the most sacred place for Hindus. Buddhism A brief overview of the life of Buddha Sponsored link.
Note: Little is known about the Buddha's early life. No biography was written during his lifetime. It is common knowledge that both Shinto and Buddhism may be found in Noh.
Some plays present Japanese deities and some evoke thoughts of shamanistic ritual, while a great many are permeated with obviously Buddhist language.
The The Buddhist Scriptures Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography and quizzes written by community members like you.
stories, and the recollections of Buddha about his former lives and existences. In Mahayana Buddhism the Tripitaka is considered. With such a large amount of information to cover, Keown makes the most of this short book and covers history, divisions, and teachings.
I would certainly recommend it for those wanting to understand a bit about Buddhism.
These stories are from the Jataka Tales, a large body of stories about the earlier lives of the Buddha. Many are in the form of animal fables that teach something about morality, not unlike Aesop's fables.