“Easter signifies the miracle of transformation,” Marianne Williamson writes, “that which occurs when someone’s consciousness is raised so high that the normal laws of time and space as we understand them are superseded.”
While members of the Contemplative Monks of the Eightfold Path do not subscribe to a literal interpretation of the Resurrection Mythos, our path is dedicated, in part, to the Universal Dharma of the Christ. We’re certainly not Christians, and neither recognise the bible as being written by some supernatural being, nor do we believe that very much of what’s contained in its pages is particularly relevant or historically accurate; but we are disciples of the Christ.
For us, the passion narrative, particularly the metaphoric crucifixion and resurrection mythos, underscores the spiritual path that Rav Yeshua (Jesus) illustrated in his life. As disciples of the Buddha and of the Christ, Easter represents the interior and mystical experience of death and resurrection, not the celebration of an historical event. We must ourselves experience this mystical death and resurrection as an interior and timeless reality.
This spiritual progression is one which can be realised by each of us personally as well. Rav Yeshua, the Great Bodhisattva, is for us, the manifestation or incarnation of the Christ — a Christ which exists beyond the human Jesus, and which is our shared, True Nature. We call this True Nature by many names: Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, Universal Mind, Śunyata, Love — a universal force, which frees us from ignorance, habituation, darkness and suffering. This Christ Consciousness, when it is awakened (resurrected), allows us to release those forms of attachments, self-cherishing, fear and desires that cause suffering itself. Freed from our self-imposed slavery to the ego and ego-state, we can begin to focus our attention on alleviating the suffering of others, wherever we encounter it.
The story of Rav Yeshua’s life is a demonstration of the potential each of us has, if we will accept our Enlightened and Anointed Nature (Buddha/Christ Consciousness). Through this transformative process, we can become the Incarnation of the Christ… the Awakened and Anointed Mind… and bring that same kind of healing to others.
Master Thich Nhat Hanh writes, in Living Buddha, Living Christ:
“Jesus lived exactly as he taught. So studying His life is crucial to understanding His teaching. For me, the life of Jesus is His most basic teaching, even more important than faith in the resurrection or faith in eternity.”
Just as Good Friday serves as a metaphoric representation of the three steps necessary to prepare oneself for spiritual awakening: the inner death of the ego-mind; the alchemical transformation of our energies from self-oriented (phenomenal) to love-oriented (numenal); and sacrificial heart of compassion (bodhicitta), so too is there important symbolism in the story of Rav Yeshua’s triumph over the appearance of death.
We’ve often spoken of the fact that the entire mythos of the Christ is a story that has been told about more than two dozen “sun-gods” and “sons of gods”, and which was overlaid on the account of Rav Yeshua’s great Dharma to illustrate further the potentiality of the Awakened Nature.
Christ is the Solar Logos… the Anointed Servant… the capacity for love and compassion, service and forgiveness… present for and available to each of us. We’ve recently come under fire from traditionalists, because in the midst of their Holy Week, we spoke of our own celebration of Hanuman Jayanti. It is inconceivable to me that anyone would have problems with our being willing to honour more than one sacred legend and mythological story, as both ultimately lead us to personal and communal transformation of mind and the generation of compassion.
The narratives of Good Friday into Easter Sunday bring us a metaphoric representation of the final stages undergone by Rav Yeshua — referred to in the ancient scripts as “the Son of Man” (which is an Aramaic term, meaning “Fully Human One”) — as he emerged from the tomb of the ego-mind and brought the message to his disciples that they would accomplish these same things through practice of the Way.
While we disagree, we respect the fact that for traditional Catholics and millions of Christians, this day is interpreted as some sort of literal and historic event. We strongly disagree that any of their sacred scriptures were ever intended to be regarded literally. And we are saddened when superstition and mythos are misunderstood, because we know it will ultimately contribute to suffering.
For us, Easter is an opportunity for each of us to change our perception of the world and of ourselves. We arise from the tomb of this samsaric existence and embrace the Middle Way as on opportunity to be reborn into Pure Consciousness.
Speaking of this transformation from the dualistic and delusional mindset to the Awakened Mind, Rav Yeshua said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom.”
The challenge for us then, is whether we too can heed the call of the Great Master Yeshua as we journey toward interior resurrection, which we more commonly refer to as Realisation or Enlightenment.
May your path be well lit with wisdom, well worn with understanding, and filled with compassion. And may this Easter/Oestre/Pesach be a passage for you, from all the deadened places within you to the emergence of new life…
khenpo gurudas sunyatananda
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Drawing on the essential teachings of the great spiritual teachers, philosophers and freethinkers throughout time, Khenpo Gurudas Śunyatananda (retired Archbishop Francis-Maria Salvato, O.C.) has been regarded as a provocative, revolutionary “voice of reason” within the field of religion and spirituality, since 1983. Having the distinction of being one of the few openly non-theistic, openly-gay and post-denominational thinkers ever to serve as Bishop-Exarch and spiritual leader of the autocephalic Eastern Catholic Franciscans in North America, Gurudas is the author of more than 600 articles, eight books and currently serves as the spiritual advisor for a non-theistic, intentional spiritual community, The Spiritus Project.
Copyright ©2010-2012, Khenpo Gurudas Sunyatananda (The Most Reverend Dr. F. Francis-Maria G. Salvato, M.Sc., O.C.). All rights reserved. This material may be reproduced, blogged, quoted or distributed, provided the entire copyright including contact information remain intact. It may NOT be altered in any way, without express written permission.”