Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Forgiving Paul for what he did not do

Like all of us, Paul did not do what I accuse him of, for Paul merely did the best he could, for which he could never be faulted. Paul played the role of dragging Jesus into the dream and making Jesus' nondualistic teaching (My Kingdom is NOT of this world) into a dualistic theology and moralism, which is very much about this world and people. Hence the marriage sacrament, which in Christian theology becomes about people instead of about the true Holy Matrimony of our rejoining with our Higher Self, in that moment when, as at the baptism in the River Jordan, we see the heavens part and we hear the Voice for God say: You are my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased. That is really the moment in our experience when we wake up and are ourselves again, we are then rejoined with the True Self we had previously separated from. What God has joined, let not man cast asunder... in truth the separation never happened. In other words, if God forgives us automatically, who are we not to forgive? Even more so when you realize that failure to forgive means self-condemnation. Time to give it up.

After a recent vacation, which offered its own forgiveness opportunities, like every situation in life, I ended up reading again in Ken Wapnick's Journey through the Text of A Course in Miracles on how strong is our tendency to drag Jesus into the dream... it always seems to be our first instinct. So we do not hear his invitation to join him above the battleground, but instead we try to drag him down into our problems that we set up, and fix our flat tires (and worse) for us. And we are making again the archetypical mistake which Paul of investing in Jesus coming back to this world, of which he taught us that it is NOT his Kingdom, his reality, that it is not real. So what on earth makes us think, again and again, that Jesus will come back to this earth and establish his Kingdom here when the invitation is always to flush this nightmare dream down the toilet by the simple act of joining with Jesus in the balcony seat and watch it all unfold from a viewpoint above the battle ground.

Hence, paraphrasing what Jesus says about Judas in the Course, which equally holds about Paul, or indeed about anybody: Paul was a brother, and I could never condemn him for he could not betray me lest I felt betrayed. Jesus is never unsure about his reality, and thus could not feel betrayed by a dream figure. The upshot is, gratitude is in order that my brother is my savior, for without seeing it in front of my face, I would not think even of seeing this behavior in myself. Forgiveness offers the only way out.

... Nor could they [the Apostles] have described my reactions to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The "punishment" I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as such as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system towards which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Kuan Yin stops by

Last year somehow Ti Kuan Yin Tea from Prince of Peace became my favorite tea, and then, in the fall, a Chinese student showed up for my Sunday afternoon Course group at St. Helena's church. She had just emigrated from China and was studying English at Columbia University. She had inquired from the university if they taught classes in A Course In Miracles, based on the ostensible logic that Helen and Bill had been professors at Columbia-Presbyterian, but evidently, much to her surprise, the Columbia did not. Eventually, she found my class in the Bronx, which suited her schedule.

About nine months before I met her, in the fall of 2016, she had started studying the Course in Chinese, and she came equipped with a Chinese and an English version of the Course. Early on, she stumbled across some difficulty with the translation, which all boiled down to a matter of content over form, of translating the meaning versus translating the words.

Fortunately, I was able to ask Chiao Lin Cabanne, the Chinese translator, and it turned out her response was exactly what I expected:
Dear Rogier
Ha! ha!  I can guarantee that my Chinese translation means exactly as you explained.
After years' experiments, the Foundation decided not to take "literal translation" approach. Many Chinese who doesn't have Chinese literary training expect the Chinese Course should be word-by-word exactly the same as the English sentence structure.
I usually don't respond to those questions. I know that their problem is not about the " words" but something else. l just encourage new students to follow whatever interpretation they feel comfortable with.
We have educational websites if she wants to know more.
Chiao Lin
The student proved to be a quick learner and here was her response:
Thank you for your email ! And thanks for asking Chiao Lin !

When I read the text book again . 

           2 Nothing real can be threatened.
3 Nothing unreal exists.
4 Herein lies the peace of God.

And it's Chinese translation:

凡是真实的,不受任何威胁 ;

I love the Chinese translation. I am also have a strong feeling to regard the word  "herein" as the Chinese word  "当下"

 So, for a few months, we ended up doing ACIM classes combined with ESL for Chinese. The student always asked lots of questions, and we joked about it a lot because her one question would end up being ten. Somehow we stumbled upon Kuan Yin along the way, and I basically said that Kuan Yin in Western terms should probably be understood as either Jesus or Mary, the symbol of Compassion, and Love.

Before Christmas time we ended up reading the introduction to the Workbook. We had been talking about the idea that there is only one Mind, and one Holy Spirit, and one ego, but that we could each hear the Holy Spirit according to the conditioning of our hearing, be it in English or Chinese. Next, we stumbled upon these lines:
The only general rules to be observed throughout, then, are: First, that the exercises be practiced with great specificity, as will be indicated. 2 This will help you to generalize the ideas involved to every situation in which you find yourself, and to everyone and everything in it. 3 Second, be sure that you do not decide for yourself that there are some people, situations or things to which the ideas are inapplicable. 4 This will interfere with transfer of training. 5 The very nature of true perception is that it has no limits. 6 It is the opposite of the way you see now. (ACIM:W-in:6)
 And I saw her stumble over line three. She said, I have a question, and I found myself silently praying to have a simple answer so we would not stumble over translation problems, and what occurred to me was simply this: that the whole is 100% and that 99% is not 100%. Next, she said: maybe my question is not a question, but a statement: "It's like 99% is not 100%, only 100% is 100%." I shared with her that I had been thinking of it in the exact same terms, which was almost a live demonstration of what we had been discussing earlier, that the Holy Spirit speaks to each of us in our own language.

She recently came to visit for my birthday, and that's when she told me that at that time, she had had a strong experience of Kuan Yin being in the room with us during that exchange. This brought back to me that Kuan Yin was an important figure for me for a long time, because one of my early teachers (from ca age 15 to age 40), always had a little Kuan Yin statue on a chest of drawers in the living room of his apartment in Amsterdam. Finally, today, I suddenly realised that most of the last year I had been drinking Ti Kuan Yin, and it had become my favorite tea.

I've been reading a lot on Kuan Yin again, lately. I found this site, which offers some wonderful and concise information about Kuan Yin (She who hears the cries of the world), and it is very worth reading. It is fascinating to see how the Buddha Avalokiteshvara morphed into Kuan Yin in China and became an enduring symbol of compassion the world over. Clearly, for many, a female figure is often easier to relate to than a male so often times Kuan Yin is to Buddha or Avalokiteshvara as Mary or Mary Magdalen were to Jesus, symbols all of the Love of God, simply in whatever form is easiest to relate to, reflecting that basic teaching of the Course that the Holy Spirit will speak to us in whatever form is most readily acceptable to us.