Jesus Christ brought us the esoteric teaching, the straightforward truth about the universe and our purpose in it, and for that he was attacked and killed. The Diamond Sutra Chapter 16 contains a thread that runs through all initiates’ activities. When we start to realize the simple understanding of how things are, we are attacked by our own illusions and false thoughts; we are also attacked by beings from the outside. So we are told in The Diamond Sutra, and this is what occurs to all beings attaining bodhisattvahood.
What did Jesus Christ teach? He taught that one attains salvation, which in Buddhist parlance is “enlightenment” or in one sect “entering the pure land,” in the realization of one’s true nature. Symbolically this is shown as a sacrifice because outwardly one sacrifices one’s superficiality, ignorance and fake self only to discover the true Spirit, the Spirit that always was in the beginning and shall ever be.
People today are in a fortunate situation of living in this post-modern time where it’s probably easier to live than any time before, yet they generally aren’t that happy or fulfilled. Consequently, they may turn to the practice of psychology for answers. Modern psychology was developed not much more than a century and a half ago. The psychology of spiritual awakening and meaning has been available for many millennia, but people haven’t learned it correctly, so modern psychology has cropped up. Ultimately, when psychology becomes accurate it will be the same as religion; it will become religion itself. Of course, religion, where it is faulty, will have to become accurate, too. Psychology emerged as a result of religion not doing its job, to try to fill the void. Until the field of psychology understands that our true nature is our essence and that our ego orientation is false, it won’t be truly effective and will remain in its unscientific rut. Yes, it may help to teach us in some small way to integrate into society better, but overall psychology can’t accomplish that much in its current form.
People have goals and activities, which on a superconscious level are an attempt to return to God. No matter how crude, materialistic or selfish, the goals still are an attempt to attain the godhead. The purpose of psychology, religion and philosophy should be to explain how to return to our true nature and help guide the vessel in the proper direction.
When we think about Good Friday, what would be the proper attitude and perspective to have?
I would simply suggest that the traditional Christian approach, which is to believe that Jesus died for our sins, is a correct beginner’s understanding. On an inner level, the understanding is that we ourselves need to make a sacrifice, sacrificing the things to which we cling, allowing us the chance for true spiritual attainment.
Jesus, by dying, is dramatically demonstrating what the disciple, the advanced student, needs to do: “Take up your cross and follow me.” To emphasize free choice, Jesus makes it clear that he didn’t have to go through with it. Even though he loved his friends and family and had a choice to be spared from his death, he was willing to go through the process in order to embed this new kind of sacrificing into our minds.
This is reminiscent of The Diamond Sutra Chapter 14, in which the Buddha discusses his lifetime when he was dismembered through violent activities, his arms and legs cut off. Again it is the same teaching, giving an example of someone who attains a level where they can see who they are universally and connect to that. We look at the story of Jesus Christ, and we can see that experience in ourselves. Our own suffering, instead of just being unnecessary and painful, can turn into something beneficial and useful.
Esoteric religion, in other words, true religion, which is very rare, teaches how to transform. Psychologists lack the knowledge to approach this in a deep way. Nowadays people flippantly use words such as “transformation” and “empowerment.” Those are supposed to be esoteric terms, but people have stolen them from religion and today use them for things that are not transformational and not empowerment. Spiritual transformation is the change whereby one attains one’s true nature.
If people are unkind to us because of our own bad karma and things we did in the past, if we have anger and angst about that, does that perpetuate the negative karma rather than purifying it?
It’s very likely that we may react and have some anger and angst. It’s important to look into those and see the ineffable quality of the anger and angst so they don’t occur but a few more times until they are gone. Yes, it would be nice if we didn’t have those, but if they arise we let them transform through natural awareness and the connection we have with our higher self, true nature and the kingdom of heaven.
In the state of the view, rigpa, our own natural mind, which is accomplished through meditation, empowerment, contemplation and instruction, we can understand these things. Otherwise we can only experience a naive life, believing certain things are real and other things are not real, vacillating between hope and fear.