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Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?

Chapter 53 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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His disciples said to him, Is circumcision beneficial or not?
He said to them, If it were beneficial, their father would beget them already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become completely profitable. (53)

It was a wonder to me from childhood that a spiritual meaning, much less value, could be attributed to bodily mutilation perpetrated on an infant by its own parents. The members of the church I was brought up in laughed at the idea that certain ritual acts of other churches were believed to have literal effects, yet they accepted that circumcision was somehow a spiritual action that produced a spiritual effect. The whole thing was incredible. But let us turn from that to the teaching of Jesus regarding these matters.

Anyone who has contact with modern conservative Christianity is aware that a cornerstone of belief is the assertion that the Bible contains within itself all that is needful for salvation. The history of Protestantism proves conclusively that this does not work. And so does the experience of myself and every Protestant I grew up with, however devout.

The truth–which was long ago officially condemned by exoteric Christianity under the label of Pelagianism–is that human beings, who are in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), have within themselves everything needed for their spiritual perfection (salvation). That is, liberation (salvation) is inherent in each one of us. This is the universal teaching of the East, Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist. And it is the teaching of authentic Christianity which came to us from the East through Jesus Christ. (See The Christ of India.)

Just as a seed when planted and watered correctly will grow into a mature plant, so the individual spirit will grow and manifest its innate divinity when the right inner and outer conditions are sufficiently supplied. Those who are inwardly awakened and develop the capacity for conscious self-evolution and diligently apply that ability will understand the declaration of Saint John the Apostle: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 2:2-3). In other words, he becomes a yogi and is revealed as a divine son of God, a Christ, as was Jesus.

Only the inner life is the true life.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Infinite Transcendence

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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