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The Source of Good and Evil

Chapter 45 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. A good man brings forth good from his storehouse; an evil man brings forth evil things from his evil storehouse, which is in his heart, and says evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil things. (45)

Jesus said, Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. Even as children many of us heard older and wiser people say “Consider the source” when something–usually gossip–was being relayed. To determine the authenticity of anything we must find its source. Otherwise we may be fooled by the mere appearance of something. This is very much evident in today’s “food industry.” Consider all the fake food that people accept as equal to real food just because of the way it looks and tastes. And of course, some people prefer the synthetic to the authentic in all the departments of their life.

Only yesterday I read an excellent religious essay about how crucial it is to always check everything religious back to its roots. If its roots are not compatible with what it claims to be, or if it really has no roots, then it it not worthy of acceptance. This is why the concept of tradition as the basis of religion is so important. After all, tradition is absolutely cardinal in both science and civil law. Everything is built or based on something, and that foundation will determine the ultimate character of the superstructure. Therefore we need to check the genealogy of everything.

This does not mean that we must be slaves to the past in a mechanical, unreasoning manner, to think that the way something has been done is the only way to do it in the future, or that something that has not been done before is thereby untrustworthy. But where it comes from is crucial, because that will reveal its nature. The character of the source will be the essential character of the product. All that glitters is not gold, but not all gold glitters, either. We must do our best to understand the nature of all things relevant to us. Intelligence is not just a gift from God, it is a requisite without which we cannot live fully or rightly. So we must use it at all times and in all situations.

A good man brings forth good from his storehouse; an evil man brings forth evil things from his evil storehouse, which is in his heart, and says evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil things. Patterson and Maeyer: “Good persons produce good from what they’ve stored up; bad persons produce evil from the wickedness they’ve stored up in their hearts, and say evil things. For from the overflow of the heart they produce evil.”

The mind and heart are storehouses of a tremendous number and amount of things. We see from Jesus’ words that we can only bring forth from our storehouse what has been put in there by us, however much we would like to blame others for many of the negative things hidden there. Much of what is stored up is either karma or conditioned by karma. So the bottom line is that we bring forth what is our own character, our acquired nature. If we don’t like what is stored inside we must not deny or suppress it, but get in there and clear out the bad and bring in the good. In other words, we must meditate, for that is the only way to real interior renovation.

All the foregoing is speaking about the acquired nature, but our eternal nature is something completely different. We need to bring that forth, too, for that alone can endure. When we become on all levels what we have always been, then the goal is reached and freedom (moksha–liberation) is attained. As Buddha defined it: “The holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done.” Only the state of Nirvana remains for us. And yoga is the way.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Great in the Kingdom

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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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