There have been many instances where, once the teacher dies, the students fall away from the teachings. Because of the heavy mythologizing that came after his death, it’s difficult to see Jesus as an enlightened teacher. He’s depicted as a super being, the only son of God the Father. His disciples are likewise super beings who were chosen to spread the word. It was all part of God’s great plan. But it’s apparent from some of the stories in the Bible that during Jesus’ trial and after his death, his disciples became lost and confused. For a time there was a group called the Gnostics who tried to keep the original teachings alive. Not all the Gnostics were sincere. Some were as goofy as many of today’s New Agers. But that’s par for the course. We are the same human beings now that we were then. The Gospel of Thomas, one of the so-called Gnostic gospels, preserves teachings that must be close to the originals, while omitting the mythology. But the Gnostics were suppressed by the movement which came to be known as Christianity, a movement built by Paul. Real religion—enlightenment—is transmitted directly from teacher to student, and Paul never knew Jesus. I can’t see anything in the writings attributed to Paul that shows him to be a spiritual man. He is an activist, striving to build an organization. But that organization was not based on the teachings. Its focus was on promoting a mythological image of Christ, the man who died for your sins, and all you have to do to be saved is to accept him, which obviates all his teachings.

Later, an intellectual, a philosophy teacher, Augustine, converted to the organization and helped develop its beliefs. It’s absurd for a philosopher to develop a sage’s teachings. The teachings come from an enlightened state, while all philosophy is speculative. It was Augustine who came up with the concept of “original sin,” a false doctrine built on superstition. Human beings are born pure and good, but start being taught bad habits almost immediately. One of the goals of meditation is to rid oneself of that conditioning. It can and does happen. Augustine also developed the idea of “just war,” which from the genuinely spiritual perspective is another false doctrine. (More on all this later.) The aim of Christianity at this point was to become the official religion of the Roman Empire. To embrace Jesus’ uncompromising pacifism would have made that aim impossible. Eventually Christianity did become the official religion of the Roman Empire and the sellout, already far along, became complete.

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