Review：The baptism of the Holy Spirit (Think Neither Good Nor Evil)
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." "What is truth?" Pilate asked. (John 18:37-38)
History of Roman governor Pilate
Pontius Pilate, who was appointed to the governor of the Roman province of Judaea by Emperor Tiberius in AD 26, is said to have been born in Samnite knight class lower-ranking noble Ponti family of southern Italy. He was enlisted as a vice commander (a military officer attached to consulate) and was promoted and appointed to the governor before 30 years old. Therefore he must have been quite excellent as both a consul and a military officer.
However, Ms Ann Wroe, the author of "Pilate: The Biography of An Invented Man," slams Pilate, "the embodiment of human weakness, an archetypal politician willing to sacrifice one man for the sake of stability."
Consuls belonged to Knight class, like Pilate, were mostly sent to the backward territories and engaged jobs, such as maintenance peace and order and collection of indirect taxes and the poll tax.
In accordance with convention, Pilate led Roman soldiers bearing standards with images of the emperor on them and entered Jerusalem. However, this move provoked great resentment among the Jews who denied the idolatry; a delegation of Jews traveled to Caesarea, where the official residence of the Roman ruler was, to protest the presence of the standards and call for their removal. After five days, Pilate sought to frighten the petitioners with the threat of execution by his soldiers, but eventually acceded to their request and removed the standards after seeing their determined refusal.
Some of the donations to the Temple in Jerusalem could be used legally in public works. Therefore, Pilate actively carried out irrigation project in Jerusalem with cooperation of the clergy. However the Jews clamored against this act, saying that he stole money from the temple treasury to construct an aqueduct to bring water into Jerusalem from a distance of about 40 km. Pilate ordered soldiers to put down the mob using sticks instead of swords.
At that time, riots and rebellions had occurred frequently in Judea. When a large-scale revolt occurred, he could ask the superior consul, the governor of Syria, who had the right to command a number of corps, to help. However, during the considerable period of Pilate's tenure of office, Syrian governor was absent. Therefore, he had to quickly handle multiple riots on his limited own troop.
He had to report to the emperor the issues related to the prestige of emperor and incidents threatened the authority of emperor. He also had to clarify the incidents that occurred in the provinces under his jurisdiction before the complaints were filed by others. Anxiety of Pilate, who had to manage these very difficult and sensitive issues just as a low class noble, is more than one can imagine.
Meet with Jesus
On Nisan 14, 33 C.E., the Jewish leaders brought a man, that is Jesus, who was accused pretending "the King of the Jews" by them, to Pilate in the early morning and asked him to sentence to death. Jewish court could process normal trial. The Sanhedrin could pass even the death sentence, however they had to obtain the governor's ratification for such sentence by them.
Pilate announced that he found no fault in the accused. (John 18:37-38, Luke 23:4) And upon learning that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. After that he tried to release Jesus in accord with the custom of freeing a prisoner at each Passover festival.
Perhaps Jesus was supposed to be released at this point and to return to Galilee earlier than his disciples in the original scenario. (Mark 14:28,16:7, Mat 28:7,10) A consensus of this seems to have had made among the governor, the Herod royal family and the key leaders of the temple and the Sanhedrin. However an unexpected situation occurred. The crowd clamored for the release of Barabbas, a robber, murderer, and seditionist. (Luke 23:5-19) So he was getting nowhere but acceded to their wishes. He washed his hands with water and said, "I am innocent of this man's blood. It is your responsibility!" (Matthew 27:24)
After a while, Pilate, who had obtained an information that a large number of Samaritans had gathered at Mount Gerizim, dispatched soldiers to prevent riot. Pilate was later removal from office resulted from complaints lodged by the Samaritans with Pilate's immediate superior, the governor of Syria, Vitellius. The complaint was about Pilate's slaughter of a number of Samaritans who were deluded by an impostor into assembling at Mount Gerizim in hopes of uncovering sacred treasures supposedly hidden there by Moses. Vitellius ordered Pilate to Rome to appear before Tiberius. However, Tiberius died in 37 C.E. while Pilate was still on his way to Rome. History gives no reliable data regarding his fate after his resignation of the governor. Pilate is said to have been obliged to commit suicide, have become a Christian or have spent the rest of his life returning home in southern Italy. (Source: Watch Tower)
The kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the Kingdom of God come?" Jesus replied, "The Kingdom of God isn't ushered in with visible signs. You won't be able to say, `Here it is!' or `It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)
Jesus also said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty." (Thomas 3)
How then we know ourselves as children of God?
Sequence of 4 star General Ming's renouncement of the world
There was a senior monk called HuiMing in Dongshan temple (or Huangmeishan temple) of Huangmei district, Qizhou, Hubei Province in China during ZhenGuan period (627-649) of Emperor Taizong, the heyday of the Tang dynasty. A senior monk means a monk who lives in the monastery more than 10 years. His secular surname was Chen and later he was called Zen Master MengShan HuiMing. Before becoming a monk, his title was the fourth rank general, which may correspond to Pilate, the governor of the Roman province of Judaea or a 4 star General of the modern US Armed Forces who serves as a commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Syria.
Now we may digress from the subject for a while. Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty had no longer had famous warlords, when a peasant uprising occurred in Wagang (South suburbs of Huaxian in Henan Province). Thus Emperor Yang dispatched 25,000 heavily equipped soldiers led by two trusted aides, the commander of the imperial guards Liu Zhanggong and Palace Secretary Fang Ze to quell the riot. However, the government forces were defeated at the Battle of Shizi river (eastern part of Gongxian in Henan province). Not only more than half of the government forces were killed, but also their all latest weapons were deprived by the rebels. This became main cause of Sui dynasty's destruction. The vice-commander Fang Ze's rank in Palace was Junior Fourth Rank. Therefore the rank of the chief-commander Liu Zhanggong should have been at least Junior Fourth Rank or Senior Fourth Rank.
Therefore Chen HuiMing must have been a quite high-rank military officer, regardless of whatever he was Senior Fourth Rank General or Junior Fourth Rank General. Although fortitude and unsophisticated Chen HuiMing became a monk because he had got sick and tired of the palace politics and the military officer's job in which trickery Machiavellianism was rampant and he also had to have imposed exacting taxes sometime, he could not attain enlightenment even after more than ten years' practice in the monastery. So he was worrying endlessly.
Since Nothing's There Initially, Where Does the Dust Alight?
It was just around that time. The chief priest of Dongshan Temple Hongren (602-675), the fifth patriarch after Bodhidharma, one day told all his disciples to write a gatha (poem) on the temple southern passage wall, for him to chose the sixth patriarch.
Venerable Shenxiu (605-706), the head monk, soon wrote a gatha for Hongren, which read: "Body is the bodhi tree; heart is like a standing mirror bright. Strive to polish it constantly and let no dust alight."
Huineng (638-713), a young illiterate novice working for the rice mill in the temple, also composed a gatha and had it written on the wall next to Shenxiu's. It read as follows: "Bodhi is no tree, nor standing mirror bright. Since nothing's there initially, where does the dust alight?"
When Hongren came and saw it, he was very impressed. From then on Hongren received Huineng in his abode and expounded the Diamond Sutra to him. Hongren, having finished Huineng's intensive training, gave him a robe and begging bowl as symbols of the Dharma Seal of Sudden Enlightenment and ordered him to flee south in order to avoid the envy of others.
Knowing this and coming to himself, Venerable HuiMing, who had used to boast himself a fast runner like a streak of lightning, pursued HuiNeng immediately and caught up with him at the Dayuling Mountains which is the border of Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces.
Think Neither Good Nor Evil
Huineng saw HuiMing coming. He thought HuiMing, a warrior of unparalleled strength, must have pursued him to seize back the robe and begging bowl. He threw out the robe and bowl on a rock, and said, "This robe represents the Buddha's teaching. We can't compete for it. Take it. It's yours."
However, HuiMing asked HuiNeng, "I came for the Dharma, not for the robe. Please expound the Dharma for me."
Then HuiNeng said in a loud voice, "Think neither good nor evil. Before your parents were born, at that very moment, what was Venerable Ming's original face (your intrinsic nature)?"
Right then HuiMing sweated the whole body and came to enlightenment. He worshiped HuiNeng with tears in his eyes and asked again, "Besides the intimate words and meaning that struck home of a moment ago, is there any further intimate message?"
Huineng said, "If it were said to you, it wouldn't be intimate. If you turn around and reflect, what's intimate is not in my words but within you." (The Gateless Barrier Case 23)
If you return to the beginning, where the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1-2), in other words, return to the original face before the parents were born, you can say, "Holy am I alone throughout heaven and earth. Grass, trees and the domains of all living things, all attain buddhahood." It is the ultimate salvation. You can obtain eternal life and know that the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
How is he, after his spiritual rebirth?
After his spiritual rebirth, if HuiMing had returned to the position of the fourth rank general in the central political arena where trickery Machiavellianism was rampant and exacting taxes were imposed, how would he have been?
ZhaoZhou CongShen (778-897), one of the great Zen masters during the later period of the Tang Dynasty in China, asked TouZi DaTong (819-914) regarding this, "How is it when a man who has died the great death returns to life?" TouZi replied, "He must not go by night: he must get there in daylight." (The Blue Cliff Record 41st Case: ZhaoZhou's Man Who Has Died the Great Death)
Zen Master YuanWu KeQin, who compiled "The Blue Cliff Record," gives a person, who studies this koan, pointers, "Where right and wrong are mixed, even the sages cannot know; when going against and with, vertically and horizontally, even the Buddhas cannot know."
Therefore, after sunset, do not wander in the darkness but illuminate the road with the flashlight and walk. You had better not to walk on thin ice, run on a sword's edge. However if you have to do such dangerous things, you should prepare well, even prepare sacrifice of your physical life and then perform them. Because you have already obtained the ultimate salvation and the eternal life through testifying, "Holy am I alone throughout heaven and earth. Grass, trees and the domains of all living things, all attain buddhahood."＜To be continued.＞
What is "Baptism with The Holy Spirit"?
According to the dialectic of the Gospel of John,
【Thesis】"A man can possess eternal life through accepting testimony of the Son of man and being baptized by him." (John 5:24)
【Anti-thesis】But "The one who comes from the earth cannot accept the testimony by one from heaven."(John 3:32)
How then can a man possess eternal life?
【Synthesis】"If you want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, you can just go back to the word which was with God in the beginning (John 1:1) and certify that God is truthful. (John 3:33)"
When he said, "You are Huichao," Zen Master Fayan thrusted vivid Self in Huichao in front of his eyes. (P.171)
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