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”An Epic Tale of the People of the Covenant” slide show Episode 6:Thomas's eastern evangelism











<Slide show Episode 6>
The Gospel of Thomas was found in Coptic manuscripts, which had been discovered in Nag Hammadi on the Upper Nile in 1945. Therefore the full picture of Jesus' teachings taught by Thomas was revealed .
According to the Gospel of Thomas, recognition of the original self as 'the children of the light' or 'the children of Father' is the realization of the Kingdom of God and it is the essence of 'the baptism of the Holy Spirit.'
"Baptism with the Holy Spirit" is nothing but letting one discover oneself who has been one with God from the beginning, in other words, letting one return to the original self, that is, 'the androgynous Adam from who Eve has not been separated.'
Jesus explained this using various metaphors, and his disciples had no choice but to find the answer themselves. The answers that the disciples arrived at were various and not one. They might be correct or not be correct.

Soul-savior

According to Mr. Sasagu Arai, author of the Japanese version of 《The Gospel of Thomas》, for example, in the analogy of 'An astray sheep' in Gospel of Thomas verse 107, the whole story is the metaphor of 'The Kingdom.'
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Jesus said, "The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, 'I love you more than the ninety-nine.'" (Thomas 107)
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Since the comparison point of the story is 'Shepherd,' there is a tendency for the 'humanology theorization' of the story, which is characteristic of 《the Gospel of Thomas》. Because the astray sheep is declared the largest sheep, it suggests the original Self of a man. which should be saved, same as in verses 20, 76 and 96 of 《the Gospel of Thomas》. The word 'after he had toiled' implies Jesus' suffering. "I love you more than the ninety-nine," this is because it is indispensable one for one hundred. In 《the Gospel of Thomas》, one, that can complete one hundred, is loved more than ninety-nine, that is missing one, and one itself is not the object of love. In any case,《 the Gospel of Thomas》 adds the phrase 'the largest sheep' to the parable of 'The astray Sheep' and uses this as the motive for the shepherd's hardship, and finally let Jesus himself say, "I love you more than the ninety-nine," and, in this way, portrays the image of Jesus as a "soul-savior" that restores the human true Self.
Thomas's Criticism of Eschatology and Resurrection Faith

Thomas intended to explain that where the beginning is, the end will be. The one who stands at the beginning will know the end and get eternal life. One who binds start in his life with its end and makes steps forward is a man who lives in heaven while staying in this world. He criticized Orthodox Churches' eschatology and resurrection theory through these Jesus' words.
------- -------
The followers said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will be."
Jesus said, "Have you discovered the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is the end will be. Blessings on the one who stands at the beginning. That one will know the end and will not taste death." (Thomas 18)
The doubting Thomas

The Synoptic Gospels (the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and Mark) mention Thomas as one of the Twelve Apostles, but Thomas is not his real name, but the Aramaic nickname given to him by Jesus and means twin which is Didimo (s) in Greek. His real name was Judas.
According to the social anthropologist Yoshio Sugimoto, the name of Thomas is known only as 'the Incredulity of Thomas' and 'the doubting Thomas' and his character is not clear in the Western Christian world.
Thomas the Knower

On the other hand, in the Eastern Christian Church, the legend of St. Thomas has two characteristics. One is 'Thomas the Knower,' or Thomas who preaches Gnostic teachings. St. Thomas occupies an important position in the Gnostic tradition of Eastern Christianity and stands opposite St. Peter in Western Christianity. The other one is 'Thomas the Wanderer,' that is, Thomas as the evangelist and founder of the Eastern Church. Legend has it that Thomas traveled to Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Pakistan, and finally China and even Brazil and Mexico.
Tomas' mission to India

Teaching of the Gospel of Thomas, who is said to have had a mission to the east and to have been martyred in India, is very close to Buddhism. At that time, Mahayana Buddhism was flourished under the dynasty of Andora in India. The debate between the twin brothers of Jesus and a Buddha's direct line theoresian Naagaarjuna, the author of "Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way," may have come true, if later was born little earlier. The churches said to have been built by Thomas still remain in India.
Saint Thomas Christian churches

The Saint Thomas Christians are an ancient body of Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are also known as "Nasranis" because they are followers of "Jesus of Nazareth". The term "Nasrani" is still used by St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.
They are also called Syrian Christians because of their use of Syriac in liturgy. Their original liturgical language was Aramaic which was later changed to Syriac. They are also known as Malabar / Malankara Mar Thoma Nasranis, because these Christians are from Kerala that was also known as Malabar or Malankara. Their language is Malayalam, the language of Kerala. (wikipedia)
<1>The Mar Thoma Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Kodungaloor, Kerala)
Believed to be one of the seven churches in India built by St. Thomas.
<2>The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Palayur, Kerala)
Believed to be one of the seven churches said to be built by Thomas.
<3>The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Kottakayal, North Paravur, Kerala)
Believed to be one of the seven churches said to be built by Thomas.
<4>The St. Mary's Orthodox Church (Niranam, Kerala)
Believed to be one of the seven churches said to be built by Thomas.
<5>The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Kokkamangalam, Kerala)
Believed to be one of the seven churches said to be built by Thomas.
<6>St. Mary's Orthodox Church (Thiruvithamcode Arappally = Royal Church)
Believed to be founded by Thomas in 63. It is known as Arapalli, short form of Arachan Palli (King’s Church).
<7>St Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Kudamaloor)
It was built by the king of Chempakassery in AD 1125
St. Thomas' Mission to Beijing

According to Protestant Bible commentator Mr. Arimasa Kubo (久保有政), who was the first pastor of the Ikebukuro-Nishi Church, St. Thomas traveled to Assyria around 35 C.E., two years after Jesus' ascension, and then went on a mission to India. He reportedly landed at Cranganore in Kerala, built seven churches, thereafter went to Madras in Tamil Nadu, and then left to Beijing (北京), China in 62 C.E., and seems to have established an organized church (congregation), too.
By the way, why did Thomas go to the northern frontier town called Ji Xian (薊県), but not Luo Yang (洛陽) or Chang An (長安), capital cities of the later Han (后漢)? Apostles at that time, whether Paul or John, all preached to areas where a Jewish community already existed, and it is probable that there was also a Jewish community in Beijing at that time.
Reconstruction of the Temple of Purity and Truth

Come to think of it, on the monument of 'Reconstruction of the Temple of Purity and Truth (重建清真寺記碑)' discovered in Kaifeng city (開封市) of eastern Henan province (河南省) of China, it is said to be written that the Jews first arrived in the city in 231 BC, when General Ben Wang (王賁) of Qin (秦) reduced Wei (魏)'s capital city, Daliang (大梁: current Kaifeng City), and formed a Jewish community. Almost ten years later, in 226 BC, General Ben Wang reduced Yan (燕)'s royal capital, Jicheng (薊城, now the city of Beijing), and Kingdom of Yan was extinguished in 222 BC.
Qin Shi Huang was a descendant of the Manasseh tribe?

Seen as the mother tribe of Qin (秦), the Qiang (羌) tribe was literally herders that grazed sheep, and was a typical descendants of Manasseh, according to Israeli research agency Amishav, organisation aimed at seeking the Lost Tribes of Israel.
Therefore, there seems to have been Jewish mercenary units which took put in various battles directly under General Ben Wang and communities of families of these mercenary units might have formed in the area where the General was to battle.
The Japanese imperial family is a descendant of Qin Shi Huang?

In the eighth year (197 C.E.) of Emperor Chuai (仲哀天皇), who was the 14th Emperor counting from the first Emperor Jinmu (神武天皇), King Koman (功満) of the Christian nation of Yuzuki (弓月), who is said to have been the 3rd (Shinsen Shojiroku新撰姓氏録) or 14th (Ozake Shrine History Book大酒神社由緒書) generation grandson of Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) came to Japan with his servants. Afterwards the son of King Koman led 18,670 people and came to the country during the reign of the 15th Emperor Ojin (応神天皇). This is thought to be the origin of Christians called Jingjiaotu(景教徒) or believers of Luminous Religion, that is, Hata clan (秦氏) came to Japan in large sums. So the Japanese imperial family may have converted from Judaism to primitive Christianity around that time.
Besides, according to the book Honchokouinjohunroku (本朝皇胤紹運録), which was compiled in the early days of Muromachi era (室町時代), Emperor Ankan had a prince called Toyohikomiko (豊彦王), and Toyohikomiko and Hata Kawakatsu (秦河勝), who was the head of Hata clan and was active as an aide to Prince Shotoku, were the same person. If this is the case, then the 27th Emperor Keitai, who was the father of Emperor Ankan, would also have been a member of the Hata clan. Furthermore, the current royal family, which belongs to Emperor Keitai's direct line, is likely to be the descendants of the Manasseh tribe.
Thomas was canonized as the first Archbishop of the Assyrian Eastern Church

Thomas, who had returned to India again after his mission in China, was martyred in 68-75 C.E., and was buried in Mylapore (Chennai district of Tamil Nadu).
Thomas was canonized as the first Archbishop of the Assyrian Eastern Church (Syrian Church). Indian Christians have called themselves Thomas Christians. Assyrian Eastern Church was called Jing-jiao (景教: Luminous Religion) in China."
Edessa: The center of St. Thomas's religion

The center of St. Thomas's religion is believed to have been in Edessa, Mesopotamia (currently located in Urfa, Turkey). Regarding the introduction of Christianity to this region, it was said that St. Thomas himself had been sent and had carried out a ministry, but recently it is presumed that Thomas sent his brother Thaddaeus. Although Edessa flourished as the center of the Eastern Syrian Church, the invasion of Muslims in the seventh century called off its glorious history. In the city, a church of St. Thomas, containing the relics of the apostle Thomas, had been built in the 4th century, but was destroyed by Turkey.
The Eastern Christian Church

According to Mr. Yoshio Sugimoto, the Syrian Church refers to the Jacobite Church in the narrow sense, which is included in the so-called monophysitism Oriental Orthodox along with churches such as Coptic, Ethiopia and Armenia. However, in a broad sense, it means the church that performs the Syrian liturgy, the Jacobite Church of the West Syrian liturgy, the Nestorian school of the East Syrian liturgy (Eastern Syrian Church = Assyrian Church), and the current Malankara Church of India (West) and Malabar Church (East). The Oriental Orthodox, together with the Nestorians, make up Eastern Churches, which, along with the Orthodox Church, are included in Eastern Christianity. And Eastern Christianity is confronting Western Catholicism and Protestantism.
Nestorians

According to Mr. Arimasa Kubo, the archbishop of Constantinople, Nestorios (386-451), sought to articulate Christ's humanity by calling Mary the "Mother of Christ" rather than the "Mother of God" and conflicted with the Athanasian Trinity theory. But, he did not deny the Trinity itself. However, the Nestorians were ruled heresy by the Council of Ephesus in 431.
According to Mr. Kubo, the Assyrian Eastern Church (Syrian Church) was later passed on to China and was called Jingjiao. Jingjiao (景教Luminous Religion, Keikyo in Japanese) was called Nestorian Christianity, which was born in the 5th century, but this is incorrect, and they do not consider themselves Nestorian Christians. They saw themselves as Christians belonging to the Eastern Church with Thomas as their first Patriarch, and they did not deny the Trinity, according to Mr. Kubo.
Daqin Jingjiao Popular Chinese Monument (Nestorian Stele)

According to the descriptions recorded on 'Daqin Jingjiao Popular Chinese Monument (大秦景教流行中国碑: Nestorian Stele),' which was discovered in Xi'an (西安) in the 17th century by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), in 635 AD, Alopen (阿羅本: Abraham) led 21 Jingjiao followers, headed to China and met Emperor Taizong (太宗) of the Tang (唐) Dynasty and presented a Chinese translation of the Bible. Then Jingjiao was officially authorized to propagate in China. However, this is an official record, and it appears that the Jinngjiao followers had been preaching in China before then. Central Asian Turks and Tatars were mass-converted to Jingjiao for some period of time. According to a second-century historian, all Tatars converted to Christianity in 129-140 AD, and Assyria became the first Christian country in the world.
Language lab in Merv

It is said that Jingjiao followers had set up a language lab in Merv, Central Asia, to spread the Bible, and contributed to the establishment of Mongolian, Uyghur, Arabic, Tagalog, and Hangul letters.
By the way, Assyria had already traded with China since about 2400 BC, just after the flood of Noah, and around 1200 BC China sent a mission to Assyria. The Former Han (前漢) Dynasty sent Zhang Qian (張騫) to Dayueshi (大月氏) in 139 BC, and in 101 BC conquered the nations such as Fergana (費爾干納), Wusun (烏孫) and Hujie (呼掲) near Lake Balkhash. Jews first arrived in Kaifeng (開封) of eastern Henan province (河南省) in 231 BC, and formed a Jewish community.
Doctrine of Three-One mysterious substance

'Daqin Jingjiao Popular Chinese Monument (大秦景教流行中国碑: Nestorian Stele)' introduces events such as the birth a savior in Syria (大秦), his ascension on one afternoon after finishing the new teachings of 'Three-One mysterious substance' and 27 volumes of the New Testament being left, the Syrian High Priest Olopun's visiting in Chang'an (長安) in 635 C.E. with this teachings called Jingjiao (景教 Luminous Religion), which was including the doctrine of 'Three-One mysterious substance' and the religious rites such as 'Water Baptism,' 'Eastern Worship,' 'Fasting,' etc. and presenting the Bible to the Emperor Taizong (太宗皇帝) of the Tang Dynasty (唐朝) and allowing by the imperial court to carry out Jingjiao Christians' missionary work and construction of their temples in the country, and so on.
The time of the missionary work in the Eastern world by Thomas, who is honored as the twin of Jesus, coincides with the period of Mahayana Buddhism and Zoroastrianism to have been established in India and in Persia respectively. Apparently, the inscription of Nestoriam Stele reflects strongly such historical background.
Effects on the Mahayana Buddhism movement and the birth of Islam

The Eastern Christian Church describes 'Trinity' also as 'Most Holy Trinity.' The statue of Maitreya Bodhisattva sitting contemplatively in the half-lotus position (弥勒菩薩半跏思惟像) in Koryuji Temple (広隆寺), which is said to have been given to Japan by Silla, makes a circle with the thumb, middle finger and ring finger of its right hand, stands the index finger and the little finger. The shape of the hand seems to represent Prince Shotoku and Jesus' wishes to achieve the circular like best way with nothing lacking and nothing in excess. At that time, in Silla, there were several groups of knights called Hwa-rang (花郎) composed of children of the noble families who worshiped Mireuk-posal(弥勒菩薩) and played an active role in the Kingdom.
The doctrine of 'Three-One mysterious substance' not only had a seismic effect on the Mahayana Buddhism movement (大乗仏教運動) that had emerged in India at that time and became the catalyst for the rise of the philosophy of Tiantai-Huayen (天台・華厳哲学) and Zen Buddhism in China but also contributed to the birth of Islam. It is not hard to imagine that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, too, would have been influenced by Jingjiao (景教Keikyo: Luminous Religion), which had been widespread in the Middle East and Central Asia at the time.

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.
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