Gnostic Commentary on a Buddhist Text:
On a certain day when the Buddha dwelt at Jetavana, a celestial deva (angel, master) came to him in the shape of a Brahman (priest), whose countenance was bright and whose (inner) garments (solar bodies) were white as snow (due to his perfect chastity).
The deva asked the Buddha, "What is the sharpest sword? What is the deadliest poison? What is the fiercest fire? What is the darkest night?"
The Buddha replied, "A word spoken in wrath is the sharpest sword (because it cuts both speaker and hearer); covetousness is the deadliest poison (because poison kills the entire body, not just the mouth that ingests it); hatred is the fiercest fire (the agony of hatred burns without rest); ignorance is the darkest night (lack of gnosis is the deepest suffering)."
The deva asked, "What is the greatest gain? What is the greatest loss? What armor is invulnerable? What is the best weapon?"
The Buddha replied, "The greatest gain is to give to others (this is the law of the Christ); the greatest loss is to receive (Kabbalah) without gratitude (those who receive wisdom and horde it, or who corrupt it, suffer the greatest loss, because the Christ will never incarnate in them). Patience is an invulnerable armor (patience is the secret key to initiation, and with it, one can never be harmed by any ordeal); wisdom (Chokmah, Christ) is the best weapon."
The deva asked, "Who is the most dangerous thief? What is the most precious treasure?"
The Buddha replied, "Unwholesome thought is the most dangerous thief (the mind is our worst enemy); virtue (vir- comes from virility: sexual potency) is the most precious treasure."
The deva asked, "What is attractive? What is unpleasant? What is the most horrible pain? What is the greatest enjoyment?"
The Buddha replied, "Wholesomeness (that which is in accordance with the Law; that is, it is whole in Christ) is attractive; unwholesomeness (that which is contrary to the Law) is unpleasant. A bad conscience is the most tormenting pain (that is, a consciousness trapped in evil deeds); awakening the height of bliss (ecstasy, samadhi, the clear perception of the awakened bodhicitta)."
The deva asked, "What causes ruin in the world? What breaks off friendships? What is the most violent fever? Who is the best physician?"
The Buddha replied, "Ignorance (lack of gnosis / da'ath) causes ruin in the world; envy and selfishness break off friendships; hatred is the most violent fever; the (inner) Buddha is the best physician." (These are the three poisons which are the axle of the wheel of suffering.)
The deva then continued, "Now I have only one doubt to be cleared away: What is it fire cannot burn, nor moisture corrode, nor wind crush down, but is able to benefit the whole world?"
The Buddha replied, "Blessing! Neither fire, nor moisture, nor wind can destroy the blessing of a good deed (right action); and blessings benefit the whole world." (Therefore, learn how to embody right action: the will of the Inner Buddha as performed by his human soul: Tiphereth.)
Hearing these answers, the deva was filled with joy. Bowing down in respect, he dissapeared suddenly from the presence of the Buddha.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
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