Mystics – Chung Shu and the Spiritual Teachers

The mystics tell us we already posses all the peace and happiness of the Universe. Our spiritual work is simply to discover what is in the way of our seeing this reality for ourselves.

In India, about 500 years before the common era, Buddha began to teach a philosophy of life. Buddha told his disciples, “the faults of others are easier to see than one’s own; the faults of others are easily seen, for they are sifted like chaff, but one’s own faults are hard to see. Do not look at the faults of others, or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and have not done”.

About that same time, over a thousand miles to the east of India, Confucius began to teach his Chinese disciples a similar philosophy of life. His disciples were known as the People of the Ren (The People of Love). Confucius instructed them in the attainment of chung -shu. Chung was the practice of self-knowledge. If a Person of the Ren shot an arrow and it missed the mark, they would not blame the wind or the arrow, they would explore their own shooting. If others did not respect them, they would not judge, they would carefully examine their own ability to respect others. If they did not feel loved, they would not criticize, they would explore their own ability to love others. The practice of chung took many years.

When Confucius was satisfied that the disciple had achieved humility and self-awareness through the discipline of chung, only then would he commission them to go forth into the world and love others with empathy and compassion. An ancient art of healing known as shu.

In 1945, twenty five hundred years later, two local peasants living in the Naj Hammadi region of Egypt discovered a collection of ancient manuscripts known as the Nag Hammadi Library. These Gnostic gospels, written in the 2nd and 3rd century, contain thirteen codices, or books, comprised of fifty-two texts. One of those texts is known as the Gospel of Thomas.

In saying 24 of the Gospel of Thomas Jesus tells his disciples “there is light within an enlightened person, and it shines on the whole world. If the light does not shine, it is dark”.

In sayings 26 and 27 Jesus continues, “If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the kingdom. You see the speck that is in your companion’s eye, but you do not see the beam that is in your own eye.