Born Again of Water and the Holy Spirit

RJM

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Since I became aware of inner alchemy and immortality yogas, such as Kundalini yoga and Taoist Neidan, Jesus's 'born again' conversation with Nicodemus has always intrigued me:

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?

John 3:1-12 Read full chapter

The final step of the Neidan transformation is when the purified upper fire is plunged into the purified lower water, to create, or give birth to the perfected and immortal body that can become many bodies. The yogi is able to manifest and unmanifest a physical body – or many bodies in different places at the same time. The new spiritual body does not need to eat or sleep, and the yogi can create whatever appearance he desires.

I wonder what Christ really meant when he spoke to Nicodemus?
 

RJM

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Cino

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The final step of the Neidan transformation is when the purified upper fire is plunged into the purified lower water, to create, or give birth to the perfected and immortal body that can become many bodies.

Just for fun, I looked up the Yi Jing hexagram corresponding to "fire over water", and it is number 38, "kui, squinting, looking askance" ;) Probably not related to the Neidan practice you mentioned.

I don't know what Jesus meant to tell Nicodemus, but I have often thought that some of Jesus' teachings can be read like meditation instructions from Eastern traditions. Examples are the parable of the sourdough, which looks very similar to the Buddha's simile of the "ball of honey"; and much of the Sermon on the Mount/Plain, which is similar in structure to the enumeration of the Jhanas, culminating in a mental poise of equanimity and non-attachment.

Just a few rambling thoughts; Jesus probably was not teaching Buddhist meditation, of course.
 
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RJM

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Just for fun, I looked up the Yi Jing hexagram corresponding to "fire over water", and it is number 38, "kui, squinting, looking askance"
Ah, but there are two different water trigrams -- for standing water, and for flowing water. So the hexagrams you are looking for are 64 (before completion)

upload_2022-4-18_12-18-7.png



and 63 (after completion)

upload_2022-4-18_12-18-33.png


Sorry, they are just quick screenshots, not the full text
 
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Cino

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Ah, but there are two different water trigrams -- for standing water, and for flowing water.
Right! Thanks. That makes more sense!

Shouldn't it be wind (rather than fire) over flowing water, to stay with Jesus' imagery?
 
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RJM

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Right! Thanks. That makes more sense!

Shouldn't it be wind (rather than fire) over flowing water, to stay with Jesus' imagery?
That would be 59 Dispersion, dissolution, scattering. The conclusion of the alchemical process is the immersion of fire in water, in 64 and 63?

I just find the 'born again of water and the Spirit' could be about the inner alchemy, and Jesus saying to Nicodemus: "You are a teacher of your people, and you don't even know about this?"
 
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Geoffrey

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Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

I believe Jesus was saying that everyone is born of both flesh and spirit; most, though they have both ears and eyes, neither hear nor see the truth. To be "born again" is to see the truth that this is the case.

The passage below is from Life Stills, a blog which I have written to share my view of how this works. This passage is from Chapter X, the Precis (summary) ...

Deep in their hearts,
All men hear my whisperings, and
As clearly and as loudly
As one hears my voice,
To that extent is he
Ruled by spirit and
To that extent does
His desire for me
Determine the path of his life.

Alive to the flesh but
Dead to the spirit,
They that deny me
Are no less my children.

Estranged through the
Conditions and experiences –
The dispositions – of their lives,
Their spirits remain undefiled,
Returning, as do all,
To me in the end.

Hearing me from a distance,
My devotee comes to me by addition;
Believing me outside himself,
My devotee gives me a name, and
In naming me, pushes me away.

In the suffering of his isolation,
My devotee offers me his prayers and
Living a life pleasing to me
Secures his place in my eternity.

Hearing me not from a distance but
From within his own heart,
The renunciant is aware that
He IS not –
That Self is of the flesh and
Has no true being.

All that his mind thinks and
All that his hands create are
For this moment only and, like Self,
Have no true being.

Aware that I can be seen in this life
Only by subtraction,
The renunciant uproots Self and
Shuns all things temporal.

Detached from the world of the flesh and
The burdens of both heart and mind,
The renunciant grows
In love and in Charity, in
Undifferentiated and eternal
Spirit only.

And, with regard to Baptism, this, from the Appendix:

Baptism by water is
A joining of hands,
A communion of hearts, and
A sharing of hope.

Baptism by faith is
A quickening of spirit,
A discernment of righteousness,
A justification to truth, and
A foundation for sanctification.

Man’s birthright is
To both flesh and to spirit;
Water allows him to survive,
Faith allows him to truly live.
 
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Thomas

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Hi Geoffrey, and welcome aboard.

Perhaps you'd care to pop in to 'Introductions' and tell us something about yourself?

(I've removed the blog link – nothing censorious, simply our Code of Conduct with new members (article 7). Going forward, if members want to read more then you can follow up and post links. We try and run a 'light touch' ship here. Also, there's the Members' Writing Forum, you might want to post there?)

Anyway, again, welcome.
 

Geoffrey

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Hi Geoffrey, and welcome aboard.

Perhaps you'd care to pop in to 'Introductions' and tell us something about yourself?

(I've removed the blog link – nothing censorious, simply our Code of Conduct with new members (article 7). Going forward, if members want to read more then you can follow up and post links. We try and run a 'light touch' ship here. Also, there's the Members' Writing Forum, you might want to post there?)

Anyway, again, welcome.

Thanks, Thomas, for the warm welcome ... and the "heads up" about links. I look forward to reading more on the Interfaith forums!
 

RJM

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I believe Jesus was saying that everyone is born of both flesh and spirit; most, though they have both ears and eyes, neither hear nor see the truth. To be "born again" is to see the truth that this is the case.

The passage below is from Life Stills, a blog which I have written to share my view of how this works. This passage is from Chapter X, the Precis (summary) ...


Deep in their hearts,

All men hear my whisperings, and

As clearly and as loudly

As one hears my voice,

To that extent is he

Ruled by spirit and

To that extent does

His desire for me

Determine the path of his life.


Alive to the flesh but

Dead to the spirit,

They that deny me

Are no less my children.


Estranged through the

Conditions and experiences –

The dispositions – of their lives,

Their spirits remain undefiled,

Returning, as do all,

To me in the end.



Hearing me from a distance,

My devotee comes to me by addition;

Believing me outside himself,

My devotee gives me a name, and

In naming me, pushes me away.


In the suffering of his isolation,

My devotee offers me his prayers and

Living a life pleasing to me

Secures his place in my eternity.


Hearing me not from a distance but

From within his own heart,

The renunciant is aware that

He IS not –

That Self is of the flesh and

Has no true being.


All that his mind thinks and

All that his hands create are

For this moment only and, like Self,

Have no true being.


Aware that I can be seen in this life

Only by subtraction,

The renunciant uproots Self and

Shuns all things temporal.


Detached from the world of the flesh and

The burdens of both heart and mind,

The renunciant grows

In love and in Charity, in

Undifferentiated and eternal

Spirit only ...

Does this reference Eastern yoga of any variety? Do you think Jesus was referencing immortality yoga and inner alchemy practices?

EDIT
I don't mean that he was talking directly about Eastern yoga, but referencing the same idea and principle?
 
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Geoffrey

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Does this reference Eastern yoga of any variety? Do you think Jesus was referencing immortality yoga and inner alchemy practices?

EDIT
I don't mean that he was talking directly about Eastern yoga, but referencing the same idea and principle?

Sorry my previous post ended up looking like a very long quote; this my first experience with posting on a forum and it might take me a while.

If there is something in my writing that echoes something familiar, it might come from my many years in the study of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism; reading this Forum is my first encounter with immortality yoga and inner alchemy. I believe Jesus' central message was that spiritual fulfillment comes with spiritual union, and that that is possible only with the renunciation of Self.
 

Ella S.

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Sorry my previous post ended up looking like a very long quote; this my first experience with posting on a forum and it might take me a while.

No problem, welcome to the forum!

If there is something in my writing that echoes something familiar, it might come from my many years in the study of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism; reading this Forum is my first encounter with immortality yoga and inner alchemy. I believe Jesus' central message was that spiritual fulfillment comes with spiritual union, and that that is possible only with the renunciation of Self.

"Yoga" is often translated as "union."

I sometimes recommend "bhakti yoga" to those interested in Christian worship because I think it can really add something to someone's experiences. It's essentially a deeply meditative way to worship through union with God.
 

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I believe Jesus' central message was that spiritual fulfillment comes with spiritual union, and that that is possible only with the renunciation of Self.
I wonder if Jesus was introducing Nicodemus into the 'inner sanctum' esoteric teaching?

I think many religions have the inner sanctum esoteric teachings for the 'elect few' which are diluted to become 'good living' social mores for the ordinary people and householders?
 
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Geoffrey

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I wonder if Jesus was introducing Nicodemus into the 'inner sanctum' esoteric teaching?
You might want to read Professor Shmuel Safrai's article, "Jesus and the Hasidim" in Jerusalem Perspective, June, 1994, Numbers 42-44.
 

RJM

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You might want to read Professor Shmuel Safrai's article, "Jesus and the Hasidim" in Jerusalem Perspective, June, 1994, Numbers 42-44.
Thanks. Can you link that? You can post links from now on. It would be appreciated if you keep cut-and-paste excerpts from your blog to the Member Writing Forums, unless they specifically relate to the thread? It's just the way we try to roll here, lol
 

Geoffrey

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Thanks. Can you link that? You can post links from now on. It would be appreciated if you keep cut-and-paste excerpts from your blog to the Member Writing Forums, unless they specifically relate to the thread? It's just the way we try to roll here, lol

With regard to Professor Safrai's article, you might begin your reading here:https://www.jerusalemperspective.com/2685

With regard to my quoting excerpts from my blog, was there anything in what I posted that was not related to the thread? Please advise; that way I will avoid missteps. Thanks.
 

RJM

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With regard to Professor Safrai's article, you might begin your reading here:https://www.jerusalemperspective.com/2685

With regard to my quoting excerpts from my blog, was there anything in what I posted that was not related to the thread? Please advise; that way I will avoid missteps. Thanks.
Thank you, I will check it out.

@Geoffrey the intention is not to limit your expression here, but so far your posts to any threads you have responded to -- except this one -- have been quite long poetic extracts from your blog. It's not a problem, but it would be if it starts to look as if you have joined IO only in order to paste-up blog extracts. This does not seem to be the case, so please ignore what I said :)
 
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