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Book of Thomas

Introduction

St Thomas of India

Copies of Book of Thomas were among the finds at Nag Hammadi. Some of these finds were used in Christian communities and were styled / entitled as "gospels". In the West, therefore, Book of Thomas is known as Gospel of Thomas.

Book of Thomas is generally known among Wayists to be the book of the fire of the passions. Throughout the book Yesu styles desires and passions as devouring fire (with a small f), and contrasts it with the higher Passion and holy Desire styled as Fire which burns away karma and fills the being with Light.

Book of Thomas is thematic, whereas Mystical Sayings of Yesu is not. But this difference aside, the two works have much in common. Both works speak in the same style although a common author cannot be postulated. The Church understands the two works to reflect holy teaching of Yesu our Lord.

Book of Thomas is central to Wayist Sacred Sensuality school of thought. The fire of the passions (desires) is both that which is needed to animate us on the Way to immortality and that which leads us to destruction if the mind is undisciplined. The passions should not be stamped out or killed, but transformed and made innocent, serving as vehicles on the Way.


Book of Thomas: Chapter 1 - 9

Chapter 1

1 The mystical saying which the Saviour  spoke to Judas Thomas and I, Matthew, recorded as I was walking and listening to them speak with each other.

2 The Saviour said, “Brother Thomas, while you still have time in the world, listen to me and I shall explain what you have been reflecting upon in your mind.”

3 Since it is said that you are my twin and my true friend, examine yourself and understand who you are, how you live, and what will become of you.

4 Since you are called my brother, you should not be ignorant about yourself. I know you understand some things, for already you understand that I am the knowledge of truth.

Knowledge of self

5 While you are walking with me, though you are ignorant of other things, already you have obtained Wisdom, and you will be described as one who knows self.

6 For whoever does no know self does not know anything, but whoever knows self already has acquired knowledge about the depth of the universe.

7 So, my brother Thomas, you have seen what is hidden from people, what they stumble over in their ignorance."

Chapter 2

Thomas asks about the mysteries

1 Thomas said to the Lord, “For this reason I beg you to tell me what I ask before your ascension.

2 When I hear from you about the things that are hidden, then I can speak of them. For it is clear to me that the truth is hard to accomplish in front of people."

3 The Saviour answered and said, “If what can be seen is obscure to you, how can you comprehend what cannot be seen?

4 If deeds of truth that are visible to the world are hard for you to accomplish, then how will you accomplish things that are visible, things concerned with the exalted greatness and fullness?

Students and workers

5 How can you be called workers? For you are students, and have not yet achieved the greatness of perfection."

6 Thomas answered and said to the Saviour,  “Tell us about these things you say cannot be seen but are hidden from us.”

7 The Saviour  said, “All the bodies of humans and animals are irrational from birth. Indeed, this is clear from the way a creature behaves.

8 Beings that come from above, however, do not live like the creatures you can see. Rather, they derive their life from their own root, and their crop provides nourishment for them.

9 “These bodies you can see, on the other hand, feed on creatures like them, and for this reason they are subject to change.1

10 Whatever is subject to change will perish and be lost, and has no more hope of life, because this body is an animal body.

11 Just as animal bodies perish, so also will these figures perish. Are they not the result of copulation, like animal bodies?

12 If this kind of body, too, is the result of copulation, how can it give birth to anything different from the animals?

13 “For this reason, then, you are babies until you attain perfection ”

Chapter 3

Light

1 Thomas answered, “That is why I tell you, Lord, that people who speak about what is invisible and hard to explain are like archers who shoot arrows at a target during the night.

2 Of course, they shoot arrows like any other archers, since they are shooting at a target, but in this case the target cannot be seen.

3 When the light  comes forth, however, and banishes the darkness,  then what each person has done will become clear.

4 You are our light,  and you bring enlightenment, Lord.”

5 Yesu said, “Light dwells in light ”2

6 Thomas said, “Lord, why does this visible light  that shines upon people rise and set?”

7 The Saviour said, “Blessed Thomas, this visible light shines upon you not to keep you here, but to make you leave.

8 When all the chosen ones lay aside their animal nature, this light will withdraw to the realm of its being, and its being will welcome it because of its fine service."

Of the inner Fire

9 Then the Saviour continued and said, “O unsearchable love of the light!

10 O bitter fire burning within human bodies, in the marrow of their bones, burning within them night and day, raging within human limbs, making minds drunk and souls deranged, arousing men and women day and night, arousing them secretly and visibly.3

11 For men are aroused, and they arouse women and women arouse men.

12 “Therefore it is said, ‘Everyone who seeks truth from true wisdom will fashion wings in order to fly away and escape from the passion that inflames human spirits.’

13 The seeker will fashion wings in order to escape from every spirit that can be seen."

Chapter 4

Teaching to the athletes of mysticism

1 Thomas answered and said, “Lord, this is what I am asking, because I know you can help us, as you say.”

2 The Saviour answered again and said, “That is why we must speak to you, for this is instruction for those who are perfect. If you want to be perfect, you will keep these teachings. If not, you deserve to be called ignorant.

3 For a wise person cannot be associated with a fool. The wise person is perfect in wisdom of good and evil, but to the fool, good and evil are one and the same.

4 For the wise person will be nourished by truth, and will be like a tree growing by a river.

5 Some people have wings but run after what they can see, what is far from truth.

6 For the fire that leads them will give an illusion of truth, and will shine on them with transitory beauty.

7 It will make them prisoners of the delights of darkness, and capture them in sweet-smelling pleasures.

8 It will make them blind with unquenchable passion, it will inflame their souls, and be like a stake that is jammed into their hearts and can not be removed. Or like a bit in the mouth, it directs them as it wishes.

9 This fire has bound these people with its chains, and tied all their limbs with the bitter bond of desire for visible things, which change, and decay, and fluctuate impulsively. Such people are always dragged downward. When they are put to death, they join the foul animals.

10 This fire is not put out by water but is increased by it. That which dispels this fire is fire.”

11 Thomas answered and said, “This is clear, Lord, passions weigh down the soul and makes the sprit a captive in a house of clay; for the spirit to have wings, and to be free to go to the Father it needs discipline of soul and the body and its senses.”

12 The Saviour answered, “Blessed is the wise person who seeks truth. When one finds it, one rests upon it forever, and is not afraid of being disturbed.”4

Of fellowship

13 Thomas answered and said, “ Is it good for us, Lord, to find rest among our own people.”

14 The Saviour said, “Yes, it does help. It is good for you, since what is visible in human existence will pass away.

15 The fleshly body of people will pass away, and when it disintegrates, it will find its place in what is visible and can be seen.

16 Then the fire that those people see will make them suffer, because of their love for the faith they once had. They will be brought back to the visible realm.

17 Moreover, those people who can see in the invisible realm will be consumed, without that first love, in their concern about life and the raging of the fire.

18 There is but a little time before what you can see will pass away. Then shapeless ghosts will come and live in the tombs among the corpses, forever bringing pain and torment of soul.”5

Chapter 5

On teaching the wilful blind

1 Thomas answered and said, ‘What can we say in the face of these things? What shall we say to people who are blind? What instruction shall we give to these mortals?

2 They say, ‘‘We have come to do good, not to curse,’‘ but add, ‘‘If we had not been born in the flesh, we would not have known about sin.’‘’

The Saviour said, “This is true: do not think of them as human beings, but consider them us animal beings.

4 For us animals devour each other, so also do people like this devour each other.

5 Moreover, the kingdom is taken from them, since they love the delights of fire, they are slaves of death, and they revel in filth.

6 They fulfill the lust of their parents.6 These people will be thrown down into the hell of their minds, where they be beaten as their bitter, wicked natures deserve.

7 They will be whipped to drive them down to the unknown, and they will leave the limbs of their bodies behind, not with courage but with despair.

8 Yet these people, being foolish and mad, are happy in the anxieties of this life. Some of those who rush into this madness do not realize they are foolish, but think they are wise.

9 They are drawn to the beauty of the body, as if it would not perish. Their minds turn to themselves, their thoughts are on their own pursuits, but the fire will consume them.”

On those who remain in darkness

10 Thomas answered and said, “Lord, what will people do who are cast down in this manner? I fear for them, for many forces oppose them.”

11 The Saviour answered and said, “Do you not also have a visible life?”

13 Judas called Thomas said, “Lord, you should speak and I should listen.”

14 The Saviour answered, “Listen to what I shall say to you, and believe in the truth. What sows and is sown will pass away in fire.7 By fire and water, it will be hidden in dark tombs.8

15 After a long time the fruit of wicked trees may appear, and will be punished and slaughtered in animal and human mouths, at the instigation of the rain, the wind, the air, and the light shining above.9 This is the love of our Father"

Chapter 6

Pearls before swine

1 Thomas answered, “You have convinced us, Lord. We have come to this realization, and now it is clear: this is as it is, and your word is sufficient for us.

2 But these sayings that you utter are laughable and ridiculous to the world, for they are misunderstood.

3 How can we go forward and preach them, since the world does not respect us?"

4 The Saviour answered and said, “I tell you the truth: whoever listens to what you have to say and turns away, or sneers, or smirks at these things, will be handed over to the Ruler who is on high, who rules as king over all the powers.

5 The Ruler will force these people to turn back, and will throw them down into their hell, where they will be held in a cramped, dark place.

6 They will be unable to turn or move because of the great depth of Tartaros and the bitter burden of the underworld, which holds them fast.

7 They will be imprisoned there and will not escape, for their folly will not be forgiven.

8 The powers that chase them will give them over to the angel Tartarousis. Tartarousis will take up fiery lashes, and chase them with fiery whips that spew forth sparks into the faces of those being pursued.10

9 If they run toward the West, they find fire. If they turn South, they find it there, too. If they turn North, erupting fire threatens them again.

10 They cannot find the way to the East, either, to run there and be safe.

11 For while they were still embodied they did not find the way they need to follow on their day of judgment."

Chapter 7

Woe to those burning in the fire of the ego

1 Then the Saviour continued and said, “Woe to you Godless people, who have no hope, who hold fast to what will never happen, but have heard the Truth in your hearts.

2 Woe to you who hope in the flesh, and in the prison that will perish.11

3 How long will you dream? Or do you really think that what you judge to be imperishable will not perish? You base your hope upon the world, and your god is this life. You are destroying your souls.

5 Woe to you with the fire raging within you, for it is unquenchable.

6 Woe to you, because the wheels are turning in your minds.12

7 Woe to you, because you are a smoldering fire inside!

8 The fire will devour your flesh visibly, and tear your souls secretly, and prepare you for each other!

9 Woe to you prisoners, for you are bound in caves!

10 You laugh! You express your delight with foolish laughter!

11 You do not realize that you will be destroyed, you do not realize your plight, you do not understand that you live in darkness and death!

12 Rather, you are drunk with fire and full of bitterness.

13 Your minds are deranged because of the smoldering fire within you, and you are delighted by the poisoning and beating by your enemies!13

14Darkness has risen over you like the light, for you have exchanged your freedom for slavery.

15 You have made your minds dark, you have given your thoughts over to foolishness, and you have choked your thoughts with the smoke of the fire within you!

16 Your light has been hidden within a dark cloud, you have grown fond of the filthy cloak you are wearing,14 and you have held on to a hope that is no hope!

17 Whom do you believe? Do you not know that you all are children of one Father? But you baptised your souls with the water of darkness! You rushed into whatever you desired, not caring to think about your own mind!

19 Woe to you who continue to live in error!

20 You do not see that the light of the sun, which gives light to the universe and looks down upon the universe, will encircle everything and make slaves of its enemies.

21 You do not realize, either, how the moon looks down night and clay and sees your slaughtered bodies.15

22 Woe to you who are locked into the passion for intercourse and depraved sensual association with one another!

22 Woe to you, because the powers of your bodies will make you suffer! You are following the trap of the demon’s foul ecstasy!

24 Woe to you on whom the demons act!

25 Woe to you who tempt the limbs of your bodies with fire!

26 Who will sprinkle a cool dew upon you, to put out all the burning and blazing within you?

27 Who will make the sun shine on you, to drive out the darkness within you, and put the darkness and the filthy water out of sight?

Chapter 8

The Sun and the Grapevine

1 “The sun and the moon will give a sweet odour to you, and to the air, the spirit, the earth, and the water.16

2 For if the sun does not shine on these bodies, they will waste away and die like weeds or grass. If the sun shines on weeds, they become vigorous and can choke a grapevine.

3 But if a grapevine becomes vigorous, casts its shadow over the weeds and all the rest of the brush growing along with it, and spreads and flourishes, the grapevine alone inherit the land where it grows, and dominates wherever it casts its shadow.

4 When it grows, then it dominates the whole land, produces abundantly, and makes the lord even happier.

5 For the landlord would have suffered much because of the weeds before finally pulling them out, but the grapevine disposed of them and choked them all by itself.

6 So the weeds died and became like earth."  

Chapter 9

The warning of reincarnation

1 Then Yesu continued and said, “Woe to you, for you have not learned the lesson, that they rise from death!

2 Blessed are you who learn beforehand about what may entrap you, and who flee what is alien to you.

3 Blessed are you who are mocked and despised because of the love your Lord has for you.

4 Blessed are you who weep and are afflicted by those without hope, for you will be released from all that binds you.

5 Watch and pray that you may not be born in the flesh again, but that you may leave the bitter bondage of this life.

6 When you pray, you will find rest, for you have left pain and abuse behind.17

7 When you leave bodily pains and passions, you will receive rest from the Good One,18 and you will reign with the King, you united with the King and the King united with you, now and for ever and ever.19 Amen."

END