Resurrecting Jesus by Adyashanti
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
True Christianity revealed
As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, I was raised Catholic. The story of Jesus was always of a lot of interest to me and I found myself combing through a Bible every once in a while to check it out.
But of course, as a kid, it’s extremely difficult to comprehend to understand what is being written in these stories. And so I turned to adults and religious figures to figure it out.
I mostly got the “traditional Catholic interpretation” of the Bible from others. In case you don’t know what that is, here is the 5-second rundown.
Jesus Christ is the literal Son of some Omnipotent being who watches over everyone named God. Because we humans have Original Sin, Jesus’s role was to die and resurrected in order to heal this essential “wrongness” within us.
For those who were a little bit more outside the box, they might confess that they didn’t really know if the Jesus story was true, but it seemed like a good way to live life. So they just believed it, citing “faith” as their reasoning.
This interpretation stuck in my mind for a while, but eventually, the contractions starting piling. The more I learned about the world, the more I just couldn’t accept the story at face value.
Some obvious questions that popped up:
- How could we be sinners with free will, but also the product of a loving God calling the shots?
- How do you explain the discrepancies between what the Bible said and modern science?
- What does Jesus dying have anything to do with redeeming me?
- How do you explain the very obvious man made corruption in the church’s history if it’s the word and messengers of God?
- Where did God come from?
The list goes on and on. Of course the religious people I interacted with always had ready-made answers. But they just never satisfied me.
I came to more or less the same conclusion Christopher Hitches came to: the Bible was a man-made product of a primitive, ignorant, barbaric time in human history.
What’s fascinating to me though is that as an adult, I’ve largely come to back to some of the ideas found in Christianity. BUT, and this is a crucial, I’ve come back to it with a whole new set of assumptions and understandings about the world I didn’t have when I was younger.
Resurrecting Jesus by Adyashanti really is a beautiful interpretation of the Jesus story from a place not entrenched in belief and dogma. This book has shifted the way I see the Jesus story thanks to the wisdom of a spiritual master.
Why it’s Awesome
So what is Adyashanti’s interpretation of the Jesus story?
First off, I stress that this is ONLY AN INTERPRETATION. I am not saying Adyashanti got it “all right” or anything like this.
If we can understand that this is just one man’s perspective, we can learn a lot instead of closing down by having to accept it as fact.
To Adyashanti, a man coming from the tradition of Zen Buddhism, the Jesus story represents a wonderful myth about the spiritual journey itself. He is not interested in whether or not the story is factually correct, only that we can learn from it.
The spiritual journey is the journey to the realization and embodiment of one’s true nature. Jesus is not a divine being we should worship (or else!) but a metaphor for the process of awakening.
In essence, the Jesus story is almost exactly like the Zen Ox pictures. It’s a map for spiritual seekers.
However, because it’s a story attempting the communicate something, much of it is overdramatized. DON’T take it literally.
Here are the basic steps Adyashanti outlines about the Jesus story:
- Virgin birth into this world. Jesus, like everyone else, is born as a human into this world but his true source is not humanity. It’s something ineffable and beyond, which you could call God. Adyashanti prefers the world “Spirit”.
- Jesus is baptized by John and entered by the holy spirit. To Adyashanti, this represents someone’s first encounter with Spirit and their true divine essence.
- Temptations in the desert by Satan. This represents the spiritual purification process almost everyone finds themselves in after their first awakening.
- Healing Ministry / Miracles. The spiritual seeker processes a true understand of their divine essence and (sometimes) is able to manipulate the world in ways not previously available. In Hinduism and Buddism, these abilities are often referred to as the Siddhis and are considered extremely normal.
- Teaching in Parables. Jesus realizes that his message cannot be properly communicated with words, and so he opts for parables.
- Jesus becomes “the radiant light” and fully embodies his divine essence. Another common step for spiritual seekers according to Adyashanti
- The Crucifixion. For Adyashanti, this is the full relinquishment of a feeling of a separate self. Extremely advanced stage of spiritual development.
- The Resurrection. Being in the world, but not being of the world as you no longer feel separate from anything else.
For comparison, here is the Zen Ox pictures:
I won’t confirm or deny whether or not these maps are accurate simply because I haven’t experienced it myself. But, I will say that this map is almost eerily accurate for my journey so far.
At this point, I’ve had a few awakening experiences. I’ve started the process of spiritual purification and for the first time I’ve started to take interest in Supernormal abilities.
Following the map of Jesus, that puts me somewhere at the “Temptations in Garden” / “Healing ministry” step. What’s to come, I really can’t say.
I really enjoyed Adyashanti’s interpretation, even though it does bring up fear in me. There’s a sense that I’ve started down a path I can’t control, predict or turn back from.
That doesn’t mean I’m a victim of anything. Decisions count for everything. It’s just that there’s something larger going on here with all of us humans, just as Jesus realized for himself.
But really, this is just life. It doesn’t go necessarily where you want.
There’s that old saying that we make plans and God laughs.
So from a big picture perspective, there really is nothing to do but kick back, surrender and enjoy the ride. Do what I love and let the chips fall where they may.
I also love that Jesus represented “enlightened action”. He doesn’t just get enlightened and spend the rest of his days sitting in a cave. After enlightenment, the laundary.
For Jesus, the laundry meant speaking out against dogmatic religious institutions that had lost their way. But everyone has a unique role they can fulfill.
Why Does It Suck
If you’re a traditional Christian, you’re not going to like this book. Don’t expect to hear anything about the importance of loving Christ or worshiping God. This is about waking up, and waking up means discarding all those notions and realizing that you are God, just like Jesus did.
The Wrap Up
Really important book for anyone on “the path”. You can use the Jesus story as a road map and use it to inspire your own story.
There is deep wisdom in religion and a lot of what I’m going to be doing in the future on this blog is digging it up. We’ve gained a lot of studying science, but the cost has been understanding our essence.