The Golden Rule
by Tom Gilmore
All graphics by Tom Gilmore
Index of all Articles
It is uncertain exactly when or where the “Persian” sage Zoroaster lived, but it was probably between 1100 BC and 700 BC, and somewhere between Iran and India. He is associated with the development of first “religion” to extend across the known-world. Because Zoroaster is reputed to have meditated in an isolated cave for a number of years, in order to achieve perfect being, it is unlikely that he personally built the establishment bearing his name. It was Zoroaster who coined the saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Zoroasterism was the precursor of Buddhism and Taoism. All three were originally known as “The Way” and were philosophies, not religion.
The Buddha was reputed to have meditated many years seeking enlightenment, always feeling no closer to finding it. At long last, while sitting under a banyan tree it came to him it was because he was already enlightened at the start of his search by the golden rule of Zoroaster, and only needed to connect that truth with his inner being, and that everyone having heard the golden rule was already enlightened but did not realize they were, and by extension that realization was merely connecting the inner self to the enlightened truth.
The Buddhist method was a 4-part perpetual personal improvement regime. (1) The aspirant identifies aspects of their persona that need correction, and (2) imagines a model of who they aspire to be, (3) working daily to move themselves into that model, and when (4) satisfied with their progress, again (1) examines their life, identifying needed corrections and repeating the process.
Various versions of Taoist doctrine have come down from the mists of Ancient China. The Tao te Ching, or “The Way of Change” takes the form of many poetic constructions interpreting the Taoist philosophy. It was the famous sage Lao Tzu who founded Taoism when he wrote the Dao Te Jing, “The Way of Heaven”. It is thought that during a period of turmoil Lao Tzu sought to leave central China, and upon arriving at the Great Wall was only allowed to exit after providing the commander there a manuscript describing the by then famed Tao. The text he wrote uses character phrases as chapter headings. The ancient Chinese characters used in writing the Dao Te Jing were not single words, but rather words of a single concept (for example, one character could be any of mystery-unknown-unknowable-secret, etc.). Lao Tzu used two-character phrases as headings for texts of elaboration.
The first phrase (pictured above) in the Dao Te Jing is commonly interpreted as “The mother of all things cannot be named”. A more direct phrase would be “The Creation is Mysterious”. Lao Tzu elaborated that in practice it means one cannot put a name to God, and even God is a name that is false. A descriptive term is necessary, such as “The Creator of the Cosmos”, which may be a better translation of the term Jesus used that is commonly translated as “our father in heaven”.
The second phrase is “Embodying the Tao”. This complex notion is actually asserting that our existence is the purpose of the cosmos. Without cognition of it, all of the cosmos is of no matter, just an unnoticed mechanical operation.
Next is “Nourishment of the Person”. This clumsy translation hints at the notion that the Cosmos is designed to foster intelligent life, by providing the basis for organic sustenance.
The next is often interpreted as “The Fountainless”, but it clearly means “Uncaused Cause” or first event. There must be a first event because otherwise everything would be waiting for a prior event, and nothing could yet be happening.
Jesus of Nazareth
All we know of the life of Jesus comes from the many gospels written (both sanctioned and unsanctioned). These documents suffer from the bias of the authors, translation mistakes, and deliberate alterations by pious zealots, making them unreliable for specific attributions. The various Christian sects have a certain set of faith-based beliefs that are supernatural, making it impossible to have a logical discussion regarding whatever dogma they have adhered to.
According to Thomas
According to the Apostle Thomas, Jesus had left Judea as a young man and travelled to the East. Jesus had read the Hebrew Scriptures as a young child, and in discussions with Clerics had impressed them with the depth of his understanding. Jesus had gone to India to study the Hindu sacred texts, and he sought out sages to engage in discussion. Jesus became known as a sincere seeker of wisdom, and eventually was deemed suitable to be taken to a remote cave where a follower of the teaching of Zoroaster had been meditating in solitude for 9 years, and had reached Samadhi (total objectivity). There Jesus asked what constituted perfect being. The hermit prefaced his answer with the admonition that what was realized in Samadhi could not be brought back into the subjective world. The hermit said he had come to embrace the truth that we are all one and must treat others as oneself.
According to Thomas, he met Jesus in India and travelled with him on his return to Judea. Thomas recounts that upon returning Jesus undertook his 40 day fasting-sojourn in the desert with the intent to gain the fame allowing him to bring the truth and light to Judea. After returning from the 40-day fast, Jesus walked along the Galilee seashore, attracting a crowd of onlookers curious to see the one to suffer 40 days alone in the desert without food. Jesus was proclaiming that the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (a perfect world) was at hand, if the people would just repent of their selfish ways and share with one another. It was then that some fishermen were moved to follow Jesus, among them Simon, who upon learning that Jesus knew of the healing herbs and methods of India, beseeched Jesus to come to his home and heal his ailing mother. Thus began the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus.
The sanctioned gospels record an incident when 5000 followed him to a remote location seeking to hear his word, and became hungry, many not having thought to bring food. According to Thomas, Jesus took this as an opportunity to encourage the sharing spirit. Jesus gathered his provisions in baskets, having very little bread and just a few fish, and passing out the baskets to the people, beseeched those who had food to share by donating to the baskets. So inspired was the spirit that all 5000 were fed and the baskets returned with more that they began with.
The Gospels record that at the last supper Jesus consoled the disciples, saying (paraphrased) let not your hearts be troubled by my death, for I go to a place that where I am, there you may be also. But Thomas spoke out, saying to Jesus: "I do not know where you go, or the way there".
The gospels account of the response from Jesus begins with “I am the Way, and the truth and the light.”
According to Thomas, Jesus had said “follow the truth lighting the Way”
Card 9 of the Tarot, because the Hermit spent 9 years in solitary meditation.
According to Thomas it took extraordinary character to live the rule:
Do for others as you would have them do for you.
But if you could not rise to that, at least you could apply the rule:
Do not do to others what you would not want done to you.
After the death of Jesus, the Apostle Thomas traveled afar speaking individually to the multitude of disciples of Jesus’ teaching, admonishing them to be without leaders or churches, but to follow The Way in their hearts, and pass on the truth to others only as they become open to receive it.
In following The Way, by the light of Jesus’ teaching, they were the Illuminated, or in plural, Illuminati.
According to Thomas, The Way was practiced by the enlightened many thousand years before Zoroaster, but that the world had lost the thread to the distant past, and knew not of the ancient roots of The Way, showing that it is not relevant whether formal organizations based on The Way exist or not, because the movement is in the individual hearts, not dependent on organizations. The followers do not need nor want leaders. The truth is an eternal force, and cannot be extinguished. Thomas chose to believe The Way will continue on to a day when the evil grip of selfishness has fallen away, and the ‘Brotherhood of Love’ that Jesus envisioned is finally at hand.
Followers of The Way grew exponentially, even as Rome commissioned Saul to root out their leaders and put an end to it. Saul tortured and killed many in his brutal heartless quest, including women and children, only to eventually realize there were only leaders of small groups, no organizational leaders to find, and no way to remove the truth from the hearts of the believers of Jesus’ teaching. Rome lost patience and decommissioned Saul. Saul changed his name to Paul and joined with Peter in promoting the Church of Christ.
Rome had considered Peter’s Church of Christ to be of little concern, but had underestimated the potency of organizational promulgation of irrational faith. Christianity eventually penetrated Rome and caused the fall from power. The Catholic Church emerged as a dominating political force, suffocating the miserable minions under crushing poverty while aggrandizing the Church in unlimited greed. In response to this intolerable subjugation, many of the believers in The Way gradually succumbed to a competing organization involving hierarchies of leaders (in defiance of the admonition of Thomas). The organization became known as Cathars (the pure). The Cathars were divided into The Believers (who strove to live by the light of Jesus’ teaching), and The Perfect (Monks of the Brotherhood, who lived in Monasteries, devoting their lives to austerity.
The Cathars initiated members in a ritual known as the Consolamentum (named for the last supper when Jesus consoled the disciples regarding his pending death). Initiates were informed of the secret knowledge Jesus imparted to Judas (who in turn imparted to Thomas) that Man is an alien being, stranded on an evil Earth, and that he must strive to free his spirit from the evil material world to release the essential good within him. This is the secret reason why Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man.
Aspirants joined the Brotherhood of Monks to the purpose of freeing their spirit from the material world, but the Monasteries fell under the rule of a centralized organizational structure, resulting in the eventual perversion and demise of the Brotherhood. As the Cathar organization gained in wealth and influence, it began to resemble the Catholic establishment, was considered to be a threat to the Catholic stranglehold, and was eventually struck down by a Catholic Pope in a dreadful massacre.
“The Book of Tao” (graphic by Tom Gilmore)
The Chinese characters represent (by position)
The Cosmic Creation Source Mystery
(The creator of all things cannot be named)