Tag Archives: jewel

Introduction: Three – Holy Spirit in the middle – The Dove


In the previous post we have looked at the painting the Mystic Lamb by the brothers Van Eyck in Ghent. This painting shows the Lamb of God as an offering to take away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ, the only son of God the Father, is represented as Lamb of God [1]. Above the Lamb of God, a dove is depicted as bright shining sun who illuminates the world. This dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

The choir sings during the Mass in B – minor by Johann Sebastian Bach how Jesus Christ was born through the Holy Spirit out of Mary:

”Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria virgine et homo factus est”

Later in our Odyssey, you and I will dwell on “et incarnatus est”. During this post we consider the dove – the Holy Spirit – through whom Jesus as Son of God the Father is born out of Mary. For this we look one more time at the painting the Mystic Lamb by the brothers Van Eyck in Ghent.

[2]

According to Christian theology God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are a Trinity [3]. In the painting, this trinity is depicted as a father – in the upper middle sitting on a throne as King-God – with thereunder a separate painting of the Holy Spirit as a shining sun that illuminates the world. Through the Holy Spirit the Lamb of God emerges as the only child of the Father. In this painting the Holy Spirit is painted as a dove.

[4]

How does this divine trinity relates to the invisible Jewish God who is considered present between the tops of the wings of angels on the Ark of the Covenant? [5]  Do we see different physical appearances of the same God – who cannot be encompassed – but who takes different manifestations for the faithful?

Is the invisible God who is considered present between the tops of the wings of the dove similar to the Jewish God who is considered present between the tops of the wings of angels on the Ark of the Covenant?

The son of God takes away the sin of the world as a sacrifice in the form of the Lamb of God. Is this a continuation of the sacrifices within the cattle cycle that have been made long ago in order to establish and consolidate the trust between Gods and mankind? [6]

Christian faith is spread through the Roman Empire. Within the world of the Romans, the father in the family has absolute power over his children. [7] The birth of a Roman only takes places when the father decides whether and how the newborn child is included in society. Until a child is fully mature and starts living on her/his own, the father has absolute power over his children [8]. In Western Europe the Catholic Church is a continuation of the Roman empire until now. Before 300 A. C. Jupiter is [9] the important Father God. The vestments in the church still show resemblance to the fashion of the Late Western Roman Empire [8] and the church provinces still follow the provinces of the former Roman Empire until now. Does “God the Father” show similarities with the father in the Roman Empire in respect to the powerful position over his children?

“It seems that within the Christian theology the mystery of the divine Trinity is needed to reunite various forms of mysteries from the past. Through this unification of the Trinity and through rituals (with the usual offerings), the mutual trust between mankind and God is maintained according to the Christian faith. Through this mutual trust and faith, a view of a resurrection is created for the believers”, you say.

“Your explanation sounds good, I leave a further investigation of this subject to church historians [11]. The divine trinity, the world and the universe also fit perfectly within another metaphor for the mystery of life. The three manifestations of God, including the world and the universe fit perfectly within Indra’s net. Within this metaphor all aspect (including the three manifestations of God) are glass beads, that are more or less radiate and reflective. By their mutual radiation and reflection they constitute each other and together they shape the net. Within this metaphor a church is a community – with or without a building – that constitutes one another by mutual reflection arisen from beliefs, so that the life course is followed, “I say.

“If we follow this way of thinking, the holy spirit may be the fleeting life course, light, wind, water, air, dust from which we are born and where we will return to. It also makes me think of the opening of the Ishvara upanishad which goes something like this: “That is the whole, this is the whole, from the whole, the whole becomes manifest; taking away the whole from the whole, the whole remains. Peace! Peace! Peace![10]“, you say.

“There remain two questions. According to the metaphor of Indra’s Net, no single particle can get lost. And the second question arises because I’ve read somewhere that the gods are bound by the law of cause and effect. Maybe more on this later on our Odyssey”, I say.

The following post is a transition to the next stage “Five” and is about the “Word “.


[1] See footnote at the post “Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – Lamb Gods” of 3rd June 2011.

[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_of_God

[3] The first start of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is given during the first Oecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 by the church leaders of the great Christian centres in Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. This Council rejects the Arianism – in which the verb-root “arh” may be recognized meaning “be worthy or capable” in Sanskrit – and explains this view as heresy. Arius, the eponym of this Christian flow and priest in Alexandria, has proclaimed that Christ – although a superior man – has no divine nature but is created by God and therefore as “son of God” is subordinate to God the Father. In response to this view the Nicene Council determines that Christ is not a demigod but God and essentially one with God the father. In Nicaea is the doctrine of Trinity is not yet fully developed, because the Holy Spirit, the third Divine person, is not mentioned. This happens during the Oecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 where the Nicaean Creed is accepted as unchangeable with the main addition that the Holy Spirit as third divine person is equal to God the father and Christ  the son of God. The Holy Spirit, according to the text, is “derives from the father”. In Latin: “Qui ex patre procedit”. Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geloofsbelijdenis_van_Nicea-Constantinopel

[4] Source image: part of http://www.bertsgeschiedenissite.nl/middeleeuwen/eeuw15/jan_van_eyck.htm

[5] See post: Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – Part 1 of 5th May 2011.

[6] See post: Introduction: Three – Dubio trancendit of 28th April 2011.

[7] Source: Histoire de la vie privée. Tome 1: De l’Empire romain à l’an mil.  Red. Ariès, Philippe & Duby, George.

[8] Source: Chapter 1 from Histoire de la vie privée. Tome 1: De l’Empire romain à l’an mil. 

[9] The word Jupiter consists of the words Deus (or Dieu in French) that via the verb root “div” means “Shine, appear, increase”, and “ptr” meaning father.

[10] See also: Major B.D. Basu ed., The Upanishads, Volume 1 and 23. New Delhi: Cosmo Publications, 2007

[11] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geloofsbelijdenis_van_Nicea-Constantinopel. The doctrine of the Trinity – with the Holy Spirit as third Divine person – is not yet developed in the creed as established during the Council of Nicaea in 325 a.d.  At the Council of Constantinople in 381 a.d. an adapted creed is agreed upon, in which the Holy Spirit is acknowledged as third Divine person next to the Father and the Son where the Holy Spirit comes from the father or “qui ex patre procedit”. The creed of Nicaea-Constantinople is accepted by all Christians. In 589 a.d. during the third Council of Toledo, “filioque” or “and the son” is added in the Latin text: the Holy Spirit emerges from the father and the son according to the Latin text. Charlemagne has been successful in ensuring that this addition is accepted by the German churches in 794 a.d.. Pope Leo III has sent a letter to Charlemagne in 808 a.d. mentioning that it is inappropriate to add “filioque” to the creed. Charlemagne has held to his position; he has not asked Pope Leo III to crown his son to Emperor. The creed in in the Roman Catholic creed still includes “filioque”. The Greek and Eastern Orthodox churches have seen this addition as a heretical degradation of doctrine of the Trinity, because this addition says that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son, and so is no equivalent God. In 1054 a.d.  this addition has caused a schism between the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. See also: Eliade, Mircea, A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 2. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982, p. 213-216.

Studying this development two question arise. Why do Christians not accepted that the Trinity are three manifestations of one and the same where they arise together? Why do the father and the son not arise from the Holy Spirit if there is a need for a single origin?

Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – Meditation rooms


In previous posts, you and I have visited several houses of God. With churches as “object in the middle” the faithful express a mutual trust between people and God. This confidence is continuously and periodically confirmed through rituals. Besides, the churches often create a bond between people mutual, but sometimes churches cause rejections. Churches are trying to be a timeless reference point from which the environment – air/heaven and earth separately and in combination – is experienced. The churches also provide hope for a transcendence of human life through a resurrection in an afterlife. We will visit all the churches that we encounter on our Odyssey.

We also encounter “objects in the middle” which give room for meditation. These special areas create the possibility for transcending the human scale and/or experiencing a complete oneness. Specific parts of the natural landscape have been used for this purpose for centuries. During our Odyssey we have seen stone circles, caves and stones in the landscape.

Probably with the occupation of homesteads people have created rooms for meditation that resemble their homesteads. Initially, the rooms for meditation are mainly located in or near their residences. Over time these rooms become major sacred places for worship and/or houses of God. Some of these places have been transferred in worldly contemplation places that we now encounter as museums and art galleries. During our Odyssey we visit almost all museums, but we cannot report on these visits.

Let us visit two special rooms for meditation. This first room – the Mark Rothko [1] chapel in Houston from 1967 – is building for religion and for art. The exterior is a monolithic octagon with a small entrance. At first glance it looks like a mausoleum.

 [2]

We enter the chapel. The interior radiates serenity – as monolithic as the exterior. The light comes from above. Internally I sing the first chorus of Cantata 131 by Johann Sebastian Bach:

”Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr[3], zu dir.
Herr, höre meine Stimme, lass deine Ohren merken auf die Stimme meines Flehens!“
[4]

[9]

The windows to the outside consist of paintings by Mark Rothko from 1964 – 1967, shortly before his death.

[5]

The paintings render all impressions of the World. It seems that he tries to imprint on the panels – in translucent blue/black ink – every word ever written and spoken.” You say.

“That’s right. All glass beads of “Indra’s Net” [6] are included in the paint of the panels, the colours are so dense.” I say.

The sun breaks through. The blood of the earth lights in a purple red glow on the triptych.

[7]

We sit next to a meditating – Zen? – Buddhist. When the Buddhist stands up, we go outside.

Outside you say: “I once read: “A man asks a female Buddhist hermit in contemporary China to calligraphy the essence of Buddhist practise on paper. She puts the paper aside. A few months later, he receives four words by post: goodwill, compassion, joy and detachment. Her calligraphy is strong and clear as her mind.[8] Are these four words applicable to the chapel?”

“Yes.” I say.

“I have hesitated on joy, until the sun broke through.” You say.

In the next post we will watch the last part of the movie “Offret” – or “The Sacrifice” by Andrei Tarkovsky from 1986.


[1] For further information on Mark Rothko: Hughes, Robert, The Shock of the New – Art and the Century of Change; and Arnason, H.H., A History of Modern Art. London: Thames and Hudson, 1979, pages 533 – 534

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Rothko_chapel.jpg

[3] Maybe the German word “Herr” is linked to the verb root “hṛ” meaning “offer, present” and “seize, take away” in Sanskrit. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta. Both meanings of the verb root “hr” express the two roles of the warrior caste within the cattle-cycle: they rob the cattle and give a part of the cattle to the priests for offers to the Gods. A lord has also two roles: offering protection and taking a part of the harvest. Probably the role of Lord coincides with the role of God. In the experiences of many nationals the king and God are closely interwoven.

[4] Translation: “From the deep, Lord [3], I cry to you. Lord, hear my voice, let your ears hear the voice of my doubt!” In German the word “Flehens” means supplication. Here this word is translated with doubt, because doubt is the origin of nearly all supplication to God. See also the book Job from the Old testament.

[5] Source image: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703445904576118063020357484.html

[6] For further information on “Indra’s net”: the post “Introduction: one – Pantheïsm – Indra’s net” of 8th of April 2011.

[7] Source image: http://hayleygilchrist.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/contextual-studies/

[8] Source: Porter, Bill, Road to Heaven – Encounters with Chinese Hermits. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 1993. page 109

[9] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:In_the_Tower_-_Mark_Rothko.JPG

Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – part 2


At our first stage [1] we have met ancient stones in the landscape. These stones have for our ancestors a special importance as landmarks for interpretation of the knowable and the unknowable. The Catholic Church has tried to incorporate the role of these stones into the Christian faith by placing field crosses at these places.

In the previous post you and I have reported on the “object in the middle” as a metaphor for mutual trust and a symbol that the metaphor of the object surpasses and transgresses into the tangible reality that the “object in the middle” originally depicted. In this message we continue this exploration.

People visiting each other, exchange gifts in order to express and maintain mutual trust. In special circumstances, special gifts are given to commemorate and perpetuate the mutual relationship. Examples of these special circumstances are important changes in life such as birth, baptism, birthday, marriage, death of parents. Often these gifts are jewelry that – when wearing the jewels – symbolise the mutual bond and the special status of the wearer of jewels. Occasionally these jewels are buried with the owner in the grave after her or his death, so the owner may also show with the jewelry in the afterlife the confidence and status in the previous life.

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In the graves of Neanderthals jewelry is never found [3]. Perhaps they did not use “objects in the middle” to demonstrate and consolidate mutual trust. Maybe they did not need interpretation in their lives, since they were fully confident? Didn’t they have known any interpretations or didn’t they make any image of these interpretations? We do not know.

Over time, people make images of “objects in the middle” in order to symbolise the original trust that the object depicts. For groups of people, these symbols become important to express the nameable and unnameable feelings within the group. The symbols receive their own dynamics in the form of flags and pictures with accompanying music and with rhythm in time. The Catholic Church shows many images of God and the saints. Group identity and national feelings are reinforced by flags and emblems.

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In addition, these symbols raise distrust to outsiders. This distrust often takes shape as outright hatred: the outsiders are determined to completely extinguish the strange symbols – and everything that these represent – so all traces are erased. Many wars have begun in this way with their own dynamics: the flags, music, sound of boots and women placing flowers in the barrels of the guns do the rest. The group pressure to destroy the outsiders is so strong that outliers, who do not want to engage in violence, are threatened with expulsion or even execution.

In some cultures the unnameable and the higher is so overwhelming that it cannot be displayed. In the Islamic culture depictions of Allah are not allowed; also images of beings with a soul are not desirable. Yahweh in the Jewish faith cannot be displayed. In the Protestant churches no images of God are present. Do these ways of religion have surpassed the value of symbols and images? And have they overcome the aversion to strange symbols and images, because they have transgressed the value of symbols? Probably not, golden calves [5] are still revered and contested.


[1] See the post “One-Pantheism” in this weblog.

[2] Source image: http://www.rmo.nl/actueel/tentoonstellingen/archeologie-van-nederland/midden-nederland – Olst, Goud van de Goden.

[3] Arsuaga, Juan Luis, Het halssieraad van de Neanderthaler – Op zoek naar de eerste denkers. Amsterdam: Wereldbibiotheek: 1999

[4] Source image: http://home.scarlet.be/~hlvb/het%20land%20van%20beveren/heiligen/heiligen%20in%20Groot-Beveren.htm

[5] See previous post: “Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – part 1”

Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – part 1


On our last stage “Two”, first the sky and the earth are separated, and then everything has fallen apart into innumerable small parts. Afterwards a first order is arisen. Meaning and purpose given to this order, starts a first creative process.

People give interpretation to their environment, so they may increase their chances of survival by increasing their grip on touchable matters and circumstances. Furthermore, this interpretation takes shape in stories and myths which anchor knowledge and skills – from other times and circumstances – within the known world of people. Religion and rituals bring the unknowable and elusive within the scope of people; by performing recognisable acts we try to influence the unknown and elusive in our environment.

Within the Trito-myth and the cattle cycle you and I have seen the explanation of the originating of the world for people in Proto-Indo-European time. The cattle cycle gives a ritual as basis for trust between gods, priests, people and categories of people. In the previous post we have observed the role of “persons in the middle”- in this case priests and kings – acting as a bridge between the world of people and the world of the gods (or the complete oneness). Now you and I will have a glimpse into the “objects in the middle” that represent the gods (or the complete oneness) in the human world.

Cattle are a metaphor for mutual trust in the world of our ancestors. In our society money has taken over this role of cattle. In earlier societies, also objects – as replacement of living beings – serve their role of metaphor for mutual trust. Special shells, jewelry and precious artifacts are examples thereof.

Some items have risen above the role of metaphor for mutual trust. These objects are turned from metaphor into the physical reality itself. The banner [1] of a Roman legion is the identity (or entity) of the entire legion. If the banner is lost, the legion ceases to exist. The three legions led by Varus, have lost their banners in the Teutoburg Forest; they are never replaced [2].

[3]

Images of gods are worshiped by people as real gods. In the Old Testament, Moses has done everything to have recognised Yahweh – without image – as the only God of the Jewish people. After receiving the tables of the Ten Commandments from Yahweh (including the first two commandments: “I am Eternal your God, and thou shalt have no other gods before me”), on his return he notices that the people are worshipping a golden calf. The Jewish people are completely forgotten Yahweh and they see the golden calf as the “object in the middle” that has completely taken the place of God in the shape of mutual trust and eternal life.

[4]

Furiously Moses throws the tables of the Ten Commandments in pieces. He needs to return to the mountain again for receiving new tables of the covenant from Yahweh. These new tables including the Ten Commandments are carried with the people in the Ark of the Convenant. Later the ark is placed in the sacred space of the Temple in Jerusalem. Since that time, Yahweh is considered to be present above the ark in the void between the tips of the wings of two angels [5].

[6]

During the existence of the ark, Yahweh is deemed to exist in the void between the wings of the two angels. The Ark of the the Convenant was probably destroyed at the one of the devastation of the Temple in Jerusalem. After the destruction of the ark the image of Yahweh is gone. Is Yahweh now present everywhere?


[1] See also: Goldsworthy, Adrian, In the Name of Rome – The Men who won the Roman Empire. London: Phoenix, 2004

[2] See also: Wells, Peter S. The Battle that stopped Rome. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004

[3] Source image: http://www.legionxxiv.org/signum/

[4] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouden_kalf_(Hebreeuwse_Bijbel)

[5] Source: Oude Testament; boeken Exodus 25:22 en Numeri 7:89

[6] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_van_het_Verbond

Introduction: One – Pantheism – Indra’s net


On our way to the movie “Powers of Ten” by Charles and Ray Eames, you and I encounter a beautiful world. It looks like a beautiful glass palace where everything – as tiny glass jewels – reflects in each other and with each other. The image below shows an enlargement of a tiny part of this world.

[1]

Suddenly we recognize this glass palace from descriptions in books: this looks like “Indra’s Net” [2]. We are fully enclosed in this world; you and I and this world are one and perfectly reflected in each other[3]. But we arrive at the outer skirt “One”. Although everything is reflected in everything, independency is emerging between the particles. You and I will give an impression of Indra’s net.

Indra’s net is an infinite grid, which is very finely woven. It is transparent – empty – full of infinite and transparent and reflective glass beads that shine into each other. Each glass pearl or jewel is infinitely small and shines its  divine [4] beauty. This splendid world appears – by its dazzling jewels – the pinnacle of pantheism. But by the complete consistency of the net, this world completely transcends pantheism.

First, a static description of the net. The jewels are in constant connection with each other, as each jewel is reflected in all the other jewels. All other jewels are also reflected in one jewel. One jewel is the entire network because the entire network is reflected in this single jewel, and this single jewel is seen by all other jewels. One single jewel is the network, and all the other jewels are shaping this single juwel.

Now comes the magic: the net just starts to move. If one jewel starts moving, the complete net is moving and changing. If the entire net vibrates, the single jewel vibrates accordingly. Because each individual jewel twinkles with all other jewels, change is a constant perfection. The whole network vibrates in and with itself. Each jewel is playing its game and it shapes the net. All jewels are playing their game and they shape every single jewel. Each jewel constitutes all and all jewels form each single jewel. “One” is the entire network and “One” is every single glass pearl in the net. Between one glass jewel and the whole network is still no distinction.

We continue through this beautiful world and approach stage “Two” on our Odyssey. A forerunner of initial clustering of the glass jewels is gradually unfolding. You and I and everything around us, start to cluster. The image below shows a schematic and static display of this clustering. In chapter two we will encounter the first primal rupture and the further divisions that will disintegrate everything as crackled.

[5]

In the next post we will – as promised – look at the 10 minute film of Charles and Ray Eames’ Powers of Ten “of 1968.


[1] Source image: http://www.lawsofbrahman.com/myphotogallery/index.php/Pictures-of-the-Angelic-Knowledge-Volume-1/Indras-Net

[2] See also: Cook, Francis, Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra

[3] See also: Cleary, Thomas, The Flower Ornament Scripture, a Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Boston: Shambhala, 1993 p 363. According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, particles within Indra’s net have compassion, feelings and needs. They are aware of anger, joy, knowledge and ignorance. They can make everything within their reach happy. Indra’s net can be healthy and ill.

[4] The word “Deus” for God is derived from the root “div”, meaning “shine, increase, rejoice” in Sanskrit. Source: elektronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta.

[5] Source image: http://www.calresco.org/wp/indra.jpg