Talk:Gospel of Thomas

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As a life or death issue, during the time an attempt was made on my life, I resolved, like the historical Buddha, to go and sit under a tree, and do whatever it took to be rid of my ego - even if it meant dying.

On my way to pack up a few belongings in a back pack, abandoning all of my other posessions, I unexpectedly got my wish - my ego died.

I will not describe what happened except to say it was a religious experience, which occurred in a science-crazed atheist. Although it was not the first such experience, it was definitely the greatest. I will say that I laughed without ceasing for hours, and did not sleep for several days...difficult with hands and feet constantly trembling in delight.

Seeking some kind of explanation for what occurred, I stumbled on the Jean Doresse translation of the Gospel of Thomas found in "The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics", Viking Press, 1960. With a Christian upbringing, it was the nearest thing I could find in the Christian tradition to account for what happened.

Upon graduation and beginning of my professional career, I always felt a desire to understand more of what happened. However, a professional friend who I steered to the Gospel had a similar experience. He equated his more with Zen teaching.

Being dissatisfied with my Pharmacy career, I went to Japan and eventually encountered Phillip Kapleau's "The Three Pillars of Zen". Reading the description of his own experience by Yamada Koun Roshi, a lay Soto Zen Master, I knew I was on the right track. Through Mrs. Kapleau's help, who was still in Japan at the time, I began studying in Koun Roshi's and Yasutani Roshi's Zendo for Japanese and foreiners alike. I also studied at Ryutaku Ji, under a Rinzai Master, Soen Nakagawa Roshi.

During my studies, I gave a copy of the Doresse translation to a friend, who took it to Soen Nakagawa Roshi. However, my friend, an Armenian Christian, did not tell the Roshi it was an apocryphal text.

Subsequently, Soen Nakagawa Roshi used the translation of the Gospel in a teisho, or sermon, at the New York Zendo as an example of Zen philosophy also existing in Christianity. Of course, some of the Christians present immediatealy pointed out the work was apocryphal.

Having returned from my eight-year span in Japan, though nominally (literally) a Buddhist, I felt a need to do something to bring some awareness in the Christian community of the text, since my earlier study of it was pre-Buddhist and pre-Zen. As Yamada Koun Roshi used to say, Zen is not a religion, but the essence of all religion.

Though I do not speak Coptic, I do speak somewhat of Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese. That has given me some experience with the difficulties of translation (I had to translate my koans into English for my teachers, since I couldn't read Chinese characters). So I thought I would make an edition of my own of the gospel using the Doresse translation and the 1998, 2nd Edition of Grondin's Interlinear Translation. As I had completed my training as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), I thought in 2001 I would post it on one of my Internet websites.

I did this partly because I was very dissatified with most of the scholarly translations found on the Internet at the time. If it is allowed to post the link here, you can see it at [[1]]. Please remember, it does not claim to be a translation, but an editing of translations. You will find it quite different from most of the earlier, scholarly translations. I have seen sections of a Indian or Middle-Eastern version called the "Mar Thoma Translation" which were strikingly similar, and also quite literal.

I post this here on this site in hopes that a reputedly conservative site will not delete my comments offhand by operators who may be personally offended by my comments, as has happened on the wikipedia site more than once.

I waive any copyright on my version of the gospel for discussion purposes, when adequate reference or an Internet linkage is given.

S. Shoemaker

External Link

I have mixed feelings about you using your own site as a link, although I certainly respect the effort and obvious passion that you have for the topic at hand. Learn together 13:36, 10 June 2008 (EDT)