Titus 1:15 (For those with the eyes to see)

Titus 1:15

“…Nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean…. All things indeed are clean.Romans 14:14,20 New American Standard Bible
“…to the one who regards anything impure, it is impure to him alone…. Everything is pure.” Romans 14:14, 20 Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“For those with perception as it should be, everything is as it should be. For those with perception as it should not be, everything is as it should not be.”
Titus 1:15, The Holy Spirit‘s Bible
Some pictures of window blinds I took and put ...

Some pictures of window blinds I took and put together. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking through a foggy window

Once I was looking through a window which had the blinds almost completely shut, but I could see through the blinds just a bit. My vision was very limited, but I could see through better than if the blinds were totally closed, right?
Another time, I was driving at night in the rain and the windshield was starting to get foggy. I could not see very well through that foggy window, so I turned on the defrost fan, plus switched on the wipers to keep the drops of rain from obscuring my view, and then I switched my headlights from low-beam to high-beam. Soon, my ability to perceive was much improved.
Another time driving, the fog was outside the car, rather than fogging up my windshield from the inside. So, it was actually better for my perception to turn the high-beam headlights down to “low-beam.”
The fog is rolling

The fog is rolling (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

For those with the eyes to see

For those that have the perceptiveness to understand these principles, let them understand. Any one who has the ability to see clearly what I mean here, then that one will be the one who will see it clearly.
For others, they might as well be noticing some language that is foreign to them. It will be jarble to them. They may even call it confusing, which means that it has violated their expectations (or contradicted their false presumptions).
So, if someone who is not very clear on certain concepts attempts to communicate them to others, how well can we expect others to comprehend? If someone with limited understanding of a subject translates a book about that subject between two languages that they do not know very well, then that would be kind of like looking through a foggy window while blinded by the headlights of oncoming traffic, right?Of course, some people may be very terrified of something unfamiliar. Those without faith are said to be recognizable by their fear and terror and panic. When one thing is faithful to another, that means a precise match. A faithful copy is distinct from a copy littered with mistakes, right?

What factors influence the accuracy of our perceptions? How can we assess the precision of our understanding of a principle? Is the best test conforming to a consensus or is the best test a series of consistent demonstrations of that principle in everyday life, especially to produce remarkable results far beyond what would be predicted by a consensus of average people?


Vertical blinds

Vertical blinds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, what is The Holy Spirit’s Bible?

Someone experiences a revelation of spiritual principles, then they share it with others perhaps just in conversation, then an oral tradition may form around those original interactions. Finally, people may write down those oral traditions, then do their best to translate them in to other languages, and then some people can discuss it on the internet, perhaps with the experience of terror and panic and disturbance for some of them.
There are a few ways to respond to something. One can ignore it. One can dismiss it as irrelevant. One can consider it interesting enough to study and respectfully consider. After a brief, casual exposure, one can reject it as either contrary to pre-existing presumptions or clearly inaccurate. One can also refine something further or politely offer thoughts and
personal experiences that fit with something or maybe go in to a related tangent.
The purpose of all spiritual disciplines might be to refine the perceptiveness of the people involved. We could say that all spiritual disciplines could help people to notice the contrast between frightened panics of immaturity and the calm dignity of mature reflection and introspection.
Of course “The Holy Spirit” is just a sequence of words in English. If we were to convey a similar idea in another language like Hebrew or Latin or Sanskrit or Chinese, then we would not use those English words, right?
The Holy Spirit refers to a direct revelation, a personal experience, an immediate recognition. There is no intermediary involved in such a direct spiritual communication, such as a book or a priest.
English: Retreat at Monastery of the Holy Spirit

English: Retreat at Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is the common source of all religions and spiritual traditions?

All sacred texts and scriptures of all traditions come from a common source, which we could call direct revelation or the authority of “The Holy Spirit.” Clearly, one who is confident and clear in a message directly from the Holy Spirit is distinct from anyone who claims that a particular scripture or interpretation has authority ONLY because a particular group of people approved of it.
What is the proper test of spiritual authority? Anyone can assert “I have a message from the Holy Spirit and I do not care what anyone else says about it!” As referenced earlier, one valuable test could be the demonstration of extraordinarily surprising results.
So, those who are open to directly accessing spiritual authority (rather than only relying on ancient compositions or a second-hand authority) might be selective about who they talk to about their openness. They might meet with only small groups of committed disciples and give only diluted messages publicly.
Ironically, many traditionalists indirectly claim that their own spiritual tradition is dead. They say “there will be no more revelation ever. Only this one book printed 26 days ago is valid and so anything published in the last 25 days or in the future must conform to my pre-existing notions of what the 26 day old-book says, or else we must launch a holy war of crusading inquisitions to eradicate such threatening heresies. By the way, please do not quote from my own book to me to try to reason with me because there is no reasoning going on over here anyway!”
Is all of that a sign of wisdom or of terror? Is that a sign of spiritual authority or just resorting to a test of military dominance?
Bible and Saint George in Syrian Orthodox chur...

Bible and Saint George in Syrian Orthodox church in Midyat (Photo credit: CharlesFred)

War and peace

MIlitary dominance clearly has it’s value though. There is a time for war and a time for peace, according to the ancient Hebrew scripture of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, which is about how there is an occasional value and relevance for all things, with some things being very often useful while some things are only functional quite rarely:

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Romans 14:14 and Titus 1:15

As we approach our conclusion, let’s review again a few passages from the New Testament that convey a similar idea to the above chapter of Ecclessiastes (which was the inspiration for a popular song in the 1960s by The Byrds called “Turn, Turn, Turn” which refers to the “turning” of the cycle of the seasons annually). Below, you will find again the two translations from the book of Romans and then once again an English translation of Titus 1:15.First, note also the New Testament teaching that if something disgusts you, then it is best to turn away from it. You might consider who is not disturbed by that thing and ask them to help you make sense of it calmly and see the value and purpose in it, but again that is only if it is not so frightening to you that you are able to calmly explore the subject (like without a terrified outburst of arguing or panicking or tantrum). If the time for a particular exploration is not now, then perhaps another time…. What is relevant for you now depends on your current stage of development, right?

“…Nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean…. All things indeed are clean.” Romans 14:14,20 New American Standard Bible
“…to the one who regards anything impure, it is impure to him alone…. Everything is pure.” Romans 14:14, 20 Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“For those with perception as it should be, everything is as it should be. For those with perception as it should not be, everything is as it should not be.”
Titus 1:15, The Holy Spirit‘s Bible

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4 Responses to “Titus 1:15 (For those with the eyes to see)”

  1. Vivien E. Zazzau Says:

    I am a Buddhist, and do not believe in ‘God’ or a ‘soul.’ Nonetheless, I was shocked by the text from the Aramaic Bible, which you quoted in your post, namely:

    “For those with perception as it should be, everything is as it should be. For those with perception as it should not be, everything is as it should not be.”

    The purpose of the first step in the Noble Eightfold Path is “Right View,” also interpreted as “Right Understanding.” This first step is the foundation for all the others, which may or may not occur “in order.” The reason why it’s considered the “first step” is because if your beliefs are founded on error, or misinformation, everything you say, do, and think, with regard to those beliefs, will be misinformed.

    Where Christians believe in ‘God,’ Buddhists believe in ‘Myoho,’ (translates as ‘Universal Law’ or “Mystic Law,’ or more simply, the law of strict cause and effect). Buddhism teaches that Mystic Law ‘under-girds’ everything, and is the reason why everything is as it is. Or, in other words, everything is exactly as it should be (which doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “right”), and if we don’t like it, we need to first consider, particularly in personal situations, what we may have done to contribute to the situation. This is because the laws of cause and effect, i.e., karma and vipaka, are believed to mete out, in exact proportion, what “we” have coming to “us.”

    Sometimes, this goes down “hard,” but on the up-side, it’s helped me to see that the world isn’t as crazy or unpredictable as it might seem. Nothing happens for “no reason.”

    And finally, I’m always fascinated to find common ground between Buddhism and other faiths. Very interesting.

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      Thanks, Vivien.

      A principle that fits reality can be translated in to any language and still be clear. In contrast, an imprecise principle (like a joke that points indirectly at some principle) can get “lost in translation,” especially if the translator does not even get the joke at all and thinks it is not a joke.

      Much of the eastern principles you reference may be older than Buddhism and are found exactly as you stated them in Hinduism. Further, many ideas that are in the New Testament of Christianity are also found either in the Hebrew Old Testament (like Ecclesiastes) or in other ancient Hebrew Scriptures like the Talmud, of which most Christians of the last thousand years at least have been totally ignorant, so they would not recognize the references and jokes made by Jesus or other first century authors.

      The Aramaic Bible in Plain English refers to “pure and impure” in Romans 14:14. The word “pure” is also found in many English translations of Titus 1:15. The “translation” in the picture was my own, which I called The Holy Spirit’s Bible.

      I have also created my own English paraphrasings of select Buddhist Sutras. In my experience, most Buddhists do not appreciate the simplicity of many Buddhist texts. They may read translations made by confused people and then they may get frustrated and confused by studying those translations. The same is true of Christians or any other group.

      As a tradition strays from its roots, it is like reading a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. Eventually, some astute people will be so disappointed at the clarity (blurriness) of the content that they will either seek a more authentic copy (even if that means learning a new language) or resign themselves to using their own logic and discernment.

      I made the new translation to emphasize the point of fundamental distress or fundamental acceptance. When people talk in terrified distress about how their government is not how it should be or their coworkers or their grandchildren are not how they should be, a verse like this reveals the terrified distress as the source of the contempt and “denial.” Terrified distress is not to be ignored, but it is also not a sign of clarity and discernment.

      This verse is a tool. It is fine to say “something is not how it should be with the refrigerator door. Let’s see if we can rearrange things inside to get it to shut properly.” The point of the tool is to be useful for CERTAIN occasions.

      For those frustrated or raging or terrified, the “tool” is to be open to new ways of relating to things, labeling them, interpreting them. Look calmly for what keeps the refrigerator door from closing. Don’t just have a tantrum and try to slam it harder.

      The end of the article refers to New Testament verses about “turning away from evil” and to “resist not evil” and even “do not condemn anything as INHERENTLY evil.” The idea is that if a light is too bright, looking toward it will blind you, so put down your sun visor if you are driving “directly toward the sun.” If a sound in the background is too loud, it works to simply move away from it if it is important to you to be able to hear in a conversation.

      Having contempt for the sun or for a loud wind is useless and is just a sign of the frustration and spiritual unrest of the one making the condemnation. It is not condoning anything or shaming anyone for having been frustrated or irritable or ashamed. It is presenting an alternative to the suffering, the dukkha, the maya, the ineffective way of relating to something.

      So, if you have never seen anything coherent and intriguing in English about the words soul or God, that is fine. Knowing the words could be useful, but so what?

      For me, the word “soul” can refer to the “original nature” or “Buddha nature” which is the witnessing function of consciousness. Before labeling perception, there is just the naked perceiving itself. That is the soul.

      Or, “soul” can refer to a type of music. If you do not “believe” in that type of music (or are not familiar with it), that is fine with me. “Soul musicians” will not be upset if you prefer other forms of music.

      “God” is a word with many uses. One idea is that God is the activity of the soul which creates distinctions in perception through the use of language. God speaks, which causes a linguistic boundary between night and day, light and dark, heaven and earth, even right and wrong.

      This is a classical Hebrew view. The first stage of language development in humans is contrasts like “either night OR day.” As a child gets older, they come to understand that night and day are eternal and refer to places, not times. When Europe is facing the sun, Europe is “in the place” called daytime. At that moment, Hawaii is “in the place” called night. However, to reveal those “occult secrets” to a very young child would be beyond their intellectual capacity.

      So, God, is the witness who not only perceives, but categorizes. By categorizing perception in to language, that is a creative act, with the forming of perception in to experience.

      Experience is interpretative. It is not just sensation. In Buddhism or Hinduism, the above sequence could be referenced in teachings about “dependent origination” and “name and form.” No matter what language is “used by God” to reference the process, the process itself is still the same.

      • Vivien E. Zazzau Says:

        Hi JR,

        You’ve said: “Much of the eastern principles you reference may be older than Buddhism and are found exactly as you stated them in Hinduism.”

        This is true, but only because he who came to be known as the original Buddha, once a practitioner of Hinduism, refined, revised, and distilled the Hindu beliefs. “Buddhism,” as it came to be known, was purely the result of Shakyamuni’s unsuccessful searching, practice of extremes, and discovery of the ‘Middle Way’ (as I’m sure you know). Some “modern Buddhism,” unlike that based on the Pali texts, no longer bothers to acknowledge such principles as the Noble Eight-fold Path, the Four Noble Truths, or such concepts as Brahman and Atma[n]. While Shakyamuni incorporated these concepts into the discussion, he did anything but merely build on them. Buddhism interprets “our all being one” to mean that their is no individual soul or God soul, either. There is no ‘watcher,’ ‘observer,’ or ‘categorizer’ in Buddhism.

        Hinduism supposes a God and a soul; Buddhism is based on “no-soul.” It is believed that Shakyamuni held onto some of these Hindu concepts so as to not totally alienate his “audience.” It was, for Shakyamuni, a frame of reference. Most importantly, Buddha Shakyamuni did not call his revisions, “Buddhism.” So, in reality, there is no “Buddhism.”

        My point is that I do not question that the concepts I mentioned pre-date “Buddhism,” but rather, the implication that Shakyamuni merely repeated or embellished them. Sikhism is much more an extension of Hinduism than Buddhism. And Hinduism is much more compatible with Christianity than Buddhism, if at all.

        Except for those who practice Tibetan Buddhism, which some even question being “proper” Buddhism, there is no “soul” or “God” — in Buddhism. And mind you, I’m not arguing this, or trying to convince you. No one “sees” anything until it’s time. And for some, it is never “time,’ because their paths are different.

        That said, I’m not sure where the soul music comes in. As an American Black woman, I fully appreciate soul music, but I think we probably interpret “soul” differently, even here; but I must say that I don’t believe that “soul” is “Black.” I’ve seen you perform, and no doubt, you’ve got “soul,” but I don’t connect the term, as used in this context, with “God” or existence.

        That “something” survives death is not an issue. It’s just that Buddhists don’t call it “soul.” That which has never been born (because it’s always existed) can never die. We simply don’t believe that what survives is a “soul,” as many would define “soul.” This is why Buddhists believe in ‘rebirth,’ instead of reincarnation. Reincarnation requires a soul — rebirth does not.

        But when it’s all said and done, I am happy for you as you are, right now. It is not important to me that you *not* believe in “God” or “soul” or even Buddhism. Proselytization is no more a Buddhist concept than is God or soul.

        I only commented because I was so fascinated to find this vein of “truth” in the quarry of ‘being.’

        With deepest respect,

      • jrfibonacci Says:

        You are approaching clarity, Vivien. For instance, you say “in reality, there is no Buddhism” and also say that “In Buddhism, there is no soul.” I know what you mean. However, you are not stating it precisely.

        There is no use of the word “soul” *required* (“in Buddhism” or otherwise). That word is a useful concept, but only useful in certain ways.

        There is no use of the word “Buddhism” required. That word is a useful concept, but only useful in certain ways.

        There is no use of any word or words in general “required,” unless someone of course creates a “requirement” in language, like “if you want to work as a customer service agent here, you are going to have to speak, and not only that, but use the English language. It is simply required!” Words are useful tools, but only useful in certain ways.

        In reality, there is only reality. There is nothing but reality. Reality is an inclusive linguistic category.

        In Hebrew, the word for reality is sometimes translated in to English as “God.” Reality is eternal, everywhere (“omnipresent”), and there is no power outside of it (“omnipotent”). The word reality is useful, but only in certain ways.

        You could say “there is no reality. All experience is subjective.” That means that there is no monopoly on how to use words to reference reality. There is no “one right way” to use language and there is no “right language” (like English is right but Hebrew is wrong). There is just “the right use of language,” which is related to the mindful use of language or we could even say the effective use of language, like functionality.

        So, it is wrong to say “There Buddhism is soul no because 12:30 PM xedwb12!3js8u.” That is “wrong.”

        Before I lived in a Zen monastery, I played guitar and sang. After I left the monastery, the same. However, none of that is required for being happy or for “having soul.”

        I am grateful. So are you. Hello!

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