if you want to experience what he meant
saying-2; seek and rule.
(latest update 25-11-2018)
Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.
When he finds, he will become troubled.
When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished,
and he will rule over all.
[Jesus said]: Let him who seeks not cease until he finds,
and when he finds he shall wonder;
wondering he shall reign,
and reigning shall rest. (Pap. Oxyrh.)
Crossan (1983) considers the Pap. Oxyrh. version the most authentic.
The becoming troubled may indicate that the way in which we experience conventional
reality is completely shattered, the moment we have found it. Is the rule over the all or rest
the tranquility of the Sceptics, Epicurians or Stoics, the emptiness of mind of Buddhism, or the
inner state of non-duality of Vedante? Rule over all may point at the complete shredding of
all clinging, especially to the passions of the body, and as a ruler one lives in the kingdom.
DeConick (2006) discusses various sources this logion may have been derived from - but I would
like to add another possibility (March 23-2015):
what we know about the founder of Scepticism, Pyrrho of Elis (c.365-275 BCE), came down
to us by his pupil Timon (Thorsrud, 2009). According to Timon Pyrrho taught that because
everything is unstable and indeterminate, man cannot acquire fundamental knowledge about
anything, nor can we really know whether things are true or false.
Therefore, clinging to certain convictions is
useless and disturbing, and one should better abstain from cherishing opinions, but
rather " suspend judgment". Therefore, there is nothing that can serve as a standard man
has to live by in order to live a "good" or "happy" life. On the contrary; the very suspension of all
judgment will lead to tranquility and happiness. And then Timon declares, that those who adopt
this attitude, will first be speechless, and then experience freedom from disturbance...
Now, this comes very closely to the Thomas logion, doesn't it?
Does this make Jesus a Greek Sceptic? Well, things are a bit more complicated. We should
bear in mind that Pyrrho travelled together with his teacher Anaxarchus with Alexander the Great
to India. McEvilley (2002) says: the statement that nothing really exists ( as itself) is more or
less equivalent to the many parallel assertions in the (Mahayana Buddhist') Prajnaparamita
texts, with their basis in the early Buddhist ideas of impermanence and lack of self-nature.
Greek and Indian ideas might have partly developed separately but similarly, but certainly
influenced each other over the last BCE centuries. Therefore, it might just have been
that Jesus drew from the mixture of this common development, whereas we cannot exclude
that he had even direct contact with travelers from India, or even went there himself.
Point is, that this saying, even if it has either an ancient Greek or Indian
Buddhist origin, or came about from a mixture of both, suited Jesus' purpose.
The fact that one has to seek, implies that one has to make an effort; the saying does
not state that one should pray, wait for grace, study many books, observe rules,
rites or rituals, that one should believe in dogma or creeds, or should obey so-called
spiritual or church leaders, join a spiritual or religious community, nor perform
so-called good works, or whatever.
Making the choice to seek
is only one’s own responsibility
of making the effort!
If I had to describe what I am doing here,
I would say
it is like farming.
It is all due to making an effort.
13th century Chinese Zen master and poet,
"Cold Mountain" (2000).
The effort could well be to try and abandon familiar things,
rather than to look vehemently for new paths.