Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Dr. Walter Stein says that Aquinas represents the "true" Manicheism and criticizes the false which had become a "travesty".

"In response to the opposition of Manichaean dualism Aquinas emphasises that the union of body and soul is essential for humans, and that it is to the advantage of both body and soul. "To be united to body is not to the detriment of the soul but to its enrichment. There is the substantial benefit of completing human nature, and the accidental benefit of achieving knowledge that can only be acquired through the senses".

"He says that our body substance is not from an evil principle, as the Manichaeans imagine, but from God. "By the friendship of charity, by which we love God should we cherish the body." In his opinion the psycho-somatic interdependence goes so far that the quality of intellectual life depends on the quality of the body. When the body is a hindrance for the achievements of the higher aims of human life, it is not due to its being body, but to sin which corrupts the body and disturbs the harmony between body and soul."

As you can see, the doctrine he was opposing was one of the Lucifer-Gnosis. 

An interesting point Dr. Stein makes is that Aquinas was a descendant of Landulf II of Capua (Klingsor). (Family tree given by Erchempertus quoted in The Ninth Century, Chapter 6, note 8.)

Aquinas was not so tolerant of heretics (advising they be put to death):
Aquinas and the Heretics:
"With regard to heretics there are two points to be observed, one on their side, the other on the side of the Church. As for heretics their sin deserves banishment, not only from the Church by excommunication, but also from this world by death. To corrupt the faith, whereby the soul lives, is much graver than to counterfeit money, which supports temporal life. Since forgers and other malefactors are summarily condemned to death by the civil authorities, with much more reason may heretics as soon as they are convicted of heresy be not only excommunicated, but also justly be put to death.

"But on the side of the Church is mercy which seeks the conversion of the wanderer, and She condemns him not at once, but after the first and second admonition, as the Apostle directs. Afterwards, however, if he is still stubborn, the Church takes care of the salvation of others by separating him from the Church through excommunication, and delivers him to the secular court to be removed from this world by death. The Decretum repeats Jerome's comment, "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house . . . the whole body, the whole flock burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but a single spark in Alexandria, but as it was not at once put out, the whole world was laid waste by his flame." Thomas Aquinas

Monday, November 28, 2011


Cao'an Temple near Huabiao Hill 

Some of the doctrines claimed for Neo-Manicheism might be challenged. The main one being that the creator of the material world is evil - that being a Lucifer/Gnosis idea.

There is very little left from the original Church. However, there plenty of reincarnated souls today, who have been involved in the Manichean stream.

Somewhere in a hill village, near Quanzhou in China, there still exists a Manichean temple which is now Buddhist.  The underground spiritual stream itself has never died. It continued on in the Grail Mysteries, for instance.

This blog puts together some of the history and teachings of Mani, much of which was revealed by writers in the twentieth century beginning with Rudolf Steiner. There is more to post from Trevor Ravenscroft, Sergei Prokovieff and Walter Stein et al. Later we will flesh out the doctrines - ablutions, water communion, Zodiac and the Trinity etc.

Albert Steffen, the first leader of the Anthroposophical Society after Steiner was a Manichean. Dr. Steiner himself was a Rosicrucian - a path closely allied to the Manichean.

The Manichean path is characterized by tolerance, gentleness, kindness and forgiveness. It has elements of Buddhism (the eightfold path in particular), Zoroastrianism, Pythagoras and Empedocles (the teaching of the Four Elements - how they relate to the Zodiac and the individual, is an informing study).

The Manicheans used water in their Eucharist.

By Zhangzhugang 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Two Roots

Night- Michelangelo
The Two Roots (Dō Bun in Persian) are Light and Dark. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Death.

As posted before, the teachings of the Greek
scholars, Empedocles and Pythagoras were passed down to Mani by the
great teacher Scythianus, whom it is said, lived at the time of the Apostles.

Scythianus, by the way, still remains as one of the great teachers of humanity.

Empedocles is a source for the doctrine of the four elements, even as it manifests itself in Hippocrates' teaching of the four humours. This is a very practical doctrine which is used widely even today.

Empedocles also taught that the universe is composed of the forces of Neikos: Strife/Discord and Philia: Love/Friendship. Here is another source for the Manichean Two Roots.

Day- Michelangelo
"The difference between these two Principles is like that between a King and a pig: Light dwells in a royal abode in places suitable to its nature, while Dark like a pig wallows in mud and is nourished by filth and delights in it." - Severus, quoting a work by Mani.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Three Moments

The Three Moments are of time - past/old/former, present/current and the future/changing. These qualitative differences can be applied to the Zodiac. The arrow must hit the target- not a little to the left or right.

This is the lofty doctrine that purpose be exercised deftly. For example, you go to a concert on the stage is a man with a hammer making a piano i.e. what should have taken place in the past is manifesting in the present. Again you turn up, and find that the pianist played yesterday and you have missed the show. (An example given by Rudolf Steiner.)

Here is one definition of evil: goodness must not fall either side of its allotted time - or that evil can be misplaced goodness.

In terms of evil we can have the rotten - old evil represented by Ahriman - and the unripe - young evil represented by Lucifer. Christ lives in the present, where everything is at its peak.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mani & the Pivot of this Present Moment

"We can truly cherish the dear souls that we share company with, without the necessity to explain such rapport by the past. The grand moment is undeniably now."
It is wise to remember that the great personage of Mani has gone further on in his development since he played that pivotal role in the third century of our era. By only concentrating on the man of the past we separate ourselves off from the reality and truth of the current manifestation of he who was Mani.

"If we look to study the ghosts and their times passed, it is necessary to distinguish the then from the now."
There are many souls incarnating today who have had experience in the Manichaean stream. And as is the case with many reincarnates they hearken back to those powerful impressions that once filled their souls. 

It is a truth that change is the only constant and that the grand moment is now. And so the Manichaean stream is very much alive and lives in the now. It is by no means a force that is spent. Indeed its time has not come, and it is set to play an important role in the future.
"The wise ancients that you call upon in vision, were marvelous in their special moments, in their prime, in those 'cameo performances', and we may give thanks also to the great souls who have shaped the world thus. However, you will separate yourself from the reality and truth of their current personages if you indeed forget that they too have gone further."
"The riches of the past are the most hallowed and revered illusions beyond all others. No matter how good the teacher or how ecstatic the exquisite review, the past is nonetheless, that which has been; and though immortalized in fragments everywhere, it is an illusion best realized as such from the outset. It becomes a necessary discrimination before attempting to enter back into the streams of influence which hold great attraction in heart and desire."

All quotes from The Three Moments

Thursday, November 24, 2011

City of Shapur

Shapur 1
Gondishapur (or Jundishapur) was the city founded by Shapur 1 in the 3rd century AD. It is where Father Mani met his martyrdom. 

The site of this misdeed, where his body was hung, was known forever after as Mani's Gate.

Jundishapur was to be later the site of the most remarkable learning center in Persia: The Academy of Jundishapur.

The Academy of Jundishapur was formally set on its way when the Roman emperor Justinian closed the Academy in Athens in 529 AD, and the displaced Greek scholars moved to Jundishapur in southern Persia.

The Founder of Jundishapur
A Bishop of Edessa in 545, enforced the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon against the Nestorians in his diocese, and some of them also migrated to Persia.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gospel of Mani Papyrus

The Gospel of Mani, is written on blackened papyrus.

"In its day, it was one of the greatest books to survive from the ancient world."

"They [the MSS] were caught up in the collapse of the Third Reich, taken to Russia, and has finally ended up in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

"Some pages were placed in a bunker under Berlin Zoo for safety"

"Others were kept by Ibscher, who took them to Bavaria to continue his restoration."

"When Berlin was conquered by the Russian army, the manuscripts were discovered by the Russians and taken to Leningrad."

"Michael Ryan, director of the Chester Beatty Library, said: "It is remarkable that after all this historical messing around that the gospel is now back together again in Dublin"."

A fragment of a writing ascribed to Mani, in Sogdian and Persian:

Manichean Musicians
Illumination from Qoco, East Turkestan
Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin
The most Beloved Son, the Savior Jesus, the head of all these gifts,
Who is a refuge for the holy and a blessing for the wise, is exalted.
May he be praised!

The Maiden of Light, the chief of all wisdom, is exalted.
May she be praised!

The Holy Religion, by the power of the Father,
by the blessing of the Mother and by the wisdom of the Son, is exalted.
May it be praised!

Well-being and blessing to the sons of goodness
and to the speakers and hearers of the true Word!
Praise and honor to the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit and to the holy recollection!

He (Mani) teaches the word of the Living Gospel
for Eye and Ear, and he preaches the fruit of righteousness.

I, Mani, the Apostle of Jesus the Friend, by the will of the Father,
the true God, of Him, by whom I have become ...
Everything that is and everything that was and will be is by His Power.
The blessed ones will receive this message,
the wise ones understand it,
the strong ones will take on the wisdom of the wise ....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Manichean Christianity?

Manichaean Christianity is a spiritual stream-  as is Rosicrucian Christianity. The Manichaean stream continued on in Grail Christianity.

Was Mani a Christian?
Quoting a page:
"Notwithstanding the calumnies heaped on Manes, Dr. Lardner has shown that he was, in the best and strictest acceptation of the term, a sincere Christian, and has adduced many passages from his writings equally honourable to his understanding and to his heart."

"One has to read St. Augustine's anti-Manichæan disputes to realize the extreme ingenuity with which scripture texts were collected and interpreted. Though Mani called himself the Paraclete he claimed no divinity but with show of humility styled himself "Apostle of Jesus Christ by the providence of God the Father"; a designation which is obviously adapted from the heading of the Pauline Epistles. Mani, however, was the Apostle of Jesus Christ, i.e. the messenger of Christ's promise, In A.D. 1000 the Arab historian Al-Beruni wrote: "The majority of the Eastern Turks, the inhabitants of China and Tibet, and a number in India belong to the religion of Mani".
The Syrian inscription reads: "Mani, Apostle of Jesus Christ"- Rock Crystal,  Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

Most of what you read on Manichaeism was written by its enemies and not to be trusted for that reason. The religion was subject to one of the most massive persecutions history has seen. The Manichaeans themselves were a non-violent people following the principles of the "Sermon on the Mount". It is true that some of the later sects did drift into the Lucifer/Gnosis notions.

Though the Cathars were seen as a later form of Manichaeism there is no direct link.

Christianity became the culmination of all the ancient mysteries and religions. It is not surprising then, that one finds elements of Buddhism, Zorastrianism, Empedocles and Pythagoras in Mani's teachings.

“As water will be added to water and becomes much water, so were the ancient books added to my writings and became a great wisdom the like of which was not proclaimed (hitherto) in all ancient generations.”
(Kephalaia, chap. 154)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mani the Artist and the Bema Celebration

It is known that Father Mani was an artist, and illustrated his works. One of these was the Arzhang.
The Arzhang (Aržang - a Parthian word meaning "Worthy") was one of the holy books of the Manichaean religion, written and illustrated by its prophet Mani, in Syriac Aramaic. It was unique in that it contained numerous pictures designed to portray the events in the Manichaean description of the creation and history of the world.
Liturgical Celebration of the Bêmâ
Manuscript from the Oasis Tûrfân, East Turkestan
Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin

The most important religious observance of the Manichaeans was the Bema Fest, observed annually:

The Bema was originally, in the Syriac Christian churches a seat placed in the middle of the nave on which the bishop would preside and from which the Gospel would be read. In the Manichean places of worship, the throne was a five-stepped altar, covered by precious cloths, symbolizing the five classes of the hierarchy. The top of the Bema was always empty, as it was the seat of Mani. The Bema was celebrated at the vernal equinox, was preceded by fasts, and symbolized the passion of Mani, thus it was strictly parallel to the Christian Easter.

While it is often presumed that the Bema seat was empty, there is some evidence from the Coptic Manichaean Bema Psalms, that the Bema seat may have actually contained a copy of Mani's picture book, the Arzhang.

Orthodox Bema

Friday, November 18, 2011

Life of Mani continued

To continue a little more:
The Christian tradition runs that one Scythianus* or Skythianus, a Saracen who lived at the time of the Apostles, "introduced the doctrine of Empedocles and Pythagoras into Christianity." (Empedocles taught the doctrine of the four elements and ended his life by jumping into Mt. Etna.)

Scythianus had a disciple "Buddas, formerly named Terebinthus." Terebinthus is thought to be a corruption of "Tere Hintu" Buddha's title "Lord of the Hindus."

Buddas was said to have written four books: Of Mysteries, The Gospel, the Treasure and Heads.

When Buddas died after being hurled off a cliff by a demon while he was performing mystic rites, a woman at whose house he lodged took over his property. This woman later bought a slave boy aged seven, named Cubricus. The Parthian royal family of which Cubricus was related, was overthrown in 224, so this fits in fairly well time wise. Cubricus later of course, took the name of Mani or Manes.

Buddha had passed on years before, but the reference is probably to the absorption into Christianity of the spiritual treasures of Greece and Buddhism. The Buddha played an important part in the Christian Mystery. According to Rudolf Steiner, his Nirmanakaya was experienced by the Shepherds while watching their flocks by night.

Here is another view of the word "Terebinthus" from the Catholic encyclopedia:

"Through misunderstandings the Aramaic word for disciple (Tarbitha, stat abs. Tarbi), Greek and Latin sources speak of a certain Terebinthos, Terebinthus of Turbo, as a distinct person, whom they confound partially with Mani, partially with Patekios, and as they also forgot that Mani,
besides being Patekios' great disciple, was his bodily son, and that in consequence the Scythian teacher, Scythianus, is but Fatak Babak of Hamadam, the Scythian metropolis, their account of the first origins of Manichæism differs considerably from that given in Oriental sources."

From this we could assume that "Buddas Terebinthus" means disciple of Buddha.

*It is usual at one stage of initiation to take on the name of one's country - Scythia.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life of Mani

We begin by posting the story as given by Francis Grant in his Oriental Philosophy:

"Its doctrine, which interwove a call to high universal brotherhood with a curious cosmogonic fantasmagoria, seemed to possess a strange lure, and long after the most rigorous measures had been taken to stamp out
the faith by popes and kings, sporadic evidences of its survival were discovered, and sparks of its existence were revealed not only in Persia, but in such far-removed spots as China, Central Asia and the Graeco-Roman empire! 
"It was on the very day of the coronation of King Shapur of Persia - March 20, in the year 242 - that Mani, a native of Ectabana [Hamadan - the ancient Median capital], chose to proclaim to the celebrating throngs that he was a prophet of God with a new revelation.
"Mani was then twenty-four years old and the son of a high-born Persian of the Moghtasilah sect. This sect, having its foothold in southern Babylonia, professed a sort of Baptism, and had absorbed the teachings of various faiths, and probably some of the tenets of Christianity, still young.

"Thus, with the faith of his father, Mani had already accepted a varied gospel, and during his boyhood years he is said to have had visions and revelations. But even before his birth, the Manichaean tradition tells us, his mother had been visited by the Angel Tawn [Twin] who had brought her the annunciation of her mission.

"Mani himself was forbidden to make known his ministry until
his twenty-fourth year. And this he elected to do on the high holiday when all were assembled to rejoice at the ascent of their king. It is said that the king's brother, Piruz, was already a convert to this eclectic new faith- perhaps this would explain the amazing daring of the young apostle of a new order, who intruded upon the solemnity of a king's feast day. However, it does not appear that Shapur was offended by the young apostle, in fact, he listened with a sympathetic ear to the views of this new self-acclaimed redeemer.

"Remaining but a short while in Iran, Mani is said to have set out on a vast proselytizing mission which took him far and wide over the breadth of Asia - and that he actually trod the distant trails of the land during his lifetime is no longer dubious, as each explorer today adds his evidence to the growing story. It was in Asia and China undoubtedly that Mani, who appears also to have had unusual artistic talents, encountered Chinese art which had reached so high a level.

"Returning to his native land, he brought these arts back to Persia - to a soil fertile for artistic creation. But this time Shapur was not open to his gospel, for the Magian priests by now so influential in his court, denounced Mani and he was forced to flee. With the accession of Shapur's successor, Hamiz, the young Persian apologist returned to his home, carrying on his teaching without molestation, but watched with vengeful eyes by the Magians, who had now lost favor. No sooner however did Hamiz die and Bahram come to the throne, than the Magians returned to power.

"Determined to stamp out this noxious growth which took root so swiftly, they took Mani prisoner, then crucified him - and as a special warning to all who dared to follow his heretical doctrine, they flayed his body and stuffed his skin with hay. Mounting this ominous effigy upon the gates of the royal city, Gunde Shapur...."

The Enc. Britannica states his dates are 215/6-274. This is interesting because some give 215 as the start of the astrological age of Pisces - Robert Powell in his Hermetic Astrology gives 215 to 2375 as the dates for the Piscean age.

The name of his father is Patek (Patekios), [Fâtâk Bâbâk (Ratekios, or the "well preserved") citizen of Ectabana, the ancient Median capital]  who had joined a religious community practising abstinence and baptism. 

Mani's father himself must have displayed considerable activities as a religious reformer and have been a kind of forerunner of his more famous son, in the first years of whose public life he had some share. Through his mother he was related to the Parthian royal family (overthrown in 224) [Arsacids, who were a dynasty of Parthian kings who ruled Iran between 247 B.C.- 224 A.D.]. 

The boy was born in the village of Mardinu in Babylonia  near Seleucia-Ctesiphon, according to other accounts in the town Abrumya, from a mother of noble (Arsacide) descent.
The city was called Mardinu- now Mardin in Turkey.

Here is a map. Mardin is near the Syrian border: