Log in

“Won’t Somebody Tell Me What is the Soul of a Man?”

2015-11-15 10:04 AM | Dave

   “I saw a crowd stand talking, I just came up in time. They was teaching the lawyers and the doctors that a man ain’t nothing but his mind. Won’t somebody tell me, answer if you can. Oh, won’t somebody tell me, tell me what is the soul of a man?” (Blind Willie Johnson)

   Glaucon, in the last book of Plato’s The Republic (608d), is taken aback by Socrates’ question, “Haven't you realized that our soul is immortal and never destroyed?”

   There was an officer among the retinue of Simha who came to the Buddha and said: “It is said, O Lord, that the wandering ascetic, Gotama, denies the existence of the soul. Do they who say so speak the truth, or do they bear false witness against the Blessed One?”

   And the Buddha said: "There is a way in which those who say so are speaking truly of me; on the other hand, there is a way in which those who say so do not speak truly of me. The Tathagata teaches that there is no self. He who says that the soul is his self and that the self is the thinker of our thoughts and the actor of our deeds, teaches a wrong doctrine which leads to confusion and darkness. On the other hand, the Tathagata teaches that there is mind. He who understands by soul mind, and says that mind exists, teaches the truth which leads to clearness and enlightenment. … I say to thee, thy mind is spiritual …”   

   The fact that Buddha taught the use of the mind to achieve enlightenment is one reason Jesus described Buddha to Ganid as having taken his followers right up to the door of spirit, “to the entrance to the haven of mortal salvation,” and then leaving them there (The Urantia Book, The UB, 132:7.4). This does not mean the truth seeker cannot open the door on his or her own. As Buddha reputedly taught at the end of his life, “be lamps unto yourselves.”

   Neither Gautama nor Blind Willie Johnson were alone in finding it difficult to sort out the different endowments of soul, mind and spirit.

   Influenced by the rise of atheism in our day, many no longer believe in the existence of a soul. Some are even unclear about the mind, still believing that the mind resides in the tissues of the brain. The midwayers call the “evolving soul,” the mid-mind, an echo of Buddha’s teaching.

   “The midway creatures have long denominated this evolving soul of man the mid-mind in contradistinction to the lower or material mind and the higher or cosmic mind. This mid-mind is really a morontia phenomenon since it exists in the realm between the material and the spiritual. The potential of such a morontia evolution is inherent in the two universal urges of mind: the impulse of the finite mind of the creature to know God and attain the divinity of the Creator, and the impulse of the infinite mind of the Creator to know man and attain the experience of the creature.” (The UB, 111:2.8)

   The UB seeks to clarify the distinction between mind and soul. The two components are given different care, seraphim being teachers of the mind in 113:4.2 “… the seraphim is the teacher of man’s evolving nature—in this life the mortal mind, in the next the morontia soul.”

   The adjuster is a soul teacher, trying to lead the soul. “Says the Lord: 'I dwell within their own souls as a lamp of wisdom.” (131:4.3, Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 10)

   “Provision having been made for the growth of the immortal self, the soul, it remains for man himself to will the creation or to inhibit the creation of this surviving and eternal self which is his for the choosing.” (5:6.8) 

   “… the gradual and certain building up in the material and mortal mind of a spiritual and potentially immortal counterpart of character and identity … constitutes one of the most perplexing mysteries of the universes—the evolution of an immortal soul within the mind of a mortal and material creature.” (13:1.22)

   “Moral self-consciousness is true human self-realization and constitutes the foundation of the human soul, and the soul is that part of man which represents the potential survival value of human experience … The soul of man cannot exist apart from moral thinking and spiritual activity. A stagnant soul is a dying soul. But the soul of man is distinct from the divine spirit which dwells within the mind.” (133:6.5)

Recent Blog Posts

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software