Jesus and non-duality

Jesus appears to Mary Magedelene after his resurrection
Jesus appears to Mary Magedelene after his resurrection

In non-dual teachings, the basic teaching is that the sense of self that we presume ourselves to be is a fiction. What remains after this is seen is a mysterious and ordinary sense of ‘divine oneness’. One ramification of this teaching is that we can learn to see that we are not the authors of our own actions even though we appear to be. This is known as non-doership. This teaching is often stated explicitly in non-dual traditions such as Advaita Vedanta, Zen, Dzogchen and Taoism.

In theistic traditions like much of Hinduism and the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, non-duality is still expressed, but its form often differs. Mystics and prophets from these traditions also claim that the sense of personal self is illusory and that they are not the authors of their actions – but they attribute authorship of their actions to a higher power, ‘God’: “Not my will, but Thine”. The teachings in these traditions tend towards asking us to direct our attention towards a higher power and surrendering to ‘Him’. This results in a process that gradually effaces the sense of self and over time reveals the ever-present Divine in which we “move and have our being”.

Here are some verses from the New Testament uttered by Jesus that have a non-dual flavour, focusing particularly on non-doership:

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
John 14:10


Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19


For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.
John 12:49


Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
John 14:24


Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.”
John 7:16


And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.”
John 12:44

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