What is the Manichaean Orthodox Church?
A modern expression of an ancient system based on secret gnostic teachings of the Apostle Mani. Worshipping both a male and female God of Life and seeking to make available Their eternal system of enlightenment and righteousness.
Who was Mani?
Mani-Hiya was born in a vegetarian monastery in 216 AD. He claimed to be the promised Paraclete, or Comforter, prophesied by Jesus. He synthesized Gnostic Christianity, Zarathrustianism, and Buddhism into one comprehensive system of enlightenment which flourished for over a thousand years and had over 10 million members.
Is the Manichaean Orthodox Church Christian?
It is not Judeo-Christian but Gnostic-Christian. It worships both a male and female form of Christ, and is, in this sense, Christian or Christ based. It worships various manifestations of Christ – as the Primal Man and Soul, as Envoy and Maiden, and as Jesus the Splendor and the Hour of Life, and as Jesus the Nazorean and Miryai his Bride and Co-Messiah.
On what are its teachings based?
The doctrines and teachings of the Manichaean Orthodox Church are based upon all the enlightening words of all true Apostles of all ages. The primary source of these words are the rediscovered scrolls of the ancient Nazoreans, Gnostics and Manichaeans which make up the canon of the Order. The Order is not Bible based but relies on the words of Christ found in other more Gnostic scriptures such as the Nag Hamadhi.
How do these teachings say that this Universe come into existence?
The ancient scrolls say that the cosmos has always existed on the subtler plane in two forms: one of Light ruled by the God of Life, and an opposite of darkness ruled by Dark Ones. When Evil sought entrance into the Light-Realm, the physical universe was designed for their gradual separation. Everything derives from one of these two sources.
What are the 'Two Sources '?
All existing things derive from one of these two: infinite Light of spiritual Goodness, the bottomless Darkness of evil Matter, coexistent and totally opposed to one another. The Good God did not create, nor do They directly maintain, this fallen physical universe.
What is God?
The ultimate archetypes of Goodness and Godliness are called Amin-Hiya, or the Hidden Living Ones, by Manichaeans. This Great God and Goddess of Life and Light manifest Themselves in the outer universe for the sake of Their spiritual offspring. They do so through various Emanations designed to overthrow the aggression of evil Darkness and make it possible for Their fallen children to return to Them in purity and maturity.
Has the physical world any real existence?
The world, and the subtler darkness of the material universe, does not exist for the Living Ones and those who dwell in perfect non-dualistic reality. For others, it is real to a degree, but the world itself exists only until its purpose is achieved by the separation of the Light and Darkness. Compared with the Light-World's eternity, it is only a fleeting shadow dissipated by the dawn.
Is it Good or Evil?
It is a mixture of Good and Evil, Spirit and Matter, Light and Darkness. So it will be dissolved when these eternal opposites are separated from each other, the Light having been cleansed of all contaminating shadows. The essence of darkness will continue to remain after this dissolution but its reality will be non-existent for those having transcended all duality.
Why was it created, and by whom?
The 'Living Spirit', acting under the Amin-Hiya, fashioned the cosmos as a means of liberating Soul from Matter, the Light-Sparks of Aumen from the enslaving Darkness through the practice of the twelve virtues and the loving labors of the Luminaries or Saviors.
What is Man?
Humanity is a divine Spirit imprisoned in a body of flesh created by the demons to ensnare their divinity in their world of darkness. The form of the body is divine, but its elements and instincts are not.
What is the Individual Soul?
The Nishimta Soul is a Pearl and a Living Spark of the Living Ones’ Light, a part of The Great Life’s very Essence, separated off from Them to be absorbed into the darkness of Matter and gradually to refine and purify as much of it as possible. Divine in source and end, its powers are limited while held captive in the body. It destiny is perfection if it wills toward this end. Intermingled with it are two lower souls, the Ruha and Napsha. These may marry and merge into the higher Nishimta soul as perfection ensues.
What brought the body into being?
Captivated by the alluring beauty of Yeshu and Miryai’s reflection, the demons of the Darkness tried to capture it for themselves; so they made the body, to draw the Soul's attention away from the Living Ones, its full perfection, to the lower pleasures of the flesh, thus entrapping it forever.
What is sin?
Sin is the loss of compassion and wisdom and the Soul's disloyal turning from Amin to matter, accepting the sensual delights in place of spiritual ecstasy. Certain acts which tend to this have been listed as sins - such as hate, selfish-lust, and greed.
How did Sin come into existence?
Intoxicated by the Light of Amin-Hiya, the Evil rebelled against Them and sought it for themselves. This egoistic act of pride was the fountainhead of all Sin.
Is Matter eternal?
Yes, it has existed from before time, and will survive time itself. But it is only now that it is in revolt, it will at last be vanquished by the Spirit, bound forever in the Abyss, its Powers totally destroyed.
What are the 'Three Moments'?
The Past, wherein Evil and Good were wholly separate from each other; the Present, wherein the former's aggression has caused a mingling and confusion of the two; the Future, wherein they shall again be separated-the Light in eternal peace and bliss, the darkness in the ruin of perpetual captivity.
Why did God create the Individual Soul?
To become perfectly one with Them and to cooperate with Them in freeing all Light or Spirit from its slavery to Matter, herself the first, by warring ceaselessly with spiritual weapons on Evil everywhere, and by helping to refine and uplift all beings - human, animal, plant and even mineral; through intimacy with the holiness of Saints. This, then, is our duty on earth.
How was Soul imprisoned in the flesh?
By design it was sent forth by the Living Ones to enter and subvert and subdue rebellious Matter from within, the Soul is caught and swallowed up by the evil powers of its Darkness and forgets its real nature and its mission. Thus it becomes a miserable and helpless slave.
How can it become free?
By following the laws of light of the Manichaean Orthodox Church which teach one how to uproot the desires that those evil powers personify, and to gradually refine and spiritualize itself from all that is gross, material, thus it will at last be freed.
Can it do this unaided?
Possibly, but in fact the Soul is helped at every stage by the Great Life’s grace and the assistance of Their Elect.
How does God help it to be free?
Manifesting as Intuition in the Soul, as the light of Conscience and of Grace, The Living Ones works from within, eliminating the vices and dark desires, and planting the fragrant flowers of every virtue in the heart.
What disciplines should the Soul follow?
Mani taught five foundational disciplines: The growing and offering of vegan Alms and observance of total harmlessness in all areas of ones life, twelve-fold prostration-prayers at least four times a day, weekly fasting, and support of the Church’s initiatory and monastic institutions.
How does the Evil Spirit gain control of a man?
When his mind is off its guard, evil thoughts and desires enter in through some weak point in his nature, opened by some sense-impression; then they encroach step by step until the whole has been corrupted.
How does the Divine Mind free him from that control?
Entering the heart through the spoken word of the Living God’s Messenger, it replaces all downward with upward tendencies, all vices with the opposite virtues, the whole nature henceforward is a pure throne for the Christ to reign upon over her or his life.
Has Man the power to choose aright?
Her power is limited only by the effects of her past choices, which set up a habit only the utmost effort can break. This effort is made possible by the awakening call of Amin's Messengers - Mani, Yeshua (Jesus), Miryai, or another.
Is there such a thing as 'Fate'?
Fate or Destiny results from the Individual Soul’s past choices of action, and it binds until those actions have been undone by other actions. It is therefore ultimately under our own control.
What causes the instability of moods?
The Soul is sometimes nearer to Spirit, at times to Matter, according to the prevailing planetary aspects in its horoscope, and to the purity or coarseness of the foods it allows the body to consume. Purer foods and a more balanced and natural lifestyle are its remedy.
What is the reward of righteousness?
The purifying of the Individual Soul from all defilement, and its victorious deification and entry upon eternal life in blissful Land of Light with the Living Ones and all the Uthras and Angels who abide there.
What happens to the wicked?
Those who deliberately prefer Evil to Good make the freeing of the Soul from Matter impossible for themselves. Then they take birth after wretched birth in Matter, till they become so grossly material that there can be no escape. They thus return to their source.
So Manichaeism teaches Reincarnation?
Yes, as both a reward and punishment, as well as an opportunity to serve others. Reincarnation can be a purgatorial suffering involved in being attached to the fleshly body and its delights, but it can also be an opportunity to refine ones soul and mature it toward godliness. Mani was said to be a reincarnation of both Lao Tzu and Buddha.
How do Rebirths come to an end?
When the Soul turns from bodily desires to a full yearning after the Spirit, from worldly pleasures to devotion for the Living Ones, Their Messengers and Their Order, it can no longer be forced to rebirth on a material plane, nor can it even wish to be except to serve all sentient beings.
What is Death?
Death is the temporary or final release of the Spirit from its material prison. When the Light-Spark is purified, death is its entry on eternal bliss and glory in Amin's Realm of Light. Requiem Rites of the Manichaean Orthodox Church are said in behalf of the departed to assist their flight upward.
What happens to the Soul at death?
The good, pure, righteous Soul is adorned by the Angels in its robes, crowns and garlands of light, and led into the Light-Kingdom; ordinary Souls are driven back on the paths to rebirth in the physical world; evil Souls are allowed to reap the realities created by their own darkness, hate and misery.
How does God check the victory of Evil?
Initially the Father of Life sent forth the Mother of the Living who sent forth the Primal Pair. This Divine Emanation is sent to war upon and overthrow the Evil in the name of Their Eternal Parents. Messenger of the Light continue to come to earth to encourage and strengthen the sincere in resisting it.
Can true Knowledge be given by another?
The Apostles of light come to enlighten humanity with the Teaching and the Ethics, the “Wisdom” and the “Righteousness”, which lead to freedom. But only those in whom the Intuition, or “Light-Mind”, is awake will welcome or benefit from his or her Message. The ultimate responsibility for ones own enlightenment resides within ones own heart.
What, then, is the Teacher's part?
To awaken the Soul to its own latent divinity through teachings and initiations, guide it on the purifying path of service, and to carry it through liberating door of death into the endless glory of the Spirit.
What are the qualifications for this Path?
The knowledge that one is the Soul and not Body, a firm resolve to live only for the spiritual aim, a vegan diet and compassionate lifestyle, devotion to the Living Ones and Their Holy Order and Church which keeps that resolve a living power in the life, loving humility and gentleness to all, and persevering effort for self-purification.
Is it necessary to renounce the world?
Yes, for its attractions must be overcome and ultimately its standards and ways of living be abandoned; no, in the sense that it is here and in the world that the Church and Order, and each component Soul, must labor for Amin’s plan of liberation until its purity has it free for ever. Manichaean's work with the natural world, but eschew the social-economical systems of the world as much as possible.
Is there only one code of life for all Manichaeans?
The ordinary moral and religious law is binding on all alike, but the ‘Elect', who resolve on swift treading of the Path, have voluntarily embraced for themselves a code of higher standards. Such codes are regulated by solemn vows taken at holy altars in conjucntion with certain initiatory rites. The only obligatory law for all is to live a compassionate vegan diet and lifestyle.
How does man find God?
Roused by Life’s Messenger from the drunken sleep of fleshly ignorance, he or she realizes their identity with Spirit and their temporary bondage to the body; then they resolve to be free and patiently work at their own liberation - refining their thoughts through study and practicing all spiritual virtues till they are pure enough to see Amin-Hiya at the hour of death.
Where then is God?
The Hidden Living Ones dwell in worlds of light outside of normal space and time. As eternal King and Queen of the spiritual Light-Realm, They dwell transcendent over all that is; as manifest in the Powers of the Light, They war for its total liberation from the aggressing Darkness; as immanent in every atom of Matter everywhere, They await that liberation which They alone can bring about.
Have They any real Temple?
Yes, for the Manichaean Orthodox Church is commissioned with building Temples, shrines and monasteries. These are only dim reflections, however, of the real Temples in heavenly worlds of light. Because the Soul of the Primal Pair is diffused everywhere in the universe, the whole universe is a temple of sorts. Although Life’s Temple is in one sense the entire universe and every particle within it, it especially manifests within the hearts of the Saints who worship Life within the sacred Shrines of the Order.
What are the Gods and Angels?
They are Emanations or Expressions of the nature of the One Living Reality, the Heavenly Parents of all, come forth from Them to bring about Their final triumph over Evil. All Uthras, Buddhas, Bodhisatvas and Angels are all but various manifestations of the One Great Life sent outward to draw us inward.
What is our relationship with them?
They aid our struggle to escape the darkness of matter, and we must not fail to reverence, love and worship them as our Champions, Protectors, Friends. They are divine archetypes of our own inward struggle. Through Them, and what They represent, we are purified from the taint of lower worlds.
Who are the ‘Messengers of the Light'?
Saints and Prophets sent by Amin-Hiya from age to age to teach humanity the truths of life and how they can attain to Them in whom alone all happiness is found. Among their number are Seth, Enosh, Enoch, Shem, Zarathrustra, Buddha, Miryai, Elkasai, Mani, Padmasambhava and many others, both male and female.
What is the Church?
It is the Listener Level of the Order of Nazorean Essenes, composed of those who have embraced a vegan diet and who desire further light and knowledge of the ancient truths taught by Yeshu, Miryai and Mani. It is a wonderful Unity in the Great Life, based on love and Wisdom fully shared. An opportunity for service.
What is the Monastery?
It is a assembly of the Elect who gather under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to divine law for full time focus on spiritual matters. Their goal is to recollect the scattered light lost in the outer worlds and return it to its source.
What happens when Soul is wholly freed?
The physical worlds created for its freeing cease to exist, the Light becomes supreme, while the darkness and all Evil, together with those who choose merge therein, are forever subdued or sunk into oblivion.
What is the Final Goal of all life?
The freeing of the Soul from all defilement, so that it shines with Amin’s pure glory and can live eternal in the bliss of Their realized Presence in mystical unity with the Hidden Living Ones.
Is this a Dualist Religion?
Yes, as understood by traditional Christianity, for Good and Evil, Spirit and Matter, Light and darkness are seen as eternally independent and opposite Forces, between which every Individual Soul must choose. It can be classified as dualistic since it sees the Good God as creator of only goodness, never evil or the material universe. On the other hand, it teaches a pure form of non-dualistic reality as the ultimate goal of all who seek for perfection, thus it makes allowances for the validity of both viewpoints.
Can you sum up this Religion in a few words?
It is the eternal teaching of Enlightened Ones which awakens us to a knowledge of our original primordial nature, and calls us to strive to purify ourselves from the defilements of material darkness and ignorance. It is the Family of Peace of Yeshu, Miryai, and Mani that holds the keys to our eventual liberation.