The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore
"First, there is the historical Jesus, the man who lived more than two thousand years ago and whose teachings are the foundation of Christian theology and thought. Next there is Jesus the Son of God, who has come to embody an institutional religion with specific dogma, a priesthood, and devout believers. And finally, there is the third Jesus, the cosmic Christ, the spiritual guide whose teaching embraces all humanity, not just the church built in his name. He speaks to the individual who wants to find God as a personal experience, to attain what some might call grace, or God-consciousness, or enlightenment." - Deepak Chopra
Title: The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore
Author: Chopra, Deepak
Publication Date: February 2008
Dimensions: 9.50x6.54x1.12 in. 1.19 lbs.
Who is Jesus Christ?
In The Third Jesus, bestselling author and spiritual leader Deepak Chopra provides an answer to this question that is both a challenge to current systems of belief and a fresh perspective on what Jesus can teach us all, regardless of our religious background. There is not one Jesus, Chopra writes, but three.
First, there is the historical Jesus, the man who lived more than two thousand years ago and whose teachings are the foundation of Christian theology and thought. Next there is Jesus the Son of God, who has come to embody an institutional religion with specific dogma, a priesthood, and devout believers. And finally, there is the third Jesus, the cosmic Christ, the spiritual guide whose teaching embraces all humanity, not just the church built in his name. He speaks to the individual who wants to find God as a personal experience, to attain what some might call grace, or God-consciousness, or enlightenment.
When we take Jesus literally, we are faced with the impossible. How can we truly “love thy neighbor as thyself”? But when we see the exhortations of Jesus as invitations to join him on a higher spiritual plane, his words suddenly make sense.
Ultimately, Chopra argues, Christianity needs to overcome its tendency to be exclusionary and refocus on being a religion of personal insight and spiritual growth. In this way Jesus can be seen for the universal teacher he truly is–someone whose teachings of compassion, tolerance, and understanding can embrace and be embraced by all of us.
"In this book, Deepak Chopra proposes a Copernican revolution in our understanding of Christianity by replacing the theological version of the holy trinity with the triptych of Jesus as possessing a human, an institutional and a mystical dimension. By emphasizing the mystical dimension and identifying Jesus as a spiritual revolutionary, he invites Christianity to perform yet another miracle in his name- that of transforming the world once again."
—Arvind Sharma, Birks Professor of Comparative Religion, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University
"The hardest thing to see is what is hidden in plain sight. After 20 centuries of doctrine and dogma we have nearly lost sight of the Jesus who was a wandering teacher of mystical truths. In his imaginative reconstruction of the inner meaning of the gospels, Deepak Chopra reminds us of The Third Jesus, the enlightened master of God-consciousness. It will disturb the minds of the orthodox, and delight the spirits of mystics and progressive Christians."
—Sam Keen, Philosopher and Author, Sightings: Extraordinary Encounters with Ordinary Birds
"An insightful and clarifying glimpse into the life of one of the most radical spiritual teachers the world has known. Chopra gives us the gift of knowing that we may walk in the enlightened footsteps of our brother, Jesus the Christ."
—Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder Agape International Spiritual Center and author of Inspirations of the Heart, 40 Day Mind Fast Soul Feast, A Manifesto of Peace
"In The Third Jesus Deepak Chopra unfolds for us the spirit of Jesus and with a reverence that is at once simple and profound makes his spirit accessible to us in our everyday lives."
—Father Paul Keenan, Host, "As You Think," The Catholic Channel/Sirius 159
"Distinguishing between the historical Jesus and the Christ of Theology and Philosophy developed over 17 centuries Dr. Chopra captures an intriguing vision of a "Third Jesus," who, while living on Earth, developed a deep relationship with God. Deepak calls this "God-consciousness." Dr. Chopra brilliantly uses the sayings of Jesus to demonstrate how his basic mission and ethic of love grew out of his God-consciousness. Through Jesus' own words and spiritual exercises Deepak beautifully elucidates a beginning, middle and unity pathway for growing in deep God-consciousness to anchor our life on earth and our life after death."
—Rev. Edward J. Ruetz, retired Catholic priest of the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend in Indiana
"Dr. Deepak Chopra's analyses and interpretations of the sayings of Jesus, in the form of "Comment," breathe renewed life into those sayings. Chopra's work brings the teachings of Jesus into sharp focus with a marvelous, modern touch of insight from the vantage of both Eastern and Western thought. With the thought of Jesus's model in hand, Chopra provides the reader with a spiritual path of exercises -- a remarkably renewed practice in search of a higher reality, helping to cause a connection between reader and God. The views Chopra imparts are definitely worth the effort to undertake this enlightening journey of reading and practice."
—Ben Christensen, Ph.D., Prof. Emeritus Dean of the San Diego School of Christian Studies First United Methodist Church of San Diego, CA
"Jesus has now long since escaped the confines of church, Christianity and even 'religions.' Chopra's book thoughtfully presents a Jesus who is paradoxically both closer to the original and more available to post-modern people than the stained glass version. The book is bound to provoke both admiration and condemnation which, come to think of it, the maverick Galilean rabbi also did."
—Harvey Cox, author, When Jesus Came to Harvard, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard
"Chopra's book The Third Jesus reminds me of the theological work of one of history's greatest humanitarians and the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Schweitzer wrote extensively about Jesus and challenged much of the prevailing theology regarding Jesus' life and ideas. Chopra is Schweitzer's equal in bringing to light a fresh and profound way to experience the teachings of Jesus."
—David T. Ives, Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University
"In this book a man shaped by the religions of the East introduces the West to a Jesus we have either lost or have never known. That is itself a stunning concept, but Deepak Chopra is a stunning man. He explores what he calls the 'Christ Consciousness,' which can be identified neither with the Jesus of history nor with the Jesus of the creeds, the doctrines and the dogmas of the ecclesiastical institution. This 'Third Jesus' can be seen only when we move into a new human awareness that will carry us beyond tribe, prejudice and even beyond our religious systems. As a Christian, I welcome his insights into my Jesus and his provocative call to me to enter the 'Christ Consciousness' and thus to become more deeply and completely human."
—John Shelby Spong, Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, Author, Jesus for the Non-Religious
"In this intriguing study of the sayings of Jesus, Deepak Chopra gently releases this highly evolved spiritual teacher, light of the world and son of God from the limitations of dogmatic theology. With profound wisdom and clarity Deepak offers the amazing suggestion that the same God-consciousness embodied in the human Jesus is present in all of us individually and collectively. In a spirit of humble knowingness Deepak encourages us to look deep into the mirror of our collective souls and ponder the question Jesus continues to ask "Who do YOU say that I AM ?"
—Sister Judian Breitenbach, Catholic order of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, Founder of the Sari Asher Namaste' Center in LaPorte, Indiana
"The book makes God accessible to those who find God distant, troublesome, or both. Chopra rescues Jesus from the confusion of the ever multiplying schools of Biblical criticism. The book shows us how to investigate, in a new way, Jesus--the mysterious man with divine awareness. Chopra resolves contradictions in Jesus' sayings, sharpens our understanding of Jesus' teachings, and guides us in the application of Jesus' teachings. Jesus comes into focus. We gain new expectations of what the spiritual life looks like. The book calls even to those who have lost any sense of God. By following the book's practical applications, they, too, may find the universe meaningful instead of indifferent. This is a book to read, re-read, and incorporate into one's life."
—Bonnie Bobzien, MD, Member of board of directors of San Diego School of Christian Studies
"Literate, mainstream Christians will welcome Chopra's championing before the world, the meaning of their commitment to action, practice, 'ortho-praxis,' following the only absolutely unambiguous demands of Jesus on his followers recorded in the New Testament: serving the poor, loving neighbor and even enemies. It is the most effective response to the Dawkins' crowd who never even mention the Bishop Robinsons, Martin King, Dietrich Bonhoeffers, Mother Teresas who by their actions, have shown their faith in this Jesus Christ."
—Rustum Roy, Evan Pugh Professor of the Solid State Emeritus, Professor of Science Technology and Society Emeritus, The Pennsylvania State University
"'God created man and woman in His image,'a biblical poet reminds us. Deepak Chopra has returned the compliment. He joins other incisive minds who have reflected on Jesus as 'the true light who enlightens every person' (John 1:9). Jefferson, for example, revered Jesus as 'the first of human Sages.'He looked like Jefferson–dignified, brainy and humorless. Assertive, rabble-rousing Malcolm X told Playboy magazine in 1963 'Christ was a black man.' Was it coincidental that his ebony Jesus bristled at the status quo as he flashed revolutionary rhetoric? Chopra engagingly describes Jesus as looking much like Deepak. Jesus enlightens us, creating a helpful 'path to God-consciousness.' Jesus can't be contained within stultifying Christian creeds and arid Church traditions that deify him. Yes, he is divine, for Chopra in the sense that he divines a way to Cosmic Consciousness. Here's energy within that settles us down, excites our passions we look up to capture them and points us back to Jesus, the savant who makes us conscious of the good, the true and the beautiful."
—The Reverend Dr. Jack R. Van Ens, Creative Growth Ministries, Christian dramatist and commentator for the Vail Daily
"The message of Jesus was clear, simple and direct. But within a generation of his passion it was compromised in order to accommodate the widely conflicting views among those who claimed to follow him. In Deepak Chopra's new book you will find much thought- provoking material related to this compromise which will elucidate many sensitive issues that have perplexed believers for centuries. In contrast to a message originally intended to inspire people to the wonders of a world reborn in God, the emphasis nowadays makes it almost impossible to think of Jesus or even Christianity itself except in terms of the suffering savior who died to appease God's anger against us. The terrible toll this emphasis has exacted on the message is sensitively treated in a most compelling way in this very valuable new work."
—Miceal Ledwith, L.Ph., L.D., D.D., LL.D, Former President and Professor of Theology, Maynooth University, Served as a Member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission for seventeen years under Pope John Paul II
With great intelligence and spiritual understanding, Deepak Chopra pares away the great cloud of confusion surrounding Jesus - confusion created by theologians and fundamentalists over two thousand years - to reveal in all its purity the sublime wisdom of The Third Jesus: the Jesus who taught his followers how to reach God-consciousness. In the first part of the book, Chopra throws clear light on how to find The Third Jesus in the midst of Biblical and Gnostic texts we may well have found confusing in the past, and how to understand his teachings. In part two, Chopra gives us the understanding we need to follow the path to God-consciousness taught by Jesus, and to realise that Jesus's words: 'I say unto you: You are Gods', and 'Greater things than these shall you do', are not distant dreams but closer to us than the clothes we wear.
Just when I think he can't go any deeper, he does...we have in our midst a spiritual genius
- Marianne Williamson, author of Return to Love
Deepak Chopra continues to lead us even deeper into the mysteries and joys of true spirituality
- James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy
Deepak Chopra has introduced literally millions of people to the spiritual path, and for this we should be profoundly grateful
- Ken Wilber, author of Integral Psychology
Undoubtedly one of the most lucid and inspired philosophers of our time
- Mikhail Gorbachev
My last blog I spoke of Ekhart Tolle's book a New Earth which I am loving and as I watched Oprah and Ekhart last Monday I realised that for many of us raised Christian we struggle to understand the concept of God consciousness within the teachings of Jesus. I recently attended an event in the city where Deepak Chopra spoke of his new book, "The Third Jesus" and I bought the book. Last night I finally started reading it and I realised this book is the key to understand the teachings of Jesus without identifying with any of the creeds, doctrines, dogmas of the ecclesiactical institutions. It is beautiful to me to hear the familiar words of the Jesus of my upbringing brought in to a new light, an understanding that sits very lightly with me and I feel joy in embracing these ideas; and being me I had to share my discovery.
Enlighten Yourself, June 3, 2008
By Ren Hoekk (Philly, PA)
I was raised a Christian and still attend a Christian church on occasion. But if anyone who truly wants to understand and believe in Jesus they must first ask themselves why the Holy Bible leaves out the 13 years of Jesus' life. You simply can not leave out half of his life if you are going to chronicle the life and teachings of the Savior of the world. It simply states he went to the East to study. As if it was unimportant somehow. If you want to know about the 13 missing years I suggest "Googling" +Jesus +Issa or +Jesus +Isha (There are two spellings). I hope it would not be too disturbing for Christians to find out that Jesus went to the East to study Buddhism and Hinduism. That's probably why the "Bible Writers" left that part out. After all if Jesus studied and practiced Buddhism and Hindu Yoga why shouldn't we all.
The "Son of God" was not the man Jesus but the "Christ Consciousness" that he was endowed with. He was "one" with the Christ Consciousness so when Jesus spoke he was also speaking as Christ. So when he would say things like "I am The Light, The Way, and The Truth." it was Christ speaking not just Jesus. We can all tap into the Christ Consciousness but not to the degree of Jesus, and that is Chopra's point. Others have made full contact with the Christ Consciousness and have gone by the names Buddha and Krishna, and others.
I find it troublesome that so many people who call themselves Christians believe that theirs is the "one correct" religion and that everybody else has got it all wrong somehow. While Buddhist and Hindu practitioners are open and accepting of all religions as long as they are based on love and compassion. More than one reviewer has tried to make the argument that Chopra has no business writing a book on Jesus because he does not practice Christianity. I'm sure Mr. Chopra would argue he does practice Christianity, just in a different way.
I have a much closer relationship with Christ and God through regular meditation than I ever did going to weekly church services. I no longer follow the Christian doctrines because for me I believe Jesus came here to teach us how to live with one another and how to find God and be with him in our daily lives. Not just to die for my sins. And I do not believe that we are separated from Christ and God (They are "Up" in Heaven and we are "Down" here on Earth). I believe like Jesus taught that the "Kingdom of Heaven is Within" and that we are all endowed with a part of God's Light and God's Love within us and we just need to look inside and find it and nurture it. And that is the point of view that this book takes. It tries to explain, from maybe a different point of view, what Jesus was trying to teach us. How any one could have a problem with that is beyond me.
A beautiful learning experience, February 22, 2008
By Annie B. Bond (Rhinebeck, NY USA)
For someone like me who grew up without any religious background at all, I find The Third Jesus to be an inspiring blueprint for how to become an evolved person! The book has given me a way that is comfortable and undemanding to begin to learn about Jesus's spiritual lessons in their own right, independent of church dogma. What may be the long-lasting legacy of this book, in fact, is how profoundly it shifts the focus from who Deepak calls the second Jesus, the one developed for Christians, to Jesus as a spiritual teacher, a teacher who can help you evolve your consciousness. The gift of Jesus's lessons are offered, regardless of one's religious affiliation. I especially love the exercises, which take Jesus's teachings, such as "As you sow, so shall you reap," one by one, and offer a way to understand them from your own inner, spiritual perspective.
I am among you, April 7, 2008
By Nadia Azumi
I have read this book and found it fascinating. It could be possible that what Mr. Chopra wrote is true, and yet we will never know for sure the truth about Jesus.
It is an inspiring book and very easy to read.
In my personal opinion I think that Jesus is indeed inside of us and we have to reach a certain level of consciousness to understand. It has meditation and analytical examples for us to meditate and try to see the light so to speak.
I have had several experiences in my personal life that leads me to believe that things happen the way Mr. Chopra has written. Although hard for me to understand at the time, I seem to understand it better now after reading the book. You can reach the level of consciousness that Mr. Chopra suggests by following his meditation sequences. It does open your eyes, to who we could really be, what we could really accomplish and what we could really become.
Chopra addresses Christians for the first time, March 9, 2008
By Santa Fe
You could say that this book is aimed at the silent majority of Christians, those believers who cannot stomach how their faith has headed since the rise of right-wing fundamentalism. With quiet sincerity Chopra wants to "redeem the redeemer," in the hopes that Jesus, after all these years, can still serve as a guide to the Kingdom of God. In this case, the Kingdom is within -- Chopra has connected with Christianity's long tradition of inward, mystical, and meditative worship. Thus he brings Jesus into an overall world tradition that embraces Eastern approaches like Buddhism while for the first time giving us texts from the New Testament to support his argument.
I won't say that everyone will agree with Chopra's approach. Unanimity isn't possible in such a contentious field. But it's a welcome event when a major spiritual teacher turns his mind for the first time to Christianity, which after all is the mainstream belief system in this country. His new book should appeal to his many fans as well as to those who have wrongly pigeon-holed Chopra as strictly an Indian or New Age phenomenon.
"The Third Jesus" - An Insightful Experience, March 21, 2008
By Delores Hemphill
For much of my life early rigid beliefs were accepted because it was the thing to do. However, I silently questioned the validity of the do's and don'ts. As result I pushed them down into the cellar of my mind and got on with life.
Fifty years later the senior years were looming on the horizon. I was at a crossroad - what do "I" believe? I had attended various churches through the years and it seemed to me there was still a continuation of rigid beliefs but to a lesser degree.
Reading Chopra's "The Third Jesus" was a breath of fresh air - a personal renewal for me. In reading and pondering his analyses, interpretations of the sayings, and the life and personality of Jesus - I found myself in agreement. As my spiritual journey continues, this insightful book will draw me back to it time and time again to challenge me to continue to open wider my heart and soul to live the life Jesus wants for me.
Turn separation into unity, March 12, 2008
By Jerry Katz "Nonduality.com" (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
In a video promoting this book, Deepak Chopra says, "I don't know who I am," implying that his viewpoint is from God-consciousness rather than egoic, person-centered consciousness.
According to Chopra, the meaning of the New Testament is that Jesus and God are not separate, and is confessed biblically as "The Father and I are one." This is the meaning of God-consciousness. Chopra says that anyone is entitled to that realization.
The theme of this book is separation and how to achieve unity by knowing Jesus as God-consciousness. The theme is supported by scores of quotations from the New Testament and the Gospel of Thomas, along with Chopra's explanations of them in terms of God-consciousness.
Chopra claims that the feeling of separation from God means a mistake has been made in how we live and see ourselves. Chopra provides fifteen steps to God-consciousness in order to correct that mistake and bring us to unity or non-separation.
The chapters on practice are excellent. Not surprisingly, Jesus is secondary and what is primary is Chopra's universal teaching of God- consciousness or enlightenment. It could be said that this whole book is more about following Deepak Chopra rather than Jesus Christ. I have no problem with that, as Chopra is a proven and effective world teacher.
Chopra exposes his Eastern roots when he urges the reader to start a satsang group. Satsang refers to a gathering of people devoted to the teaching of Truth or God-consciousness. Typically, satsang centers around a rarely found God-conscious or Self-realized sage/teacher. Chopra is calling for anyone at all to start satsang.
This inner journey is not casual. It is intense. Chopra writes, "Because he is so absolute, Jesus doesn't offer a path of devotion that consists of daily prayer and piety to God. He wants total, unswerving devotion: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."
Yet, realistically, people tend to unfold through practices of devotion, service, and contemplation. These are fine as long as they do not become an avoidance of inner transformation, Chopra notes.
Transformation is an extreme turning, as this confession by Chopra reveals: "It's impossible to quantify if you are on a spiritual path or how far along it you may be. But progress is always marked by transformation. The path isn't about feeling better. It's not about knowing who you are, or ending your suffering, or finding peace, or healing you deepest wounds. It's about a transformation so profound that illusion is traded for reality. Jesus survives to this day as a force in the world because he embodied that truth completely."
Our goal then, Chopra says, is not to imitate Jesus but to abide in him, to become one with him. We do that giving our life entirely to the process of turning separation into unity
Social commentary regarding Christianity and gay rights, abortion, and women's right, finish the book, but who is listening? The fundamentalist Christian has long discarded this book.
The index is very good, with 20% of it devoted to scriptural references. The term "separation", which is used a dozen or more times in the book and which arguably is the main theme, is not found anywhere in the index. In the future, Dr. Chopra might suggest specific terms for inclusion in the index or even become involved in selecting or getting to know the index writer.
Chopra and Jesus, June 18, 2008
By P. Fine "healing minister" (Volcano, CA)
Finally after covering every possible subject related to God and the spiritual path, Chopra finally takes on his relationship with Jesus. This is a wonderfully written account of his own struggle with the Jesus he encountered in school as a youth, then following his own cultural spiritual path as an adult, and eventually spiraling around to encounter Jesus in a whole new way. For those who are looking to find a new look at Jesus rather than the picture portrayed by the historical church, Chopra provides some insight. This is well worth the read for "worn-out" Christians as well as those of other faiths who intuitively are drawn to the wisdom of Jesus, but can't relate to the tainted version presented by some factions of the Christian faith. This book was so refreshing to me that I bought a copy for a friend's birthday as I didn't want to pass on my own copy. Its a keeper.
Not for rigid/frigid Christian mindsets, March 27, 2008
By D. Rekenthaler "Myth Scripter" (Fairfax, VA United States)
This book is another gentle reminder that Jesus, while perhaps the first modern human to achieve "Christ consciousness," was also "the son of man," meaning he was "human" like the rest of us and was here to show us The Way (or what those in the East would call The Tao). I don't believe that Jesus was interested in creating yet another world religion - a religion that, courtesy its manmade contrivances, continues to suffer one schism after another - but instead to remind us of our true nature beyond body and mind. We are indeed all ONE, meaning each of us is part of God, each of us has the same Christ consciousness within awaiting our remembrance, and to cede that knowledge, that territory to another - even Jesus - is the ultimate failure. Jesus reminded us that any of us can do what he did and more, thus those who imagine Jesus as the sole incarnation of God are surrendering their own relationship to God. But then, this is how most humans choose to live: by surrendering their lives to their spouses, their bosses, their political and religious leaders, and so on. Better to let others think for me, seems to be the reasoning. Jesus was counseling just the opposite: think and BE for yourselves because in that BEing is God Itself.
An inspiring and, yes, provocative invitation to rethink Jesus,
March 9, 2008 By G. Brown
I hope most readers have the good sense to ignore the bilious one- star reviewers, none of whom seem to have actually read Deepak Chopra's fascinating rethink of Jesus. To truly appreciate this work, you must set aside all preconceptions. Chopra is not condemning faith and not asking anyone who is alreayd committed to Christianity to abandon their beliefs. He is trying to offer solace and inspiration to the millions of believers who have become distressed by the current crisis caused by fundamentalism but also by the fact that we all live in an overwhelmingly secular society.
The alternative mapped out in The Third Jesus is to consider that Jesus was primarily a teacher of higher consciousness. This view is non-traditional, to say the least, but Chopra offers many passages from the New Testament to support his contention that Jesus wanted everyone to rise to the same level of God realization that he was in. Even if that isn't historically correct, Christianity has made room for new interpretations over the centuries, and Chopra's fits our age, when people want to follow a spiritual path without being constrained by old dogmas and authorities.
I think any open-minded seeker will find much to enjoy in this book, which as usual is written with genuine integrity and sympathy for everyone who wants a fulfilled spiritual life.
The Third Jesus by Deepak Chopra, April 5, 2008
By Michael J. Vincent "Book Mike" (Beaumont, TX)
This book will give great insight to the one who is on a spiritual journey and truly wants to understand and live the message Jesus taught.
Deepak Chopra has a way with explaining the teachings of Jesus as they were intended and backs it up with many valid resources. Even if you totally disagree with Chopra, the book will certainly provide spiritual challenges that will have you thinking from another perspective. Isn't this exactly what Jesus was doing in his own time on this earth? Many people from his (Jesus's) own faith rejected him and his teachings because they were too rigid in their own beliefs, and made no room for further enlightenment. We are continually called to grow in spirit, faith, knowledge, and most of all, compassionate love towards one another. It is when we live according to the message Jesus declared, that we deepen our kinship with God. No one who calls themself a Christian can deny that we must be open to the spirit of God when it is speaking to us. This is truly a remarkable book.
Understanding my spiritual depth, April 7, 2008
By Lydia M. Huerta (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Deepak Chopra has hit it on the spiritual button for me. I always worried about how our different religions manipulated the bible for self gain and how they made Jesus, our other prophets and God fit in their self-centered plans. I love Jesus, the man, the spiritual leader and how hard he tried to bring us into God's love, which was already in us, but not recognized.
The awareness of our soul and how love flows through us would make this world so much better.
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