79 QUESTION: What is the meaning of the “way of the cross,” its principles and its course of actions? How is it comparable to the Eastern concept, the one that follows the Buddha?
ANSWER: The symbol of the cross represents a person’s twofold being. You are at cross-purposes with yourself. This is the great struggle to overcome. All truth teachings observe humanity’s fundamental twofoldedness. You see this particularly by exploring innermost conflicts and problems.
This twofoldedness expresses itself in many varieties. There is the desire to be loved and the rejection of love. There is the basic instinct to live and the rejection of it. By that, I mean more than just physical life. I mean all that the essence of vibrant life, meeting it fully, implies. There is the conflict in the human soul between construction and creativity versus destruction and stagnation. All these, and many more, indicate a person’s division within him or herself.
The cross demonstrates this by the two bars, one horizontal, one vertical, indicating two opposing directions. As long as the opposites cannot be brought into harmony, pain and suffering must result. But once this battle is successfully concluded, the real person is resurrected and lives in harmony, peace and joy. Jesus demonstrated this entire process.
He demonstrated victory over the opposites by integration through love and sacrifice. This is meant in the healthy and genuine way, in the way I explained in the lecture on the great human transition, when a person ceases to live in the self-centered outlook and realizes he or she is a part of a whole.
This is in no way contradictory to the Eastern teachings. It is just a different approach, which merely expresses another facet.