There used to be talk in Papal circles of the two lungs of the Latin West and the Byzantine East, but this was to forget the Oriental Churches of Antioch and Edessa, of Nisibis and Tibet, of India and China. Christians were first called Christians in Antioch and the Oriental Churches never ceased to bear witness to Christ as desert seers and holy martyrs, transfiguring Christian wisdom in Sufism under Islam, in Dzogchen in Tibet and as a Christian version of Taoism in China. The fact that martyrdom crucified Christian wisdom in many lands does not mean that the Oriental Churches, when they were crucified, ceased to witness, because that witness resurrected with Christ and ascended with him into realms that rejoiced in him way beyond the boundaries of Christendom. The Oriental Christian Churches were indeed crucified but their destruction left wisdom’s witness in Taoism’s holy alchemy in China and Dzogchen’s resurrected rainbow body in Tibet, bearing witness to Christ in his resurrection and ascension. It is true that martyrdom crucified his visible, ecclesial presence but could not crush his wisdom or quench his glory outside the walls of Christendom. The third lung learned to breathe beyond the two lungs that hid behind their differing versions of the Roman Empire, questioning them and their forgetfulness of the golden radiance of uncreated light.
Christian Dzogchen abides in the Way of Completeness that wisely and generously completes incompleteness without disdain for temporal or timeless modes of rainbow completeness. The Secret of the Golden Flower embraces the Way of Christ in ways that unite Buddhism and Taoism through an alchemy of uncreated and created energies. Both conceal the hidden wisdom of Christ’s Oriental Light in eastern lands, returning to rejoin the two lungs of a Byzantine East and a Latin West with treasures of uncreated light from the Eastern Orient. When the West breathes in the Spirit that inspires the East, it now extends its lung to include the Oriental East, including its martyred wisdoms of Dzogchen and Tao, but also the wisdom of Christian Sufism and Mar Thoma’s Indian Advaita, wisdoms that dance the unceasing dance of ineffable Co-inherence. The Patristic era did not cease with John of Damascus or Photius but lives Patristic synthesis right up unto our own time. The Byzantine lung never drew a line under the Patristic era as Latin scholasticism did, so dances with the Orient as they both release the Latin West from its traumas and dislocations. But every lung suffers from its wounds as well as its glory, indicating a wholesome way to abide in the Completeness that heals those wounds.
Totalitarian triumphalism deconstructs without collapsing into relativism, opening wisdom to a wider and deeper dance of Co-Inherence that avoids the shallows and narrows of fundamentalist terror. Listening to wisdom within wisdom does not disintegrate into relativism or nihilism, but cures both as it rises from its martyrdoms. Elders function without descending into authoritarian oppression, or disintegrating into relativist nihilism. Somehow, the structures of Christendom, Christianity and secular Christianity deconstruct without loss of coherent completeness. Authority endures without authoritarian deformation, whilst spiritual wisdom sustains religion without being swallowed up by it. Somehow the Spirit’s witness is not quite silenced nor the Spirit of prophecy quite quenched. Elders still witness to seers in ways that purify the heart, enlightening saints, even though every kind of parody haunts the tradition with ghostly shadows and shallows. Demonic deception has long been normal, although never the norm. Wherever wisdom turns, shadows release like mist in summer sun, disappearing into the clear air. In the end, all three lungs are one when the Name discerns the wisdom of glory in the clear air and see with wisdom’s eye the heart of Christ in the Spirit’s enduring, martyred truth.