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3.8 out of 5 stars
The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore
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309 of 329 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2008
I could not possibly recommend this book enough. Firstly, it was easy and enjoyable to read which considering the subject and the potential political fallout (see scathing reviews), I'm sure was no simple task. Lesser authors could of easily fallen prey to the temptations of self-defense with pages of endless details or by reverting to emotionalism but to his credit, Dr. Chopra does neither. Instead, he keeps a steady hand as he navigates us through unexplored waters. And just in time I might add. The `one size fits all' Jesus, fed to us by right wing extremists, has been stretched beyond recognition, being used to justify all sorts of atrocities these days. Jesus needs to be extracted from those who have quite wittingly and intentionally kidnapped him for their own motives. - Lest history look back and find that Jesus' poor and sufferable death was the least of his troubles.

The Third Jesus enlightens its readers in several ways. It helps bring our feet back to the earth by reminding us of historical fact - "Historically, 390 AD is early for a surviving scripture, which allows the Nag Hammadi scrolls to lay claim to as much authenticity as various versions of the four gospels; the scrolls are an esoteric jumble." Dr. Chopra's point here not being that the world should unquestionably accept the Nag Hammadi or other Gnostic Gospels but that their historical legitimacy sheds light on how much evidence or lack thereof exists for the traditionally accepted four gospels. It's not a matter of discrediting them; it's a matter of putting them into perspective.

The book of Revelation, perhaps the single most often referenced book, to justify exclusionary interpretations of Jesus' words and world model, has never been historically connected to John. - "We do not know who wrote this book; it is traditionally credited to the same John who wrote the Gospel of John, supposedly when exiled for his beliefs to the Greek island of Patmos. But no real proof of that exists." Again Chopra's point is not intended to be inflammatory but to shed light on the actual historical relevancy of ideas that have been handed down as dogma for centuries.

While examining the concept of heaven in a Jewish culture, which is where Jesus came from and lived, history and an understanding of the Jewish faith prove revealing - "Let's ask the most basic question first. Where is the Kingdom of God located? Jesus's listeners were Jewish, and traditionally an afterlife wasn't part of their religion, much less Heaven where rewards are meted out to the righteous." Personally, I was particularly happy to read this section since a number of Jewish friends have politely pointed out the same to me during conversation. I found it odd as a young adult that Christianity high jacked Judaism while at the same time declaring it proof of it's own relevancy - not very good manners. Of course, Deepak Chopra's intention here is to show there is very good reason found in the New Testament for the view that Heaven is found within ourselves just as Christ told us.

This is the point where The Third Jesus begins to take shape. If Dr. Chopra's book simply stopped at being another critical analysis of the gospels his contribution would be limited but thankfully he knows his forte. He attempts to show his readers that Jesus is perfectly accessible to anyone, no matter their background, religion, ethnicity, worldview or politics and then expands on both the experiential and philosophical possibilities of such an assumption and the methods and insights that would assist in the process. It's hard to imagine that Jesus would want to be seen in any other light but he has many followers dedicated to just such a proposition.

One of Dr. Chopra's premises is found in his quote, "Reality changes in different states of consciousness, and the same holds true of love." This idea didn't originate with Deepak of course but it can be found in his heritage in the form of Vedic literature, a thousand years prior to Christianity. In many ways this is the kernel of his message and the key to connecting with The Third Jesus. We perceive reality, including God, according to the level of our own consciousness - "For those who have ears to hear let them hear," as Jesus put it. The idea that consciousness is paramount, primary and evolves is not some kind of New Age thing but dates back to the first writings of humankind. I would like to add here that this is exactly why Dr. Chopra is one of the only authors that could've written this book. He has three unique qualifications: Personal and cultural integrity, education and personal experience.

Personal and cultural integrity is particularly important to a book like The Third Jesus because it helps move the cause and scope of the book out of the New Age and Consciousness categories and squarely places it where it belongs, in the religious section. Dr. Chopra comes from a culture where religion was the epicenter of every facet of life and where as I stated earlier, the oldest scriptures in the world originate. We can see this in his life, which has been dedicated to exploring, understanding, and living a sacred existence. Education is also important to a task such as this, because after all, Dr. Chopra is an accomplished physician, who is educated and experienced in both Western models and Ayurveda. That makes him more familiar with researching facts and understanding history. He has also been a student of meditation and a disciple, so he has gained personal experience and is not just shouting from the halls of academia.

This is a fantastic book, and if you're anything like me, you'll probably read it numerous times because it's a tool for renewal and contemplation. Of course there are many people who won't get it. That's one of the reasons it had to be written.
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134 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2008
The Third Jesus... as Deepak Chopra so beautifully writes, is the Jesus whose teachings we have somehow failed to heed. It is the Jesus who tells us the "Kingdom of Heaven is within" and to "Be Still and know that I am God" which are messages directing us back to ourselves so that we might contemplatively experience God. Jesus tells of the need for unconditional love, non judgment and embodying the innocence of a child to enter into this awareness. One need only read a newspaper to realize how we have failed to understand. Yet throughout history we learn of Saints and Sages who have understood. It is the responsibility of each of us individually to seek that awareness and realize our true potential. Deepak Chopra is simply reminding us.
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101 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2008
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.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2008
Deepak Chopra has done the world a great service. Merging east with west, he's helped us to see that all great teachings are One Great Teaching, merely conveyed in the way they must be to reach the cultures they spring from. The teaching of Christ (if understood "directly" and not through the "interpretations" of generations of those who would tell us what Christ meant) are the teachings of the Vedas or the Buddha or the mystery sects or the esoteric ancient Egyptians/Sumerians, or even, very much, the teachings of certain speakers teaching not through the clouded lens of "religion" but through philosophy. Christ taught in parables. Parables are stories. He used story telling because story telling often comes closer to the heart of things than mere explanation. Because of this, I recommend a great novel you might wish to read if you, like me, are hungry for meaning. The Secret Magdalene: A Novel by Ki Longfellow embodies all that Chopra is saying here, but in story form. It's not Christian, or Jewish, or the sadly vilified New Age (all ages are New Ages because all ages are the Now to those who live them, and all ages borrowed from the past)...it's a gnostic tale of the Magdalene and Jesus. I wonder if Chopra has read it? If not, he should. Mark my words, it will become a classic. Meanwhile Deepak Chopra's work is vital, even sacred, as is any work that brings us closer together.
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309 of 348 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2008
First, let me say that I am Asian, and was born and raised as a Buddhist. The reason why I state that is because my review may cause some to accuse me of being a "Christian fundamentalist." Now onto the review. The Third Jesus is a decent book- with the basic premise being, that we all have a God-consciousness, like Jesus himself. In fact, the author, argues that the true teachings of Jesus, was to allow his followers to see and understand that grand idea, but it is the distortion of his teachings by organized Christian faiths, that has robbed the world and Christ's followers of this truth. The idea that we all have the power within ourselves to be God-like, is nothing new. Its a great idea, and one we should all strive towards to be all that we can be.

My problem with this book however, is that Chopra picks and choses the words of Jesus to show us what he thought Jesus meant. He does this to support his argument, and at the same time, criticizes Christianity as misinterpreting Jesus' teachings.

Chopra also takes jabs at organized Christian faiths, telling stories of his Christian/Catholic friends who have lost their faith because of the Molesting Priest scandal as if that is somehow, an official Catholic teaching. Chopra also takes political jabs at the United State's War on Terror instead of "turning the other cheek," as Jesus would have done- something he considers a double standard from "right wing hawks."

I thought this book would have been much more effective if it stayed true to its intent which is to show that we all have the power to become Jesus-like, instead of taking the occasional shots at politics and organized Christianity. A much better book is Thich Nhat Hanh's "Living Buddha, Living Christ."
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117 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2008
In this timely book, Deepak Chopra has brought Jesus to our attention, and that in itself is good. This book is not so much about agreeing or disagreeing with Chopra's ideas about Jesus, but taking the time to look at our own thoughts about this great mystical teacher and savior to many. Jesus' teachings are just as relevant now as ever, and if we don't look at them and understand them, then we will live according to religion's beliefs about Jesus ... or even perhaps Chopra's beliefs about Jesus ... and what we should be considering is a greater understanding of this Master Mind who was teaching us about our eternal One-ness with the Infinite. Congratulations to Deepak Chopra for sharing his love of the mystical and his Christ with us.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2008
I was dubitative to buy this book. On one hand, it's Deepak Chopra the wise man, one of the most influential minds of the last century and who still continues to enlighting us with his thoughts. On the other hand, he doesn't (didn't) believe in Jesus and has said so many times publicly. He is not a Christian.
Well, he did it, he wrote a wonderful book about the real Jesus, the one that never dies. Our dear rabi that inhabits our hearts and give us the wisdom of Universal Life. In this book, Chopra invites us to get in touch with the Third Jesus; the one of truth, of universal principles like love, understanding, harmony, compasion, loyalty, peace, and empathy. The author lays down a totally different view of how to overcome and live in harmony with the things we face in life through an encounter with Jesus our savior deep inside ourselves.
Light reading, easy to understand, and fun to do so also!
Great book, worth every second reading it.
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221 of 249 people found the following review helpful
Deepak Chopra's new book is not quite as controversial as I expected it to be. "The Third Jesus" seems to be written with a sense of compassion. Through verses from the Bible and the Gospel of Thomas Deepak weaves a story of Jesus' life as a teacher.

For the first half of the book he expounds on Christ's teachings. I was impressed with his insight, wisdom, research and knowledge. He also shows some striking similarities between some Eastern beliefs and Jesus' message, like the idea of karma. For the most part this seems to make Jesus available to a larger audience.

My only disagreement with this book came while reading the first section. I've always thought it was a bad idea to tell people that there is no hell or satan (Although in this book Deepak now seems to believe in both?). Deepak takes this one step further by trying to convince the reader that Jesus is not the Son of God or the Saviour. Instead he asks the reader to consider a third option: Jesus as an enlightened master. Jesus is much more than an enlightened master. He is the Son of God. Deepak is obviously wrong and this teaching goes against what the Bible says about Jesus. Also the salvation Buddha offers is not the same as the eternal life Jesus offers.

Personally I found reading Jesus' words comforting and intellectual. The words of Christ glow on each page with a spirituality that is refreshing and real. Deepak makes many valid points and explains where we should take Jesus literally and where we should seek for a deeper spiritual meaning.

If you enjoy this book you may also want to read: Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man, His Land, and His People.

To read about how Jesus can save you from eternal damnation read: done.: What most religions don't tell you about the Bible

~The Rebecca Review
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2008
The concept of connecting with the Christ consciousness is not a new idea. Many of his comments remind me of the explanations of this subject in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy written about 1875. But Mr.Chopra does a good job of showing how much Christian theology has buried this connection between the Christ idea and the individual. His book shows this concept is an active power available to all today. His specific examples of how to apply these ideas to our life will be a helpful start to those not familiar with these ideas. All in all I would recommend reading this book with a receptive thought being willing to put aside your preconceived concepts and being receptive to the idea of the Christ as an ever present divine power and not a person. If you can accept Jesus as the best man that ever walked the earth and who best expressed this Christ consciousness and then apply the lessons he taught, I think this book would help you have a happier life free of stress and be more at peace in the world today. Even though I did not think it was Mr. Chopra's best work I would highly recommend the book.
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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2008
THE THIRD JESUS reminds us of the core teachings of Jesus Christ and ways we can apply them in our lives. Chopra's scriptural knowledge and the way he draws on other spiritual traditions to describe Christ Consciousness is impressive.

The 15 steps at the close of the book are especially helpful and are like nothing I've read before. Chopra identifies key Christian doctrine -- "the kingdom of heaven is within you," "ask and you shall receive," "you are the light of the world" -- then applies the teaching, and gives wonderful excercises to help readers bring the teaching into their lives.

All in all, the book has inspired me to see Jesus's teachings in a way that makes them immediate and quite powerful.
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