Dear Gillian The Early Church (Apostolic) Fathers reacted unfavourably to a teaching they referred to as ‘Gnosticism’. With the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library (and Dead Sea Scrolls), we know
Therefore the characters ‘慧剑’ (hui jian) represent a distinctly ‘Buddhist’ method of clearing the mind that is as decisive as a blow from a sharp sword used in scholarly self-defence. Despite its obvious Buddhist origin and undertones – the ‘sword’ is a clear concession to the Confucian establishment as it strove to integrate foreign Indian Buddhist thought, with that of Chinese indigenous understanding and belief.
For those living in ordinary society but wishing to practice the Dharma, the Buddha advocated that the desire mechanism be controlled rather than transcended. This ‘control’ centres around applying an appropriate sexual manifestation in society that is not excessive or that violates the social codes of the time. This is the practice of appropriate sexual discipline that allows the desiring mechanism to function through strictly defined parameters.