Lucifer7, February 2005


Contents

Short Quotes
Editorial
New on Katinka Hesselink Net
Online
Mottoes of the Canadian Theosophist
Karmic Currents, Theosophical Notes
Bodhisattva's and Mahatmas, Katinka Hesselink
The Pool and the Waters, P.G. Bowen
Socrates

Short Quotes

"Humble Duties", The Voice of the Silence, H.P. Blavatsky

The selfish devotee lives to no purpose. The man who does not go through his appointed work in life - has lived in vain.

Follow the wheel of life; follow the wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend and foe, and close thy mind to pleasures as to pain. Exhaust the law of karmic retribution.  Gain Siddhis for thy future birth.

If Sun thou canst not be, then be the humble planet. Aye, if thou art debarred from flaming like the noon-day Sun upon the snow-capped mount of purity eternal, then choose, O Neophyte, a humbler course.

Point out the "Way" - however dimly, and lost among the host - as does the evening star to those who tread their path in darkness. ........ Give light and comfort to the toiling pilgrim, and seek out him who knows still less than thou; who in his wretched desolation sits starving for the bread of Wisdom and the bread which feeds the shadow, without a Teacher, hope, or consolation, and - let him hear the Law.

Buddha, Dhammapada, Translation Juan Mascaro

64 If during the whole of his life a fool lives with a wise man, he never knows the path of wisdom as the spoon never knows the taste of the soup.

Paul Brunton, The Wisdom of the Overself, Chapter VII

The marvel of rebirth is not different from the marvel of waking up the same man each morning.

Tao Te Ching

Thus also is the Man of Calling.
He dwells in effectiveness without action.
He practises teaching without talking.
All beings emerge
and he does not refuse himself to them.
He generates and yet possesses nothing.
He is effective and keeps nothing.
When the work is done
he does not dwell with it.
And just because he does not dwell
he remains undeserted.

Editorial

The Maha Chohan says in a famous Mahatma letter
as everyone knows, total emancipation from authority of the one all-pervading power or law called God by the priests—Buddha, Divine Wisdom and enlightenment or Theosophy, by the philosophers of all ages—means also the emancipation from that of human law. Once unfettered and delivered from their dead weight of dogmatic interpretations, personal names, anthropomorphic conceptions and salaried priests, the fundamental doctrines of all religion will be proved identical in their esoteric meaning. Osiris, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, will be shown as different names for one and the same royal highway to final bliss, Nirvana.

This quote has been discussed in previous editorials of mine. Today the question is: what are meant by the 'personal names' in the sentence: Once unfettered and delivered from their dead weight of dogmatic interpretations, personal names, anthropomorphic conceptions and salaried priests, the fundamental doctrines of all religion will be proved identical in their esoteric meaning. The fundamental doctrines of all religions need to be proved identical in their esoteric meaning, and they will be once personal names are removed or disappear. This aparently refers to the problem that different people call 'God' by different names - Shiva, Krishna, Brahma, Allah, Christ, Buddha etc. Indeed for many religious people it is hard to imagine God might be the same for someone else, even when called by a different name then the one the believer in question grew up with.

Science has established that the way we talk forms the basis for the way we perceive the world. So if one is trained to call Divine Law God, one might think that someone else, who calls Divine Law karma, is talking about a totally different thing. Karma is of course not a personal name, where the ones I mentioned above all give the association of a person. Allah perhaps gives that association least, but even that Arabic word is masculine in root and therefore has a personal tinge to it.

In response to my review of 'The Judge Case, A Conspiracy Which Ruined the Theosophical Cause' Fohat has responded with an article in which my doubts are criticised. I am of the opinion that only those able to doubt everything will be able to find truth eventually, on the other hand trust in oneself is also essential on the path. Thinking about this issue, an article was born. See the next issue of Lucifer7 for 'Doubt and Self-confidence'.

New on Katinka Hesselink Net


Online


Mottoes of the Canadian Theosophist

Canadian Theosophist, February, 1927     

On the completion of the Seventh Volume of The Canadian Theosophist it may be of interest to readers who have not obtained them to read the mottoes on the title pages of the seven volumes of the magazine. They indicate to some extent the spirit and tone of the matter and circumstances with which each volume has dealt. The mottoes are all chosen from the writings of H.P. Blavatsky.

I.  It is above everything important to keep in mind that no Theosophical book acquires the least additional value from pretended authority.

II.  The true philosopher, the student of the Esoteric Wisdom, entirely loses sight of personalities, dogmatic beliefs, and special religions.

III.  No true Theosophist, from the most ignorant, up to the most learned, ought to claim infallibility for anything he may say upon occult matters.

IV.  Are we not bound rather to take as the true aphorism of this century the declaration of Horace Greeley:  "I accept unreservedly the views of no man, living or dead?"

V.  Our voice is raised for spiritual freedom, and our plea made for enfranchisement from all tyranny, whether of Science or Theology.

VI.  There being but one Truth, man requires but one church - the Temple of God within us, walled in by matter but penetrable by anyone who can find the way;  the pure in heart see God.

VII.  None can feel the difference between himself and his fellow-students, such as "I am the wisest," "I am more holy and pleasing to the teacher, or in my community, than my brother," etc., - and remain an upasaka. His thoughts must be predominantly fixed upon his heart, chasing therefrom every hostile thought to any living being.

A perusal of these quotations will make it clear why the T.S. in Canada differs with other National Societies, and why some Canadians do not care to read the Canadian Theosophist. They indicate the Theosophy that the Society originally stood for, and anyone can decide for himself whether this is what is now being upheld by the more prominent members of the Adyar administration.


Karmic Currents

Theosophical Notes, edited by Victor Endersby, August 1953

Two articles in the Highway Research Abstracts for January, 1952, on automobile accidents, have considerable significance. It appears between the lines that engineers have taken the hint from the fact that improvements in driving conditions on roads only create more accidents (the record of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, one of the most "advanced" possible to build, has been so bad that some truck lines have abandoned the use of it,) and have turned to investigation of the real cause - the driver himself. One of the articles in question is s by Dr. W.A. Eggert, chief psychologist for a group of insurance companies; and Mr. A.H. Malo, consulting psychologist for another company. The other is by Donald Buck, Associate Editor for Traffic Safety, Federal Safety News. 

It is found that 48% of the drivers account for all the accidents, and that 15.7 of them account for half. (It has long been recognized that at the core of the accident problem is a small number of certain types of drivers, whose accident frequency increases with the diminishing number.) The problem is to "discover and eliminate" that nucleus, according to the first paper. The second shows that this is not simple.  In the first place, skill as such beyond a certain point seems to have nothing to do with it. Organizations which have relied upon skill tests are abandoning them as criteria of safety in themselves.  "No driver fully exercises all his talents, since in varying degrees he lowers his performance by such attitude factors as indifference, carelessness, impatience, worry, dissatisfaction, etc." The problem is to determine "not how well one can drive but how well he will drive." Psycho-physical disabilities, improper procedures, objective personal problems such as family troubles, gambling, drinking, etc., seem relatively easy for the psychologists to deal with.

"More insidious, however, are the problems resulting from incorrect attitudes in persons not suffering from noticeable afflictions ... normal in all respects until he steps into a cab and seats himself behind a steering wheel ... once the vehicle starts, subconscious attitudes seem to distort this personality. Things begin to happen. They are chronicled in the accident reports and police blotters."

To the Theosophical mind, a touch of the "occult" - buried tendencies from past incarnations - begins to show up here. This impression becomes stronger when we learn that in groups of truck drivers, accidents tend to be epidemic. "Too often the germs of faulty attitude seem to lie dormant and undetected for a while, then pop up to plague the fleet with an epidemic of violations and accidents." It is found that good supervision has considerable to do with it;  but variations in this are hardly likely to account for these epidemic cycles,  The astral light - "subconscious ESP" as some moderns would call it - conveying disastrous, impulses silently from one to another, is more likely.

Of course everything that applies to groups of truck drivers applies also to other drivers. "Bad Karma" is a comprehensive answer; but may not mean much until one recognizes that "all karma's carried forward (from life to life) in the form of mental deposits," waiting its opportunity and a favorable environment to bring it forth.  There are probably few of us who have not fought in a thousand wars of the past, carrying deeply buried within us, scenes of violence and hatred, of mutilation and bloodshed, uncompensated by later beneficent action. It would be interesting to find out what relation may exist between addiction to prize-fights, fondness for reading accounts of murders and accidents in detail, liking for murder mysteries and other horrors, and "accident prone-ness." Also what bloody orgies with which children are being fed on television may have to do with future accident rates. America boasts herself to be a "peaceful" country, and technically speaking we have been rather non-aggressive. But we have killed the millionth victim on the highways, and several times that number have been more or less permanently injured. In other words, in the last half-century we have gone through the gore of a major war - with no excuse or reason for it, and even the dubious gains of "righteous" war absent. At the present rates, we may expect to kill the second million before 1975 - and there seems little to stop it.

A Mahatma wrote that "human nature is unfathomable even for us."  (We may safely assume, by no means as unfathomable as for the rest of us.) Perhaps as good an example of the kind of puzzle he meant is that William the Conqueror, apparently the only English monarch to abolish capital punishment, also had men blinded who killed any of his deer without permission. Unquestionably he was a very "mixed character" in more ways than one. What is the karma of a man with such a curious nature - and there have been many of them?  If finally on the way to success along the true path of humanity, he may well become one of those men of high character and altruism who nevertheless suffer the torments of the damned through life. The awful and lonely horror of blindness is certainly one of the worst fates that can befall; to many at least, the very worst. But many fine men have been blind or become so.


Bodhisattva's and Mahatmas

Katinka Hesselink

May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. (*)

One of the more interesting aspects of Mahayana Buddhism is the idea of the Bodhisattva. The bodhisattva-oath has become quite popular even outside the circle of Buddhists. The general idea of the bodhisattva oath is to gain wisdom for the benefit of humanity. (*) On Kheper.net it is written (last checked december 18th 2004) that:

Yet Blavatsky was not only a great synthesiser, but a great innovator as well (just consider her two enormous master works, Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine). She introduced many new concepts: cyclic evolution, root races, Atlantis baroque stories (not just Plato's parable, or even Donnelly's research), a cosmology of of innumerable cycles and worlds, and the completely original ideal, not of a yogi-saint, nor a boddhisattva, but, for want of a better word, a "superman"-adept, active on all planes in fulfillment of divine purpose, unlike the transcendence-striving boddhisattva ideal.

I might just ignore this, but it is evidence of a misunderstanding of Blavatsky's doctrines that is widespread (especially outside the theosophical movement). Actually, the bodhisattva-ideal fits in quite well with Blavatsky's occultism. The end of spiritual growth is, like in all Mahayana-buddhism, attaining Buddha-hood. This was put as follows by one of the Mahatmas (the chohan, the highest mahatma in the hierarchy who communicated with A.P. Sinnett: the Chohan):

Mystical Christianity, that is to say that Christianity which teaches self redemption through one's own seventh principle — the liberated Para-atma (Augoeides) called by the one Christ, by others Buddha, and equivalent to regeneration or rebirth in spirit — will be found just the same truth as the Nirvana of mystical Buddhism. All of us have to get rid of our own Ego, the illusory apparent self, to recognise our true self in a transcendental divine life. But if we would not be selfish we must strive to make other people see that truth, to recognise the reality of that transcendental self, the Buddh, the Christ or God of every preacher. This is why even exoteric Buddhism is the surest path to lead men toward the one esoteric truth. As we find the world now, whether Christian, Mussalman or Pagan, justice is disregarded and honour and mercy both flung to the winds. (Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1st Series) (online version)

One of Blavatsky's statements on this is as follows: [Rahat means the same as arhat. In Therevada Buddhism this was the name for the state the highest of the Buddha's disciples reached]

by the term Rahat we meant an adept, or one who “has developed his psychical powers to their fullest extent.” Such a person is known in India as a Rishi or a Yogi, and there are many stages and degrees of development before the pinnacle of spiritual perfectibility is reached. Thus a Rahat may be of a lower or higher degree of development. The four degrees or stages are Sukkha-vipassaka (lowest), Tevijja (third), Shad Abhia (second), and Siwupilidimbiapat (first) the highest. ([ON RAHATSHIP] [The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 1, October, 1880, p. 19], C.W. Volume II, p. 487)

Blavatsky's work is volumnious, and clarity is hampered by the fact that she wanted to unite all spiritual traditions at once. She therefore uses Buddhist terminology in the above, from Therevada Buddhism. But in other places she will with equal ease refer to Mahayana Buddhism or some aspect of Hindu philosophy. Her Buddhist background is most easily recognized in one of her latest works and the most mystical one: The Voice of the Silence.

a well-known belief in the East (as in the West, too, for the matter of that) that every additional Buddha or Saint is a new soldier in the army of those who work for the liberation or salvation of mankind. In Northern Buddhist countries, where the doctrine of Nirmanakayas -- those Bodhisattvas who renounce well-earned Nirvana or the Dharmakaya vesture (both of which shut them out for ever from the world of men) in order to invisibly assist mankind and lead it finally to Paranirvana -- is taught, every new Bodhisattva or initiated great Adept is called the "liberator of mankind." [The Voice of the Silence, Glossary to part III, note 20.

Buddhism, in the form that has reached the west, has not stressed psychic powers in the way the Blavatsky did. There are two good reasons for this. First of all siddhis (psychic powers, roughly) are a distraction on the path. Blavatsky herself starts out the Voice of the Silence by saying:
THESE instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower IDDHI. (iddhi is Pali for siddhi).

Buddhism and Blavatsky clearly agree on this. The second reason why the siddhis have not been stressed in the West is that many people simply don't believe in them. Since Buddhist practice doesn't rely on siddhis, they can simply be ignored. Still, in Buddhist history siddhis are unavoidable. They play a vital part in the mythology around the Buddha himself as found in the Pali-scriptures. In Mahayana Buddhism even masters in the 20th century were occasionally reputed to have such powers. (^) It is therefore not unreasonable to say that with regard to the subject of Bodhisattva's the only difference between buddhism and Blavatsky is the amount of stress put on different aspects of the story. There is no fundamental difference, only one of terminology. Indirectly the spirit of the Bodhisattva vow pervades all the writings of Blavatsky and the Mahatmas. Here are a few example:

It is he alone who has the love of humanity at heart, who is capable of grasping thoroughly the idea of a regenerating practical Brotherhood who is entitled to the possession of our secrets. He alone, such a man - will never misuse his powers, as there will be no fear that he should turn them to selfish ends. A man who places not the good of mankind above his own good is not worthy of becoming our chela - he is not worthy of becoming higher in knowledge than his neighbour. (Mahatma Letters, let. 38, p. 248, chron letter 33, p100,101)

True Occultism is the destruction of the false idea of Self, and therefore true spiritual perfection and knowledge are nothing else but the complete identification of our finite "selves" with the Great All. It follows, therefore, that no spiritual progress at all is possible except by and through the bulk of Humanity. It is only when the whole of Humanity has attained happiness that the individual can hope to become permanently happy - for the individual is an inseparable part of the Whole. (Coll. Wr. XI, p. 105)  (more such quotes)

(*) I have gathered bodhisattva-oaths at: http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/bodhisatva.htm

(^) For information on iddhis or siddhis in Buddhism see for instance:

The Pool and the Waters

P.G. Bowen, The Sayings of the Ancient One.

   Then I knew that my toil was not ended, for though I was saved, yet my Brothers were lost.  And I thought, I will return to the Wilderness, and lighten the lot of the Lost Ones with Water from this Pool which I have found.

    I built a canal from the Pool across the Desert Land;  and I dug deep wells in the cities to store the Waters of Truth.  I named myself Guardian of the Waters, and called the thirsty to drink, and many came at my bidding and drank as I directed.

    Then I marvelled, for I saw that all who came departed unrefreshed and I tasted the water of mine own wells, and found it warm and salt.  Then I planned to build a road from the cities unto the Pool, to make the Way easy and smooth to the feet of my weary Brothers;  but when I had made my Highway, all those that traveled by it returned again to the cities reviling me for a deceiver.  At this I wondered greatly, and set forth by the Way I had fashioned;  but I found that indeed there was no road, for the Sands had swallowed it up.

    And at last WISDOM flowered in my Heart, and I saw that Knowledge and Truth can never be reached by any easy and pleasant Way:  they can never be found by cunning device of the Mind of Man;  TRUTH MUST BE REACHED THROUGH THE STRENGTH OF THE HEART:  AND KNOWLEDGE GRASPED WITH THE POWER OF THE HAND.


Socrates

Canadian Theosophist, Volume 23, #9 (1942)

One of his countrymen asked Apollo through the Delphic Oracle who was the wisest man in Greece.  "Socrates" was the name pronounced through the mouth of the Pythia. When Socrates was told this, he answered:  "I can set just one reason why. Most people are ignorant and do not know they are ignorant. On the other hand, I know quite well that I am ignorant, and I also admit it.''

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