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Doctrine vs. doctrines

May 11, 1998 08:49 AM
by K Paul Johnson

Wes asked Jerry:

> > By what standard do you take HPB to task for giving "wrong"
and > "untrue" statements?  Jerry, are you saying that HPB
incorrectly cited > Buddhist doctrines, or that the teachings she
gave are wrong?  If you > are saying that HPB misrepresented or
misunderstood a particular tenet > of a specific religion (e.g.,
Buddhism), we should only keep in mind > that HPB made no claim
to infallibility.

AMEN!!  But Theosophists often fail to keep this in mind, and in
fact get irate when anyone reminds them of it.

  She admitted to making > mistakes, of being
human, in other words, and of course could have > missed an idea
from time to time. In that case, I would have to agree > with
you.  On the other hand, if you are saying that HPB did not know
> the ancient, occult doctrine, as taught to her by her Teachers,
then how > do you know that?

Here I think we have to separate two levels of meaning.  "The
dharma that can be stated is not the true dharma."  "He who says,
does not know.  He who knows, does not say."  Not because he will
not, IMO but because he cannot.  There are *doctrines* which are
found in millions of books, and of which HPB gives sometimes a
perfect, sometimes a fair, and occasionally a poor explanation.
But beyond that is the Doctrine, not something that can be
committed to verbal explanations or found in books, but something
that transcends that level of the mind.  The Heart Doctrine, vs.
The Eye Doctrine(s).  So what did HPB learn from her teachers?
Lots of doctrines, which she conveys in her books.  And the
Doctrine, which they could not convey directly to her but only
awaken her to recognize within.  Similarly, HPB's books cannot
contain what you call the "Ancient, occult doctrine," (which is
actually *eternal*) but they can awaken you to recognize it

  By what means do YOU know the
truth, but HPB did > not?

At one level that of doctrines, there are vastly more sources in
print now than in HPB's time, and Jerry can know more than she
did.  At the level of the ineffable, Jerry is surely not claiming
himself to be "right" and HPB "wrong."

 How would you know what she was
taught, or what the adepts of > antiquity taught, except by
reading her works?  >

If it is indeed the eternal dharma, then evidence of it surrounds
us in every atom.  Every moment, everywhere, it surrounds and
penetrates it; it is the truth of our being.  If HPB's Masters
taught her to awaken to it, so have all real Masters of all
lineages-- with a zillion different *doctrines*.  Thus there are
a zillion different ways to *know* it which have nothing to do
with reading her books.  On the other hand, if you want to know
what *doctrines* she was taught then you are right, her writings
are the only way.  However, if you want to know what the "adepts
of antiquity" taught there are thousands of times more books now
than in HPB's time which convey those various *doctrines.*

 Her entire premise was that the ancient,
eternal wisdom religion > exists, and has always existed, and she
was allowed to present some of > the evidence for it in her

Which she did well.

 She never claimed that her writings > were that wisdom
in its entirety!

Or that it could be conveyed in writings at all.

  (See her articles, "What is Truth?"  > and "The
Babel of Modern Thought." for her discussions on this).  > Jerry,
I would be interested to hear your and others' comments.
Richard comments:
> So anyway . . .  my opinion is that I can only take it as a very bad sign--and
> perhaps even a possible indicator of second death--when individuals point to a
> book rather than their own transcendental natures and call it the "source" for
> their Theosophy.

Which gets back to the same issue.  Theosophy, the eternal dharma
present in every monad, doesn't come from books, although they
can point us toward it.  "Theosophy" as a brand name does refer
to HPB's specific *doctrines* but she warned again and again that
we should never confuse the "specific tenets" with essential


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