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Re: Does the Theosophical Society have a Doctrine?

May 11, 1998 04:00 PM
by Jerry Schueler

>A number of theosophists have reacted very negatively to a statement
>that the Theosophical Society has a doctrine. Now, given that there IS a
>difference between doctrine and dogma, a statement (whether true or not)
>can be made: The Theosophical Society has a teaching or set of
>teachings, which the individual members can either accept or reject as
>they see fit. This was the gist of every statement I have heard or read
>by Theosophists that the Theosophical Society has a doctrine.
>Now, given that there are a number of representatives of a number of
>Theosophical Societies here, I would like to know who agrees or
>disagrees with the statement given above (The Theosophical Society has a
>teaching or set of teachings, which the individual members can either
>accept or reject as they see fit), and, more importantly, why.
>Bart Lidofsky

Bart, I suspect that most everyone will agree with your statement
as presented. I do. The question then becomes, how much or
how far can one "reject" or "disagree" and still be a "good"
Theosophist?  And what does a good Theosophist do when
s/he discovers that HPB says something about a topic which
is not supported by proponents of that subject?

I know that Theosophy is not Buddhism. HPB, for reasons
of her own, took what she considered the best of all of the
religions, and put them together while rejecting ideas that
she did not agree with. The main example here that comes
to my mind is reincarnation. She assures us that humans
can't retrograde to animals because the "door is closed"
and so on. Yet Tibetans, HH the DL included, teach that
this is a very real possibility. Another disconnect is the past-
life review. She claims we all have one after death, yet there
is no such thing found in Tibetan Buddhism. HH the DL was
asked about this, and had no answer why past-life reviews
were considered important in the West, but acknowledges
that the Tibetan masters had never detected such a review
during their detailed analysis of post-death conditions.

Jerry S.

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