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deva-chan and theosophical terms

May 12, 1998 08:50 AM
by Eldon B Tucker

Jerry S:

>I too have a great deal of respect for HPB. Some of the words
>she used are quaint and out of date while others never existed
>(devachan, for example is made of the Sanskrit deva-god and
>Tibetan (?) chan-land). A few words like karma have made
>it into English (samadhi is getting there) but most have meaning
>only within the folds of the TSs.

Actually, there is a 'dewachan', a blissful godworld in
Tibetan Buddhism. I've read a good description of it in
a book by Kalu Rimpoche, and if I remember it correctly
it's referred to in a book on Sanskrit by Theosophical
University Press and Richard Taylor also discussed the
term a few years back on theos-l.

You are right that many terms have a specialized meaning
within theosophical ranks. This is true of any specialized
area of thought: a specialized terminology arises to
describe the advances in thought found there. There are
specialized terms in mathematics, computer work, linguistics,
Buddhist studies, etc. Many of the terms are borrowed from
other areas, and not always keeping the same meanings.
This is not because they are inaccurate references to
other religions and philosophies, just that the developing
theosophical terminology borrowed heavily, adopting terms
with similar, but not always exactly the same meanings.

-- Eldon

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