Re: = Oath of the Abyss = What does it mean ? Newcessity ?
Jun 29, 1998 08:21 PM
by Jerry Schueler
> If Karma is a fact and all Nature (including each of us from top
> to bottom of our own nature) has existence and is significant,
> then, such an "oath" is superfluous.
Karma is a "fact" in the same sense that all samsara is fact.
Karma is the law of causality that governs our mayavic world.
The "oath" is a psychological necessity just like the so-called
Bodhisattvic vow. Both are taken to demonstrate our sincerity.
>Karma operates whether we
> like it or not.
>Do you recall in LIGHT ON THE PATH there is a
> statement made by the writer that for the aspirant a point is
> reached when the vibration of emotion, of life, seems to come to
> an end, a stillness. This is then seemingly an "Abyss." But
> once past, the life of the disciple continues (perhaps on a
> different level of attention) and new vistas open for the
> aspiring and thinking soul.
Could be more of a Dark Night of the Soul than an abyss.
These are two different things.
> That book has many valuable and
> suggestive ideas, but is not easily understood. Its values have
> to be dug out of it by many returns and meditations on its
Well, from my own experience, having had a mystical experience
before reading it, I had no real trouble understanding it.
Mystical phrases, which are often seemingly paradoxical,
are understood clearly after seeing nonduality directly, even
if only for a few seconds.
Here's how I begin to think about what you say:
> In a just and fair Universe everyone and everything is
> inter-related and all interactions are always registered and
> reacted to. We are all involved and cannot the facts of our
> present existence, all together.
> The alternative is a meaningless chaos in which we and everything
> else is an insane jumble. And there is too much order that we
> can sense to believe that to be the case. [ Or is insanity and
> jumble solely a manifestation of confusion in human consciousness
> ? Are we the only sane person in an otherwise insane and vast
> community ? ]
The way I see it, Dallas, is that our universe contains both
order and chaos in it. Thus it is both fair and unfair. But
a "fair" universe would be dastardly difficult to define.
There are always two sides to every event between two people,
and what one thinks is fair is often unfair in the eyes of
> The only glitch I can detect is our way of looking at things is:
> Are we impatient to know everything at once ? If so we hope that
> by faith, belief, rite and ritual (devised by someone else and
> which we are not given a clear and logical view of) we will
> somehow stumble on a meaningful "path" through the maze. [ But,
> Theosophy, gives a very extensive explanation of its solutions
> and reasons. So that there is no ambiguity left in our being
> able to perceive its logic and the way it serves to answer many
> problems in our lives, and fill many gaps of our present
> ignorance. IMHO ]
Whoa! I think you are giving Theosophy too much credit here.
Mr James Long, a past leader of Pasadena and my spiritual
mentor, once told me that I was trying to put truth into
a box with a pretty yellow ribbon around it, and that this
was not only impossible but I was setting myself up for a
big fall. I have since discovered that he was right, and
that no one can ever grasp truth in their hands or put it
into words, not even Theosophy can do that. But it can, and does
point the way in which we can go.
> Is it only mankind that is so independent that no rules apply, or
> that the whole of Nature ceases to have meaning ?
Do animals need to have meaning in their lives? I don't
think so. This is, as Jung says, a human trait. Of course
rules apply. There are rules for both order and for chaos.
We choose them and agreed to them when we came here.
> As I see it, Theosophy, and its propositions serves to restore
> intellectual meaning to our lives and being. Are we so confused
> by education and belief (and our fear inducing memories of
> error), that we cannot find any base for stability from which to
> begin ? Is it not possible that the very fact that we quest and
> seek, indicates that at the root of our being, there is something
> that cannot "die ?" That is permanent ? -- in a world of
> constantly shifting shadows ? Its stability induces in us the
> desire to know ? All our difficulties, it seems to me, centers
> around responsibility. Why is that ?
I don't question what you say here, Dallas. The search for
meaning is a nobel one. But you always want to hold onto
order and throw away chaos. This is like trying to hold
onto high and throw away low. They only exist in their
relationship together and you can't have one without the
other. Fair and unfair are two sides of one coin. They are
the polar ends of a duality and co-exist together. You
can transcend both, but you can't keep one and throw away
> What is an Abyss?
Essentially, it refers to a Ring-Pass-Not of some kind.
These rings are what hems us in, keeps us within certain
boundaries of existence. Without them we would indeed
have chaos reign so they are good things. But they hem
us in and restrict us so they are bad things. Like most
things in life, they are both good and bad depending on
how we look at them
> Theosophy proposes that we are a mixture of both: A combination
> of two streams of consciousness: the "descending God," and the
> ascending "Animal Instinct" ( or consciousness on its personal
> way to "divine existence" ). I am afraid that my ability to
> express this may be faulty. To me the distinction is clear.
No, not faulty. I agree with this.
> Is the "Abyss" the fear of seeing one's lower self (the animal
> emotional self linked to the lower mind--or, Kama with
> Kama-Manas) in its true colors and actuality ?
>From our side of the Abyss, the fear is spirituality because
to become aware of our real spiritual self goes with seeing
the death or end of the personality, and the personality
rightly fears the Abyss because it means death to it.
> I can understand this to be distasteful, (to all of us) and
> seeing even a portion of our memories may result in rejection.
> But that is fear, which can be overcome by knowledge; and
> knowledge comes from thinking.
Some knowledge does come from thinking, yes. But spiritual
knowledge comes when thinking stops. Spiritual knowledge
or gnosis transcends thinking entirely. Thinking is below
the Abyss while gnosis is above it.
> Thought is an assistant, not an enemy of the Lower Self. It
> assists in making a transformation to something sublime. [It is
> likened to a teacher assisting a pupil,...
Thought is the slayer of the mind (?? or something like
that). Thought and thinking is oriented to the mental
plane which is why consciousness on the causal plane
seems like a coma, and consciousness on the spiritual
planes is unthinkable. Thinking takes us so far, but
then must be left behind.
> It is said that the "battle is in the mind." We have to
> eventually fight out the field of our own past doing and of our
> early choices. No one else is going to do it for us. Also,
> there is no "escape."
Agreed. But I do not agree with the notion that we have to
suffer for every wrong done in the past and be rewarded for
every good done in the past, for then our future would be
infinitely long and all the great mystics or jivamuktas would
be wrong. I believe in the promise of release or moksha
from the Wheel of Necessity, and this means that karma
must be comsumable.
> So many religions are built on the hope that we can escape ! One
> of the most recent, of which a history remains is that of the
> choice of Emperor Constantine. He believed bishop Eusebius
> (that God would pardon him and remit his "sins from punishment"
> if he would become a Christian and establish the Church,
> politically, as a State Religion in the Empire. Out of fear
> that he would suffer from his terrible crimes towards his family
> and nation, he embraced Christianity and made it the State
> Religion of the Roman Empire so as (he hoped) to escape the
> results (and just personal suffering due to him) for those deeds.
> Did it work ? What are the effects ? Should one "believe" in an
> institution that advocates doctrines that remit sins and does
> nothing for the victims ? Who makes restitution to them ?
I see little difference in this and a pious Theosophist
who does good works in order to accure personal merit for
a better life next time.
> It plunged Europe and the rest of our world into a darkness of
> blind faith and blind belief from which we have not yet fully
> recovered. Those who did not "believe" were ruthlessly
> exterminated, tortured, victimized, for the next 1200 years or
But the exoteric doctrine of karma did much the same in India.
Have to go. Jerry S.
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