Re: = Oath of the Abyss = What does it mean ? Newcessity ?
Jun 30, 1998 02:51 PM
by Dallas TenBroeck
I had a nice long answer -- and must have hit the wrong key so it
vanished. Aren't you happy. So I'll put in some notes down
> From: "Jerry Schueler" <email@example.com>
> Date: Monday, June 29, 1998 9:05 PM
> Subject: Re: = Oath of the Abyss = What does it mean ? Newcessity ?
>> If Karma is a fact and all Nature (including each of us from
>> 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.
Dal: Agreed. They are props for the personality. Mnemonics.
We need not demonstrate our "sincerity" to anyone. A vow taken
to one's self ought to be as binding as any other taken
"outside." But it rarely is. Like springtime determinations!
>>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
>> 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.
Dal: Only a "dark night" (emotional description) to the lower
mind. But it has the capacity, with the help of the Higher Mind,
(IMHO) to universalize and to dispel this dire anticipation,
realizing that it, too, is an immortal and by learning it can
dispell fear and the ignorance that causes it.
>> That book has many valuable and
>> suggestive ideas, but is not easily understood. Its values
>> 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.
GOOD -- NOT EVERYONE HAS BEEN SO FORTUNATE.
> 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
>> 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
>> jumble solely a manifestation of confusion in human
>> ? 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
Yes, I too see order and seeming Chaos. But I also mentally
visualize a greater environment which runs in grand cycles of
time, as also of place and being. Are those to be called CHAOS,
or is there not hinted in the S D a regularity called the "great
Breath" or the "pulsations" that vibrate throughout eternity ?
SD I 27 # 8 )
>> The only glitch I can detect is our way of looking at things
>> Are we impatient to know everything at once ? If so we hope
>> 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.
>> 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
>> 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.
DAl: I agree with Mr. Long. We frame our own pictures of these
things and sometiems our ability is not as extensive as is needed
in terms of ideals, ultimates and universals -- so we find we
have to change and enlarge them ultimately as more factors are
grasped. I fing this happening with me all the time. But they
are not destructive (I find) of the original premises, merely
details and add-ons to the picture. Then I find that one has to
be so careful in what one says and the illustrations one uses, as
they can be so easily misunderstood. So much time is then spent
in adjusting ideas between each other.
>> Is it only mankind that is so independent that no rules apply,
>> 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.
Dal: I would say that the animal kingdom in all its diversity is
illustrative of the many different kinds of instincts that are
under development there, which lead ultimately in those immortal
"Monads" that are animating the collective intellligence that we
call "an animal," ( Potential Men) to their ultimate
individualization in another Manvantara yet to come. HPB seems
to me to describe this process in some detail beginning Vol. 1,
p, 153 to p. 299. She then amplifies the details in Vol. 2. She
says that the Secret Doctrine teaches "history" SD I 267 top. A
rather significant statement.
>> As I see it, Theosophy, and its propositions serves to restore
>> intellectual meaning to our lives and being. Are we so
>> by education and belief (and our fear inducing memories of
>> error), that we cannot find any base for stability from which
>> begin ? Is it not possible that the very fact that we quest
>> seek, indicates that at the root of our being, there is
>> 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,
>> 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
It is not "chaos" that I would throw away at all, but behind
either order or chaos must stand a larger background that
encompasses them and of which we have only the S D to describe
their probable arrangements -- which are under the primary Law of
Karma, as I uinderstand it (not human karma) but a UNIVERSAL
As "pairs of opposites" they cannot be "thrown away." they need
each other, but the fact that we can visualize them both,
indicates that there is something in "us" which transcends those
limits. Or am I wrong ?
>> 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
Dal. (SD I 90, 129-135)
The "Ring Pass-Not" in the 'Book of the Dead' of Egypt, as I
understand it, refers to the abyss between our life and the
after-death states. It also refers to the stages of Initiation
whereby one passes up the ladder of becoming wise, and the,
wiser. Each life, for those who are determined, in retrospect
shows evidence of this process.
There would be little use pasing through a ceremony of which we
could not understand the meaning and which we were unprepared
for. I believe that the determined life is one in which one
gradually secure information, and then through mediation on that,
we see that which is linked to what we already are conversant
with and convinced of. Then, does this not lead us to an
understaning of what must come when one is ready to accept
responsibility on a grander scale ?
The fact that this stage is described indicates to me that there
are those who have passed through it consciousnly and are able to
describe its purpose, as well as its being. What man has done,
Man can do !
>> Theosophy proposes that we are a mixture of both: A
>> of two streams of consciousness: the "descending God," and
>> 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.
Have you ever considered (as I did just now) that the personality
is made up of billions of immoral life-atoms -- of monads, each
on their path of progression, and that hey have joined together
as a cooperative, to enable one among them ( ourselves, as a unit
of consciousness ) to use them and to gain for itself
enligtenment -- self-conscious-spirituality -- or Benevolent
When the Personality (our lower mind) grasps the idea that it,
too, is an immortal under independent self-instruction and
self-education in what is apparently an endless chain of
experieince, it feels a sense of security, of satisfaction -- all
the effort is not wasted. There is now a meaning to living. We
are not alone. We find there are brother pilgrims with whom we
can relate. etc....
It knows then that the dissolution of the body will bring to its
many parts a space of rest, but only temprarily, as they will
have to reassemble ,and provide the returning Ego (from Devachan)
with the fresh personality, reassembled anew ,for their joint
continued education. It will then fear death no more than we
fear going to sleep each night.
>> 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.
I think this is more a matter of description than of actuality.
Each would describe it in their own words. There is innate
knowledge, there is acquired knowledge. some knowledge is
reasoned, and more may be acquired by profound meditation on all
the assembled puzzling bits of evidence that our memory can
display before us. to me this is strong evidence of purpose and
a communality of method.
Modern psychologists do not take, as Theosopy dies, the Ego
center in man (The Higher EGO -- Buddhi-Manas) to be an immortal.
hey do not regard reincatrnation as possible. to them the
dispersal at death of the components of the personality is final.
They do not regard the immortal "Atom" as symptomatic of an
un-dying Consciousness. Theosophy adopts that view, and extends
it to the evidence offered by the Adepts.
>> Thought is an assistant, not an enemy of the Lower Self. It
>> assists in making a transformation to something sublime. [It
>> 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.
VOICE OF THE SILENCE, p. 2 :
"The Mind is the great Slayer of the Real. Let the Disciple slay
the Slayer." Question: Who or what is the "disciple ?" What is
his nature and power ? How is that the mind slays the "real ?"
Is it the memory and the earlier adopted conclusions that "slay"
through continured delusions ? Do we not have to un-learn
certain things ? It is difficult and painful, often.
I have never felt that consciousness on the "causal plane" -- do
you mean Buddhi ? -- is anything else but an extension of pure
Manas -- a potential to regard events and Past, Present and
Future as totally inter-related. As to Spiritual thought and or
planes -- Is the key to those not opened by active benevolence
and brotherhood -- or so the Adepts seem to repeatedly stress ?
If you mean Intuition then I agree. But Intuition is
"all-knowingness." The personality, to participate in such a
condition, has to give up its selfish isolation, and desire to be
related to others who are its peers, to be educated and refined
to an ethical level, so that all its life is no longer focussed
on self-defence, but now is brought to be focused on brotherhood
and benevolence only.
>> 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
>> 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.
How else do we as a part of nature close the books on the
disturbances we have made ? Responsibility and knowledge enable
us to assist in makig ourselves trouble free, as I see it. And
adjusting the past is only reasonable. Who but a coward would
desire to escape it ? If we have made errors in the past that we
now fear the consequences of, why is it that we fear at all if at
the end of the life we now live we are going to be snuffed out
anyway ? Is it not this inner fear and certainty that we are at
the "bar" of nature that which moves us to desire to "escape ?"
But in a "just and fair" Universe why should we allowed the sole
luxury of a forgiveness, and a dispensation from paying our
debts ? Out of that idea the whole basis for the politics of
Church intermixture with State arose during the reign of
Constantine. Confession, remission of sins, etc... emerged and
has been used for centuries as a basis for welding the attention
of the "faithful" who are from early childhood enjoined from
"qusestioning." Have faith ! Faith is what ? Prove it ! You
are a heretic -- Be excommunicated ! Thank goodness for
>> So many religions are built on the hope that we can escape !
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> Did it work ? What are the effects ? Should one "believe" in
>> 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.
OK but Theosophy in practice is the service of others not of
one's self, save as a member of humanity. We all advance
together and we assist others to assist us. Or am I completely
off the track ?
>> 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.
I lived in India for over 35 years, and never found that anyone
there employed the idea of karma to try to escape that which
everyone knew well: one eventually pays for one's errors. It is
true that some Brahmins who were falso to their own superior
Knowledge tried to impose by fear on some of the populace and
cmpellthen to do actions which their own shastras and Vedas
prohibit. They, like every other kind of priest in the world,
will have to account for that individually to KARMA.
>Have to go. Jerry S.
ME TOO FOR THE MOMENT Thank you enjoyed this
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