RE: Theos-World Responses to Peter
Mar 26, 1999 07:40 AM
by Peter Merriott
> >>My understanding of Theosophy is that the Law Karma & Reincarnation is
> an impersonal Law. I don't have a sense that people are reborn on the
> basis that they believe they have 7 or more lifetimes ahead of them. I
> would also want to question the phrase - "I know this attitude is self
> Peter, we seem to be talking apples and oranges here.
> I was talking about liberation in a single lifetime, not
> the doctrines of reincarnation and karma. These are
> two separte things.
I am quite clear what we are talking about. But lets recap.
In support of your "liberation in a single lifetime" view you have
constantly maintained that any view opposed to this is essentially negative
in attitude. In this light you proposed that for Theosophists to believe
there were future lives ahead of them was "self defeating" and "therefore a
rebirth will be a selfulling prophecy." (Your words) I showed that this
argument does not stand up to examination. There is nothing to suggest
that the Law of Karma & reincarnation can be overcome by 'personal beliefs'
in the way you suggest.
You reply (above) that the Law of Karma & Reincarnation has nothing to do
with a discussion about achieving Liberation in one birth (which involves
disolving personal karma and breaking the wheel of rebirth, according to
your previous posts). I find this surprising, to put it mildly.
> >>> After all, people are reborn even though they don't believe
> in reincarnation, aren't they? There is no self fulfilling prophecy
> there, unfortunately.>>
> But the "person" who either believes or doesn't believe
> is not reincarnated. Only the Higher Self, which Knows
> and doesn't have to believe. Karma, as cause and effect,
> works across planes as well as within them.
Here you argue against yourself. Either personal beliefs have an effect as
a self fulfilling prophecy or they don't. However, here you come nearer the
Theosophical perspective which states that impersonal spiritual Laws govern
all manifestation and spritual 'progress' and not the beliefs of the
personality. The latter can work with or against but not govern those Laws.
> The mountain climber is not an
> applicable simile here, because spiritual advancement
> is linked to imagination and self-image which can
> be changed in an instant. The spiritual mountain
> climber must clearly visualize that he/she is already
> at the top of the hill.
On the contrary, I think it is a very pertinent analogy of the journey
because we can use it to contrast these two approaches. Let's first
acknowledge the spiritual path is essentially an 'inner journey' and the
mountain climb is only an analogy for this 'inner path'. One approach sees
the mountainer taking stock of his position and the journey ahead of him and
making a start from where he is, right now. In the other approach, his
colleague sits himself down and 'imagines' that he is at the goal already.
Which of these is the more likely to arrive at the summit? The one who
actually travels the path, long though it is, or the one who imagines he is
at the top?
I can see the picture some weeks later when the first traveller is nearing
his goal. "Only a few more days now." he says to himself. Meanwhile his
colleague, still at their starting place below, shouts up to him - "You'll
never get there with that attitude you know!"
Where the analogy is weak is that it does not include that the essence of
the path is to help each other on the way. Include this and it will do, I
> >>> ... he is likely to tell us that if those guides indicate that
> the journey ahead will take many days it is foolish
> to pretend we can make it in just one. >>
> Agreed, but these "guides" have clearly said that it can
> be done in one dy.
I think we are going round in circles here. This is not what HPB and the
Masters have "clearly said" at all, as I have endeavoured to point out to
you in each post. It is a rare exception, and even then we don't know what
HPB was refering to by "exception".
If you know of somewhere in the Teachings of Theosophy where it is stated
that our Karma can be disolved by forgiving ourselves and that we can reach
the 'goal' by imagining we are already there - then please bring it forward
to this group.
If some of the other major religions say it, that's fine. We each must
choose which path to follow. But keep in mind, while HPB and the Masters
affirmed the esoteric doctrines behind all religions, they in no way
endorsed *every* view held by such religions. HPB affirms the esoteric
nature of Christianity but doesn't suggest believing this is our only life
after which we may go to Heaven, in the Christian sense of the word.
> we soon find that the goal is the Path itself
> and that there is no "goal" to get to. When that idea
> really hits home, we are already there.
>From the Theosophical Perspective our essential nature is the Divine Self,
itself a radiation of the Absolute. So yes, in 'essence' we are already
THAT. Yet that does not do away with the evolutionary goals required of
the 'spiritual pilgrim' to acquire individual Consciousness (Manas) and
blend that consciousness with the Higher Self (Atma-Buddhi) - to become,
"through self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma).." a
Dhyani Buddha. Is this not the 3rd Fundamental Proposition of the Secret
Doctrine? I qoute this passage in full below. Presumably this is one of
the views you regard as self defeating. I find it quite inspiring.
" the Secret Doctrine teaches:--
(c) The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the
latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory
pilgrimage for every Soul -- a spark of the former -- through the Cycle of
Incarnation (or "Necessity") in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law,
during the whole term. In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine
Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which
issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth principle, -- or the
OVER-SOUL, -- has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal
world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural
impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its
Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the
lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest
archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy
admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego
through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses
(Secret Doctrine, vol 1, p17)
> >>At worst we will not properly prepare ourselves for the journey ahead
> and risk breaking ourselves in the attempt.<<
> This attitude, while emminantly practical, will never get us
> anywhere. How much "preparation" do we still need if we
> have already been reincarnating millions of lifetimes?
No doubt if we only have to 'imagine' we are at the goal we will not need to
prepare for the journey. But ask the following, does the writer who has
written many books not prepare and plan his next work? Does the seasoned
athlete not train for his next race? Does the accomplished musician not
practice for his next concert. Does the experienced mountain climber not
prepare for his next climb and plan each stage?
Preparation, implementation, reflection, gestation and then another cycle -
these are all necessary and usefull stages of the cycle of activity,
occuring over and over again. Obviously there is a balance in this. To
'rush in' without preparation or to endlessly prepare (or just imagine) and
not 'do' are both imbalanced. But Theosophy teaches none of these, as far
as I can tell. It encourages Right Knowledge and Right Effort based on
Right Motive - in the present and not at some future date.
But let me ask you - putting aside the notion of disolving our own Karma by
simply forgiving ourselves - if we only have to 'imagine' we are at the
goal, does that mean you will achieve this goal today, right now, if you sit
down and so 'imagine' it? Or is Study, Preparation and regular Practice
also required in this endeavour of visualization? Once acknowledge the
need for *any one* of these three then we are back to the idea of a path to
travel, a path that takes time and involves the development of the
Individual Consciousness and certain faculites within us.
Then arises the question of "What is Right Knowledge which leads to Right
Effort?" This is something each of us has to settle for ourselves. My own
view is that Theosophy provides some real and profound answers to these
questions about our journey.
> >>With wrong knowledge we defeat ourselves before we have even started
> along the way.>>
> But what, exactly, is wrong knowledge?
In my view: Believing we will reach the goal simply by imagining we are
You put the view that HPB was talking 'head stuff' when she pointed out the
Four Paths are linked with the Seven Stages of Initiation. Instead you
propose the real criterion of where we are in these stages is the measure of
our Desire for liberation.
> The ONLY way to know if we are somewhere in the seven
> required lifetimes is to determine our desire for
> liberation. Without such a strong desire, we almost
> surely aren't.
To 'desire' and to 'be able' are not identical. To desire to be a world
champion chess player is no gaurantee that one will even learn how to play
the game, let alone get to the finals. Desire supplies energy, but not
intelligence, knowledge and ability. I will stick with HPB on this one.
Jerry, please offer something from the Teachings of Theosophy to support
your view if you reply again on this topic. I think it would help.
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