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Theos-World Re: Responses to Peter

Mar 29, 1999 08:38 AM
by Gerald Schueler

>>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. >>

Once again (how many times??) this is not my view but
one that is emphasized in Hinduism and Buddhism, and
especially in Tibetan Buddhism. Yes, the opposite view
would be that liberation in this lifetime is impossible. If
this view is true, then it would logically follow that no
one could ever do it, because the next life hasn't got
here yet and all anyone really has is this one. I would
have thought that this was obvious, Peter.

Should we put off till tomorrow what we can possibly do today? Many of
us do exactly that.

>> 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.>>

You are taking what I said the wrong way. I certainly never
said that a belief in future lives is self-defeating for anyone
except for a Chela trying for liberation in this lifetime. Only
for such a Chela is it self-defeating.

>>There is nothing to suggest that the Law of Karma & reincarnation can
be overcome by 'personal beliefs'
in the way you suggest.>>

No, as a "law" it can't ever be overcome. But rather
within the "law" itself is a way out according to all
Buddhist schools, and HPB herself mentions the

The central point that I am trying to make, and one
that you constantly seem to miss, is that Buddhism
teaches liberation, and that many schools see the
possibility of liberation in a single lifetime. 

>>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

Let me say it an another way then.  Liberation in a single lifetime
applies to the spiritual Path, to Chelas if you will (even "informal"
chelas). Reincarnation and karma OTOH apply to everyone.

>>Either personal beliefs have an effect as a self fulfilling prophecy
or they don't.  >>

Of course they do.

>>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.>>

Most people don't believe in "spiritual Laws" at all. For those
people, such laws may as well not exist. To say that karma
is *only* impersonal is plain wrong. It has personal and
impersonal aspects, which is where we get the ideas of both individual
and collective karma. In my view the "beliefs of
the personality" govern our lives. These are the self-image
and the worldview--two of the most important factors of
psychic health that we have.

>> 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. >>

OK, I will go ahead and use your analogy. In the case above, the climber
will simply climb the mountain forever and ever and ever. Why? Because
spirit, the ultimate goal of the journey and the top of our mountain is,
by everyone's definition, infinite.

<< In the other approach, his colleague sits himself down and 'imagines'
that he is at the goal already. 

This is the only way to "get" there, my friend. It begins with
imagination (what do you think imagination is?) and then becomes
reality. This is how intense visualization of most yogas works.

>>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?>>

The first will never get there, and only the second has a possible
chance. The mountain top is infinitely high, which is exactly why your
analogy doesn't work except in a very exoteric sense. Others have
described the mountain top as being on the other side of a deep abyss.
Only by jumping over the abyss can the top be reached. Steady climbing
is a good thing, and makes one a better person, but will never ever lead
anyone to the top.

>>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 think. >>

I agree that helping others up to our own level is a good thing. 

>>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".>>

Of course we know what she meant. The excepts are the few people who
realize that the climbing is infinite and endless and that we already
are at the top of the mountain.

>>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.>>

It is clearly stated that we should not expect rewards for helping
others. Why is that, Peter? Is it not because "rewards" are karmic
and that so long as we expect punishment for wrongs and rewards for
rights we will ever remain under karmic bonds?
As I recall, I already quoted HPB saying that golden chains are just as
binding as iron, and that all chains must ultimately be given up.  As
for our mountain climber, HPB clearly says that our mortal mind will
never understand the immortal, and that the finite cannot understand the
infinite. In other words, there is a deep abyss between the two. 

>>If some of the other major religions say it, that's fine.  We each
must choose which path to follow.  >>

The mainstream of Theosophists have chosen the endless Path of mountain
climbing, and that is fine. I am trying to show that another Path is
available, and one that is not opposed to anything HPB wrote. Perhaps
the Path I am describing is too mystical or too esoteric for
Theosophists to even dare or try? I don't know, but from your reactions,
I suppose so and I will clam up on this subject after this response.

>>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

Agreed, Peter, but please try to remember that even HPB acknowledged
that all such evolution is pure maya.

How does one acquire "individual Consciousness" when
HPB clearly stated that spirit or atma is NOT individualistic?
Someone quoted an excellent paragraph from HPB on this
list not long ago on Atma, which perhaps you should go back and study.
Only atma-buddhi is individualistic.

>> ...Is this not the 3rd Fundamental Proposition of the Secret
Doctrine?  >>

I don't think so, no.

 >>I qoute this passage in full below.  Presumably this is one of
the views you regard as self defeating.  I find it quite inspiring.>>

Thanks for the nice quote. As far as I know, no one on this list
disagrees with anything HPB wrote, especially here. However, I may be
interpreting it differently form you.

>>(c) The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal
Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root>>

This means that our mountain top is spiritual and infinite and universal
(i.e., collective and not individualistic).

>> 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,>>

This is the Great Breath of Brahman, the Arc of Descent and the Arc of
Ascent, all of which is maya. It is lala, the divine play.

>>No doubt if we only have to 'imagine' we are at the goal we will not
need to prepare for the journey.  >>

Without a lot of preparation, how can you ever hope to do the imagining
properly?  Imagination, when used properly, is the springboard to
spirituality, providing the force or impetus required to carry us over
the abyss to the top of the mountain. It is obvious to me that a very
great deal of preparation is needed.

>> 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.>>

Whoops! Look at your last line here. This is exactly what I am saying.

>>... 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.>>

In the first stages of the Path, yes. But sooner or later we arrive at a
section of the Path that is pathless, in the Krishnamurti sense. The
Path that we can see and measure is the first part, and only takes us so
far. The Pathless Path is required for liberation in a single lifetime.
This is why liberation in a single lifetime is not opposed to Theosophy,
but rather can be fitted into it very nicely. It is a logical extension,
in exactly the same way that the tantras are an extension of the sutras
and the vajra an extension of the tantras and DzogChen is an extension
of them all. They are all pieces that can be fitted together without

>>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.>>

I think so too.

>>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.>>

There is head teaching and there is heart teaching. They are not
necessarily opposed to each other. I rather like the 7 stages of
initiation and so on. It is mentally satisfying, but does little for my
heart or soul. Most of the SD stuff is head teaching--i.e., exoteric.
The heart or esoteric parts of it are all hidden between the lines.

>>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. >>

Agreed, but I seem to miss your point here. There first has to be
desire, and only then will practice and so on be of any real value. This
is true for sports, music, and spiritual pursuits as well. Without the
desire (eye of the tiger) study and practice will always be halfhearted.

>>Jerry, please offer something from the Teachings of Theosophy to
support your view if you reply again on this topic.  I think it would

I am not aware of anything I have said that opposes Theosophy as taught
by HPB.

Jerry S.

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