RE: [bn-study] Re: Max Muller on Blavatsky
Nov 04, 2000 12:21 PM
by Dallas Tenbroeck
Nov 4th 2000
I beg to disagree.
As far as I am able to see and after about 60+ years of studying
Theosophy, psychology, philosophy, science, the arts, I am even
surer than before that HPB did not cloud anything. She opened
doors that had been clouded and obstructed by over 1,000 years of
darkness, confusion and dogmatism (in the West).
Our area of consideration, worldwide has been opened. This is
not only for contemporary observers, but for those who delve into
the history of the evolution of religion, philosophy and science.
In other words possibly, it is the eclecticism of Theosophy that
is found daunting. It demands a far greater command over
information than any specialty or specialist usually encounters.
When we approach Theosophy through HPB we are given a glimpse of
the outlines of the records kept by the Lodge of Adepts. These
are on the imperishable Akasha.
The concepts that seem new to us, are:
We are at our core IMMORTALS. All beings are MONADS, which, at
core are IMMORTALS -- every Atom, or other organized form is
based on a universal spiritual and a psychic pattern. The
differences represent the degree of advancement that each has
achieved. Even the "lowest" and most "inexperienced," has the
"ULTIMATE PERFECTION" inherent, innate as its base. This base
is held in common with all the rest. And this is true and
We may say, with Theosophy, that every Atom will eventually
become a human and then pass on to higher responsibilities and
duties. We, as Humans are at the gateway to such conditions. It
is up to us to choose whether sooner or later to "pass through."
The future responsibilities will in the nature as an instructor,
a teacher of Laws and Truths, and in this we may be Builders at
the dawn of a new Manvantara. Terms such as Sages, Seers, Magi,
Rishis, Maha-Rishis, Dhyan Chohans may be attached to the nature
of Those who have assumed such responsibilities. They key is
SERVICE: the SERVICE of HUMANITY and of all NATURE.
We share in SPIRITUAL abilities and wisdom everything that is
already known in our System, Earth, and Universe. It is said
that: there is nothing new under the Sun," and that none of us
can claim novelty or discovery of the laws and arts and sciences
of past ages which are now, again, coming forward. We can claim
re-discovery, and then ask for independent verification of the
accuracy of our observations. This also, is brotherhood in
We teach ourselves. No one can force us to learn, or place,
ready-digested intellectual food into our brains. We have to
make the efforts. We are the Ruler of our thoughts, and our
brains show the passage of thought into action when We (the
PERCEIVER and the WITNESS) choose to act, speak, or feel on this
the physical plane of being.
We are (as a center of sensitive intelligence) an intimate and
essential part of a great mass of spiritual and earthy beings.
The MONAD at our core is the IMMORTAL and is a compound of
primordial Spirit-Matter. It therefore has the potencies of all
experience embedded in it.
It lives in an "earthy" environment, and is coated with a
succession (7), of "coats of skin," which give it access to
communications on this plane of material we are so familiar with.
We all tend to identify ourselves with this final vehicle, that
is our body and its brain-mind, so that we call it, familiarly,
"myself." We rarely ask ourselves: "What is the actual nature
of the entity that feels, thinks and aspires from somewhere
within this physical shape?"
Theosophy is engaged in providing us with information concerning
this ENTITY. It out-lasts the physical body and its death. This
explains the differences of character and capacity we have
inherently as tools we use. It also explains the fact that in
spite of these personal differences and levels the potentials of
any individual are the same as those of any other.
Since Science shows us that we are united with all other beings
and inter-dependent, we have a relationship which can only be
expressed simply, by the word "BROTHERHOOD." Our interdependence
and inter-relations are many and it is this net-work that
Theosophy studies and also gives the history of. It bridges the
gap between what is sensed physically, and that which is sensed
intellectually or intuitively, and, it explains the reasons for
the differences. This very ancient Science in the Art of Living
has been called the Eternal Doctrine (SANATANA DHARMA).
This is an aspect of learning that is not emphasized in our
educational systems. The accumulation of facts is an inadequate
basis for rendering moral/ethical decisions. Theosophy provides
the rationale for this linkage. It is that aspect of knowledge
and wisdom, which comes to us from a source, which to some
historians and philosophers has been called: the ancient MYSTERY
SCHOOLS -- and which invites us to perceive the depths and
breadth of the field of living -- so that we may take that into
account when we make CHOICES. [ see SD I 181-3]
The only GOD in the Universe is the ONE SPIRIT. It fills the
whole of Space (whether visible or invisible) and we are always
intimately related to it. Intellectually this is to be
investigated, proved, and then used as a basis for our
decision-making. This SPIRIT antedates manifestation and is in
existence whether there is manifestation, or non-manifestation.
For purposes of nomenclature IT has been designated the
"ABSOLUTE." No details concerning it are available in our world
of limitation and forms. It is the ILLIMITABLE and the FORMLESS.
As to the time of ITS being, only the concept of DURATION might
One thing we can depend on is that the powers of the ONE DEITY
are such that they are all shared equally. (ISIS II 635) Law and
Laws pervade all things. We do not know them all, but we as
students are actively seeking them and recording our findings. No
prayer, petition, praise or other form of rite or ritual does
anything towards dis-equilibrating the justice and fairness of
the operation of UNIFORM LAW and LAWS.
If GOD is within us (as one of ITS RAYS is resident in all
manifested forms as well as in each human), then we have no power
to arrange privately (or through the presumed intercessive power
of a priest) for any kind of dispensation that will remove our
personal onus of our debts (for evil doing), without, at the same
time, alleviating in balance the ills that we may have imposed on
others. The victims deserve redress, and who better than WE, who
originally imposed such injustice on them? This factor is rarely
discussed or considered.
A study of Theosophy unites us all, and does away with the sense
of separateness, isolation, selfishness that disrupts our concept
of responsibility and duty. These two concepts are unusual to be
considered, yet they are absolutely BASIC to our continued
living, and to the accumulation of wisdom through experience.
As an assistance, Theosophy simplified, speaks of the
UNIVERSALITY of LIFE, LAW, and an ultimate GOAL of "PERFECTION"
which can be achieved on any Earth on which we live and in which
we share the evolutionary urge. Obviously this "perfection" is
relative to each stage of advance that is made as a group. And
while we may not have yet defined exactly what the criteria of
"perfection" for us, and our group are, yet, as a concept, there
This is our field of study and it is not vague, even if it is
vast. Obviously a single "life" is inadequate to encompass the
whole. Hence we have the concept of re-embodiment and
re-incarnation -- one in which the life-atoms (Monads) are
continuously exchanged and passed along from entity to entity.
Psychology, philosophy, science, the Arts and Sciences of living
are all included in this vast prospect and no one is able to
isolate any law or process entirely. Therefore the process of
sharing is one of vital necessity to the entire growth of the
mass of beings set by their own choices, and by the law of Karma
to work and progress together.
Possibly I have not made myself clear in what I am able to draw f
rom Theosophy and have also possibly not understood your answer
concerning the "clouds" you seem to feel HPB erected to shield
theosophy from your perception.
D. T. B.
From: Steve Stubbs [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2000 5:12 PM
Subject: [bn-study] Re: Max Muller on Blavatsky
Dewald: "The issue is clouded."
You are absolutely right. Most issues in Theosophy
are clouded. Why HPB would have been motivated to
make her work so hard to understand is a mystery to
Dewald: "While HPB does say she is a Buddhist, she
also says she is not one."
Right again. If we are going to assume she was being
truthful in each case (to do otherwise would mean
abandoning Theosophy in my opinion) then we must
assume that these seemingly contradictory statements
are contradictory only in appearance. The only way I
can see that that would be so is if she were saying
she is a member of one school and not a member of some
other which she considered heretical.
I am of course leaning toward the literal truth of the
statement that she was, as against the statement that
she was not. The reason is that the preponderance of
evidence seems to support the correctness of that
conclusion. Not only do we have HPB's own statements,
but we have those of several Hindus who knew her
personally, and who objected, as Hindus, to her
alleged Buddhist profession. Buddhism is a separate
religion from Hinduism, and is yet regarded by the
orthodox as a heresy, just as Islam, which is a
completely separate religion from Christianity, has in
times past nonetheless been regarded by some
Christians as a heresy. Buddha was a Hindu prior to
his enlightenment and the Prophet was evidently a
Nestorian prior to receiving his revelation. As
stated in the e-mail you quoted, if the preponderance
of evidence suggested that HPB was a Sikh, Jain,
Parsi, Hindu, or Sabean I would tend to evaluate the
evidence differently. There is some fellow who wrote
a book a few years ago proposing to "expose" the
mahatmas as Sikhs, but I think his argument is build
on shifting sand.
Asoka (Chandra Gupta Mauriya), an Indian King ( c. 300-200 BC)
who adopted Buddhism arranged for Buddhist monks to go and
establish teaching monasteries in various countries in the Middle
East, China, and up to Ireland. (ISIS II 290, One such monastery
One thing we have to bear in mind is that the word
"Buddhism" is almost meaningless unless one qualifies
it by adding the name of a school. Think of the Roman
Catholic church, the Mormons, the
Unitarian-Universalists, the Unity people, and the
Seventh Day Adventists. There is zero resemblance
between these religions, and yet all of them use the
"Christian" name. Without qualification the
adjectives "Christian" and "Buddhist" are almost
devoid of meaning. We do not know the name of HPB's
school, so her statement that she was a "Buddhist" is
useful largely in putting the matter into historical
context. There is value to be had studying the
Yogacara system in connection with Theosophy, even
though HPB said the two schools were "not quite"
identical. There is a statement in the KEY TO
THEOSOPHY to the effect that the schools of northern
Buddhism contain all that is Theosophy. This was the
statement that made the whole thing gel for me. I
have not been able to trace ALL the points in
Theosophy to these schools, but many of them can in
fact be shown to have been taught among them.
It is hard for me to believe that an organization
headquartered in Tibet (a nominally Buddhist country
prior to 1959) which refers to its members as Arhats,
Khobilgans, Chohans, upasikas, upasakas, and
bodhisattvas is anything but Buddhist. In addition,
the masters are said to have been Buddhists.
I sat at the feet of a Singhalese teacher some years
ago who wore the orange robe of a bhikku and whose
head was shaved and who was sitting in the full lotus
and who solemnly proclaimed that he was not teaching
Buddhism. His motivation for that was the hostility
of Christians who made it clear he had to teach
whatever their church taught, and you know where that
goes. (I know for a fact that that was where he was
coming from, because he told me so.) He denied
teaching Buddhism and I did not believe it. I still
don't. Had he gotten rid of the orange robe and let
his hair grow out and donned blue jeans and a T-shirt
and hung a cross around his neck, I might have
believed it. Sometimes people make these statements.
Also, Theosophical literature is filled with puzzles,
riddles, paradoxes, and minor mysteries. Why this is
so I cannot say. For example, in ISIS there is a
reference to the Lost Word, which we are told is no
word. In the EST Instructions we are informed that
the Lord Word is not a word because it is a sound.
Little riddles like that are scattered everywhere.
Someone implied that since Theosophy claims to include
or contain or reveal the primitive wisdom religion,
therefore it could not be known by any other moniker.
I don't see it that way because other religions make
the same claim. Hawaiian shamanism (Huna), for
example, claims to be "the original teaching of the
peoples of the earth," which is another way of saying
the same thing, and yet by claiming that, the
expositors of that system do not, ipso facto, preclude
it from being at the same time Huna. Because of that,
I have no problem believing that there was some school
in Tibet which claimed in the 19th century that their
teaching was the primitive wisdom religion. If the
"exoteric" teaching of Gautana was regarded by them as
a mere portion of the primitive wisdom religion, that
only means that the PWR itself was regarded by them as
the "esoteric" teaching. Conze and other scholars
have documented the fact that some of the northern
schools claim to preserve an "esoteric" teaching kept
secret by Gautama and not included in the teaching of
the southern school. (The southern school denies that
it ever existed. Gautama kept nothing in his "closed
fist" according to them.) All of HPB's statements in
this regard are vindicated by modern scholars.
Dewald: "In BCW Vol 3, pg. 58 HPB refer to ... certain
aspects of 'primitive Buddhistic practices' ... as
opposed to 'modern exoteric Lamaism.' [Has any
theosophist so far managed to sort the one from the
other so far?]"
"Primitive" in this context would refer to aboriginal,
and modern Tibetan lamaism is not primitive.
Dewald: "If as is being continually posited that
Theosophy is Buddhism, how can primitive Buddism which
HPB in the first passage associates with Tibetan
Buddhism 'lose its vitality'."
I don't think she is saying that primitive Buddhism
lost its vitality but that she considers some of the
modern sects which bear that name to be heresies. It
is also not primitive Buddhism but the newer sects
which she considers to be offshoots, or that is the
way I read it, anyway.
Dewald: "I have just for myself not been able to
reconcile all of HPB's references regards this into
one satisfactory whole."
No kidding. It is tough to do. Sometimes it is
downright exasperating. This is just a suggestion,
but it occurs to me HPB may not have been trying to
teach us WHAT to think so much as HOW to think.
Sorting through all this material is an education in
itself, regardless of what conclusions one reaches.
Well, it is late. I appreciate your points, which are
all well taken.
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