RE: Response to Dallas [ and return to you Nov 15 ]
Nov 17, 2000 05:35 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
Nov 15 2000
Thanks for the comments.
The main difference between us is that (I think): You seem to
place the output (translation) of current Orientalists at the
same level as HPB's Theosophical work.
I, personally, and because of my experience with the wanderings
of various renditions from one language (I know several) to
another, realize that it is always the MEANING that is important
(to me) and not the literal transliteration, more or less exact,
of any translator (and, I would include myself in that as well,
as I fully realize that I am no authority, and yet, am also aware
that the TRUTH of, and real explanation, will remain and continue
to be present, even if the words used [myself included], conceal
it to some extent).
I would say that HPB representing Theosophy, is a universalist,
and only by token may be said by others, to be a Buddhist, a
Gnostic, a Mason, or anything else. The LABELS placed on Her,
tend to eclipse her real abilities (anyone who goes through all
she has written realises this sooner or later) have no bearing on
our view of what she wrote.
[ That is: if on testing, one finds that Theosophy is
sufficiently eclectic and all-embracing -- so as to enclose any
and all systems of religion, faith, belief, etc... -- into ONE
UNIVERSAL SYSTEM. If one cannot place Theosophy in such a
position, then of course the ordinary appellations and
designations that are customarily placed by non-students will
prevail, and, the confusion will merely continue. As I see it,
it all depends on what standards are adopted. I seek for those
standards which will withstand the passage of time and the
confusion of opinions, if such can be found. And, so far,
Theosophy alone (as a system) seems to meet that challenge and
deepen my perceptions (and I also realize that in others' eyes
and minds I may be considered to be quite mistaken). ]
I would say that all systems have an "ESOTERIC" base, and that
this is found and then used by any honest scholar who is seeking
for the causes behind any set of words used.
Of course Personages such as TSONG-KHA-PA have done what HPB
did -- in their times -- and have left a record of their work and
objectives. I say that the modern translations we see and read
of those are not in conflict with Theosophy providing they are
compared on their intrinsic, and ESOTERIC base. But who among us
can claim such expertise? I can only say that what I am able to
secure on reading original THEOSOPHICAL LITERATURE, and the
MAHATMA LETTERS, seems to me to be clear, direct, and valuable.
But I do not feel at ease if I put the current translations of
Tsong-kha-pa's writings into English on a par with HPB's and
Masters' ORIGINAL writings. I trust (after long testing) the
ORIGINAL theosophical literature. I am unable to place such trust
in modern interpretations of that -- or in translations however
learned, of ancient Oriental texts of whatever source: Tibetan,
Hindu, Chinese, Persian, Mongolian, etc...
Does that make me "orthodox" and intransigent? I hope not. As I
wish to convey an eclecticism that seeks to base itself on such
unchangeable bases as can be found and proved and demonstrated
using any good, honest, sincere Mind. [ I hope I have showed my
own interest, position, and intent in writing this. ]
I'm putting some notes below.
Best wishes and many thanks,
D. T. B.
From: Gerald Schueler [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, November 13, 2000 10:21 AM
To: Theosophy Study List
Subject: Response to Dallas
>>[Dallas:]let me say that I pay little regard to the opinions of
modern Indologists, Orientalists, Buddhists, etc... as to me most
of their conclusions are the result of dead-letter
While I can agree with you here in principle, the fact
remains that the actual works of such great Buddhists as
Tzongkapa are now available in English, allowing us to
read them and reach our own conclusions. HPB not only
praised Tzongkapa but was herself a Buddhist and stated
that at least some of the Masters were Tibetan Buddhists
and that she herself had been trained in Tibet. What we
Theosophists need to do now is to try to unite the
Gelupa teachings with the those of Blavatsky, and I
have been trying very hard to do this.
DTB As above said -- the ESOTERIC BASE is important and the
EXOTERIC LABELS are not (to me).
>>For instance ESP, telepathy, etc to
me are the phenomena that relate to the plane of psychism.<<
Whether we want to include psychism under Esoteric
Wisdom or Esoteric Tradition or not is debatable, but
it is clearly under the umbrella of Occult Science
by almost everyone's definition.
DTB What I try to emphasize is that these secret (occult)
sciences are dual, and that they are distinguished one from the
other by the MOTIVE of the observer, investigator, experimenter,
As I look at it, the MOTIVE of the psychic researcher may be said
to be one of curiosity, and selfish application, rather than
seeking to understand so as to benevolently and harmlessly use
such wisdom, when acquired.
In other words "psychism" would be unbridled use, careless of
results to self and others. "Spirituality" is primarily a
knowledge of, and than a most careful and restrained use of any
knowledge personally acquired of "secret," or "causal" POWERS.
This is of course a very crude an superficial characterization.
"Psychism" is selfishness in application. "Spirituality" is the
most careful and benevolent use of ANY KNOWLEDGE that is deeper
than the superficially selfish and ordinary. It makes for the
real distinction in the occult world of vice and virtue. These
(to me) are vital and basic differences between these tow
approaches. If you have real or can secure a copy of
Bulwer-Lytton's: A STRANGE STORY (also, his: ZANONI) you will
find there described and illustrated (in extenso) what I am
trying to say in brief.
Spiritual Science always includes a benevolent, unselfish, and
moral standard for the acquisition and usage of any knowledge or
wisdom. It is distinguished from psychism by its unselfishness
universality, impartiality and generosity. It gives no room to
"authority" or any expression of personal pride and selfish
The True Occultist, seeks to know the causes and laws that
underlie "psychic," as well as "Spiritual" phenomena. His
primary motive is BENEVOLENCE and the SERVICE of HUMANITY (the
description HPB gives of such an One is in SD I 207-210 (the
standard I assume to be of the Highest). In other words as HPB
states in Theosophical Literature, there is a wide distinction in
motive between the "psychic" (or devilish) Wisdom, and that of
the "spiritual" or truly WISE WISDOM which is everyone's property
once that they prove to employ only the most unselfish and humble
base for their own acts. [ As an instance the Masters of Wisdom
claim to be only permitted to have and use this Wisdom providing
thy hold it in the tightest restraint, using it only as permitted
by UNIVERSAL LAW. In other words, they claim to be only the
SERVANTS of KARMA in its universal sweep.
>>MONAD, to my understanding is (T. Glos. P. 216) : "...the
unified triad, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or the duad, Atma-Buddhi, that
immortal part of man which reincarnates in the lower kingdoms,
and gradually progresses through them to Man, and then to the
final goal -- Nirvana." [ In several places in the SD she
repeats this definition and adds to it.]<<
Look, I agree that the above is Blavatsy's definition. I have
also stated many times that it is both wrong and misleading
because a monad is defined by Liebnitz (who coined the term)
as something that cannot be divided - a non-aggregate.
Theosophical terminology is terribly out of wack. The usage
of "monad" for compounds is both wrong and misleading, and
I can only assume that Blavatsky and her followers did this
because there was no other English words that fit. What is
really meant by Atma-Buddhi-Manas is monad-like or relatively
monadic but not monad per se. You probably think that I am
just splitting hairs, but I am not - the usage of the word
"monad" for what is really a mayavic monadic "ray" is exactly
what prevents modern Theosophy from adopting a more esoteric
viewpoint, and is likely to kill the movement by the end of
this century if not sooner. Theosophists, for example, think
that the human monad is an inherently existing "thing" whereas
it is not. Tzongkapa himself states that this very kind of
misleading situation is the ultimate cause of our continuing
DTB I perceive what you are driving at, but, as I sense it, it is
the words rather than the ideas that trouble you.
I really don't worry at all if "Theosophy" as a word survives.
The IDEAS that are conveyed in it are important. If we can
appreciate Shakespeare, Tennyson, Blake, Tson-ka-pa, Lao Tse,
Jesus, Pythagoras, Plato, Hermes, Zarathustra, Krishna, etc...
regardless of age, place or system -- ON THEIR OWN INTRINSIC
MERIT -- then there is little to worry about. True WISDOM will
I don't think either you or I will add much to the continuity of
a system named today (as it was by Pythagoras over 2,500 years
ago) THEO-SOPHIA - (GOD-LIKE WISDOM) -- but at least if others
happen to read this exchange, it will show that interested minds
have debated the value of the two systems of literalism and
motivation. And even more importantly: What is it that in
knowledge and application separates VIRTUE from VICE ?
To me the value of THEOSOPHY is that it places the whole area of
esotericism, occultism, psychism and spirituality on a SINGLE
BASE to which anyone can place reliance: IS IT SELFISH AND
CARELESS OF OTHERS NEEDS, or IS IT NOT.
<<What then is the ATMA-BUDDHIC DUAD ? The "Atma-Ray" of the
UNIVERSAL SELF conjoined to a line of indestructible experience
extending over an infinity of time in the past of that ENTITY.
To me that is a COMPOUND.>>
Yes, it is indeed a compound, and thus is unreal. Tzongkapa
would say that this "entity" has no absolute reality, but
only conventional reality. I happen to agree with Tzongkapa.
>>You will not be able to find any spot
(actual or metaphysical) where there is TOTAL PRALAYA, nor will
you find one that is TOTALLY MANVANTARA.<<
Of course not, because they are two sides of a duality and
one side cannot exist without the other.
>>Pralaya and Manvantara eternally co-exist and at no time does
prevail over the other.<<
They both have conventional existence and both are what
Tzongkapa would call "dependent arisings."
DTB I agree, but, FROM WHAT ? What is that basic absoluteness ?
>>We find in practice that the thinking capacity of the DUAD
(embodied in physical matter limitations) is still able to think
of and consider ultimates.<<
Here again, Dallas, we should not be surprised because
relatives and ultimates are also two sides of a duality
and one cannot exist without the other. However, Truth
is non-dual and thus all so-called absolutes have only
DTB I would say this is evidence of a UNITY which transcends all
multiplicity, while allowing for there being such multiplicity
(starting with duality, as a basic and fundamental foundation
even if this is limited to a MAHAMANVANTARA). The end of TIME,
(its limits to/for which we can frame beginnings and endings) is
not the end of ULTIMATE TIME. That (and we, and our independence
as THINKERS) can only be referred back to the ABSOLUTENESS and
the irresolvable and indissoluble KARMIC LINKS that survive all
"comings and goings." (see SD I 27 Verse 8 as an instance)
>> How can it do this, unless those
roots, the ULTIMATES, are also a part of its thinking base? <<
I agree - ultimates and absolutes exist only in the mind.
DTB If they exist (in this present/past) in our finite Minds, for
even a small instant in this incarnation, then they leave an
immortal impress -- in imperishable and ineffaceable AKASA,
i.e.: they are the source for our future personal Karma, and as
such impresses that of all other Monads and the Universe as a
<<this may be true, but WHY is it rejected? Who titled it
Tzongkapa rejected it because it is not necessary. The
only reason for postulating a storehouse consciousness
is to provide something to hold the skandhas between
lives. This is not necessary, according to the Gelupas,
because life causes death and death causes life. The
Buddhist 12 links of dependent origination suggests
that life/birth ultimatly causes death (the last link
of the chain) and that death causes ignorance (the
first link of a new chain) which causes a new birth
and so on. Karma from eons ago can effect us today
without any need for a Higher Self or Reincarnating
Ego or Monad etc. While one school in Tibet does
teach a storehouse consciousness, Tzongkapa and his
Gelupa school firmly reject it. I agree with Tzongkapa.
DTB Your, or my acceptance of a logical chain (Nidana) or a
process, does not make it valid. Validity is something innate to
anything or system. Whether an "authority" posits, accepts or
rejects anything is not a sign of reality, but whatever the
source, it is only an opinion. It is agreed that the work done
in the past (and summarized as you do above) has value, but that
lies (as I see it) mainly in the briefing of the concepts.
Actual TRUTH lies, as I see it, in its universality,
impartiality, and moral value to anyone who might approach to it,
or try to use it. It is not a ":pedestal" on which we might
stand, but, rather a process for assistance we can offer to
others to view. Finally, each one has to decide for themselves
as to what the actual value of anything is, whether carved in
stone, or some "idée fixe" (a fixed concept). Our minds make
iron-clad images, far more durable than diamond or physical
steel -- as I see it.
IS IT VALID PER SE ? That is my basic question.
>>Then follows what to me is one of the most important
"Before thou standest on the threshold of the Path; before thou
crosest the foremost Gate, thou hast to merge the two into the
One and sacrifice the personal to Self Impersonal, and thus
destroy the "path" between the two -- Antaskarana. [ The
statement on p. 62 and footnote (copied above) are valuable
This is pure exotericism. It is a model of what happens,
and expresses conventional truth but expresses no absolute
truth. Now, as models go, I agree that it is a good one.
>>All this may seem most vague, but to me the statements are
vibrant with verity and hope. None of us having acquired
knowledge need sequester it. Our duty is to diffuse, it, to
pass it around.<<
Agree that it is vibrant with hope and so on. But it ignores
the bottom-line fact that we are already spiritual and perfect
and that the whole evolution business is maya. The real
spritual path is not slowly becoming more spiritual but
rather in becoming more aware of our own inherent divinity.
DTB MAYA it may be, as a general description, but what I am after
1. What is the nature of this Maya ?
2. Why am I presently involved in it?
3. What is the best way out? [ Does this mean SELF only, or
include others? ]
4. How is it that others share this with me? Karma of a group ?
5. Have I any duties or responsibilities to them, for this common
and shared state?
6. If so, what are they? What aspect of further life is let to
me to change?
7. If we are all fundamentally SPIRITUAL ENTITIES (I say:
"Monads in evolution"), then why
is the PERFECT so intimately associated with the IMPERFECT
(Mayavic) at all points? What have I/we to learn from this?
>>I agree that newcomers might well be confused. However
we do have the SD, confusing to many it may be. But it is there
for those who DARE.<<
Problem is, it won't help us recruit very many new members.
My own take is that the SD is *unnecessarily* confusing
because we tend to get caught up in all the monads and atoms
and gods and mistakenly think that they are real.
DTB I don't think it was written to serve as inspiration for
"recruits." I think the KEY TO THEOSOPHY serves that purpose, as
do the many other articles on various subjects. ISIS UNVEILED is
a superb manual for recruits. But all Original Theosophical
literature was written essentially for those who were attracted
to THEOSOPHY and ISIS was written for them to read and study. We
have the advantage of THE SECRET DOCTRINE and the ensemble of the
whole original literature. We can make up our own minds, those
of us who are attracted to this wisdom-source. I believe that
THEOSOPHY in its presentation is like a "rake" it picks and
chooses, depending on the actual inclination in this incarnation
of those who approach it. It does not aim at creating some fresh
"church" on unintelligent "lambs" to follow some clever, sly and
deceiving set of shepherd "pastors." That would be demeaning the
innate DIVINE SPIRIT (Monad) innate in each inquirer/devotee.
>>Even if the Buddha and Tzongkapa left statements recorded in
words then of certain limits, does not imply we cannot ask
questions or think of logical reasons that need to be
answered -- where do we find answers?<<
Tzongkapa and the Gelupas used reason and logic to conclude
that all compounds have only conventional existence - they
exist only because we impute them as existing things based
on those compounds that our senses detect. There is nothing
wrong with using logic and reason.
DTB Agreed, but then it has to be rechecked by the free minds of
those who would profit from all views, does it not? No
"AUTHORITIES !" Except for the Divine Independent and all-seeing
SPIRITUAL "RAY" that in-dwells us all. That's as I see it.
<<I think you misunderstand me and attribute to what I say
a meaning I have not the slightest desire to advance. My prime
thesis is that we are (ALL BEINGS) eternal, Divine MONADS. Each
Monad is at some stage of its individual pilgrimage. It is
however en rapport with all the rest, who are its BROTHERS having
more or less experience than it has.>>
Because Theosophists tend to take the SD literally, they miss
the boat when it comes to emptiness and the whole Buddhist
teaching that all compounded things are unreal. Life is seen
in a whole new light when one begins to understand emptiness.
This esoteric view is sorely missing in Theosophy and I am
predicting that if it is not emphased more, the whole TM will
die out as just another religion. Lets hope I am wrong, but
this is an intuitive feeling that I have had for a few years
DTB "EMPTINESS" is a concept, perhaps only a word. What is the
idea? I wonder.
In the SD see, for instance I look at a few passages that seem
to deal with this subject:
SD I 295-6;
the question of Maya SD I 274-279;
between pp. 279 to 288 is valuable for deep definitions;
on p. 289: "The Initial Existence...is a CONSCIOUS SPIRITUAL
QUALITY . In the manifested
WORLDS ...it is, in its OBJECTIVE SUBJECTIVITY like the film from
a Divine Breath...It spreads as it issues from LAYA throughout
infinity as a colorless spiritual fluid..."
[ see also SUDDHA-SATTWA Theosophical Glossary, p. 311 ]
Many years ago I came into Eastern teachings and read a lot
of books. Some were by authorities who claimed that the
reason India and other countries were so backward and
non-technological was because of their belief in reincarnation.
DTB On the contrary, when I was in India (35 years+), I saw
plenty of evidence of an advanced mechanico-technical
civilization in the past.
In point of fact there is a set of books on "YANTRAS -- or
MECHANICAL CONTRIVANCES in ANCIENT INDIA" (I forget the author's
name) which is a collation of extracts from old Sanskrit texts
that demonstrates this.
In any case the contention is ill based on insufficient evidence
and study. Our present knowledge of India and her past is
minuscule compared with what we could and ought to know about her
and her people. Their system of knowledge theoretical and
applied is greater even than the lost arts of Egypt. Egypt
learned from India.
They pointed out that people didn't worry much about this
life, knowing that they could do things in the next (kind of
like putting off till tommorrow, etc). This idea bubbled
to the surface of my consciousness a few years ago when I
read the postings of many Theosophists to the effect that
enlightenment would come only in future lives - not this one.
DTB Even so, why worry or treat it as impossible and ephemeral?
If we are IMMORTALS, then the dimension of Time and our present
embodiment are relatively unimportant -- for those who have
little consciousness of the hard pressing hand of evolution moved
by KARMA. For those who have an awareness of the very real
pressure of events, there is no place of repose. Much work is to
be done. Where are the volunteers?
No wonder so many adopt the attitude represented by the concepts
of Nirvana and Mukti or Moksha -- I want to get off the "wheel of
Samsara (rebirth)." I want to go to my "eternal repose." Just
how much of "doing nothing," and "knowing nothing" can an
immortal entity stand? At the bottom of SD II 79 it is suggested
that there are "returning Nirvanees" that appropriately re-enter
the evolutionary stream when the rest of the human Monads arrive
at the stage when they had "gotten off" many eons ago. Nothing
is absolutely STATIONARY," not even the ABSOLUTE, apparently.
This seems to me to be the TS party-line view, and I find
the similarities striking. If Theosophy continues to harp
on the exoteric view of reincarnation then it, like India,
will stagnate and is like to die out.
DTB I have no idea of what the "TS party line" stands for. It is
certainly not to be found in any of the ORIGINAL THEOSOPHICAL
LITERATURE. How can there be a "party" to an ever-growing group
if inquirers who are SEEKERS FOR TRUTH. That is a strange
paradox. To me it shows a reliance on some "authority" who sets
by word and or example certain norms and also advances what they
think is a set of goals -- and an acceptance of that makes for a
"theosophist ?" Save me from such. I can make up my own mind
and consider its freedom and lack of fear as one of my most
valuable assets. Don't you ?
I would add that if the TS (or any group of students) sets up
"norms and goals" they will indeed as you so rightly say fail.
It is the volunteerism implicit in the idea of a host of DIVINE
ETERNALLY WORKING MONADS that causes the living, breathing
Theosophy to inspire those who sense that it is an expression of
their own innate aspirations and reasons for working. As I said
earlier, we ought all to draw some inspiration after reading SD I
<<As we pass through the successive experiences offered by living
in the various kingdoms, these undying MONADS (us, now) learn
(have learned) the experiences that existence offers in those
areas of learning.<<
The notion that we are here to learn lessons is pure
exotericism and dangerous IMO. It does seem like this
is what is going on from a purely conventional viewpoint.
Maybe Purucker said it best when he pointed out that all
evolutionary development is in two arcs, a downward arc
into matter that evolves or expresses our spiritual
potential followed by an upward arc of involution, a
return to our spiritual state. Why does anyone think
that a divine monad would need lessons???? Evolutionary
life is a vast creative expression, driven by need and
desire that is itself born out of ignorance. We already
are spiritual and perfect.
DTB as I see it de Puruker drew some of his ideas from the SD
which he is reputed to have seriously studied. His study and
knowledge ought to have been paralleled by an equal amount of
study and research done by all students of Theosophy round him.
If people are uncertain and looking for ":leaders," then to me,
it implies that they do not with to study, know and work basing
themselves on what they have learned and understood. They are
looking for "authorities" and "leaders," perhaps because they
insist on being "do-nothings." A hard characterization? Yes,
but it is so sadly true, also
Thanks for a couple of hours delightful work, and thought,
Your friend as always,
You are currently subscribed to theos-l as: DALVAL@NWC.NET
List URL - http://list.vnet.net/?enter=theos-l
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application