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Oct 19, 2001 07:48 PM
by Jerry S

<<<<<<<<<Not only were HPB and her teachers
acqainted with anatta, they taught it also their esoteric students.
There is no difference between the Buddhist and the theosophical view on
Atma. One has just to look into the standard literature.

Frank, you can't imagine how happy I am to hear you say this. The following
quotes are just a small sample of Buddhist views consisting of "standard
literature," on atma:

"as long as you operate under the influence of the conception of a self
(atma), you will accumulate karma that will impel you into cyclic rebirth."

"When we apprehend our mind to be something solid, we naturally imagine a
solid "me" behind it who uses it to experience life. Such a view of
ourselves generates self-preoccupation, self-importance and selfishness,
which in turn gives rise to all our difficulties in life and prevent us from
being of fullest help to othres. Thus the causes if our problems arise in
this order: first we apprehend our mind and experience as existing solidly,
and then we imagine a solid "me existing behind them." (HH the Dali Lama)

"By accustoming oneself to the wisdom that is the understanding of
selflessness, one will become liberated from samsara, because the root that
binds one to samsara is the misapprehension of the self (atma)."
(mKhas rub rje, the chief disciple of Tzongkhapa)

"The consciousness called manas has the store-consciousness for its support
and object. It is essentially an act of thinking. It is always associated
with four defilements, which are themselves obscured and undefined; those
four defilements are, namely, belief in self (atma), ignorance about self
(atma), pride in self (atma), and love of self (atma)." (Vasubandu)

"By means of insight properly applied to the arising and passing away of all
dependently arisen conditioned states, clear vision arises from the
repetition of the view that 'apart from the aggregates there is no person."

"When the self (atma) imagined by the tirthikas is analyzed logically, it
obtains no place within the [five] skandhas. If it were [identical with] the
skandhas [the self] would not be permanent, but the self has no such nature.
And between things permanent and impermanent a container-content
relationship is not [possible]." (Nagarjuna)

"The purpose of the [Buddha's] teachings about the skandhas, elements, and
so forth is [merely] to dispel the belief in a self (atma)." (Nagarjuna)

"That notion of a self-sufficient person, which we ordinarily cling to very
strongly, is the self of persons ... to be negated. Through intellectual
processes a practitioner can come to understand that such a self does not
exist. At that point he or she develops the wisdom understanding the
selflessness of persons." (HH the Dali Lama)

"Therefore you who desire freedom! You should dig out from the very root the
view of a [self in] the perishable composites (aggregates) which
beginninglessly originates from the seeds of appropriate homogeneous
causes." (Dharmakirti)

"universal characters do not have substantial natures, but are [just]
designated in common by the world. In this fashion, then, all dharmas reduce
to two kinds, viz. either what is understood by consciousness or what is
expressed by words, but neither [of these two sorts of dharmas] is
substantially existent. And there are no other [kinds of] dharmas apart from
these two [types of] objects. So therefore, one should be convinced of the
voidness of all dharmas." (Dharmapala)

"[Query:] But why do those desirous of liberation follow an Outsider who has
a view which is mistaken in this way? [Reply:] Because they are afraid to
hear the teaching of the Dharma on the voidness of nature. This fear comes
from the terror [which they feel] due to [the idea]: 'The I does not exist,
nor will I exist; the mind does not exist, nor will it exist.' Now, this
fear stems from longstanding habituation to the conceptions of the I
(ahamkara) and the mine (mamakara)." (Candrakirti)

"Selflessness is said to be the unrivalled door to peace, the terror of evil
views [and] the sphere of all the buddhas." (Aryadeva)

"all sentient beings, clinging to an image of their selfhood, are themselves
contained within [the confines of] this consciousness (ie the alayavijnana)

>From these quotes (a very small sample of the tremendous amount of
literature available today) we can see that not only is any sense of
individual selfhood, from ego to Self (or what Mauri likes to call the
s/Self or self/Self), a wrong view, but also a root cause of karma and
reincarnation. Furthermore, the fear of not possessing an individual
self/Self is the root obstruction to liberation from sufferring. I trust
that all Theosophists agree with this. I certainly do.

Jerry S.

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