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just another genuine approach

Feb 24, 2002 06:14 PM
by Eldon B Tucker


What you're saying has merit, but consider this: one
does not become a criminal by reading books about
crime. So how can one become a mahatma by reading
books about mahatmas?
The question might be: What constitutes the difference
between genuine action, and mere imagination and

One person could be daydreaming, while pretending
to do zazen. Another could be intensely exercising
inner faculties in a way that might be difficult
to explain to the non-practitioner.

We might say of the first one, that although not
apparently using his or her time as efficiently,
the mere fact of having undertaken the process
and persisting with it will produce eventual
results. The same might be said of someone attending
a Kalichakra ceremony, in gaining merit for future
lives, even if not fully prepared for the exercise
in the present lifetime. And again, the same for
theosophical study. For some it may be a waste of
time, but there is merit for having undertaken
the process, even for those doing it poorly.

It's easy to judge people taking a different
approach by making inappropriate comparisons.
I remember taking a senior student of Sasaki Roshi's
to a theosophical convention, where she gave a
short demonstration of Zen meditation. There was
the idea, who are these people, who cannot even
sit still for a few minutes without squirming and
feeling miserable, when she or others from the
zen center had no trouble with week-long Dai Sesshins?

It is one thing to stare into the astral light, and
quite another to merely read about someone else doing
it. Reading SPORTS ILLUSTRATED does not prepare one
for the Olympics, nor does reading Jack Chick comic
strips make one an artist.
Again, it depends upon one's practice. The
theosophical approach that I've learned says to
ignore the psychical, and cultivate spiritual growth
and awareness. This is similar, in a way, to what
might be taught in Zen, where visions and psychical
visions are considered distractions from the primary
goal of achieving clear consciousness. The approach
I've learned says to cultivate new and higher forms
of consciousness, which is something distinct from
simply enhancing sense perception in paranormal

Spending a year in a zendo practicing assiduously is
not a waste of time.
Nor is any spiritual practice, if correctly
observed, even if the practitioner is not 100
percent into the process.

That this is true is a general consensus among
spiritual teachers, but they could of course be wrong.
Over time, tried-and-proven techniques are passed
down. They vary by culture and by the temperament
of the individual that may undertake them. I would
say that a study of Theosophy can be considered
such a technique, but would only be appreciated by
those to whom that particular path appealed, and
to those of other paths who practiced tolerance
and open-mindedness.

It is the responsibility of students of any approach
to do it with honor, and to pass it down to future
generations in as good a form as it was received if
not better than before.

-- Eldon

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