Re: Theos-World just another genuine approach
Feb 25, 2002 05:29 PM
by Steve Stubbs
Eldon: "The question might be: What constitutes the
between genuine action, and mere imagination and
A zen master would say that someone who expects to
attain enlightenment by dozing off reading
Theosophical magazines is an example of "mere
imagination and fantasy."
In THE THREE PILLARS OF ZEN Yasutani roshi is quoted
as saying that zazen does far more to train the mind
than reading all the books ever written. This opinion
tends to be quite general among spiritual teachers.
Eldon: "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.
It is not difficult at all to explain, but reportedly
some monks in Japan who are in the monastery because
they are not somewhere else fit your description.
Eldon: "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 eventual result will be that he will eventually
grow old and die without being elnightened.
Eldon: "theosophical study ... may be a waste of time,
but there is merit for having undertaken the process,
even for those doing it poorly.
Theosophical study is not a waste of time. Nor is it
a spiritual practice.
Eldon: "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?
Interesting story but I missed your point. Are you
saying that Theosophists, by the very act of
fidgeting, prove that reading magazines is an
Eldon: "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
What Zen teaches is that the Truth is not phenomenal,
so that any experience represented to consciousness in
phenomenal terms is by definition illusory. This
makes perfect sense in terms of Kant's philosophy,
which is the basis of much of the SD.
Reading between the lines, we see that Blavatsky
considered each successive "plane" of consciousness to
be the noumenon of the one which preceded it. As the
chela developed clairboyance, he made the noumenon
phenomenal (i.e., perceived things others did not
perceive.) That resulted in another duality of
noumenon and phenomenon. It is not hard to see that
as the chela advanced up the planes he eventually came
to the noumenon which is ever noumenal, the seventh
principle, or "that which than which there is no
whicher." What the Zen masters do differently is go
straight for the ultimate noumenal experience, whereas
Blavatsky's school approached it by degrees.
As for "the theosophical approach" you mention, the
"probationary path" as described by Sinnett in THE
GROWTH OF THE SOUL is not intellectual but consists of
Sankara's four fold discipline (sadhana catustaya).
Sinnett says if you want eventually to become a chela,
studying this sadhana and figuring out how to make it
practical is the key. It is a profound study. There
are comments scattered all throughout Theosophical
literature which relate to points having to do with
this sadhana. On a more advanced (post probation)
level, Blavatsky used mirror gazing and prescribed
various exercises such as Mindfulness, which is
characteristically Buddhist. None of this is
Eldon: "Nor is any spiritual practice [a waste of
time], if correctly observed, even if the practitioner
is not 100 percent into the process.
Please reread your sentence. What you are saying in
effect is, "no practice is a waste of time if
correctly practiced, even though it is not correctly
Eldon: "I would say that a study of Theosophy can be
such a technique, but would only be appreciated by
those to whom that particular path appealed
The study of Theosophy is certainly worthwhile, but
does not lead to enlightenment nor to chelaship if it
is unaccompanied by something else.
When I was in the Rosicrucians we had a member who
used to be a minister. During a seminar he gave he
said of members who just read the monthly lectures and
did nothing with the exercises:
"Some people think they can just join the Rosicrucian
Order and pay their dues and somehow they'll be
Similar sentiments seem to be expressed by teachers in
every Path. Maybe they are wrong, but they are all in
--- Eldon B Tucker <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >What you're saying has merit, but consider this:
> >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
> 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
> >It is one thing to stare into the astral light, and
> >quite another to merely read about someone else
> >it. Reading SPORTS ILLUSTRATED does not prepare
> >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
> >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
> 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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