Jerry Schueler's Comments to BAG's Part 3
Jan 12, 2003 07:54 PM
by D. H. Caldwell " <email@example.com>
Below are some comments to BAG's Summary and Reply, Part 3:
<<<Also Krishna-Vishnu is called Sunyata and Nirvana in the
Mahabharata Sahasranama (1000 Names), which is where the Buddhist
doctrines of emptiness come from.>>>
No, I can't agree with this one. The same Sanskrit words do not
necessarily mean the same in Hinduism and Buddhism, and the Buddhist
doctrine of emptiness never came from Hinduism, but is directly in
opposition to Hindu theism.
<<<<BA G > Here HPB states her doctrine of the ONE BEING. This is
clearly NOT any Theravadin Buddhist teaching, and is even MORE
personal than the Mayavadi Avaita Vedantists. >>>
The Theosophical doctrine of one reality or Beness does NOT
imply "one being" in the sense of one single living being. Blavatsky
was not clear if there are infinite nondual Monads that are exactly
alike or if there is just one, but however we choose to look at it
does not allow for a "ONE BEING" in the sense implied by BAG.
Theosophy has no personal God.
<<<[Farthling:] This Being is the ABSOLUTE in its primary
manifestation. Being absolute, there is nothing outside of it. It is
BA G >This positivism is completely un-Theravadin Buddhist. >>>
Here Farthling is continuing with Blavatsky's blind of an "ABSOLUTE"
as if such a thing could possibly exist. I agree that the statement is
un-Theravadin, but Blavatsky was also un-Theravadin; she was a
Mahayanist. Mahayana Buddhism teaches that both matter and spirit,
both samsara and nirvana are maya. No school of Buddhism teaches
an "absolute" as such and Blavatsky always means the word in a
<<<Variety and personhood in this mayavic realm is a reflection of
real variety and personhood in the Absolute. However in the realm of
Maha Maya (here) the illusion of separation predominates, whereas in
the Param Dhama the Yoga Maya of communion predominates. >>>
This may be the Hindu definition of maya, but is not the Buddhist
view. There are two main Buddhist views of maya: (1) Middle Way - the
superimposition by manas of suchness onto dependent arisings, and (2)
Mind Only - the separation of self from not-self. According to
Tzongkhapa, the former must be understood first and then the latter
can be understood; the former being a stepping stone to the latter.
<<<This saha / suffering realm of variegatedness is a temporary
experience of birth, death, disease and old age, but the Absolute
realm of variegatedness is one of sat, chit and ananda, ETERNAL
BEING, PERSONAL CONSCIOUSNESS and BLISS. "Gate Gate Param Gate" is a
Mahayana mantra which indicates that we can go beyond, beyond to the
Great Beyond. >>>
Yes, but when we "go beyond" the self disappears, and there is no
longer a "personal consciousness" which in fact is one of the five
<<<...limited in their 'theosophy' to T Buddhist questions of
No, the doctrine of dependent arisings is Mahayana. Samsara is a
conditional reality of dependent arisings, while nirvana is an
ultimate reality of emptiness, and the two are fundamentally one.
<<<In the Great Bhakti Traditions the highest Truth of Godhead's love
and grace, which is available for all jivatmas, is not an occult or
secret doctrine reserved for the understanding of an elite group of
advanced jnanis. It is poured-out on all humanity and God's
messengers are sent with its all-inclusive message of good news to
all peoples, the young and weak, the unprivileged and uneducated, the
vastly-learned and wise, saints and sinners, the mighty, the perfect,
the sick and defective and 'retarded' alike. >>>
You could change "Bhakti" to "Christian" and "jivatmas" to "souls"
and one would think this a Christian message. The problem
with "Godhead's love and grace" is that its expression is so lacking
in our world. Christianity also struggles with the problem of how
such a loving God can stand by and let such inhumanity continue
through the ages. In short, the above ignores karma. And as far as I
know, Theosophy is open to all too. I do not believe that Theosophy
is elitist, an idea that comes from misunderstanding the meaning of
the word "esoteric."
<<<Theosophy without God posits the saint-like help of the Mahatmas
or those Beings of the Nirmanyakaya. But the Nirmanyakaya or
Sambhogya Kaya of the Bodhisattvas is not originally the last station
before annihilation in a void Dharmakaya !>>>
Again, BAG misunderstands and so misrepresents Buddhism. Dharmakaya
is not a void. The term void is an older translation of sunyata,
which today is translated as emptiness. What is something empty of?
According to Tzongkhapa, emptiness means empty of inherent existence
or permanence. All conditional reality is empty of inherent existence
and thus it constantly changes. Dharmakaya is, in fact, permanent and
unchanging, and so is not empty or void and is qualified as suchness
rather than emptiness.
<<<Restoring the positive personalism of Pure Land Buddhism will be
both a great reclamation and a great advancement for humankind.>>>
Perhaps, but it is not Theosophy.
<<<Without devotion to HRIH / Amitabha-Lokeshvara (Krishna-Vishnu)
voidist 'Buddhism' will forever remain a small-way school for self-
loathing, life and world-rejecting skeptics and cynics who can
imaging nothing better than answering the problem of suffering by
annihilating the sufferers. >>>
This statement so obviously misrepresents Buddhism as to defy my
imagination. I read stuff like this back in the 50s and 60s by non-
Buddhist scholars, but I would have thought that such
misrepresentations would have been cleared up by now. Let me just say
that the underlying assumptions of this nasty statement are not
Theosophical, and exist only in the minds of non-Buddhists.
<<<If there is no person who suffers, why bother to address the issue
of suffering in the first place ? Why seek 'enlightenment' or perform
acts of mercy ? Why is there Karma if there is no Atma? What / who is
corrected or improved by karma-driven rebirth ? The non-sense
explanations devised by the no-self an-atmist Buddhists and illusory-
self Mayavadi Hindus will always be doctrines subscribed to by a
comparatively few esotericists and elite occultists who cannot stand
to associate themselves with the spiritual common folk who have mere
common sense. The T Buddhists, Mayavadis and Theosophists all have
thought systems which lack a reasonable concept of origin for WHAT
Here BAG demonstrates his ignorance of the Buddhist Doctrine of Two
Truths(actually, if Buddhism really taught things like BAG says, I
would dislike it too, but he is misprepresenting Buddhist teachings).
There is a conditional reality and an ultimate reality. The "person
who suffers" has a conditional reality. Karma and the skandhas exist
conditonally, and so what need is there for atma? However, Blavatsky
allows for atma as a conditional reality, but she acknowledges that
it is collective and not individual. People devise doctrines and
models and belief systems as a way to explain their experiences. If
one's experiences did not jive with one's belief system, then the
belief system would be thrown out. We have many belief systems,
because we all interpret our experiences differently. When I raise my
consciousness to spiritual realms, for example, I do not encounter
God, nor Krishna, nor Siva, nor any Godhead nor do I have
any "personal" experiences at all, etc. I encounter my own naked
and unadorned mind which is completely at one with the universe. How
can I be expected to accept some deity, if I have never experienced
it? And why should I? The Pure Land interpretation of "reality" is no
better or worse than any other. The Theosophical model, based on the
Esoteric Tradition, allows for all worldviews and sees them as our
own interpretations of our experiences.
<<<BA G >For the Theosophists the cosmos IS periodically, but has no
origin. For the T Buddhists IT ISN'T, so there is no question of an
origin. For the Mayavadis the absolute IS, but being devoid of any
variety, qualities or personality, it is only an energy-like SAT, not
Chit or Ananda, and is without beginning or end, such concepts being
only part of the maya or illusion of self-consciousness. >>>
Theosophy agrees here with Mahayana Buddhism, which sees the
manifested cosmos as a beginningless and endless conditional reality.
But while the cosmos itself has no beginning or end, we do. We begin
when we enter it in ignorance (arigpa), and we end when we leave it
in liberation (moksha).
<<<Without accepting proper instruction from any Vaishnava Masters,
her exposition is quite flawed.>>>
Possibly flawed by Hindu standards, but then again Hindus standards
are flawed by Buddhist standards so maybe things are even?
<<<What might she have achieved if she was not so hostile to
Catholicism and Monotheism in general ? >>>
Not any more than she achieved while hostile (ie, she was just being
honest with herself). Her hostility was, I think, justified.
<<<However, historically the devas have NO separate existence from
the DEVA DEVA Who was considered their Origin. >>>
If Blavatsky was true to her Buddhism, then she did not believe that
ANY deity has a separate and independent existence. Deities, like
persons, have conditional reality.
NOTE: Any Theosophist can worship God, or a god, etc if they want to.
One can be a Theosophist and practice bhakti yoga. I have tried it,
but bhakti yoga is simply not an effective technique for me. So I
don't practice it. I prefer shamanta and vipasyana meditations as
described in Mahayana Buddhism, but I am eclectic and believe that
people should use what works best for them.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application