[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: Mahayana & HPB

Jan 15, 2003 08:10 AM
by Nick Weeks

From: "wry" <>
To: <>

> Hi. I have recently read some comments on Mahayana Buddhism with which I
disagree. It is wonderful that Madame Blavatsky was interested in and admired
Mahayana Buddhism, had some Tibetan Buddhist teachings (maybe) and aspired to
be a Mahayana Buddhist. Her approach to certain material, however, does not
appear to be that of a Mahayana Buddhist, as she speaks again and again of a
first cause or a primal cause or a primal substance or whatever, and this is
not how a Mahayana Buddhist is trained to handle material. Moreover, any
advanced Buddhist has taken certain vows not to tamper with or distort
Buddhist teaching. She does seem to refer to the idea of dependent origination
in her writings and have a certain grasp of this concept, and some such
material was recently quoted out here (I forget by whom), but this does not
make her a Mahayana Buddhist, as talk of a primal cause OR substance refutes
the concept of dependent origination, and no Mahayana Buddhist would present
material in this way.

The present Dalai Lama has defined a Mahayanist, not doctrinally, but by
motivation. He said it is the bodhichitta (altruistic wish to become, & help
all beings become Buddhas) motivation that is the determinate, not doctrine or
even the types of practices, whether tantric or sutric. He even said that
someone whose doctrinal base is Hinayana, but who posseses the proper & deep
altruistic motivation is a Mahayanist.

So I would put HPB in the Mahayana realm, because of her lion heart &
dedication to an altruistic, bodhisattvic life. She was not trained
intellectually very much in Buddhism, but there are millions of Buddhists
today & into the distant past who also were poorly based in understanding the
difficult doctrines of Buddhism.

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application