RE: T: No reply to Bill Excellent Post
Sep 05, 2004 06:10 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Sept 4 2004
Forgive my not answering a number of your valuable posts. -- my health is
poor and my time has been reduced. (I have read and stored them.) I try to
keep abreast of the flow of ideas and letters.
Briefly (to me) it seems --
Our respective positions are not polar but rather anti-polar. I do n to
perceive THEOSOPHY and Buddhism at loggerheads. After all it is the Buddha
who taught THEOSOPHY. Or am I wrong about that ? Has the Buddha ceased to
exist ? I think not.
So whatever WE call the ancient Philosophy, why would it vary?
If you espouse MAYA as existence. And I say there has to be some UNITARY
SELF as "Reality."
Are we not saying the same thing: There has to be at least 2 points of view
-- then you have opposition and often conflict in understanding.
But if there is a 3rd position that includes and reconciles the other 2 you
achieve a stability in which all 3 meld.
Take the 3 Gunas (attributes) of the BHAGAVAD GITA :
PURITY - ACTION -- INERTIA or
SATTVA -- RAJA -- TAMAS
Everything in the universe is made up of some variant of these.
Yet different though they be, there is for each "unit" a continuity that
designates its "existence." Or am I wrong ?
Hurling "Authorities" at each other's head helps not at all. It is the
WORDS that cause confusion not the ideas. (As I see it.)
In Buddhism why not start with the discussion with Ananda about the
wandering monk Vacchagotta. IS THERE THE EGO? -- silence, IS THERE NOT
THE EGO -- silence .... [Key, p. 82 footnote]
To me common sense says there is SOMETHING THAT SURVIVES all changes of
state of consciousness -- dreams etc... So is that REALITY ? Yes and also
Definitions abound. So what is the fact? Is there a continuity of memory?
How is that sustained? What is it to be called?
I ask and make statements based on my own free understanding of what
THEOSOPHY implies and teaches. I do not feel bound by "doctrines" or the
Words they are couched in. Then we are insisting on an orthodoxy -- which
does not seem consistent with the living facts.
And I insist that I am not the sole and only "interpreter" of any philosophy
or scripture. I seek to understand the unity of what they all teach.
As one approaches such a "unity" would say that "truth" begins to emerge.
I was reading again earlier this morning the first 50 pages of the SECRET
DOCTRINE -- it seems to express these ideas better than I can write them.
Time, Reality, Cause(s), Continuity, Who are the WISE ? etc....
Of course if we are to disagree endlessly on "facts" and "definitions" then
Sent: Sunday, September 05, 2004 4:59 AM
Subject: RE: : No reply to Bill s Excellent Post
let me play the Devil's Advocate. A reply is not expected. I just want
to throw out some ideas and pose some questions to think about.
<< We have to rely on our interior integrity -- a spiritual SELF. THEOSOPHY
calls it ATMA-BUDDHI-MANAS (Spirit or purity, Wisdom/Knowledge, and Mind
-- the power to think clearly, honestly and logically.) >>
It seems to me that if we can rely on a Higher Self, then studying
Theosophy would not be necessary. How do you explain the many people who can
think "clearly, honestly and logically" who do not accept a spiritual
counterpart nor who care much for Theosophy?
<< In effect we are constantly saying: Is this true? >>
Ah, but who holds the yardstick? How do we measure truth?
When we make an observation, or have an experience, how can we know if there
is any truth to it?
I can't think of any method that we could use to "prove" an
observation or an experience to be true. The ancient Egyptians symbolized
truth by the feather of the goddess Maat. Where is this feather today? Did
it ever exist, or has it always been only an idea in the human mind?
<<Let me verify this.>>
Sounds like a plan. OK, now explain how you can "verify" anything at all. I
would love to know how we do this.
<< I anyone begins taking the statements of HPB or anyone else entirely on
"faith," or because they 'trust" without having tested, they are making a
serious error. Why? >>
Please explain how anyone can possibly "test" the statements of HPB?
Meditation and magic simply provides us with more experiences and no way to
"prove" any of them. Magic, making conscious changes in ourselves and our
universe, gives us a small degree of "provability" in that we can observe
and measure physical results. But then again, how do we know that our
observations are valid? How do we know that our yardsticks and clocks are
accurate? (Einstein was never able to answer that one, but if you can, then
I would love to hear about it).
There is no way to "prove" that apes came from humans or vice versa. We
have to make assumptions, and we do that on faith and trust. You can
pooh-pooh faith all you want, but our entire conventional reality is based
For myself, I use yogic meditation to explore the inner worlds and planes.
I make observations and I compare them to those given by HPB and her
Masters, as well as other folks. HPB and her Theosophy most closely
dovetails with my own experiences than any other religion or philosophy
that I am currently aware of. So I consider myself a Theosophist. But are
my obervations "right?" Are they valid? Am I having the same experiences
as described by those who formed the Esoteric Tradition? Well, I like to
think so. But how the heck can I know for sure? I can't. I never will know
with certainty. But I have faith and I have trust and I follow my heart,
such that it is.
<< The nature of self-development is to lead our Lower Mind to consider
spiritual matters. How is this done?>>
First we have to define "spiritual matters" and second we need to define
this supposed "self" in need of development. Personally, I do not beleive
that such a self exists at all and that "spiritual matters" have to do with
that very fact, but thats another story. When thoughts come to us, are
they from the Higher Mind or the Lower Mind? Who can say? What measuring
stick do we use? Some thoughts may be obvious, but many lurk in a grey area
of pure subjectivity. And how did our mind get so divided in the first
place? Wasn't HPB's divisioning of the mind purely a modeling exercise
useful in the first several stages of a Path, but otherwise a contrivance?
Doesn't this dualistic split go hand-in-hand with the split between good
and evil? Doesn't HPB, Judge, G de P, et al, very clearly tell us that the
split into good and evil is a mayavic illusion?
<< It is to consider the operation of universal laws which always underlie
How can we possibly know if "universal laws" exist objectively or
subjectively? We infer that such laws exist based on observations, but how
do we know that our observations are valid? Certainly our physcial sense
testimony is suspect. A great scientist was once asked, What is the most
perplexing thing that you have encountered in your career? His answer was
the fact that mathematics worked so well. How can mathematics, a human
conceptual language of relationhips, work so well in an objective world if
our universe is independent from us?
If mathematics has "proved" anything at all, it is the fundamental union
between the I and Not-I.
<< Some welcome this discovery. Other deride, defy or reject it. They
want to be free to do wrong if they choose.>>
Who sets themselves up as the judge of right and wrong? When given a
choice, human beings NEVER chose the "wrong" way, they always rationalize
their choices as being "right." People only do the "right" things --
relative to themselves. But unfortunately one person's right is another
person's wrong and it usually comes down to "might is right." The idea that
anyone would "want to be free to do wrong if they choose" is alien to human
nature. When my daughter became a teenager and I was advising her of her
options and their consequences, she said "Dad, you are probably right, but
I want to learn on my own and make my own mistakes." Well, what could I say
to that one? She got her wish and learned the hard way. But this is her
right as a human being. We have no right to judge others or to force them
to do what we think are the "right" things.
<<Note they already Know the difference between these two: right and
Well, the differences are very grey to me. Ask different people what is
rght and wrong and you will get lots of conflicting responses. Maslow's
brilliant study of morality very clearly shows how we human beings
understand and practice ethics and morality. People who think that they
know right and wrong burn books and witches and think they are doing
good.by making the world a better place.
<< Since we are in essence immortals, and have been reincarnated millions
times, we have already built into our innate memories a knowledge of the
difference. We have enjoyed and suffered in the past as we have actually
experienced life for a very long time, and we as Spiritual Individuals have
been carefully observing watched Karma at work. >>
I wonder who this "we" is? This entire passage assumes that we each have
independent separate and unique selves. But where is maya in all of this?
I believe that our past life experiences suggest to us that a happy self is
"good" and that a suffering self is "evil" and it is just this that
perpetuates the charade and binds us in karmic chains. Because we believe
in a self, we each want happiness and we each go to extremes to avoid
suffering, and this is the heart of how karma binds us and keeps its hold
over us through lifetime after lifetime.
"Spiritual Individuals" is an oxymoron.
Just the thoughts of an old white man.
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