RE: Teaching Methods and Prerequisites (2nd edition)
Sep 13, 2004 08:41 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Sept 12 2004
Re Teaching / Conditioning
Teaching imparts information and leaves it to the student to consider
freely, to memorize if he wants to, and to use if he judges it is useful and
fair. This is employed in legitimate instruction procedures, and also, is
the guiding principle for imparting true "magic" or WISDOM.
Conditioning means (to me) overwhelming the factor of FREE-JUDGMENT in any
person. Whereby information (true or false) is implanted, and so to speak
hammered into the subject's memory. This is employed by black magicians.
Some basic views offered by THEOSOPHY are
"My point of view" ? You ask about it?
I try to coincide with the ORIGINAL TEACHINGS -- which, so few people
seem to be familiar with. (If they were, they would answer their own
No one can talk about THEOSOPHY unless they are familiar with the
"fundamentals" and the "sources."
In my view, "opinions" are useless. We are not seeking entertainment
and arguments, but rather to be strictly "Theosophical," we ought to
be seeking for TRUTH. The we conserve tie and do not waste it.
Are "opinions" of any use to any one? If they are incorrect, then
those who might adopt them are misled and may mislead others.
If there are cases of such abuse, then the ripple of adverse Karma
goes on ad infinitum down the rolling waves of passing centuries - and
the originator of falsities bears a huge amount of guilt.
Can you imagine how much adverse Karma is actually born by those who
pervert a "religions" or, "historical events"?
My objective then, is to make those ORIGINAL SOURCES available, and
thus everyone can make up their own minds from the evidence.
Of course, if you don't like the idea of KARMA, or the concept of
continued responsibility under the law of REINCARNATION, and their
infinite progress -- as the Eternal Pilgrim in every human as in
every atom of matter, and, of the Egoic Monad, then Theosophy has
little to offer.
So it boils down finally to a question of "liking" or "disliking."
And that is to me wishy-washy -- uncertain, vague and a waste of
IDEAS RULE THE WORLD"
Let then discover true ones together.
I have looked at a umber of comments on the value of THEOSOPHY -- or
rather, the way in which various people think about it, or were
touched by it.
It seems to me there are two intertwined approaches.
One is the ideal -- as an expression of a universal and impersonal law
of evolution in which all beings get an equal chance at developing
what might be called "conscious immortality."
The Second, the "other," are the many expressions of formal and
formative opinions of those ideals.
Those who are in resonance with the first, the IDEALS, have little
difficulty in grasping their capacity for drawing all things together.
To them the ideal of a practical Brotherhood appeals. Call it the
Those who balk at various aspects of theosophical doctrine, or who are
in disagreement with earlier conclusions concerning the history and
narration of events and applications of THEOSOPHY -- as presented
through certain persons, and events -- form the body of those to whom
Theosophy appears faulty and may therefore (in their opinion) be
discarded. Those seem to be snagged in the meshes of diverging "Eye
Let us look at what THEOSOPHY is claimed to be, And let us use the
words of those who were the pioneers in advancing those ideas.
THE THREE FUNDAMENTALS
The 3 Fundamentals of the SECRET DOCTRINE are spoken of so as to
evoke the imagination
1. THE UNIVERSE IS A UNITY. THE ABSOLUTE. or DEITY is:
An Omnipresent, Eternal, and as Boundless as SPACE -- an immutable
"Principle" -- which is beyond the range and reach of the physical
brain thought. It is called: ' the unthinkable and unspeakable.' It
is "Be-ness" rather than Being (in Sanskrit SAT ), and is beyond all
the limits of ordinary thought or speculation. This Infinite and
Eternal Cause is the 'rootless root' of "all that was, is, or ever
shall be." It is devoid of all attributes and is essentially without
relation to manifested, finite Being.
This "Be-ness" is symbolized under two aspects. ABSOLUTE ABSTRACT
"SPACE and ABSOLUTE ABSTRACT "MOTION," representing "unconditioned
consciousness." This aspect of the one Reality, is also symbolized by
the term "The Great Breath" indicating the coming and going of
Universes as a form of reincarnation of the many spirits' that animate
The first fundamental axiom of the Secret Doctrine is this
metaphysical "One Absolute"-or "Be-ness"--symbolized by the endless
Circle or, infinite SPACE filled with infinitesimal units of life,
each imbued in potential with the attributes of the ONE, called the
MONADS, or 'atoms of Life.'.
UNIVERSAL LAW (in Sanskrit KARMA). Is explained as :
2. "The Eternity of the Universe "in toto," as a boundless plane;
periodically "the playground of numberless Universes incessantly
manifesting and disappearing," called "the manifesting stars," and the
"sparks of Eternity." "The Eternity of the Pilgrim"(the MONAD) is
like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence. [The "Monad" is the "two in
one" or, "Atma-Buddhi," the "Eternal Pilgrim;" It is the only
immortal and eternal principle in us, being an indivisible part of the
integral whole--the Universal Spirit, from which it emanates and into
which it is absorbed at the end of the cycle. "The appearance and
disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb of flux and
REINCARNATION FOR ALL BEINGS
It is "the absolute universality of that law of periodicity," of flux
and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and
recorded in all departments of nature. The alternation of Day and
Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, are facts so common, so
perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to
comprehend that it is one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the
3. EVOLUTION OF ALL BEINGS is the third proposition.
It declares: the fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal
Over Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and
the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul--a spark of the
former--through the Cycle of Incarnation (or "Necessity") in
accordance with Cyclic and karmic law, during the whole term.
In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine Soul) can have an
independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from
the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth Principle ["Maha-Buddhi"]--or
the "Over-Soul,"--has A) passed through every elemental form of the
phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and B) acquired individuality,
first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised
efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees
of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral
and plant, up to the holiest archangel ( a Dhyani-Buddha).
The "pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric Philosophy" admits no privileges
or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through
personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses
>From the "Absolute," manifestations emanate periodically.
There is a continuous unceasing and universal "motion."
Duality in manifestation is the universal contrast of Spirit / Matter.
These, Spirit and matter are co-equal and co-eternal. 'Spirit is
called the ultimate sublimation of matter, and matter the
crystallization of spirit.'
Mind is the proof of the One Consciousness which remains unaffected
through all experiences and states.
Man is a unit of Mind. All beings are intelligent. They are all
potential men, from the "life-atom" up.
Evolution of forms, and increment in Intelligence is universal.
Reincarnation is a fact in Nature. No being ever "dies."
Every MONAD is an Eternal Pilgrim.
"The practical theosophist will do well if he follows the advice of
the Masters now many years in print, to spread, explain, and
illustrate the laws of KARMA and REINCARNATION so that they may enter
into the lives of the people. Technical occultism and all the
allurements of the Astral Light may be left for other times. Men's
thoughts must be affected, and this can only be done now by giving
them these two great laws. They not only explain many things, but they
have also an inherent power due to their truth and their intimate
connection with man, to compel attention. " -- W Q J --
From: Morten ]
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2004 1:11 AM
Subject: Teaching Methods and Prerequisites (2nd edition)
Here is a new version, which has been edited so that certain grave spelling
Teaching Methods and Prerequisites
Q: According to the Theosophists, is there any knowledge of the difference
between teaching and conditioning; and do people know what
they want when they set out to learn?
A: People are conditioned not only by deliberate indoctrination,
but also by systems whose proponents themselves are ignorant of
the need for safeguards to prevent conditioning. People are also
conditioned by a constellation of experiences. In most human
societies, unanimity of thought has been arrived at by an unrecognised
conditioning process in which virtually all the society's
institutions may be branches of the conditioning process.
This information is neither new nor necessarily exciting. But it
is essential. What is new about it is that it has been concisely and
ëffectively revealed in studies made in the West, notably since the
end of the Korean war. If you do not know or believe the foregoing,
you will either have to accept it as a working hypothesis, or else
leave the attempts at studying other matters aside until you
have caught up with this information in the generally available
sources on the subject. In such a case as your basic information is
incomplete, and your prospects of progress are limited in a higher
sense as if you were trying to become an academic but
were not yet a literate.
Certain traditional teaching-systems have continously maintained
the knowledge of this 'conditioning by environment' factor.
The essence of their system has been twofold: (1) to stress the
fact of conditioning, in order to redress the imbalance produced
by it; and (2) to provide study-formats and human groupings in
which the conditioning cannot easily operate.
No such systems deny the value of conditioning for certain
purposes:but they themselves do not use it. They are not trying to
destroy the conditioning mechanism, upon which, indeed, so much
This is the first lesson: People who are shown for the first time
how their views are the product of conditioning tend to assume, in
the crudest possible manner, that whoever told them this is himself
or herself opposed to conditioning, or proposes to do something about it.
What any legitimate system will do, however, is to point out that
conditioning is a part of the social scene and is confused with
'higher' things only at the point when a teaching has become
deteriorated and has to 'train' its members.
The second lesson is that the majority of any group of people
can be conditioned, if the group is in effect a random one:
non-conditioning-prone groups can only be developed be selecting
people who harmonise in such a manner as to help defeat this
People who hear this may tend automatically to assume that this
is a doctrine of the elite. But this assumption is only accepted
by them because they are ignorant of the process and the
bases. The primary object is to associate people together who
can avoid conditioning, so that a development can take place
among these people which in turn can be passed on to larger
numbers. It can never be applied to large numbers of people
Many people who hear for the first time that conditioning is
a powerful, unrecognised and spiritually ineffective development
react in another manner which is equally useless. They assume
that since conditioning is present in all the institutions known to
them (including any which they themselves esteem highly) that it
must always be essential. This is only due to the fact that they are
not willing to face the fact that any institution may become invaded
by a tendency which is dangerous to it. This is not the same
as saying that the institution is based upon it.
When people are collected together to be exposed to materials
which will defy or avoid conditioning, they will always tend to
become uncomfortable. This discomfort is due to the fact that they
are not receiving from these materials the stimuli to which they
have become accustomed as conditioned people. But, since they
generally lack the full percerception of what IS in the materials, (and
since it is characteristic of conditioning materials that they may
masquerade as independently arrived-at facts), such people do not
know what to do. The solution to this problem which they will tend to adopt
is some kind of rationalisation. If they receive no
accustomed stimulus of an emotional sort, they will regard the
new or carefully selected materials as 'insipid'.
This is a further lesson. everyone should realise that the vicious
circle must be broken somewhere and somehow. To substitute
one conditioning for another is sometimes ridiculous. To provide
people with a stimulus of a kind to which they have become
accustomed may be a public or social service: it is not teaching
activity of a higher sort.
Unfortunately people have been so trained as to imagine that
something which is hard to understand or hard to do, in a crude
sense, is a true exercise. Hence, people are often willing to sacrifice
money, physical effort, time, comfort. But, if they are asked (say)
not to meet, or to sacrifice the attention of a teacher, this they find
nearly impossible to bear, simply because their training to believe is such
they are behaving as addicts. They may want sacrifice or effort,
but only the kind which they have been trained to believe is sacrifice
or effort. 'Stylised effort', though, is no effort at all.
Most unfortunately, they do not know that the system to which
they have been trained has always (if they have developed such a
taste for it as we have just described) fulfilled its optimum possible
developmental function at a point long before we are likely to have
encountered them. It has now become a vice, ritual or habit which
they are unable to recognise as such.
The prerequisite of an advanced form of teaching is that the
participants shall be prepared to expose themselves to it, and not
only to some travesty which gives them a lower nutrition to which
they have become accustomed.
This is in itself a higher stage than any repetition or drilling or
rehasning of words or exercises or theories. And, in its way, it is a
challenge. Can the participants, or can they not, really enter an
area where their effectively cruder desires and automatic responses
are not pandered to?
If they cannot, they have excluded themselves from the Teaching.
In order to become eligible, it is the would-be students who have
to 'sort themselves out'. They have to examine themselves and see
whether they have merely been using their studies to fulfill social
desires, or personal psychological aims, or to condition themselves.
They should also be told the simple fact that, for instance, if you
shout 'I must wake up!' often enough, it will put you to sleep. If
their sense of power, for instance, is being fed by means of the
suggestion that they are studying something that others do not
know, they will get no further. If they are deriving any personal
pleasure or other benefit from 'teaching' others, they will not learn
any more. If they depend upon their study-community alone or
mainly for friends or somewhere to go once or twice a week or
month, they will get no further.
There has been a confusion between teaching and the social or
human function. To help or to entertain someone else is a social,
not an esoteric, duty. As a human being you always have the
social and humanitarian duty. But you do not necessarily have the
therapeutic duty; indeed, you may be much less well qualified for it
than almost any conventional therapist.
It is impossible to spend time with virtually any religious,
philosophical and esotericist group, or even to read its literature,
without seeing that a large number of people involved, perhaps
through no fault of their own, and because of ignorance of the
problems, are using these formats for sociological or psychological
purposes of a narrow kind. It is not that their spiritual life is right
in these groups. It is that their life is inadequate.
'As above, so below'. Just as in ordinary wordly considerations
there can be inefficiency or confusion as to aims, so there may be
in approaching higher knowledge. You may be able, initially, to
pursue higher aims through lower mechanisms and theories, but
you cannot pursue them by indulging short-term personal interests.
You must follow your personality interests somewhere else. In an
advanced society there are more institutions catering for such
outlets than anyone could possibly need. Make sure that your professional,
commercial, social, psychological and family needs are fulfilled
in the society to which you belong. The rest of you is the
part which can be communicated with by means of specialised
techniques available to those who have a comprehensive and
legitimate traditional learning: and who have the means of
This is what you have to study first of all. Most people are trying to
effect something else, no matter what they imagine that they are doing.
Fortunately, it is not hard to recognise this if
enough sincere effort is expended.
In ordinary life, if you think that your family is largely a
commercial proposition, people will point out that you are misguided.
If you thought that your profession was mainly for social
purposes, people would soon put you right. It is time, that you
were correctly informed in this field as well. You must know, or
find out, the difference between meeting to learn and experience
something, and meeting in order to be emotionally stimulated or
intellectually tested or socially reassured.
There is no harm at all in a social ingredient in a human
relationship: far from it. But when this gets out of balance, and a
human contact becomes an excuse for a social contact, you are
not going to learn, no matter what materials you are working with.
'Due proportion' is a secret skill of the teacher.
The repeated upsurge of appearntly different schools of higher
study in various epochs and cultures is due in large part to the
need to rescue genuine traditional teachings from the automatism
and social-psychological-entertainment functions which regularly
and deeply invade and, for most part, eventually possess them.
Certain physical and mental exercises, as an example, are of
extremely significant importance for the furthering of higher
human functions. If these are practised by people who use things
for emotional, social or callisthenic purposes, they will not operate
on a higher level with such people. They become merely a means
of getting rid of surplus energy, or of assuageing a sense of
frustration. The practitioners, however, regularly and almost invariably
mistake their subjective experiences of them for 'something higher'.
It is for this reason that legitimate traditional higher teachings
are parsimonious with their materials and exercises. Nobody with
a task to perform can possibly (if he knows about this task) do so in
a manner which is not benefiting people on the required level.
The foregoing information should be read and studied and
understood as widelyt as possible. Without it there is little possiblity
of serving any group of people, anywhere, otherwise than
socially or with shallow psychology, no matter what theories,
systems or exercises are employed.
Where there is ideology, conditioning and indoctrination, a
mechanical element is introduced which drives out the factor of
extradimensional reality perception which connects the higher
functions of the mind with the higher reality.
Theosophical experiences are designed to maintain a marmony with and
nearness to this Reality, while mechanical systems effectively distance
people from it.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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