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RE: Proof of Adepts LIBERATION and ANATMAN

Oct 03, 2005 06:13 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

10/3/2005 5:15 AM

Dear Gerry:

You ask:

"If so, then please explain to me why two of Buddhas primary teachings,
liberation and anatman, are ignored and even downright rejected in
mainstream Theosophy ."


DTB	I don't find them "rejected." 

1	LIBERATION produces the Pratyekha Buddha:  

"(1) Pratyeka Buddhas are those Bodhisattvas who strive after and often
reach the Dharmakaya robe after a series of lives. Caring nothing for the
woes of mankind or to help it, but only for their own bliss, they enter
Nirvana and— disappear from the sight and the hearts of men. In Northern
Buddhism a "Pratyeka Buddha" is a synonym of spiritual Selfishness."
Voice p. 47 fn

(1) A Bodhisattva is, in the hierarchy, less than a "perfect Buddha." In the
exoteric parlance these two are very much confused. Yet the innate and right
popular perception, owing to that self-sacrifice, has placed a Bodhisattva
higher in its reverence than a Buddha.

(2) This same popular reverence calls "Buddhas of Compassion" those
Bodhisattvas who, having reached the rank of an Arhat (i.e., having
completed the fourth or seventh Path), refuse to pass into the Nirvanic
state or "don the Dharmakaya robe and cross to the other shore," as it would
then become beyond their power to assist men even so little as Karma
permits. They prefer to remain invisibly (in Spirit, so to speak) in the
world, and contribute toward man's salvation by influencing them to follow
the Good Law, i.e., lead them on the Path of Righteousness. It is part of
the exoteric Northern Buddhism to honour all such great characters as
Saints, and to offer even prayers to them, as the Greeks and Catholics do to
their Saints and Patrons; on the other hand, the esoteric teachings
countenance no such thing. There is a great difference between the two
teachings. The exoteric layman hardly knows the real meaning of the word
Nirmanakaya—hence the confusion and inadequate explanations of the
Orientalists. ... The real teaching is, however, this:

The three Buddhic bodies or forms are styled

1. Nirmanakaya.

2. Sambhogakaya.

3. Dharmakaya.

The first is that ethereal form which one would assume when leaving his
physical he would appear in his astral body—having in addition all the
knowledge of an Adept. 

The Bodhisattva develops it in himself as he proceeds on the Path. Having
reached the goal and refused its fruition, he remains on Earth, as an Adept;
and when he dies, instead of going into Nirvana, he remains in that glorious
body he has woven for himself, invisible to uninitiated mankind, to watch
over and protect it.

Sambhogakaya is the same, but with the additional lustre of "three
perfections," one of which is entire obliteration of all earthly concerns.

The Dharmakaya body is that of a complete Buddha, i.e., no body at all, but
an ideal breath: Consciousness merged in the Universal Consciousness, or
Soul devoid of every attribute. 

Once a Dharmakaya, an Adept or Buddha leaves behind every possible relation
with, or thought for this earth. 

Thus, to be enabled to help humanity, an Adept who has won the right to
Nirvana, "renounces the Dharmakaya body" in mystic parlance; keeps, of the
Sambhogakaya, only the great and complete knowledge, and remains in his
Nirmanakaya body. 

The Esoteric School teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats
is such a Nirmanakaya, higher than whom, on account of the great
renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none known."
Voice p. 77 fn.


DTB	I think one might legitimately ask : If liberation (from the "wheel
of Samsara") is achieved and Liberation or "bliss" as it is sometimes
characterized is achieved, how long does it last? 

I think HPB gives us a hint in S D II 79-83:

2	"But the true esoteric meaning is that most of them were destined to
incarnate as the Egos of the forthcoming crop of Mankind. 

The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas: the
intellectual fruition and the efflorescence of the intellectual
self-conscious Egotism — in the higher spiritual sense. 

The ancient works refer to it as Karana Sarira [ S D II 79, 592-3fn ] on
the plane of Sutratma, [S D I 16-17, 222, 236, 610; II 79-80, 513]
which is the golden thread on which, like beads, the various personalities
of this higher Ego are strung. 

If the reader were told, as in the semi-esoteric allegories, that these
INCALCULABLE TIME AGO — he would hardly understand the text correctly; while
some Vedantins might say: "This is not so; the Nirvanee can never return";
which is true during the Manvantara he belongs to, and erroneous where
Eternity is concerned. 

For it is said in the Sacred Slokas: 

"The thread of radiance which is imperishable and dissolves only in Nirvana,
re-emerges from it in its integrity on the day when the Great Law calls all
things back into action. . . ." 

Hence, as the higher "Pitris or Dhyanis" had no hand in his physical
creation, we find primeval man, issued from the bodies of his spiritually
fireless progenitors, described as aëriform, devoid of compactness, and

He had no middle principle to serve him as a medium between the highest and
the lowest, the spiritual man and the physical brain, for he lacked Manas. 

The Monads which incarnated in those empty SHELLS, remained as unconscious
as when separated from their previous incomplete forms and vehicles. 

There is no potentiality for creation, or self-Consciousness, in a pure
Spirit on this our plane, unless its too homogeneous, perfect, because
divine, nature is, so to say, mixed with, and strengthened by, an essence
already differentiated. It is only the lower line of the Triangle —
representing the first triad that emanates from the Universal MONAD — that
can furnish this needed consciousness on the plane of differentiated Nature.

But how could these pure Emanations, which, on this principle, must have
originally been themselves unconscious (in our sense), be of any use in
supplying the required principle, as they could hardly have possessed it

The answer is difficult to comprehend, unless one is well acquainted with
the philosophical metaphysics of a beginningless and endless series of
Cosmic Re-births; and becomes well impressed and familiarised with that
immutable law of Nature which is ETERNAL MOTION, cyclic and spiral,
therefore progressive even in its seeming retrogression. 

The one divine Principle, the nameless THAT of the Vedas, is the universal
Total, which, neither in its spiritual aspects and emanations, nor in its
physical atoms, can ever be at "absolute rest" except during the "Nights" of

Hence, also, the "first-born" are those who are first set in motion at the
beginning of a Manvantara, and thus the first to fall into the lower spheres
of materiality. They who are called in Theology "the Thrones," and are the
"Seat of God," must be the first incarnated men on Earth; and it becomes
comprehensible, if we think of the endless series of past Manvantaras, to
find that the last had to come first, and the first last. We find, in short,
that the higher Angels had broken, countless aeons before, through the
"Seven Circles," and thus robbed them of the Sacred fire; which means in
plain words, that they had assimilated during their past incarnations, in
lower as well as in higher worlds, all the wisdom therefrom — the reflection
of MAHAT in its various degrees of intensity. 

No Entity, whether angelic or human, can reach the state of Nirvana, or of
absolute purity, except through aeons of suffering and the knowledge of EVIL
as well as of good, as otherwise the latter remains incomprehensible. 

Between man and the animal — whose Monads (or Jivas) are fundamentally
identical — there is the impassable abyss of Mentality and

What is human mind in its higher aspect, whence comes it, if it is not a
portion of the essence — and, in some rare cases of incarnation, the very
essence — of a higher Being: one from a higher and divine plane? 

Can man — a god in the animal form — be the product of Material Nature by
evolution alone, even as is the animal, which differs from man in external
shape, but by no means in the materials of its physical fabric, and is
informed by the same, though undeveloped, Monad — seeing that the
intellectual potentialities of the two differ as the Sun does from the

And what is it that creates such difference, unless man is an animal plus a
living god within his physical shell? Let us pause and ask ourselves
seriously the question, regardless of the vagaries and sophisms of both the
materialistic and the psychological modern sciences.
To some extent, it is admitted that even the esoteric teaching is
allegorical. To make the latter comprehensible to the average intelligence,
requires the use of symbols cast in an intelligible form. 

Hence the allegorical and semi-mythical narratives in the exoteric, and the
(only) semi-metaphysical and objective representations in the esoteric

For the purely and transcendentally spiritual conceptions are adapted only
to the perceptions of those who "see without eyes, hear without ears, and
sense without organs," according to the graphic expression of the
Commentary. The too puritan idealist is at liberty to spiritualise the
tenet, whereas the modern psychologist would simply try to spirit away our
"fallen," yet still divine, human Soul in its connection with Buddhi.
The mystery attached to the highly spiritual ancestors of the divine man
within the earthly man is very great. His dual creation is hinted at in the
Puranas, though its esoteric meaning can be approached only by collating
together the many varying accounts, and reading them in their symbolical and
allegorical character. ..."


ANATMA (Anatta -Pali) is referred to in S D I 59 footnote :

” A Vedantin of the Visishtadwaita philosophy would say that, though the
only independent Reality, Parabrahmam is inseparable from his trinity. That
He is three, "Parabrahmam, Chit, and Achit," the last two being dependent
realities unable to exist separately; or, to make it clearer, Parabrahmam is
the SUBSTANCE — changeless, eternal, and incognizable — and Chit (Atma), and
Achit (Anatma) are its qualities, as form and colour are the qualities of
any object. The two are the garment, or body, or rather attribute (Sarira)
of Parabrahmam. But an Occultist would find much to say against this claim,
and so would the Adwaitee Vedantin. " S D I 59 fn


Best wishes as always,


-----Original Message-----
From: Gerald 
Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005 4:38 PM
Subject: RE: Proof of Adepts LIBERATION and ANATMA

RE: Proof of Adepts Value of Theosophy

DTB	Dear Gerry:

While this may sound extreme (as claim or statement), yet it carries the
sense in which I write of the value of THEOSOPHY. And of the reason for
respect of the MASTERS OF WISDOM. 

Believe or not, Dal, I too have respect for them.

DTB	You may have noted how in the MAHATMA LETTERS [ pp. 33, 43 (Barker
Edn.)] , the great respect they offer to the Buddha, calling Him their

GS	If so, then please explain to me why two of Buddhas primary
liberation and anatman, are ignored and even downright rejected in
mainstream Theosophy .

<< Hence the value of making strictly available to all students, new or old

I understand the value. Nevertheless, my position is that those original
teachings contain internal conflicts and cannot all be taken literally.
Interpretation is needed to eliminate the conflicts. In my own mind, which
is where it counts for me, I have made such interpretations and no longer
see any conflicts or paradoxes.

DTB I have no objections to comments being made on those teachings IF
LABELED. [ I mean advising clearly IN ADVANCE that editorial changes have
been introduced, and where and why so done.] 

GS	Agreed. Adyar publishes a nice little paperback abridged version of
the SD, but tells the reader that it is abridged. 

DTB	I object when I discover that changes have been introduced in
so-called reproductions of the "original Teachings." The first of such
NON-ADVERTISED changes, was the reprint, in 1893 of the SECRET DOCTRINE.
Both Adyar and Pasadena THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY s have done this in the past,
and both have eventually returned to printing the ORIGINAL again. 


DTB	Here is another reason:
“WISDOM RELIGION. The one religion which underlies all the
now-existing creeds.  

GS	Does the "original writings" fully address all there is to know
about this
Wisdom Religion? I don't think so. How do you explain HPB's comment that
when esoteric ideas are written in words they become exoteric? How do you
explain KH's comment that derides religion, calling it the main cause of
human sorrow? What do you see as the difference, if any, between 'Wisdom
Religion' and 'Esoteric Tradition?'

DTB	That “faith” which, being primordial, and revealed directly to
kind by their progenitors and informing EGOS (though the Church regards
them as the “fallen angels”), required no “grace”, nor blind faithto
believe, for it was knowledge. (See “Gupta Vidyâ”, Hidden Knowledge.) 

GS	It is being revealed to us human beings right now, if we know how to
listen. I believe in faith and grace, but not the way they are taught in

DTB	It is on this Wisdom Religion that Theosophy is based.”
T Glos 371-2  

GS	Dal, it is smy understanding that Theosophy is based on the Esoteric
Tradition, and that neither HPB nor her Masters cared much for religion.
When Theosophy becomes a religion, (and in some quarters, it already has) 
I will resign my membership.

DTB	This does not preclude the WISDOM of Buddhism, Hinduism,
Brahmanism, etc., which all can be traced back to the ORIGINAL Wisdom
Religion -- the SANATANA DHAMMO (DHARMA) of antiquity. 

GS	Caps aside, I do not believe that there is such a single source for
religions, nor do I think that anyone can trace the world's religions back
to one source, nor do I see where such a historical source is necessary.
Truth is Truth, and we each see it a different way. We saw it differently
yesterday, see it differently today, and we will continue to see it
differently tommorrow.

DTB	Our modern exposition by HPB of the Masters' Message is a
continuation of the same ancient teachings. 

Comparison produces and assures us of such verification.

Best wishes,


Intellectual comparisons simply show me the differences.

Jerry S.

PS, Religion is always associated with faith. and often with blind faith,
Dal, as you well know. I know your thoughts on faith, so how come you want
to cling to some kind of mystical Wisdom Religion?


DTB	When "religion" (to bind all together) and I will add: "with one
knowledge" the "religion" adds and accepts on an equal level science,
philosophy, and I would add that WISDOM might be an all-inclusive term.

I don't see much room for "blind faith" (or any other kind of belief or
faith) in that united concept. 

If detached from one another, then any amount of distortion is possible.

Now I ask why would anyone do that?

Is there any profit (?) a person might carry forward by that (?) -- whether
into a mythical "Heaven" or "Hell," or into "liberation" and "bliss," or
reincarnation ?

I prefer to sense my Mental individuality and character are things that have
transcendence, independence and reality, (if only in memory) and they can be
added to, reshaped by my will, and are my companions wherever my future may

The fact that we have the opposing forces characterized by "virtues" and
"vices" indicates to me that there is in our Universe a vast over-riding
HARMONY. We may argue that "discord" vitiates this concept, but then I am
puzzled by the fact that all selfish individuals try to appear
(hypocritically ?) as "good, honest and trustworthy."

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