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Using A.P. Sinnett's "Esoteric Buddhism" as a Gateway.....

Aug 20, 2008 08:40 AM
by danielhcaldwell

Using A.P. Sinnett's "Esoteric Buddhism"
as a Gateway to Further Study of HPB's Writings

In previous postings at:

I have tried to show that A.P. Sinnett's book "Esoteric
Buddhism" is a good place to start one's study of

"Esoteric Buddhism" was the FIRST simple exposition
of what is known as "Modern Theosophy".  The book was originally 
published in London in 1883. 

This book by Mr. Sinnett gives a good overview --- a 
bird's eyeview --- an organized survey of the basic ideas or 
teachings of Theosophy.

See Table of Contents at:

Reading the book several times will help one's understanding
of the teachings.

Once this is done, then one can expand one's study by using the 
material in the following original sources:

(1) HP Blavatsky's ISIS UNVEILED
(2) HPB's articles in THE THEOSOPHIST(1879-1885)
(8) Also HPB's articles in LUCIFER (1887-1891)

One method would be to "annotate" ESOTERIC BUDDHISM using the
above works by HPB and the Mahatmas.  One can partly do this by 
exploring various subjects introduced in "Esoteric Buddhism" by 
consulting the various indexes to HPB's writings.

FOR EXAMPLE, there is a goldmine of material in ISIS UNVEILED
that illuminates what is written in ESOTERIC BUDDHISM.

Let me take just three quotations from ISIS to illustrate this.

If you turn to page 263 of volume II of ISIS, you find this remarkable

The grand cycle . . . includes the progress of mankind from its germ
in the primordial man of spiritual form to the deepest depth of
degradation he can reach -- each successive step in the descent being
accompanied by a greater strength and grossness of the physical form
than its precursor -- and ends with the Flood. But while the grand
cycle, or age, is running its course, seven minor cycles are passed,
each marking the evolution of a new race out of the preceding one, on
a new world. And each of these races, or grand types of humanity,
breaks up into subdivisions of families, and they again into nations
and tribes, as we see the earth's inhabitants subdivided to-day into
Mongols, Caucasians, Indians, etc.

This paragraph certainly illuminates what Mr. Sinnett has written on
the Root Races in ESOTERIC BUDDHISM.

Or take these passages from Isis, Volume 1, pp. 1-2:
...matter has in time become, through sin, more gross and dense than
it was at man's first formation; that, at the beginning, the human
body was of a half-ethereal nature; and that, before the fall,
mankind communed freely with the now unseen universes. But since that
time matter has become the formidable barrier between us and the
world of spirits. The oldest esoteric traditions also teach that,
before the mystic Adam, many races of human beings lived and died
out, each giving place in its turn to another....

As the cycle proceeded, man's eyes were more and more opened, until
he came to know "good and evil" as well as the Elohim themselves.
Having reached its summit, the cycle began to go downward. When the
arc attained a certain point which brought it parallel with the fixed
line of our terrestrial plane, the man was furnished by nature
with "coats of skin," and the Lord God "clothed them."...

Or on the planetary chain of globes given in ESOTERIC BUDDHISM,
consider the following from ISIS, Vol. I, pp. 348-249:

Imagine a given point in space as the primordial one; then with
compasses draw a circle around this point; where the beginning and
the end unite together, emanation and reabsorption meet. The circle
itself is composed of innumerable smaller circles, like the rings of
a bracelet, and each of these minor rings forms the belt of the
goddess which represents that sphere. As the curve of the arc
approaches the ultimate point of the semi-circle -- the nadir of the
grand cycle -- at which is placed our planet by the mystical painter,
the face of each successive goddess becomes more dark and hideous
than European imagination is able to conceive. Every belt is covered
with the representations of plants, animals, and human beings,
belonging to the fauna, flora, and anthropology of that particular
sphere. There is a certain distance between each of the spheres,
purposely marked; for, after the accomplishment of the circles
through various transmigrations, the soul is allowed a time of
temporary nirvana, during which space of time the atma loses all
remembrance of past sorrows. The intermediate ethereal space is
filled with strange beings. Those between the highest ether and the
earth below are the creatures of a "middle nature"; nature-spirits,
or, as the kabalists term it sometimes, the elementary.

By taking various subjects and terms used in ESOTERIC BUDDHISM, one
can then consult the 139 page index to the COLLECTED WRITING'S
edition of ISIS UNVEILED and look up these subjects and find relevant
material in ISIS to annotate and illuminate what Mr. Sinnett has

This same method can be used on the other source literature mentioned 

I hope these suggestions help interested readers and students.

For the text of Sinnett's book, see:

There are a number of ONLINE indexes to the Mahatma Letters and to 
HPB's writings.  See the various indexes and search features listed 

Blavatsky Study Center / Blavatsky Archives

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