Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
User avatar
Kenazis
Frater
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:57 pm
Location: Satakunta - Limbo

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Kenazis » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:26 pm

CHAPTER V - DEVACHAN

When human dies the three lower principles (body, its physical vitality, astral counterpart = Rupa, Prana/Jiva, Linga Sharira) are abandoned by the true (hu)Man himself. The four higher principles escape into the astral plane or Kama Loca. Here a division of two duads takes place (that the four higher principles include).
Sixth (spiritual Soul/Buddhi) and seventh (Spirit/Atma) principle draws the fifth (Human Soul/Manas) principle their direction and the fourth (Animal Soul/Kama Rupa) principle draws the fifth principle in its direction (earthwards).

While speaking about the spiritual dimension (Heaven), Sinnett doesn’t want to use the common word “Heaven” to describe it because the Buddhist word “Devachan” is more suitable because that word is not loaded with erroneous connotations (same with Hell and Avitchi). Sinnett points out that it’s not just individual monad that survives through the changes of whole evolutionary scheme, but man’s own self-conscious personality.

Like physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to prime, and from this point the decreasing energy to death, so the dream-life of Devachan is lived likewise. There is the first flutter of psychic life, then increasing to its prime, and then gradual decrease into lethargy, semi-unconsciousness and to oblivion. But, this oblivion in Devachan is not death, but new birth. Birth into another personality and into objective life.

Human in our earthly world is twofold constructed of matter and spirit. In Devachan there is no material side, but existence in that state/plane is purely mental, spiritual. Human ego ceases to be dualistic. Sinnett emphasises that Devachan is not locality, but a state. Same is the case with Devachan’s antithesis Avitchi.

Karma (the good and the bad deeds of previous life) waits the re-birth of man. Sinnett says that “Devachan existence is a rosy sleep – a peaceful night, with dreams more vivid than day”.
"In darkness let me dwell, The ground shall sorrow be..."
User avatar
Nefastos
Frater
Posts: 3520
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:05 am
Location: Helsinki

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Nefastos » Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:39 pm

Silvaeon: I heartily agree.

In the DEVACHAN chapter, the book mentions (p. 83) "the denial of 'soul' by buddha", which once again made me think how ephemeral and blurred this unificating integration of our beings really is – from one point of view. From the other, the monadic unity is the most awe-inspiring mystery of creation. That there is, and persists, this "I am", which is so absurd a notion.

Avitchi (/avici) as the reverse of devachan (p. 85) is an interesting idea, especially when we remember Koot Hoomi's idea of evil from the earlier chapter above. Evil, in a way, is the great sublimity found in matter. Thus the "hell" of avici might be extremely black and yet, in the eyes of a modern viewer, still a lofty, spiritual world in some sense. It also seems to be the place of extreme separation which many Left Hand Path groups seek out as the place of personal deification. (Personally I believe that Doctor Channard and Windom Earle showed truthful enough picture of the usual black magician ascending to the goal of his dreams, however.) Footnote in page 89: "The lowest states of Devachan interchain with those of Avitchi."

Koot Hoomi in Esoteric Buddhism, p.97 wrote:Avitchi is a state of the most ideal spiritual wickedness, something akin to the state of Lucifer, so superbly described by Milton. Not many, though, are there who can reach it, as the thoughtful reader will perceive. (...) There is more apparent and relative than actual evil even on earth, and it is not given to hoi polloi to reach the fatal grandeur and eminence of a 'Satan' every day.


How Koot Hoomi speaks about Devachan's seeming illusion being still more real than our life here (p. 85) might be ideal starting point for esoteric contemplation. How do the "souls" actually meet each other in the so-called objective existence, and do they? In page 99, we can notice an interesting similarity between the "seer" – perhaps possibly Swedenborg was meant as an example? – glimpsing an entity in devachan, and the student who helps the master adept to be present in the world without an incarnation (or bodily attendance) of his own. In a certain way this two merge into a gestalt entity because their similarity and constant shared mental focus, and the apprentice becomes like an extension of the master (and vice versa, from his perspective).

Buddhi (the sense of oneness; universal brotherly love) is always formless (Arupa, p.94), for the "personality is the synonym for limitation" (p.96).

I will come back to Kama loca chapter as quickly as I can. To my great joy, I was visiting Rome this week and had no possibility to write down my thoughts of this phantasmic underworld yet.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
User avatar
Nefastos
Frater
Posts: 3520
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:05 am
Location: Helsinki

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Nefastos » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:43 am

CHAPTER VI – KAMA LOCA

In this a bit lengthier chapter Sinnett discusses Kama loca (perhaps more known in theosophy by the translitteration Kâma loka), "the region of desire", where "ther inferior remnant" of "the real Ego" of human principles survives for some time and abstracts its earthly thoughts into form that is able to pass into the light of subtler state of Devachan (p.103). In the Annotations after this chapter, Sinnett explains some ideas from this as well as the Devachan chapter.

People who have read theosophical writings or Fosforos Appendix II most likely remember Kama loca experience mentioned. It is the underworld of post-mortem astral states, the Hades where the earthly (that is, quite petty) personality quietly dissolves. How long this will take depends on many factors. Earthly vitality unused before death (that is, being a victim of sudden death by violence, suicide &c.) usually means there's a lot time to spend in Kama loca, although it need not be conscious. Also, a full life filled with experiences that need a long process of abstraction is also able to make the Kama loca period a long one. Regarding the first mentioned case, the author gives a good metaphor:

Esoteric Buddhism, p. 113 wrote:Nature, always fertile in analogies, at once illustrates the idea by showing us a rupe and an unripe fruit. From out of the first the inner stone will come awayas cleanly and easily as a hand from a glove, while from the unripe fruit the stone can only be torn with difficulty, half the pulp clinging to its surface.


Like I presented in Argarizim, the human principles separate after death, and so the consciousness will in a way be in many places at once after one's death. Sinnett mentions this in page 105. He also clarifies that even though the kâmic part of personality is the "seat of will and desire... it is not the will itself" (p.106). "It must be alive, in union with the overshadowing spirit, or "one life," to be thus the agent of that very elevated function of life -- will, in its sublime potency. (...) It is no longer capable of active will when dead." (p.107) Thus, the astral remnants of man lose their actual will along with their higher faculties, and sleep in the dream of Kâma loca unless disturbed by the living. (Let's remember that in the turn of the 19th to 20th century spiritism was very widely practiced; and there are other forms of necromancy as well.) These he calls the "galvanized astral corpses" (p.130). These works of necromancy (including spiritism) "may do... serious and almost permanent injury" on these souls of the deceased. (p.127) It is also mentioned that a soul or soul remnant that works from the other side to our world is not aware of the seemingly miraculous (magical) way how its workings affects us, when or if it does: to it, such a form of communication seems natural (p.109). (This makes me think of the deceased people seen or heard in dreams: they are usually unaware of their own death, and use phantasmal forms of the actual apparates like phones to be in contact with the living, even though such are just a remembrance and not actual objects.)

About the time spent in Kama loca, sinnett says that the deceased is often able to manifest itself thus (i.e. part of the deceased's principles survive on the Kama locic regions closer to our waking world) about 25-30 years after death under normal circumstances, but the period may be much shorter or longer than that. (p.132)

Sinnett speaks of human astral remnants as "elementaries" (e.g. p.107), which should not be confused with elementals, and "shells" (cf. qlippoth), but in the annotations mentions that perhaps it would be better to name those entities which have lost most of their inner life to their higher principles elsewhere as "shades" (p.129). In the same occasion, he gives a beautiful and good presentation of kama-lokic life:

Esoteric Buddhism, p.129 wrote:If we can imagine the colours on a painted canvas sinking by degrees into the substance of the material, and at last re-emerging in their pristine brilliancy on the other side, we shall be conceiving a process which might not have destroyed the picture, but which would leave a gallery in which it took place, a dreary scene of brown and meaningless backs, and that is very much what the Kama loca entities become


It is interesting to notice (from p.126) that this process where the inner soul starts to wander deeper & deeper into its own underworld, towards Devachan and away from the world, is something that to the other looks exactly like the process of dementia among the living. Thus it is that even though the science has learned much of preventing the death of body, it can do less to prevent death inside the body: someone seemingly living among us because his inner organs still operate has already passed to the Kama loca state in his or her inner being.

Author also touches the difficult subject of "the eight sphere", the one of utter destruction under the seven-fold schema of worlds. An indivifual who "has already lost his sixth principle [buddhi] by the time the death comes" (p.117) the principle in question naturally can no longer call to it the core of one's conscious mind, to live in the world of unity. Thus, one's mind drops to eighth sphere, "out of circuit, a cul de sac, and the bourne from which it may be truly said no traveller returns." (p.117)
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
User avatar
Kenazis
Frater
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:57 pm
Location: Satakunta - Limbo

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Kenazis » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:34 pm

CHAPTER VII – HUMAN TIDE-WAVE

In this chapter Sinnett instruct reader to construct diagram (on his mind or paper) to better follow the given information. Diagram consisted of seven circles arranged on a ring. Calling them A,B,C and so forth. Circle/globe D is our Earth.

“Kingdoms of Nature are seven in numbers. Three having to do with astral and elementary forces, preceding the grosser material kingdoms in the order of their development. Kingdom 1 evolves on globe A, and passes on to B, as kingdom 2 begins to involve on A. “ But, because there is no eight kingdom, what happens in preceding globe when the seventh kingdom (human kingdom) passes to the next globe? Sinnett says that the globe from which the seventh passes on the next will go into temporarily state of obscuration. Sinnett explains this process in very detailed fashion.

As the Chain of planets have their cycles of evolution from spiritual to material and up to spiritual again, the humanity goes through the similar process here on Earth. Mankind is now living in its fourth round here on Earth (Buddha was going his sixth round).

First round: Man is not intellectual, but super-spiritual. Like an animal and vegetable shape.

Second round: Man is still ethereal but growing firmer. More physical, but still more spiritual than intellectual.

Third round: Man starts to resemble giant ape. Stature decreases, body improves in texture. Rationality rises.

Fourth round: Intellect fully developed. Possibility of speaking. In half way the spiritual and intellectual are in balance and from this forward the spiritual ego starts its struggle with body and mind to develop transcendental powers.

Fifth round: Transcendental faculties are largely developed even the struggle continues.

Sixth round: Man attains a degree of perfection of both body and soul, and of intellect and spirituality.

Seventh round: Really understand this level of development remains unattainable for its something God-like and it’s impossible to us to grasp.


Ps. Sinnett mixes interestingly the modern science (of the day) and occult theories in a way that is not working today, but it was the spirit of the time. There were more open mysteries on the field of science, today “been solved” by it. The area(s) of occult science and modern science where more overlapping 100 years ago and their explanatory functions were also more unclear in a way back in Sinnett’s times. He says that criticism against this/his presentation from loyal devotee’s of last years science is already out of date. Made me just think that what would Sinnett comment to criticism of reader now, coming 100 years from future?
"In darkness let me dwell, The ground shall sorrow be..."
User avatar
Nefastos
Frater
Posts: 3520
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:05 am
Location: Helsinki

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Nefastos » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:12 pm

Kenazis wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:34 pm
CHAPTER VII – HUMAN TIDE-WAVE

In page 141 Sinnett writes that of these seven "rounds" the former and the following one of one's round can be seen by plain eye, while the others are physical but unseen since they are too subtle for our own perception. Extremely interesting is that these two perceptible rounds i.e. planets are Mars and Mercury – "Mars being behind and Mercury in advance of us". How these two physical planets (but not any others) can be part of our own "planetary chain" below and above our own is baffling, since there is no way how anyone could prove it right or wrong by any kind of investigation.

CHAPTER VIII – THE PROGRESS OF HUMANITY

Maybe because I'm sleepy today, but once again I feel heavily the pressure of the theosophical astrolabe I mentioned before. When we have seen how Sinnett has got his teaching it is a bit weird to see how he passes it on: with kind like a proud authority, but being unable to himself make heads or tails of some of the parts. Why does he then include at all such instruction he does not himself seem to understand very well, or perhaps at all? Maybe he thought that was expected of him, or maybe that was a human thing to do.

"The progress of humanity" chapter sketches some important parts about spiritual development of the humankind, but overall raises more questions to which it answers. What exactly is meant be the key terms like "spirit[uality]" and "evil" is hazy. The teaching of Lévi's to his correspondent baron Spedalieri is repeated (the same quote is given as the motto of Discordamelior's chapter III, by the way). I linked the article giving the original Lévi quote in another thread here.

Esoteric Buddhism, p.157 wrote:Spirituality, in the occult sense, has little or nothing to do with feeling devout


It is clear (by reading Koot Hoomi letters themselves, at least) that the theosophical masters favoured philosophical mind above the religious one, so "spirituality" means quite the same here as it does in our temporary comparative religion (the science of religion), and no belief to supramundane powers is expected. The actual spirituality is mind's sublime yearning, aspiring upwards in an ethical way. But in this chapter the ethics are twofold, for:

Esoteric Buddhism, p.159 wrote:there must be evil spiriatuality as well as good spirituality.


Three possible destinies are given to humanity: "immortality in good", "immortality in evil", and "blank destiny of colourless personalities" (p.161). Yet for the evil souls there is another kind of annihilation, which makes them wait until the next universe after tremendous periods of time. (Please consult the article linked to the thread mentioned above, concerning these two kinds of "immortality".) This waiting period consists of an "awful trance" (annotations, p.171), which, however, might seem just like a dreamless sleep to these fallen entities. When they eventually awake, they must make a new try on humanity, while the successful souls have by then evolved to factual divine-like status. About some of these returning ex-human entities, I presented a theory in Ihmisen ikäkaudet (The Ages of Man); that the "inner master" or the transpersonal human Ego might be of this class, which no longer has a personal need to incarnation, but which because of its past karma must be present in another being's incarnation process.

Among with the rounds and destinies of spiritually good and spiritually evil, the chapter also mentions some thing about adepts and their methods of teaching.

Esoteric Buddhism, p.162 wrote:It is by that method in the regular course of occult training that adepts impart instruction to their pupils. They awaken the dormant sense in the pupil, and through this they imbue his mind with a knowledge that such and such a doctrine is the real truth. (...) There are no words used in [adept's inner] instruction at all.


What is expected of human monad on its journey is summarized thus:

Esoteric Buddhism, p.163 wrote:The fourth round, in which we are no engaged, is the round in which the fourth principle, Will, Desire, is fully developed, and in which it is engaged in assimilating itself with the fifth principle, reason, intelligence. In the fifth round, the completely developed reason, intellect, or soul, in which the Ego then resides, must assimilate itself to the sixth principle, spirituality, or give up the business of existence altogether.


"Give up the business of existence" is quite a phrase to put it!

Using the little differing principle schema of the SoA to say to same: The astral part of man, kâma rûpa, is developing as a vehicle of inner will – âtma – to be able to purify its dense form of mechanical intellect – kâma manas – in order to rise to be a valid partner for the higher intellect, manas. Later our humankind will work its way higher and make manas in the same way as a vehicle for buddhi, "spirituality", or total oneness in universal brotherhood.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
User avatar
Kenazis
Frater
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:57 pm
Location: Satakunta - Limbo

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Kenazis » Fri Dec 13, 2019 12:37 pm

CHAPTER IX – BUDDHA

Ordinary European reader often makes a mistake of treating the exoteric tale of Buddha either as fantastic myth, decoration of extraordinary life, or record of miracle where nothing else cannot be said. Sinnett states that occult science knows nothing about the immaculate birth where physical child is conceived without physical laws involved (the way exoteric might understand the immaculate birth). However, occult science knows about “one life/spiritual monad” (continuous thread of a series of incarnations may select the child-bodies as their tenements).

Karma is the law behind this selection in the case of ordinary humanity, but in the case where man has become adept (sixth principle) and is consciously guiding his own spiritual ego, monad can select its own incarnation.

Tale of the Buddha entering as white elephant into the side of his mother before his birth may sound weird, but it is picturing the above-mentioned pure spirit entering mother as her child has been chosen as “incarnation” of highly evolved being. White elephant is chosen to describe because it is beautiful, rare and strong.
Buddha visits the earth in every seven races of its planetary periods. Fifth buddha/Maitreya buddha will appear when the sixth race is established, and fifth race already gone. Sixth buddha will come in the beginning of the seventh race, and the seventh buddha near the end of the seventh race.

Gautama buddha is the fourth buddha of the seven. First buddha was the second incarnation of the Avaloketiswara (The mystic name of the hosts of the Dhyan Chohans/Planetary Spirits).

Sinnett briefly presents the three divisions of Hindu Vedantin Schools: The Adwaitees, The Vishishta Adwaitees, and the Dwaitees. Difference of the these three can be explained roughly: Adwaitees believe only in salvation by works, Vishishta Adwaitee in salvation by grace, and Dwaitees differs little from Vishishta Adwaitee, putting only more emphasis on the duality of human spirit and highest principle of the universe.
"In darkness let me dwell, The ground shall sorrow be..."
User avatar
Nefastos
Frater
Posts: 3520
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:05 am
Location: Helsinki

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Nefastos » Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:59 pm

It was interesting to compare Sinnett's Buddha to Rosicrucian concepts of esoteric Jesus, and found similarities. I also found the part about the child adept intruing. Even though adult, it is easy to sympathize with these feelings:
Esoteric Buddhism, p.176-177 wrote:[A]t first, in the child's body, the adept soul is certainly cramped and embarrassed, and, as ordinary imagination might suggest, very uncomfortabele and ill at ease.


CHAPTER X – NIRVANA

The next chapter is quite short, about ten pages. This is understandable since Sinnett admits that one can aptly understand few things about nirvanic heights of spirit.

He starts mentioning that "the first spiritual state above this [earthly] life" is devachan (p.194), thus correctly leaving the astral states of kâma loka unmentioned when talking about spirit: for they are not such. Of devachan, there are seven different states, some formal (Sanskrit rupa) and some without form (Sanskrit arupa) – but nirvana ascends high over the loftiest of formless devachan dimensions, making it very hard to understand. It is not annihilation, but immortality in consciousness that has shed the smallness of ego. "All that words can convey is that Nirvana is a sublime state of conscious rest in omniscience." (p.197)

When human being has reached the threshold of nirvana in the last humankind (seventh race) in our distant future –

Esoteric Buddhism, p.196 wrote:He can look back over the curious masquerade of objective existences, as it will seem to him then, over the minutest details


Sinnett mentiones the great depression and deathly gloom which will haunt the adept who has reached nirvana (in the deepest of yogic meditations) and come back. "To begin the weary round of physical life again, to stoop to earth after having been in Nirvana, is too dreadful a collapse." (p.199)

In the last pages of the chapter there are two strange mentions. First the author points out that "The material welfare of the existing generation is not even as dust in the balance in such a calculation [of buddha and the adept masters]", p.200), since the stakes of spiritual evolution are so high. I think this might give a key to the early book's Koot Hoomi citation about the "absolute evil" which rises in the most highly cultured civilizations. Granted, when one has actually experienced one's true being in spirit and been able to bring that knowledge fully into the waking mind, in certain way all that world is must after that seem only like a means to the end: for the mechanical things happening on this side are after that seen only as the shadows of Plato's cave.

At the end comes something even weirder. Seemingly forgetting the first article of the Theosophical Society, he tells that there are better and worse religions: "One religions is by no means as good as another, even if all were productive of equally blameless lives." (p.203) This brings to mind the last chapter's usual curses once again hurled to dugpa buddhist school and the religion of bön (p.191).

I understand Sinnett's point: in case there is the truth that is "higher than religions" (the motto of the Theosophical Society), it must be that different religions are able to reflect that more perfect truth better or worse in their different aspects. But this, I think, the idea of aspects – some good and some bad in all religions – should be in the spotlight. Otherwise, endless bickering and religious intolerance on all sides will just continue ad infinitum. Sinnett is not alone in this thought of his: the same spirit goes through most of the old theosophy, starting from Blavatsky herself. This might be one of the reasons why theosophy has not been able to be that uniting "brotherhood of men" which it wanted or claimed to be, but has instead separated and split again and again, unwilling to admit that good and even great things can be and must be also outside its own favourite circle of thoughts (i.e. vajrayana gelukpa buddhism, adwaita vedanta, &c.).

Yet, despite my criticism on these emphases, these chapters have been great, informative, and given many answers to both novice and advanced level questions.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
Mars
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 1:54 pm

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Mars » Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:04 pm

Nefastos wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:59 pm
I understand Sinnett's point: in case there is the truth that is "higher than religions" (the motto of the Theosophical Society), it must be that different religions are able to reflect that more perfect truth better or worse in their different aspects. But this, I think, the idea of aspects – some good and some bad in all religions – should be in the spotlight. Otherwise, endless bickering and religious intolerance on all sides will just continue ad infinitum. Sinnett is not alone in this thought of his: the same spirit goes through most of the old theosophy, starting from Blavatsky herself. This might be one of the reasons why theosophy has not been able to be that uniting "brotherhood of men" which it wanted or claimed to be, but has instead separated and split again and again, unwilling to admit that good and even great things can be and must be also outside its own favourite circle of thoughts (i.e. vajrayana gelukpa buddhism, adwaita vedanta, &c.).
It seems that the United Lodge of Theosophists, the organization most wholly dedicated to strict Blavatskyan theosophy carries the Blavatskyan spirit onwards in this regard as well. As much as I personally enjoy the martial spirit of articles like this (the name of which could almost be a title of a black metal song), there are challenges in this sort of attitude when it comes to things like the brotherhood of man or unity of religions etc.
User avatar
Kenazis
Frater
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:57 pm
Location: Satakunta - Limbo

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Kenazis » Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:50 pm

CHAPTER XI –THE UNIVERSE

In oriental mythology there are references to days and night of cosmos, the periods on manvantara and pralaya. These are the in-and out-breathings of creative principle, and everything from the infinitely small to the infinitely great in Nature follows this same rule of periods of rest and activity.

The major manvantara of our planetary chain is that which comes to an end when the last Dhyan Chohan of the seventh round of perfected humanity passes into Nirvana.”

Our planetary chain with sun in its middle is not the only one. And as there are other planets than earth in our chain, there are other chains in our solar system, says Sinnett. There are seven chains and there comes time when all these go into pralaya together. This is called solar pralaya.

While it seems that everything from the smallest to the largest are destined into ultimate destruction, one thing is eternal; One imperishable thing that pralayas themselves pass over without destroying, is space, duration, matter or motion. Not indifferently seen, but all these as one thing, once and always.
"In darkness let me dwell, The ground shall sorrow be..."
User avatar
Nefastos
Frater
Posts: 3520
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:05 am
Location: Helsinki

Re: Reading circle (A.P.Sinnett - Esoteric Buddhism)

Postby Nefastos » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:39 pm

Mars wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:04 pm
It seems that the United Lodge of Theosophists, the organization most wholly dedicated to strict Blavatskyan theosophy carries the Blavatskyan spirit onwards in this regard as well. As much as I personally enjoy the martial spirit of articles like this (the name of which could almost be a title of a black metal song), there are challenges in this sort of attitude when it comes to things like the brotherhood of man or unity of religions etc.


Indeed. Still I mostly agree with Blavatsky in this, and understand that even more back at the end of the 19th century, Christian theology must have been rhetorically as well as philosophically disqualified. But where Blavatsky attacked Judeo-Christian theologies and praised the Oriental religions – especially Buddhism – without criticism, our time offers different possibilities and demands. For the teachers' small blemishes in style tend to crack wide open all the more the time passes, for their pupils use those same rhetorics without usually understanding the greater meanings behind them. Thus we often nowadays see theosophy as heavy-handed in its self-imposed right-mindedness and ultraconservative attitudes as those institutes which Blavatsky so sarcastically whipped in her own time. And we, who try to unite the hands of the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path, will certainly face the similar ordeal when the time passes: when rhetorics fall out of their time-bound context and face the readers of the different age, most likely those occultists of the different cultural milieu will both dismiss our inner ideas because of the changes in the mundane world, and underline those outer facades which are time-bound and used only as necessary cultural stepping-stones. But something always survives through, and new sparks fly from the old structures, when they come to meet the flint of the fresh minds. Spirit reincarnates through the cultural changes, like it does in changing animal bodies of men.

* * *

CHAPTER XII – THE DOCTRINE REVIEWED

To my surprise, this chapter mostly deals with theodicy and karma. Extremely important topics, but the name of the chapter made me think of a different approach.

Sinnett starts by addressing the problem of theodicy ("It was impossible that God could be all-good and all-potent", p.220), and proudly states that esoteric Buddhism gives answers to these problems of free-will, predestination and evil (p.219).

Sure, theosophical esotericism – "esoteric Buddhism" – makes addressing theodicy more nuanced, by removing personal God and geocentric attitude, and replacing eternal heaven & hell by partial reincarnation. (By "partial" I mean that only the inner spirit plus karma of the lower personality reincarnate: pseudoindividual personality per se is destroyed.) It does not, however, lift the question, only makes it different, by replacing God with the Absolute. One might say that the theosophists have cut the Gordion's knot by simply taking "goodness" out of equation, leaving "God" (spiritual mover in the absolute universe) omnipotent but not good – or so "Good" that we cannot see such goodness in a similar light we can see good in human beings.

These are not Sinnett's words, though, and he seems to think that the problem is solved because there is karmic law. He says that "the fee-will of which we are thus sensible is not a mere automatic impulse, like the twitching of a dead frog's leg" (p.223). Perhaps it is not, but he fails to actually explain – or as far as I can see, himself understand – which the ultimate difference is. Simply saying something is not something does not make it so: there is a problem concerning how the inspiration from the monad, passing the Ego, comes to the personality and becomes or does not become benevolent action in the latter two, or either one of them. That is, the Absolute good of the One Absolute, ultimately also breathes though personal individual, and thus similarly how an esoteric Buddhist can defend that Absolute cosmic justice and make it innocent of murder, one can similarly do that for a seemingly but not factually individual unenlightened murderer. Thus, the problem of theodicy stands, only with a different name.

There are a couple of parts nearer the the end of the chaper (and thus the book as a whole) which make clear how different the esoteric Buddhism (= theosophical esotericism) is compared to the latter Occidental Left Hand Path occultism.

Sinnett, quoting Rhys Davids, p.236-7 wrote:To this universal law of composition and dissolution, men and gods form no exception; the unity of forces which constitutes a sentient being must sooner or later be dissolved, and it is only through ignorance and delusion that such a being indulges in the dream that it is a separable and self-existent entity.
Sinnett, p.238 wrote:The ultimate mergence of the perfect Man-god or Dhyan Chohan in the absolute consciousness of paranirvana, has nothing to do, let me add, with the "heresy of individuality", which relates to physical personalities.


In the other words, the personal immortality outside manifest cosmos which the modern Left Hand Path occultists often believe, is ardently denied by theosophists, and this philosophical approach I most stressedly share. The individual permanence in monadic self is something very different to how we think our personal selves in material existence. Yes, there is the same red thread (sutratman) going through personality, Ego and immortal monad, but our usual idea of personality remains in the first and is shed like rotting clothes when the mind is withdrawn to the permanent superphysical dimensions. The important point is:

Sinnett, p.243 wrote:It takes some mental effort to realize the difference between personality and individuality, but the craving for the continuity of personal existence – for the full recollection always of those transitory circumstances of our present physical life which make up the personality – is manifestely no more than a passing weakness of the flesh.


* * *

My thanks to brother Kenazis and others for this reading of Esoteric Buddhism!
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest