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Coments to Eldon

Dec 06, 1993 07:09 PM
by Gerald Schueler


I rather like your description of Auric Egg, Swabhava, and Para-atman,
as the three principles above Atman, but what is your source for this?
G de P makes a clear distinction between Swabhava and Swabhavat in his
Occult Glossary, but I have found little references to any Swabhavat
in Buddhist literature. However, there is plenty to be found on
Swabhava. And it is this that has bothered me for many years.

Virtually all theosophists put Swabhava in a good light, either
extolling its virtues or describing it as practically holy. Most
Buddhists writers, on the other hand, associate it with Maya and make
it sound very negative. Of course, I can say the same for reincarnation.

D.T. Suzuki, a Zen Buddhist, in Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, p.
170-171, says that "Svabhava and atman are thus habitually used by
Buddhists as quite synonymous." He also says, "...all things in their
phenomenal aspect are devoid of individual selves, that it is only due
to our ignorance that we believe in the thingness of things, whereas
there is no such thing as svabhava or atman or noumenon which resides
in them." This is pure Mahayana Buddhism. And HPB as well as Olcott
became Buddhists. Yet theosophists, including G de P (who otherwise
seems to be very savy to Buddhist ideas) always downplays suchness and
emptiness, while emphasizing Swabhava (or Svabhava as Suzuki spells
it) and Atman. I was deep into Buddhism before discovering theosophy,
and I have always wondered why theosophists are so quick to promote
Swabhava as something wonderful (Buddhists teach that it is only as
wonderful as Maya itself). Ditto for reincarnation, which Buddhism
teaches is equivalent to a Wheel of Suffering and emphasizes a Way out
of it. Theosophy tends to emphasize reincarnation as something
wonderful, and teaches that the Way out of it is to endure for a
hundred more lifetimes until maybe a Master will take pity on you and
you will be ready for enlightenment. This, in my humble opinion, is a
very large difference between theosophy and Buddhism, and I have yet
to have anyone ever explain it to my satisfaction.

It seems to me that either no theosophist has ever really understood
suchness or emptiness, or else they have deliberately chosen to ignore
it. Perhaps this is where the "mysteries" and "higher teachings" come
into play? Suzuki calls enlightenment the "Ultimate Joke" because
after attaining it, you realize that you always had it. You also
realize that Atman (ie the idea of an individual spiritual entity or
spiritual individuality) is as real and substantial as mayavic mist.

You are quite right about there being three additional cosmic planes
beyond Globe D-prime to make a total of ten. In the Qabala, these
three planes are called Ain, Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur. HPB was well
aware of these three planes, but said almost nothing about them. As
an interesting aside, in Qabalistic figures of the Tree of Life, you
will almost always find these three planes forming ovals around the
ten Sephiroth, encompassing them like an auric egg rather than lying
totally beyond/above them.

Concerning Leadbeater, I agree with you that his writings do not seem
to be spiritual inspiring. I like his treatment of the astral and
mental planes, but little else. I don't care to defend him, but I
will say that masterbation is indeed a well-known technique used in
virtually all schools of sex magic for countless centuries. The fact
that masterbation was referred to as self "abuse" tells me more about
his accusers than about him. Hopefully we are now living in a more
enlightened age. However, teaching such techniques to children, even
as a means of sexual decompression or a form of safe sex, is certainly
questionable. I don't know all of the facts concerning what he did or
was thought to have done and so have never judged one way or the other.

                      Jerry S.

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