different theosophical paradigms
Jan 20, 1994 01:24 PM
Looking about us, we find a number of different paradigms or worldviews
on life. There are many that come from the established religions. Some
are humanist (and materialist) in view, and deny the existence of
anything non-physical. Others are variations on metaphysical themes,
and come out of various New Age groups, and include such beliefs as
western astrology, numerology, mediumistic practices, and forms of
divination like the I Ching or the Tarot.
A worldview is build upon certain basic assumptions about the nature of
life, about its inner organization, about the subtle, perhaps unseen
forces that shape things. The laws of nature are extended to embrace
other planes of existence, and there may be an associated cosmology,
an explanation of how the universe comes about and is structured.
In the Theosophical Movement, there are a number of worldviews. Some
parallel what was presented by H.P. Blavatsky and her Teachers. Others
either supplement the original presentation with additional doctrines,
or differ with the original, and in certain cases would say that the
original presentation was in some way misleading or incorrect.
The basic questions of who we are, what we are doing in life, and where
we are going, are not always given the same answer. We need to pick
through the differences with care, and learn to come to some direct
understanding of the Teachings. It is not enought to pick and choose and
arrive at a personal opinion. Coming into touch with the real Teachings
is not done by making arbitrary selections. We have before us the
challenge of developing our own innate faculty of *knowing*, of going
into the Teachings and arriving at original thought ourselves, and
then the rigidity of thought on one hand, and the uncertainity of not
knowing on the other hand, will end.
A particular worldview leads one to include or embrace what is
considered possible, and to dney what is inconsistent or beyond the ken
of one's experience. Consider the materialistic scientist, whom may
deny the existence of consciousness beyond the physical brain. Or
consider the devotee, in love with personal bliss and hating the
physical world, a person that denies the existence of the path of
Renunciation and Compassion. Any possible aspect of life that does not
fit in with a worldview is ignored, dismissed, or denied.
Regardless of worldview, there is a certain order to things in life.
Things that exist are subject to time and process. If you want something
to happen, you have to work within the laws of nature and follow a
well-established process to make the thing happen. Everything takes
time, and an action or activity must be done through in order to make
it happen. Nothing new will happen because of simply wanting it to be,
because we wait for it to come about on its own, without any involvement
on our part.
There may be some disagreement regarding the structure of the inner
worlds, and the makeup and constitution of man and nature. Without
addressing the many differences, we might, for the moment, consider a
few core concepts.
1. There is an unknowable ultimate source to all that is or ever
will be. No speculation is possible on this source.
2. Everything is alive throughout our universe, and other universes.
All live is subject to cyclic evolution, and will at some point
pass through the human stage.
3. There is no biggest, top-most, ultimates in existence. No universe
is big enought to contain all. No cycle of time streaches to the
very Beginning, nor will last to the very End. The overall Totality,
therefore, follows a steady-state sort of existence, with its
various universes and beings coming and going on a continual basis.
4. At our inner-most nature, we are that unknowable ultimate source.
One step removed from that, we are both an eternal, unchanging,
immutable Self, and yet at the same time a never-ending stream of
consciousness with no fixed Self. We can experience ourselves from
either standpoint. Both are true and always exist.
5. We face two paths in life, one leading to personal, isolated bliss,
the other to unselfish self-sacrifice. One grants us early entry
into nirvana, the other a postponed nirvana and a continued
existence as a servant of the law of Compassion.
There are other core concepts, and we eventually get to the point where
we will start to find differences, in listing them, amoung the
different theosophical groups.
To a newcomer to Theosophy, it may prove more difficult to start a
study when exposed to different worldviews. It takes a while to learn
a single model, much less to learn several and keep them straight.
Depending upon our backgrounds, we might recommend differing
theosophical schools to a newcomer. I'd recommend the Point Loma
Tradition, with a study of Judge, Purucker, and Blavatsky, along with
related writers. Others may recommend different theosophical studies.
Regardless of our worldview, we must remain flexible in thought, and
not let ourselves become too disturbed when we find others questioning
what to us may seem to be core concepts.
Let's approach the study of Theosophy by giving our best, cleanest,
most clear presentation of what we've come to learn and know, and not
worry about how universally it is agreed with. Let's write and speak
out of devotion to the grand ideas that we behold, out of a love of the
philosophy, and not out of any feeling of engaging others in debate.
Let's operate from the standpoint of giving expression to certain Truths
because we admire and love them, for *their* sake, and let then let
come what may.
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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