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Continued Discussion With Paul

Aug 25, 1994 03:15 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

This is by Eldon Tucker


Paul Johnson:

     When you say "let's keep trying to understand one another,"
I agree. There are a number of substantive issues coming up in
our discussion, and it is good to periodically air our views. The
process is almost like a spring cleaning, where we go over all
the stuff we've got, decide what's still of value to us, and
throw away things we no longer need, making room for more to come
into our homes.
     We both have to be careful not to draw too many inferences
from specific comments. When we do so, though, it is find to
write about them. The only way to know what someone else means is
to give them feedback--"I hear you as saying this ..."--and allow
them the chance to clarify miscommunications--"No, what I really
meant to say was ...".
     I don't particularly feel any of the resentment that you
mention. When stuck in bad traffic, and with no way out, there is
no use in feeling anger at the other drivers or the situation.
There are situations that are beyond our control. We can decry
them, and talk about what is wrong, on occasion, but it would be
a waste of energy to become upset. An important aspect of
discrimination is the ability to distinguish between situations
in life which we can control, and those beyond our control, to
leave the former alone, and devote our energies to the latter.
     In a discussion, one argument that may be given to support a
position is to mention one's personal experiences, and the
knowledge and wisdom that has come from them. When you mention
your having once been a "true believer," but now having moved on,
you are making such an argument. Gerald Schueler makes a similar
appeal to personal experience when he describes his out-of-the-
body adventures. We all use this argument at times. For myself, I
was a "true believer," as a teenager, then in my late 20's
through late 30's "wandered from the fold," and become a
"prodigal son" or renewed "true believer" in my late 30's,
through the present.
     You might argue that you were a true believer, but now know
better, but can understand where I am coming from by remembering
what you felt at the time. I could make the same argument: I was
a true skeptic, having moved on, but then found a renewed belief,
and can remember and understand what you now feel.
     Where are we left with this line of reasoning? It all comes
back to personal experience and viewpoint. And we agree that it
is not good to rely on someone else's formulation of higher
degrees of knowledge. I'd find value in certain peoples'
formulations, as hints, as suggestions, as establishing the
correct atmosphere where I can get in touch with the appropriate
     What we read should not be taken as gospel, as literally
true in the dead-letter sense. I find the "finger pointing at the
moon" example inappropriate. It might better refer to the type of
contemplation in Zen training where one is trying to sense one's
rootedness in the Unknowable, one's inner God or connection with
the Highest. It involves sensing Beingness, rather than a more
ordinary training in knowledge and spiritual wisdom.
     There is an impassable gulf between the finger and the moon,
no intermediate steps or grades between the physical
representation and the heavenly, nearly-absolute thing being
referred to. I do not see the choice in viewing the theosophical
doctrines as being either the "finger" or the "moon". The Wisdom-
Religion is true, and a higher form of knowledge, than that found
in the exoteric religions and philosophies of the world. The
theosophical literature is part of one gateway to the Mystery
Teachings. It is one method, one means, to approach the Esoteric.
It is not exclusive, but it is a stage closer to Truth than is
available otherwise to the general public.
     Rather than using the "finger pointing at the moon" analogy
to depict the place of the Teachings in our society, I'd use the
"journey of a thousand miles." There are a near-endless series of
steps to be taken, in the desired direction, in order to reach
our destination. Each step takes us closer. To reach that
destination, we must, though, go in the right direction. We may
take different routes that in the short-run have our paths
diverging, but in the long-run we move in the same direction and
our paths are one.
     I find the doctrines we are taught to be the first of many
steps in the direction of the Mysteries. There are many steps to
be taken, steps in a particular direction, steps involving
deepening study. The "finger" points to the next "finger" as its
goal, which itself points to yet another "finger," closer still
to the goal.
     Each step alone the way must be taken by the person on the
journey. No one else can walk the way for us. If it were easy to
write out all that there is for us to study and learn, the
highest human minds, like Buddha, would have certainly done so.
     It is not possible to write down higher and still higher
knowledge, and to impart Wisdom in written word. In our
theosophical studies, we are quickly faced with a Koan-like
situation, where we have to "jump off" and use a different
faculty of knowing. This involves using the mind in a different
way. The typical way of using the mind is analogous to the sense
of touch. The other way of using it corresponds to the sense of
sight, and brings with it a different way for acquisition of
     I use the term "knowledge" at this point, rather than
"wisdom," because knowledge doesn't become wisdom until is
becomes an integral part of our lives.
     In speaking of the theosophical philosophy, I'd describe it
as a single elaborately organized system. But in its study, we
keep our minds open, and continually reevaluate and reconsider
what we have learned. We are always seeking to learn new ways to
approach questions, but we find that as we progress, the Core
Concepts go from arbitrary platitudes to acquire increasing depth
and meaning. New levels of understanding are found to our
doctrines as our former ideas become relatively-exoteric,
replaced by deeper insights, the new esoteric (to us)
     I agree that the Masters are not idealized Victorian
Gentlemen, with near-divine insight and unerring prophesy and
wisdom. On the other hand, I believe that there are a series of
steps of spiritual and intellectual development beyond the
ordinary stage of mankind. There are Chelas, Masters, still
higher people, leading up to the highest of humanity, the
Buddhas, then beyond, into the Dhyani-Chohans and yet higher. It
may be a matter of personal preference as to which step along
this endless scale of development, as to which class of people or
beings we designate "Mahatmas." That choice does not, though,
preclude or deny yet higher and wiser beings, eventually at such
a stage where physical existence is no longer desirable or even

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