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Nov 05, 1994 09:28 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Liesel and Arthur,

     L> My son, Bob, took my 14 year old grandson Chris to see
     "Schindler's List".  It was just another horror movie to
     him, no different than "Frankenstein" or some such.  Maybe
     for future generations Simon Wiesenthal's work will serve as
     a reminder to avoid another holocaust ...  if they take it
     for real.

     I believe Wiesenthal has exactly this scenario in mind.  The
     way your grandson experienced the movie is pretty typical
     and has caused quite a stir.  Spielberg, I understand is
     trying to set up special educational materials in order to
     counter this reaction.  Many school systems are also trying
     to respond to this crises.  Our educational system has a
     list of important things that an educated person should
     know--but the list is too long and we can't teach it all
     anymore.  Some things have to be dropped.  Wiesenthal is
     making sure that the holocaust is not one of them-- or else
     ~Schindler's List~ just becomes, as you say, just another
     "horror movie."

LD> Incidentally, having been exposed to all this makes me very
aware of civil rights issues, and what's happening to the
underdog ...  also of certain unsavory political maneuvers, which
try to abridge civil liberties.  Right now, I'm a little worried,
because I heard on TV that the far right is getting into politics
at the grass roots, running for school boards, etc.  That was a
Nazi tactic.  When I worry about a congenital lier like Ollie
North maybe becoming Senator, the only thing that consoles me is
that Nixon did some pretty underhanded things too, & so did Joe
McCarthy, & we survived both.  I hope I'm not offending anyone by
saying this.  It's the truth.  I spent most of my working life at
the NJ State Employment Service, where most of our applicants
were black, & poor.  I think I went more out of my way to help
them (though I wasn't the only one), because of my German Jewish
background.  It was a positive & tangible way of working out what
had happened to us.

     Oh gosh, I could rant and rave for another twelve pages on
     that one, but I also don't want to drift to far from
     theosophy, which is what the theme of this net is supposed
     to be.  The issue is representation.  According to my wife's
     research in this area (she teaches political theory at the
     University here) The poor and the working class are the very
     people who would stand to benefit the most from the
     "liberals" in this country.  But they are also the people
     least likely to vote.  The poor and working class believe
     that their vote doesn't count and nothing can be done.  The
     majority of voters in this country are a retired and very
     conservative minority.  They want more jails to lock up the
     young drug addicts who steal their "stuff" that they have
     accumulated over their lives.  Their kids have grown up, so
     education is not an immediate concern, in fact they are
     mistrustful of it--consider it a failure--therefore they are
     more than happy to divert funds from education to build more
     prisons.  Ollie North was operating from the ethical value
     of "loyalty"--"My country right or wrong." Remember when the
     Senate told him that they had evidence that he had shredded
     documents to conceal the Iranian weapons deal from the
     Senate? North didn't deny it.  He didn't say "gee, that was
     illegal, and I realize I shouldn't have done that"--no, he
     said: "Did I get all of it? Did I miss anything?" He was
     putting loyalty over law.  From the Kohlberg scale of six,
     he was operating at stage three.  If he was accepting
     payment and privileges (evidence shows he was, though he
     denied it), then he was also operating at stage 2.  Our
     country operates basically at a law and order level (stage
     4), but a sizeable part of our population is still at a
     stage three level, and our Capitalistic system is based upon
     stage one values (selfishness and greed).  Only a minority
     of people operate at post conventional level of 5 or 6
     (values of right and wrong-- good and evil that transcend
     considerations of selfishness, greed, loyalty and law).  The
     Terry Wait, Barbara Walters interview was a classic in that
     matter.  Wait, who operated at a stage 6 was completely
     incomprehensible to Walters.  Wait after being beaten and
     tortured described his passing up of an opportunity to grab
     a gun and make an escape--and gave his reasons for it.  It
     he was to stand on the principle of love and non violence,
     then he had to model that behavior.  Walters was
     flabbergasted--she didn't understand it.  The other week, my
     wife and I spent the weekend in Carmel.  It is a little
     costal town near San Francisco that is the playground for
     the very wealthy.  We were there because my wife was running
     a weekend workshop on (ironically) ethics at the Monterey
     Institute for International Studies, and we couldn't find a
     motel in Monterey.  On our last evening, we took a walk
     together in town (Carmel).  We stopped at a cafe for a
     capaccino and slice of carrot cake (bill was over $13.00).
     Most of the businesses were bars, restaurants, artist's
     studios, and very expensive junk shops.  I don't think there
     was another sober person on the street other than us.  When
     I'm in a strange environment, I like to keep my eyes and
     ears open, so I tuned in on the conversations of the people
     as they passed us.  Without exception, everyone was
     completely self involved and angry.  Three conversations in
     a roll ware venting anger at "those damn liberals" , and "we
     have to get them out of office--they are ruining the
     country." HPB's teachings focused upon altruism and self
     responsibility.  What is going on today represents the polar
     opposite of those values.  DePurucker, in ~Wind of the
     Spirit~ wrote that though the Theosophical Society is not
     itself a political organization, theosophists have a moral
     obligation to participate in the system to the extend of
     their conscience and to vote.  I don't have much hope.

LD> ...Certainly, when the first man touched the fire a lightning
caused with his bare hands, he learned that fire hurts.  But I
don't think that today's method of trying to make learning fun
for the kids is any less effective.

     I spend three hours a week in seminars discussing how to
     more effectively teach.  You have touch upon a huge subject
     with a lot of history to it.  We still have a lot to learn
     about this- -but your right, school is a lot better place
     for learning than when we were going there.  Yet, I wonder
     if learning that Columbus sailed the "Ocean blue" in 1492 is
     the same kind of learning being burned by a fire, or being
     "burned" by the consequence of ones own dishonest actions?

AP> The edition I have is the verbatim edition by Theosophical
University Press 1992.  Yes it does have end notes but not
footnotes.  You have to jump to the back constantly so I have
transcribed the words in the margin.

     I like that edition.  I have a mail order book business
     here, and that is the one I prefer to sell.  However, I
     agree with you that end notes is a bad idea, and I wish HPB
     didn't do it that way.  MLA has also adopted end notes for
     academic papers.  Sometimes I get fantasies of hanging the
     members of that committee by the toes.  I think that had a
     better system in the 60's with their "op cits" etc.

JHE> ....HPB did not do translations in the ordinary sense of the
word anyway....

AP> You have hit upon exactly what I was thinking.  She is like
an oral interpreter rather than a recorder.  Is she is taking
whatever she remembers of this text and doing spirituality around
it.  That is making it move beyond its original intention into
something that is relevant to the concerns she and her world were
grappling with.  I don't have any problem with this.  I think it
is just one way to do spirituality.

The problem is that those who read her 100 years or so later will
do all kinds of things to her spirituality.  This may not be as
bad as it first appears since they are only following her que.
How close or how far from the original documents HPB was I am in
no position to judge since I have never read the Golden Precepts
but how relevant her spiritual take on the material is, is
something that I am exploring for myself.

     HPB was trying to put across a spiritual philosophy.  I'm
     not sure if the technical correctness of her "translation"
     is an answerable question, because her "Book of Golden
     Precepts" doesn't seem to be identifiable to any known
     single text.  In the end, it is probably just as well to
     treat it as an original work that has been shown to be
     consistent with Mahayana Buddhist philosophy.  She also does
     this with the Book of Dzyan in ~The Secret Doctrine.~ The
     text that she was drawing from was unknown in her time, and
     she was accused of making it up.  A friend of mine, who has
     been researching this question for the past twenty years,
     believes that it comes from the group of Lam Rin texts of
     Tsong-Kha-Pa.  It seems that he has found the church, but is
     still looking for the pew.

AP> I understand your reticence about channeling I am of the same
mind but when Zirkoff mentioned the Tulku, I couldn't resist
wondering if she is not having a prophetic experience similar to
Ezekiel of Jeremiah....While I don't really understand the above
quote it does give me cause to wonder about how to interpret
texts that are written through what I used to call "inspiration".
I suppose it involves a theory or revelation or some such thing.
Blavasky was obviously not just what her physical presence
suggested she seems to be a prophet of sorts.  As such
interpreting her is tricky however awe inspiring.

     Boris is talking about part of the consciousness of a Buddha
     like person(s) being present in HPB's consciousness.  I
     wouldn't call this "inspiration." To me, inspiration is when
     the "god within us" is coming through.  I would consider
     inspiration a higher state then tulku.

AP> I am going to try to paraphrase, with full recognition that I
am very new to all this, what I think HPB is speaking of:

AP> The instruction is for those who need to learn the dangers of
collectivity, animality, and living according to the lowest

     I think also in this sloka is the warning against the
     pursuit of "yogic practices" for the purpose of developing
     "abnormal" psychic powers.

 AP> It is necessary to become detached from the objects of sense
 experience, the clutter of everyday life, in order to hear the
 voice of God or The Silence.  This detachment require some sort
 of training.

     "God" is another word that I have problems with because of
     the Judeo-Christian view of a personal
     God-the-creator-of-the- universe with whom one can have
     personal intercourse.  Such a concept is not in Mahayana
     Buddhism, nor is it in HPB's writings.  There is however, an
     inner "god" whose voice is "The Silence." But that god is to
     "God" as the ray is to the sun.  For God, I prefer terms
     like "the unknowable", or "the rootless root".  I have had
     this conversation with many students of theosophy, who reply
     by swearing to me that by "God" they do not mean a "personal
     God", then In the next breath refer to this "God" as "He".
     See HPB's three fundamental propositions in ~The Secret
     Doctrine~, p.  14 etc.

AP> Let the Disciple slay the Slayer.  This reminds me of
Kierkegaard and his story of Abraham and Issac as symbolizing
slaying of the rationality on the mount of revelation.  This is
what I find so dangerous about most forms of literalism when it
comes to interpreting spiritual texts.  So I read this as slay
the need to control what you are experiencing through the subtle
and illusionary use of words and ideation.

     Interesting.  For "control" I would use the word "overcome."

AP> We are ready to understand when we see our waking life as a
dream.  I take this seriously.  I think that when I view the
personality that I think is myself as my Self then I am deluded.
My personality is a dream, it is not the totality of me but the
way I present myself to myself in the dream drama I call life.

     Great! I think I can do that for about ten seconds.

AP> Lesson One is be silent, still the irritation, and listen to
the sound of the Silence.

     That's my understanding too.  In meditation, I find that
     "blocking" the interference magnifies it.  Acceptance of the
     interference yet focusing on "the silence" works better for

AP> The earthly nature of the soul is revealed by our affects,
our emotions, either positive or negatively hued.  To be caught
up in the emotions is to severe the tie to the Divine.

AP> I am a little afraid of this emphasis because I would like to
incorporate passion and love in my understanding of spirituality.
I think that the object of that passion and love needs to be
discerned but the actual "feelings" seem to me a way toward
spirituality.  If feelings are seen as more than fleeting
emotional responses.  "Spiritual hedonism" where a person goes
from spiritual or intellectual high quickly is indeed dangerous.

AP> I have experienced this many times.

     "Spiritual hedonism" is what is being talked about here.
     Feeling are closely tied to the demands of our physical
     body.  Feelings involving "altruism", "spiritual love",
     "compassion" "spiritual understanding" are something else,
     and she encourages their development.

AP> Even the fact that I am "excited" about studying Theosophy
could be a reflection of severing the tie to the inner teacher.
I appreciate the fact that the Silence implies that when you burn
yourself out on the external issues you will eventually withdraw
inside like a "turtle within the carapace of Selfhood".  It is
then that you can encounter God.  This is truly gracious since it
implies that even when caught there is something that draws us
down into the Silence.

     There is an interesting statement in ~The Mahatma Letters to
     A.P.  Sinnett~ where K.H.  writes "We have no patience with
     the Sunyasis" These sunyasis are the Yogis who escape to the
     forest, sit in a cave to obtain enlightenment then die.  The
     Mahatma saw it as a waste.  One becomes enlightened for the
     service of humanity; otherwise it is just spiritual
     selfishness.  Later in the ~Voice~ we will come a section on
     the Pratyeka Buddha that will cover this.

AP> The Dualism that is discussed in the Silence is evident even
to the extent of merging the human personality with the divine
essence.  I have always struggled with what that means.  I have
often declared "This is I" to myself.  This declaration has had a
variety of effects; first off, it has helped me not to over
identify egotistically with the Wisdom that comes from a higher
source.  Secondly, it has had the effect of creating enough
distance from the One in order to have what I call a relationship
to the Divine.  When the Silence says that this is part of the
web of delusion, I would like to know more about what that means.

AP> In order to become the Knower of ALL SELF thou hast first of
Self to be the knower.

     This is because dualism is the bases of objective existence.
     Can we know darkness without knowing light?...  The great
     delusion is the ignorance of oneness.  But how do we
     experience oneness when the mind itself is dual?

AP> I guess I am stuck for a while with the question as to why
the beauty of knowledge and relationship "ensnares" the Disciple.
I know that there is some truth to that but I am not totally
convinced of Absorption either.

     Neither am I.  I like this world too much, and don't know
     enough about any other.  But that is precisely why we are
     "ensnared" here.  I don't believe our next step is
     "absorption" anyway.  I think our next step is to better
     learn to be in this world, but not of it.

LD> The only thing I'm suffering because of that, is that I'm
having such a good time jivin' with you brothers, I'm neglecting
other things I'm supposed to be doing.  But I'm planning to catch
up on some of them in the next few days.  At my age, I'm entitled
to some fun.

     Welcome to the club.  I'm supposed to be writing papers and
     correcting homework.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

(the above message resent--as it seems to have bounced Thursday)

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