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Theosophy and Buddhism

Dec 29, 1994 12:46 PM

My cat just knocked me off the Internet.  Sorry for incomplete
first message!

I have just received a letter from a reader of my book THE OCCULT
WORLD OF MADAME BLAVATSKY.  His questions deal more with
Theosophy as a teaching than with the life of HPB.  But I thought
I would post some of his questions as they are interesting and I
will send him my replies plus any other replies I receive.  I
believe that the Theos-l Net Community might find the questions
and any replies of some interest.

(1) What is the relationship between Theosophy and Buddhism?

(2) Why study Theosophy and its interpretation of Buddhism when
the seeker nowadays has access to genuine Buddhist traditions and
also has access to many Buddhist teachers?

(3) A Buddhist lama personally told me that Theosophy does not
give a valid presentation of Buddhism or of Tibetan Buddhism.  He
said that Madam Blavatsky even distorted some of the teachings of
Tib.  Buddh.  Why read Blvatsky's distortions when one can
encounter geniune Budd.  teachings by various Buddhists teachers?

(4) Isn't it true that Theosophy is more dependent on Hinduism
for its teach- than on Buddhism?

(5) My limited understanding of Buddh.  is that the Buddha taught
the doctrine of anatta "no soul" yet Theosophy talks about all
kinds of souls, etc.  Isn't there a definite conflict between the
two systems of thought on this issue of "soul"? Mme B.  talks
about "Atman" in the Key but I thought it was a fundamental
teachings of Buddhism (especially the Southern School) that there
was no-"Atman." I'm confused.

He has two more questions but they relate to HPB's personal life
so I will leave those out.


Daniel H. Caldwell

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Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application