[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Experience & Buddhism

Jan 31, 1995 04:01 PM
by Jerry Schueler

Eldon: "Neither Buddhism nor Theosophy teaches reliance on "only
our personal experiences as our guide".  Nor do they teach
incorporation of "only those teachings that fit in with those

While this is technically true, my statements are equally
correct.  let me quote H.H.  the Dali Lama from his new book:

     "It is frequently said that the essence of the training in
     guru yoga is to cultivate the art of seeing everything the
     guru does as perfect.  Personally I myself do not like this
     to be taken too far.  Often we see written in the
     scriptures, "Every action seen as perfect." However, this
     phrase must be seen in the light of Buddha Shakyamuni's own
     words: "Accept my teachings only after examining them as an
     analyst buys gold.  Accept nothing out of mere faith in me."
     " (H.H.  the Dali Lama, THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT, trans.
     by Glenn H.  Mullin)

To me, this quote from the Buddha himself, given by one who
Knows, implies that we should only accept those teachings that
match with our understanding and experience.  The Buddha himself
tells us not to blindly accept anything, not even his own words.
As we grow, we can accept more and more of the Teachings but they
should only be accepted by us as we can assimilate them into our

Eldon: "If Buddha's Middle Way means anything, it means avoiding
*exclusive* reliance on either our own or others' views."

I agree.  But the Surangama Sutra says, "in spite of my learning,
if I am not able to put it into practice, I am no better than an
unlearned man." (Lin Yutang's THE WISDOM OF CHINA AND INDIA, p
514).  To me, this implies that knowledge without personal
experience is pretty useless.

Note: In my own research into the world of magic, I came across
the idea of what I call signposts.  The idea is that while Truth
is somewhat subjective and can be seen in many different ways by
different people, there will always be certain things that
everyone will (or should) experience pretty much equally.  I have
called these collective or shared experiences signposts because
like the signposts on a map, we all tend to see them pretty much
the same way.  If a certain area on a cosmic plane has a
signpost, and you don't perceive it, then chances are good that
you are not at that location.  Going back to my scenario of a
life-wave of dualistic monads (in a previous posting) these
signposts would be defined as areas in which our Not-I's or our
worlds overlap, and thus are shared, much like many regions on
the physical plane.  Crowley once made the remark that the
Sephiroth are like file drawers because each is associated with
so many correspondences that must be remembered.  Only when you
know these correspondences can you be sure of where you are when
you pathwork through the Tree of Life.  So, magic certainly uses
both personal and collective experience, the former to gain
direct knowledge, and the latter as a check on the accuracy of
the former.

               Jerry S.

[Back to Top]

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