More theos-l Comments
Feb 21, 1995 02:07 PM
This is by Eldon Tucker
Comments to John Vorstermans, Keith Price, Jerry Schueler,
Sy Ginsburg, Dr. Bain, Murray Stentiford, and Paul Johnson
Theosophists have been depicted at times as armchair
intellectuals. Many are. But is this a problem? Your
question--what do we do with the Philosophy--is a good one.
But is there a general formula for living a useful,
productive life? I'd suggest that each of us has to
determine his own right way to live. The study of Theosophy
can be a spiritual practice in itself that affects both us
and the people we meet in life. Is this study an idle
passing of time, like playing solitaire, or do we accomplish
something? I'd say that there are deep benefits derived from
the study, even if there are no immediate, noticeable
effects on our personality and outer life.
What about taking action, about becoming involved in social
reform, politics, feeding the hungry, teaching the
uneducated, etc.? There are many ways that we can express
ourselves in life. Is it wrong for a flower to grow in the
field, looking pretty, but not "doing anything"? One person
may feel called to work in politics. Another may be a
scholar, and prefer study and research. A third may like
people, and be drawn to work as a psychologist. Each is
being true to an inner calling.
I'd say that working for the highest is not done by taking a
specific plan of action to help the world. Rather, it is in
living life true to oneself, in an unselfish, self-
forgetful, compassionate way. The living of the higher is
done by functioning consciously in our higher principles, as
we go through the experiences of life; it is not done by the
pious, but not heart-felt observation of some external code
of compassionate action.
You mentioned the old idea that the stars circle the earth,
attached to a globe, which was moved by angels. That idea,
taken literally, is, as you say, silly. But behind the
apparently crude symbolism in such ideas may be hidden
deeper truths. The hidden truths do not get out of date,
even if the symbolism that they hide behind gets stale.
Some ideas, once held to be true, may now be considered as
wrong, as based upon outdated theories. An example would be
that the sun and stars rotate about the earth. We now know
that the earth orbits the sun, and that the stars do not
circle the earth, but that the earth spins on its axis, and
faces different stars from one moment to the next. But when
we consider relativity, what is happening depends upon the
frame of reference we take. Taking different frames of
reference, we'd describe a particular situation
differently. From the earth's point of view, the geocentric
viewpoint, the sun and stars do circle it. From the sun's
point of view, the heliocentric, the earth orbits it. From a
third point of view, the sun and earth circle a common
center of gravity.
Speaking of Initiates, there's an important distinction that
needs to be made. An Initiate is someone new, a beginner, a
tyro, an introductory student to new vistas of life. An
Master is someone experienced, proficient, with a fully-
developed skill set. An Initiate may not have sufficient
understanding or experience to be able to go public with
anything, but rather needs to learn, study, and apply his
skills in silence.
It would be interesting to learn how Tibetan Buddhism may
agree with Theosophy. Theosophy is not a rehash of Tibetan
Scripture; it is not based upon a representation of any of
our modern world religions or philosophies. Theosophy, as I
understand it, is a partial presentation of the Wisdom
Religion, as preserved by the Masters, since the Dhyani-
Chohans imparted it to humanity in the middle of the Third
Root Race, ages ago.
I don't think that we ever transcend our karma, since we are
that karma. Everything that makes us up is our karma, and it
is a living, dynamic thing. Karma takes on an appearance of
cause and effect, an appearance of a series of events
separated in time, when we perceive things from the
standpoint of a self that is separate from everything else.
Karma takes on an appearance of a living web of life, with
separate strands connecting us to everyone and everything
else, when we perceive things from the standpoint of no
separate self. We cannot separate out a single bond of
karma, a single living connection between us and some other
single person. The karmic effects can blend. Even a
connection to a single person affects everyone else and
comes back to us from all directions.
Consider the connection, say, between Brenda and I. There's
another connection between Eldon to Galina to Brenda or
Brenda to Galina to Eldon. Anyone or anything else has a
dual connection to both Brenda and I, and is affected by
both of us, and participates in the karma between Brenda and
I. Specific karmic events arise out of our respective karmic
storehouse, out of our treasury of experience, and are based
upon the living, dynamic nature of our relationship, out of
a living bond between us. The banker's model of karma, with
debit and credit, is too simple, and should be replaced with
one that considers the storehouse of karma as our individual
natures, our swabhava, and not as something external to us,
something applied to us by a external judicial system.
You bring up the question: What if parents teach their
children Theosophy and it later proves to be wrong? I'd say
that parents must use their best judgment to direct the
upbringing of their children, and that includes both
education in philosophy and religion, as well as in science.
They must make their best judgment as to what is true and
good for their children. Some people come across Theosophy
and feel an instant draw, a sense of kinship, an attraction
to learn and study it; others do not. This attraction should
be looked for in growing children, and respected. Children
with no such attraction should not have Theosophy forced
upon them, whereas those with a hunger to learn it should
have that desire to know respected.
I'd agree when you say that the idea of the Masters is not a
dead weight, that holds down the T.S. The idea of them is
part of the Philosophy. The idea is only subject to abuse
when people attempt to claim things in their name, and use
the idea as an attempt to assert authority over the minds
and hearts of others. Picture a church with a priest telling
us the word of God, telling us that we have to do what he
says on the authority of his special connection to God.
Substitute "theosophical figure" for "priest," and "Masters"
for "God", and you could have the same thing. This is
completely different that what the Masters tell us to do. In
"The Mahatma Letters," they say that every Chela is left to
his own device and council, even up to the supreme and last
You show a profound insight when you say, in effect:
Esoteric ideas are sewn into the fabric of ordinary life.
All levels of life are interwoven, and stand before us,
awaiting to be seen and appreciated. There's the statement
that the Kingdom of God is already on earth, and you just
have to perceive it. We don't need to leave our physical
body, and travel to the highest planes, to experience the
spiritual-divine; it is also a part of our life here on
earth, and an inseparable part of our consciousness. To
experience the divine, we just need to become aware of that
part of our selves, that part of our spectrum of
consciousness, that lies in that range. There is an aspect
of live that is miserable and dark, there is another that is
grand, spiritual, and self-forgetful; both aspects exist on
our spectrum of consciousness. Which do we choose to dwell
in? We can find the deeply profound about us, or we can see
a bitter dog-eat-dog world; which perception of life we
experience is up to us to choose.
I'd consider "Nirmanakaya" to refer to one of three modes of
consciousness, one of three ways of experiencing life. All
three views of life co-exist; all are happening at the same
time; it is up to us to choose *our personal perspective*
and dwell in one of them.
The separation of subject and object, of self and others, is
the viewpoint of the Nirmanakaya. The blissful union with
the object of action, the loss of sense of separation with
others we are interacting with, is the Sambhogakaya vesture.
The transcendence of a sense of this particular situation,
and an overpowering experience of timelessness, of lack of
being in a particular situation, of direct experience of
destiny, is found in the Dharmakaya.
Life exists, and can be seen in different ways, depending
upon to what degree we take on a sense of self. Others can
experience life in a different mode than we do at this
moment. But the entire nature of the universe, and the
meaning and purpose of life, changes *for us*, as we take on
one vesture after another.
These vestures are generally, I'd say, situated in our three
highest principles, with Nirmanakaya corresponding to Manas,
Sambhogakaya to Buddhi, and Dharmakaya with Atman. Even so,
we function in all seven principles, regardless of vesture,
for the principles compose the necessary ingredients or
components of a fully-conscious, manifested being.
There's another meaning to the vestures, when referring
particularly to the parts of a Buddha. Upon attaining
nirvana, the highest part enters nirvana, and that is the
Dharmakaya. The intermediate part stays behind as a
Bodhisattiva, and that is the Sambhogakaya. And the lower
part exists as a man, minus the physical body, and that is
the Nirmanakaya. Any body or form taken on, here on Globe D
earth, would have to be mind-created, a Mayavi-Rupa.
Apart from such a form, there is still sense perception and
the remaining higher principles.
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