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May 14, 1995 07:28 AM
by Jerry Schueler
A few meandering thoughts: Lewis: <Can we act without generating karma? > Every action produces a reaction, so I suspect that yes, every action we make generates karma. But, we don't have to let past karma effect us. In a sense, we can eliminate past personal karma. In another sense, what we really do is not so much eliminate it, but rather simply manage to be unaffected by it (which for practical purposes is the same thing). Keith: <I admit I know the concept more from Ilya rigogine's now early "Order Out of Chaos" and not all the recent work.> Check out his new one: Exploring Complexity (1989). A lot more math, but definitely interesting. Keith: < Karma focuses on the Past as cause and effect as a type of memory - it is reactive> Glad you mentioned this. I recently came across an interesting finding. Some scientists have been studying the brain and memory using chaos theory. They discovered that "experience changes memory." Memory can be observed in terms of neurological patterns, and these can be changed. I wonder how this affects karma? Just how much a role does memory play in the law of karma anyway? Keith: <But the problem of the ego as a kind of vortex of negativity and creativity stills haunts me.> Why do you see the ego as negative? It is an expression of the inner god or divine Self. It is a complex in the Jungian sense, but only seems negative when given too much inflation with itself. BTW, the gnostic demiurge, Yaldabaoth, is the cosmic equivalent of the ego. His only real sin is ignorance of his true nature. Keith: <Some suggest the ego should be extinguished so the Self can enter Nirvana - Buddhism.> This is doubtless picky on my part, but Buddhism does not teach the elimination or extinguishing of the ego, but rather that the ego has no real existence to begin with. Nirvana appears to result in the extinguishing of an ego, but the ego has no real existence to be extinguished. Keith: <I think Blavatsky said that theosophy was a type of Jyana or intellectual yoga.> God, I hope not! Can you give me a source on such a remark? As far as I know, she said that her SD can be used as a type of Jnana Yoga. HPB said several times that Raja Yoga was the best one to practice for the serious student. Most folks haven't a clue as to how to practice Jnana Yoga. Keith: <The Bakti yoga or the cult of the guru has never appealed to me - look at the Branch Davadians and that Japanes cult. Karma yoga seems to be the way of the Puritan heritage - work out your salvation with fear. > Right. With Bakhti Yoga or Guru Yoga, you have got to have a real Master or you will get into a lot of trouble. BTW, this is the yoga that H.H. the Dali Lama seems to prefer and he has co-written an excellent book on it. Karma Yoga is the one preferred by the TSs (and by Liesel). Keith: <Chaos seems to tip the applecart in unexpected directions.> It can. But after all, thats life - few things go exactly as planned. Keith: <Has anyone talked about the idea that Blavatsky seemed to suggest that Lucifer (bringer of the light of consciousness) got a bad name somewhere along the line?> I don't think we discussed this. He got a bad name because he was responsible for us being thrown out of Eden. BTW, you should read the excellent article on the Garden of Eden in the latest issue of Sunrise by Nancy Coker. Keith: <That consciousness was a gift, but that it gave man, the Promethean fire of the mind.> I think you mean self-consciousness rather than just consciousness - which is what we are and not an attribute or characteristic. The formation of self-consciousness brought about the original dualistic split between self and not-self or subjectivity and objectivity; and the rest, as they say, is history. Suchness. The Buddhist concept of suchness implies authenticity or something that is a thing-in-itself. It refers to anything that has no parts. Buddha called things that are collections of parts 'aggragates.' Scientists used to think that atoms were tiny indivisible spheres. But now we know that atoms are aggragates too. According to Buddhism, all aggragates are maya; their reality is illusive. Our body is a collection of parts. Jung showed that our minds too are a collection of parts. The unconscious is also, and so is the cosmos. So when we look outside ourself or inside, all we can see are mayavic aggragates. I suspect that everyone here knows about the example of a car, but I will briefly go through it. Take a car. Remove a door. Is it still a car? Yes. Then remove the windshield wipers. Is it still a car? Yes. Then remove the tires. Is it still a car? Keep this up long enough, and sooner or later you will reach a point where the name 'car' no longer applies. We give aggragates like cars names and then think that they are real things, but really all you have are parts put together in certain ways. And the parts are also aggragates. According to theosophy, suchness only applies to monads, which by definition are indivisible. A monad has no organs, no cells, no parts. Therefore, a monad has suchness. Monads only exist on the highest of the seven cosmic planes. So, everything that exists on the six lower planes, the so-called Planes of Manifestation, are aggragates. They are maya. They have no suchness. On the highest plane, the divine (or whatever name you want to call it) everything has suchness. This is the home of monads. Each monad is in a condition of nonduality; not split or separated in any way. The essence or constitution of each monad is called monadic essence, which is as good a term as any. There, countless hosts of monads exists outside of space and time. Zillions of look-alike monads exists together in the very same space and time so that you can't tell if you see one or a billion (which accounts for the strong sense of oneness experienced by the world's mystics). It is this concept of monads that brings theosophy and Buddhism close together, but only when we allow that monads exist only on the first, or highest, cosmic plane (thus Buddhism insists that the human monad, the animal moand, and so on as taught by the early theosophists are as mayavic as anything else and not true monads). Just a few thoughts. Jerry S.