Re: Re Evolution
Sep 11, 1995 02:54 PM
If I remember your question correctly, you doubted BOTH that Tibetan
Buddhists believed in "higher" manvantaras in the future, as well as the idea
that there is a monad.
You mentioned that they "don't even believe in a monad, Rich." I happened to
have no cosmological sutras/tantras near me at the time, (I still don't) and
so I merely answered the monadic part of your question, namely that the
Buddhists do not merely hold to the theory of 5 skandhas, but also (in
Mahayana and Vajrayana) teach a pure, "unstained" (amala) essence of clear
light, or "original mind" that reigns above any and all incarnations and
manifestations as our true "essence." This is VERY much like HPB's "atma"
(or Greek "monad") even though "atma" is a Hindu term, used to great effect
by Shankaracharya in his Bhasya (commentary) on the Bhagavad-Gita.
You mention that "Where Buddhism and theosophy part
company is the theosophical teaching about all of the other
monads - the human monad, the animal monad, and so on."
I am not aware that HPB teaches anything other than THE monad, meaning
usually Atma-buddhi as the imperishable individuality throughout the
manvantara. That monad may be experiencing embodied life through the vehicle
of a human, an animal, a vegetable, etc. but it is the SAME monad throughout.
They are not different monads, just experiencing different kinds of
I have occasionally seen HPB use the term "astral monad," meaning I think
that lower manasic seat of the personality, which forms a "unity" (monad) for
one lifetime only. It is not THE monad of the Secret Doctrine.
I believe the teachings regarding different "human monads" "animal monads"
etc. are from later, secondary sources, including Besant and Leadbeater, and
I do not defend them. They may contradict Buddhist teachings if in fact
they teach the permanence of anything other than consciousness, but it is not
clear exactly what "human monad" might mean except in HPB's definition.
Perhaps you can enlighten me.
As for manvantaras, the Buddhists rarely give public consideration to
cosmology whatsoever, and prefer instead to focus on practical instructions
for liberation. Cosmological studies appear to be reserved for the VERY
elite. Many of the tantras with their esoteric explanations have not come to
light in the West yet, and I fear we do not have access yet to extremeley
critical texts. However, the law of correspondence, which the Tibetan
Buddhists and most other mystics accept, would strongly imply a universal
evolution towards the absolute as well as a personal one. I haven't come
across a quote recently, but if I do, be sure I will surrender it to the
If you prefer to analyze HPB's teaching of evolution proceeding through each
manvantara through a modern, Western psychological model -- a need for the
ego to feel some meaning in life -- so be it. I can only say that HPB had a
very profound knowledge of inner Buddhist teachings well over a century
before they even became known to Western Buddhologists in the West.
If you think she has made a critical error, okay. I suspect that, as in many
other things, she had an "inside track" and worked with "Those Who Know."
I'm aware that many do not share with me that devotion to one's guru
(guru-yoga) that I have for Blavatsky and her Master, and that is part of
what makes Theosophy a great tradition -- we are free to think for ourselves.
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