Re: Purucker on the Seven Rays
Oct 17, 1995 05:50 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
>> every Monad is a consciousness-center, with a definite swabhava of its
>> own, yet always in continuous and uninterrupted activity. This
>> activity ... is expressed on the lower planes of being by, we may say,
>While I tend to agree with Purucker on most things, including the
>idea of rays, Purucker is not without some problems as well.
He's not perfect, nor is Blavatsky, nor any of us. We can possibly
find mistakes at times. His criticism of the Besant/Leadbeater idea of
the Seven Rays, for instance, was fairly harsh considering that he did
not go into much detail as to *why* he thought the way he did.
>He insists, for example, that monads have 'swabhava' as if
>this is a Buddhist teaching.
The sense of personal self is true and exists, although we can be
trained to function in a mode of consciousness that transcends it.
We can still talk about that sense, and develop psychology to deal
The same is true of svabhava. I'd say that there are certain parts
of our constitution in which it resides, and it is useful in
describing a number of teachings.
We have karma, and this has fashioned what we are today. Only a
small portion of that karma can come out in any particular lifetime.
The working out of the karmic contents of our being is a process of
self-becoming that could be considered swabhava.
Another aspect of swabhava regards us as Monads. We are eternal in
an absolute sense. We have existed indefinitely into the past and
never will cease to exist. But the word "exist" does not mean being
in existence, but rather that there is an unbroken stream of
experience, sometimes in manifest worlds and sometimes deep within
a personal void or state of non-being. There is *something* about
us that is unique, that is the reason that we're a distinct Monad.
That unique nature is *timeless*, it transcends our participation
in manifestation, and is the Ideal Nature or driving force behind
our external evolutions into matter.
>"Svabhava. Self-being, self-existence, Selfhood, that
>which does not depend on others for its existence; the definite,
>irreducible and self-subsisting entity that is 'being' itself. The
>concept of Svabhava is completely rejected by the philosophy
>of Sunyata." (Glossary, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality, by
>Garma, C.C. Chang).
This speaks of a part of us that is *higher* than the Ideal Nature
or swabhava or the sense of being a Monad. It points to the
Paramatman or Parabrahman, the sense of transcending all boundaries
and embracing the *all*. But even here, it is *us* that is doing
it, althought there's absolutely no *awareness* of us being
individual entities while doing so.
>"Sunyata. Voidness or Emptiness; the central
>philosophy of Buddhism. Sunyata, though translated as
>Voidness, does not mean nothingness or annihilation"
>(Glossary, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality, by Garma,
Agreed. It does not mean nothingness or annihilation because that
would still be in relation to the objective world. We cannot have
a sense of nothingness without something to negate. We cannot have
a sense of annihilation without something to annihilate. There is
rather a sense of stoping the creation of the world through the
activity of the mind, Manas.
>According to Chang, the central philosophy of Buddhism
>is the doctrine of Emptiness, which completely refutes
>the notion of svabhava (or swabhava).
We can speak of nirvana, and someday experience it, *as a mode of
consciousness*, without literal loss of our eternal existence as a
Monad. It is *our experience of life* for the time. The same is
true of the sense of emptiness. In that state of consciousness, any
sense of personal attributes -- be it of the human Ego or deep within
the bosom of the Monad -- is gone. But the attributes *are not gone*.
We've just entered into a mode of consciousness where they disappear
from our awareness for the moment.
It's possible to be reading a book, and be in a state of awareness
where we forget our physical body. The body is *gone* from our
consciousness, and does not exist for us at that moment. But it still
exists, and we'll be aware of it again as we put the book down. The
same is true with the sense of sunyata, the sense of emptiness, and
the opposite, the sense of fullness. In terms of the overall nature
of things, we have Tat ("that" or the unknowable) and Idam ("this" or
the totality of all that exists and can be known). We have the same
dual mode to our conscious experience of life.
>Purucker is wrong in ascribing his ideas on this subject to Buddhism
I'll have to defer to Rich to comment on Buddhism.
>and I don't think he ever really tackles the doctrine of emptiness.
The awareness of emptiness comes from pure buddhic consciousness, and
I think that Purucker's teachings were geared to the awakening of
Buddhi-Manas, or the higher aspect of understanding of life, one step
short of the void.
>I also think that he is misleading in ascribing
>a unique self-hood to the Divine Monad; only the lower
>monads (which is, IMHO, an unfortunate term to use)
>is such uniqueness evident.
I don't think that the Divine Monad is the highest, but that there are
an uncountable number of higher Monads and schemes of existence. What
is *highest* within us comes from the highest principles, the higher
triad (the three above the seven), the principles that relate to a
direct awareness of non-existence or the non-manifest, where we step
out of existence (space), then out of time, and finally out of relation
to participation in life itself, sinking deep into Mystery.
< < The basic idea of "rays" is that we, as Monads, establish an
< < outpost of consciousness on the lower planes. We send forth rays
< < and evolve them as ourselfs on the lower planes.
>Tibetan Buddhism uses the idea of rays to demonstrate exactly
>what reincarnates in the sense of the tulku. Whenever a prominent
>person dies, their 'reincarnation' is found who then takes over
>their office. This is true for the Dali Lama, and a host of lesser
>leaders, who are often the heads of monestaries.
I would consider "rays" as being used in a difference sense in this
case. When we as parents pay attention to our children, that act of
loving attention affects them, and are "rays" of our consciousness.
When in devachan we interact with dream-images of our loved ones,
they aren't really with us, but we're interacting with "rays" of
their consciousness. In exactly this sense, there may be a high
Buddha, or perhaps a Dhyani-Chohan, whose loving attention establishes
a "ray" of consciousness. This is not "avesa" or a taking over of a
body for purposes of personally using it, but an "influence" being
showered upon the target of our attention.
In the sense of the Monads sending a "ray" of consciousness into
matter, to work the long, difficult, but rewarding pathway of
evolution, there is a sense of this same loving attention. But the
attention in this case is complete, unfailing, and continuous. The
ray would cease to exist where it to stop for a moment. The ray is
the literal consciousness of that Monad, as projected into existence
on a lower material plane. The ray is not an offshoot as much as
a self-created center of awareness. It is much the same, although on
a lower and much-less complete scale, were we to create via the power
of mind a mayava-rupa to function as our vehicle of consciousness
elsewhere, in which we would temporarily exist.
>is that immediately at death, the person sends forth a ray, and
>that this ray is what reincarnates (not the ego and not any Self).
>This ray is the strong and focused desire to continue helping
>others in a special capacity. According to the teaching of tulku,
>this desire will carry over into another life by incarnating into
>an appropriate fetus.
It is either the person himself, using avesa, taking over the body
of the fetus, or it's a high being, having granted its "loving
attention" to one man, now directs that attention to another, to
continue that higher being's work in the world.
>A. David-Neel, writes: There is thus no permanent ego which transmigrates.
The personality does not transmigrate or reincarnate. It dies, its
unspend inner energies are exhausted in kamaloka and devachan, then
it goes on to existence in another world of causes (usually Globe D).
The essense of the personality is absorbed by the Reincarnating Ego,
and becomes part of its enduring experience. That essence continues
over all our human lifetimes, lasting billions of years.
When we say that "there is no permanent ego that reincarnates", we're
really saying that the ego (personality) that we've built for ourselves
in a particular lifetime is left behind as a finished product. This is
much like we leave behind an article, when it has been written, or leave
behind a painting, when it is finished. But the Writer or Painter then
goes on to the next article or painting, staring with a blank sheet of
paper or canvas. An higher self within us fashions the next creative
act of self-becoming, the building of the next personality. And this
building of personalities is not random, but according to our own
Now we can say that the Reincarnating Ego is not immortal, and it too
will someday cease. That is true. But there are still higher Egos or
centers of conscousness within, and they too with fashion our next
higher self. There is, I'd say, *no highest Ego*. No matter how high
we look, there are yet higher schemes of life that we participate in.
There is never a time where our participation in the fullness of life,
in Idam, ceases. Yet on the other hand, we also continuously participate
in Tat, the Ultimate Void, regardless of our position in life. Both sides
of life are ever-present, regardless of which we are aware of at a
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