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Re: To be a Theosophist

Nov 21, 1995 04:01 PM
by eldon


>If all of you will bear with me while I list some quotes
>I am attempting to set the general tone and drift of thought.

I'll make a comment or two about the quotes that you've selected
then respond to your commentary. At least some of the passages
are out-of-context and seem to say something different than the
general discussion that they were taken from. Perhaps you did
not read enough of the messages related to some of the discussions
to find their proper context and ended up misreading them?

>>People leave theosophical groups after finding
>>nothing there that is spiritual nourishing to them

Apart from the esoteric sections of the T.S.'s and ULT there
are no spiritual organizations or approaches outlined as a
path for a student to follow.

>>The general situation though as I see it is
>>that theosophical groups lack well-defined spiritual
>>practices and it is the lack of such that leads people to
>>move on.

This is what distinguishes theosophical groups from say
Tibetan Buddhism or Mystery Schools. There is not a
practice that someone undertakes overseen by spiritual
coaches or gurus.

>>There is no well-defined theosophical practice
>>for Westerners to give their whole being to

We have general descriptions of what a Theosophist is
and bits and pieces of spiritual teachings found scattered
in places like Judge's or the Mahatmas' Letters. It is
not organized into a specific practice but is knowledge
presented sometimes by pundits other times by people
that don't really understand it.

>>My recommendation is that theosophical groups carefully
>>examine the successful Eastern religious traditions
>>and formulate one or more practices for Westerners to
>>join that can provide *genuine* training that can
>>truly act as an entry to the Mysteries.

A lineage of spiritual teachers and teaching coming from
the Buddha a Sixth Rounder is certainly as valuable as
that coming from a pair of Mahatmas Fifth Rounders.

>>I need to put in my 02 cents worth about this self-sacrifice bit
>>because I believe it's overdone in Christianity...I take
>>self-sacrifice to mean that your main purpose in life is to
>>serve other people. But I don't think that it means that you
??need to turn into a masochist & continually deprive yourself.

We first learn to live with the thought of serving others.
This approach has merit. We picture ourselves as separate
individuals in a form of self-sacrifice. But this approach
is a preliminary spiritual practice. The notion of being
*a separate person serving others* needs to go. When there
is simply a sense of the greatest good for all life and
no notion of self-sacrifice we are in the higest form of

>>So that's the way we learn... by moving towards pleasure
>> away from pain.

The pleasure/pain model of motivation is one way of looking
at life. It's possible to perceive things from that standpoint.
But it's a fairly low mode of experience; there are far higher
standpoints to experience life by. I'd say that all the
standpoints are true but they are like different "stations"
on a radio; there are many available for us to tune in.

>>Go be a good girl scout and help old people cross streets
>>and then in your next life continue this way and seven lifetimes
>>on down the road you will be a Chela and have wisdom and etc.

Deferred gratification is a sign of emotional maturity. We
curb our impulse buying in order to achieve more important
financial goals. The same is true of bigger things in life.

>>This kind of stuff doesn't work on most people It doesn't work on
>>me either. I reject the notion that I have to wait 07 lifetimes or even

The nature of life cannot be overruled by wishful thinking.
There is *process*. It takes time for a flower bud to grow
to the point where it can open to the sun. Wanting to be open
it finds itself motivated towards that growth. But it cannot
instaneously be the opened flower. That desire if contained
is a good motivating force a power that drives the growth.
If the desire is out of control and gets pathological it
consumes one creates a state of denial and puts one in
disharmony with the actual nature of life at the present moment.

>>I also reject the notion that if I am good I will obtain gnosis
>>or enlightenment or whatever you want to call it. Christianity
>>tells me that if I am good I will go to heaven. Theosophy tells
>>me that if I am good I will have a better life next time around.
>>I fail to see much difference in these two views and reject both

The simplest model for the spiritual is one that teachings us
to accumulate merit by being good. This will lead to a rebirth
in a heaven world or lead to pleasurable surroundings in a
future lifetime. This model is for those still attached to the
notion of pleasure and pain.

>>There simply is no real theosophical path to tread other than that
>>of karma yoga of doing good deeds like some kind of boy/girl
>>scout for many lifetimes - which requires more faith than
>>Christianity when it says to do this and you will gain heaven.

This is simply denial of jnana yoga and most spiritual paths.
These paths exist are true and valid and don't go away nor
cease to benefit many people due to their being denied by some.

>Needless to say I had a rude awakening this morning as I opened my mail. I
>read the various posts containing the above in utter disbelief. Being a
>relative newcomer to this list I have thoroughly enjoyed the intelligent
>discussion of the teachings of Theosophy with participants clearly
>knowledgable and thoughtful on such matters even if I personally disagree
>with certain approaches ideas and conclusions. But I had never seen such a
>concentrated display of thought from people who seem to have completely
>missed the essence of Theosophy.

But perhaps you're missing the value of theos-l? Here you have an
opportunity to practice skillful presentation of the theosophical
doctrines in new and different ways. You can experiment without being
concerned that you'll mislead anyone. There's so much opinion here
that a new person would have a hard time matching the textbook
Theosophy that he may study with what is being said. Have some fun.

>The purpose of "showing off" and "practicing my typing skills" such
>bitchy comments by one wanting to be an Adept in a day by posting a
>lengthy list of quotes from the Key to Theosophy was to point out
>that HPB was showing us the way.

There's a small degree of name-calling and emotions get high at
times. It's just important that you write in a manner that doesn't
inflame things and at the same time ignore comments by others that
might tend to anger you. I get blasted at times but continue writing
because I find merit in doing so. The same is true of most of the
theos-l participants.

>Now I see most people rejecting this Path even though it is pure
>occultism. "Man know thyself" is reiterated constantly and what
>greater power over occult force could there be than from the
>"knowing" the ability to "conquer" our lower natures and make
>then serve us for the benefit of all?

Self-knowledge and self-genesis are highly important. And also
important is as you say conquering our lower natures. But what
does this mean? And how do we describe the process? Could you
put this in your own words like when you might be trying to
explain the process in a classroom setting to someone reading
a passage on the subject? Although there are people on the list
with varying degrees of understand of and agreement with Theosophy
we're all trying to put our understandings in our own words to
become skillful in expressing higher philosophy.

>If there was a hint of understanding of the meaning of true Brotherhood you
>would see the powerful and occult forces that come into play in Duty Charity
>and Selflessness leading to true Self-Consciousness. Isn't this the what the
>Masters epitomize? They have their powers because of the above virtues not
>the other way around.

Here's another possible topic for discussion if you were
to go into a bit more detail about what you mean by Duty
Charity and Selflessness.

>I guess I will continually be amazed at my naivete in these matters
>i.e. what being a Theosophist means to many people.

The problem is with the broad definition of the requirements of
T.S. membership. You can believe anything and call yourself a
Theosophist if you accept brotherhood and keep an open mind regarding
comparative religion and regarding the investigation of the occult.

>All I can say now is Thank You for the insight. I have learned a
>great deal.

There's a lot more to gain from participation in theos-l. In addition
to the opportunity to practice skillful writing you are exposed to
a vast spectrum of differing beliefs and have a chance for immediate
interaction with people of those beliefs. You can see how well various
manners of presenting Theosophy work out and can experiment with
different words to clothe the Teachings. It's both eductional and
a fun laboratory for working with words and practice in the propagation
of Theosophy.

-- Eldon

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