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Re: Phists vs. Phers

Nov 23, 1995 03:34 PM
by eldon


You wrote your reply a second type with slightly different
ideas. I'm replying again this time to the second set of
words ...

>One becomes a Jehovah's Witness and is instantly transformed
>enough to go door to door in the new and glorious raiment of
>God's Chosen; one becomes a "Theosophist" and even the good
>suit we arrived in can no longer be worn until each thread is
>properly footnoted and cross-referenced to some garment
>someone supposedly far more worthy than we used to wear.

I agree that nothing is conferred by the act of membership in
any group. The only exception I'd make would be in a spiritual
organization where one is taking certain vows with a sincere
heart and dedicates one's life to carrying out those vows.
The biggest such vow would be of course the Bodhisattva Vow.

Your other point regarding having to footnote and cross-reference
everything we say is also something I've been making in the past
though from a different slant.

We need to put the philosophy in our own words to make it something
that is living in our minds and not merely a collection of
words that we parrot. If we limit ourselves to what we can
find quotes for we'd doing something that in the past I've
called "cite-ism". We can and should have original ideas on
Theosophy. What's important here though is that we make a
clear distinction between ideas that we clearly know are our own
and those we've taken from the Philosophy. Otherwise we need to
plainly state that everything we say is from personal opinion and
any resemblance to Theosophy is purely coincidental. <grin>

>We are considered to be on our best best behavior when we
>simply "study"; on our worst when we speak from personal authority.

Hopefully not. Again we can distinguish between our personal
opinions insights and experiences and what we're studying.
If we aren't careful the theosophical philosophy will dissapear
over several generations through compounding of personal opinions
and be lost from the public eye.

Regarding personal authority there are many kinds. Someone could
go into trance and wake up later and claim to speak on behalf
of God Rama of the Altair Star System. Another person may speak
of insights into appreciating life that has come from years of
meditation or from working on some volunteer project. Which person
is really speaking from personal authority and which is ungrounded?

>Someone who shows up on Theosophy's doorstep so empty-handed that
>his or her only excuse for being there could be the study and
>perhaps worship of dead people who had such progress and
>resulting knowledge?

This is a short-coming of theosophical groups. Besides the books
to study what else is there to do? Someone could read Leadbeater's
"Invisible Helpers" and decide to try to learn to astral project
in order to become a psychic social worker. Another might worship
the Masters as Demi-Gods and make the Path sound so vast so far
removed from life that no one could possible undertake it. This
would really of course be an excuse for *that* person for not
getting serious about the Path himself.

>No we all showed up as theosophers but were willing to call
>ourselves "theosophists" as long as we thought that term included
>our own spiritual advancement and the unique perspectives and
>articulations which necessarily flow from it.

We're more often I think like grade school children not wanting
to learn the alphabet and practice our handwriting. How many of
us are willing to undertake a specific discipline?

>If we find however that we are more and more being "screened"
>for orthodoxy and "graded" for book-knowledge *theosophers* some
>of us shall be again until things change.

There could hardly be grading for even book knowledge if the T.S.
has so few people who've studied the materials that even the
graders would get the answers wrong. <frown>

I really don't think that the distinction and potential disagreement
involves grading people on how well they've studied Theosophy
and are familiar with its ideas. The disagreement is over there's
a rich vein of gold found *behind those words* and an associated
spiritual practice similar to jnana yoga based upon that *inner

Some will superficially read the books and parrot the words that
they encounter. Others will look at the books and readily dismiss
them as out-of-date theories dismissing them as old broken wine
bottles with no contents of value. I would argue for a third view
where the exoteric words are more akin to a buried treasure chest
a chest full of wonders!

On the one hand we should not dismiss those who walk away from
the treasures as being blind to the spiritual. Perhaps their
path takes them to another approach. On the other hand we should
not dismiss those that say the've found treasures in the books
if we haven't. In either case from either approach we may be
speaking from personal experience. Can we tolerate both types of
experience to peacefully coexist?

-- Eldon

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