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Theosophy for Beginners is True Too

Jun 27, 1996 00:07 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker

Jerry S:

[writing to Richard Ihle]

>Americans are a lot smarter than 19th-century
>Hindu or Buddhists students, and demand a lot more than karma
>as reward-and-punishment. For myself, I loved it at first, then
>digested it, and then hungered for more, found it, and am now
>dissatisfied with the exoteric material in the TS literature.

You may be forgetting your own feeling of satisfaction and
opening vistas that the basic ideas gave you, when as a
beginner you first came to study them. Certainly you know
more now that you did then, and have passed on to deeper
understandings, but that's *you*, not everybody else.

For every person that may have studied the basic, most
simply view of the esoteric doctrines, there are perhaps
thousands that are starving for those simple, soul-healing

For those with the good fortune to have studied the
teachings and benefited from them, they may have moved
yet deeper in their understanding of life. But that
"moving yet deeper" is in stages, and someone new to the
philosophy will get nowhere if they're offered the basic
teachings with one hand and hear them denounced, discredited,
and despised with the other. That would be giving a new
student a mixed message that would simply turn them away.

>I have no problem with defining Theosophy as a collection
>of core teachings and then list the headings.  Even giving
>out HPB's version is OK, providing it is acknowledged as
>exoteric (which it is)--I think that this is what Eldon has
>in mind when he talks about mining for gold, etc.

There's a problem when we say "Here's something to study,
but it's only *exoteric*, for beginners, watered-down
stuff, things I know to be untrue and to have personally
risen above, etc." That's certainly not respectful of the
Wisdom Tradition, and misses the point that the teachings
*are true*, but simply understood in simpler and more
basic models at first, and later understood with growing
sophistication and insight.

>But if we limit
>Theosophy to only HPB's versions then we are in trouble,
>because then the truth seeker will never get beyond the
>exoteric shell (and many may not anyway, but the fact that
>it is, after all, only an exoteric husk, should be given to
>all truth seekers however far they care to tread the Path).

There are a few flavors of the basic doctrines, and HPB's
is not the only one. But not all that passes as esoteric
wisdom is a genuine flavor of the Mysteries. There's more
fools gold than the real thing out in the world.

>The problem is that I often want to say things that she
>never discussed, and as Eldon, Jerry HE and others have
>suggested, her omissions are generally construed as
>negative opinions. In other words, if she doesn't mention it,
>it probably is not so. This is not the case *every* time, but
>too often for me.

The problem is not whether the idea is true or not, but
upon what basis do you present your ideas. We're all
entitled to present our views, whatever they are, if we
label them as such. If we want to suggest that a particular
idea we have is found in Theosophy, we can use direct
citations and a scholar approach to show the connection.
Or we can argue the idea from a philosophical standpoint
as being consistent, in accord with, and integral to what
is presented in Theosophy. Or yet again, we can simply
say "this is what I think".

I tend to take the second or third approach, partly because
I may be writing on my laptop at work, at the start of the
day, where reference books are not handy. Also, partly,
because I've seen how when someone does give quotes on
theos-l, the writer will find some people laugh in their
faces (and on occasion the bitterness of the reaction is
more akin to having someone spit in one's face). Hopefully
there'd be a few people, even on theos-l, who'd actually
want to study and talk about Theosophy, rather than simply
reject it out-of-hand and spend their time telling the
rest of us how clever they are in seeing how untrue it all

-- Eldon

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