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May 11, 1998 06:56 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to

> From: "Konstantin Zaitzev" <>

>    The further from India & Tibet, the more numerous are the critics of
> theosophy. It's a well-known fact that in India TS is more popular than
> in many european countries.

Sorry, that may have been true once but hasn't been for a long
time.  I suppose one could define "popular" in many ways, but
sicne you specify the TS rather than Theosophy, here's some food
for thought: with 12,000 TS members out of 950,000,000
population, the ratio for India is .000012631; with 4,000 members
out of 260 million in the US, the ratio here is .000015384,
slightly higher.  (Just over one hundredth of one percent in
either case.)  And in Europe as it has been reported to me there
are several countries where Theosophists are much higher as a
percentage of population: the Netherlands and Iceland are two of
whom I've seen this stated, but have no statistics on hand.
As for there being more critics of Theosophy the further one gets
from India and Tibet, there are two reasons for this.  First,
there are more Theosophists the further one gets from India and
Tibet, Western Europe, the English-speaking world and Latin
America being the strongholds of membership.  (Maybe Russia now
changing that?)  But there are *very* few Theosophists in Asia
outside India.  And in India there are few critics of Theosophy
because it has a certain honor for its role in the Freedom
Movement, Indian education, etc., and because it has long ceased
having any real presence in the country's intellectual life.
Krishnamurti, a definite critic of Theosophy, is vastly better
known and more appreciated in India than anyone Theosophical.

 It's true, theosophical understanding of
> Buddhism is far from western orientalists' understanding of it,
> for criticize originates mostly from them. It would be better to
> hear the opinion of the authorities of Tibetian Buddhism, for
> example, Dalai-lama XIV. Though I've never heard his opinion about
> Blavatsky teachings, I would suspect that it's rather positive than
> negative.

The DL is also positive about aspects of Christianity and
generally avoids being critical of those who are friendly to him,
as Theosophists have certainly been.  Therefore I suspect his
private opinion may be more critical than any of his public

 Otherwise he wouldn't come to celebrate 100th TS anniver-
> sary & so on.

That probably has more to do with the role of the TS in
supporting him than how he feels about its specific teachings
that present an interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism.  An
interesting question, though, one I'd like more info on.

 For instance, in his books and lectures Dalai-lama says
> that Buddha has attained illumination long before his well-known
> incarnation. So it contradicts popular exoterical point of view
> and matches the theosophical understanding.

Not sure that there has been any doubt as to the admissibility of
this view in Tibetan Buddhism.
> > aspect, interval between births, but there are several.  For
>    An interval between births is not dogmatized both in Buddhism and
> in theosophy. Short intervals which are widely known concern tulku, i.e.
> advanced lamas who can incarnate by will. Experience of people who re-
> member their past lives shows an average value of 7-15 years.

There actually are rather dogmatic statements in Theosophical
teachings, giving an average of 1500 years.  Or various other
intervals but all far longer than the one you cite.

> > For example the doctrine of the three kayas is presented by HPB as
> > alternative choices of vehicle,  where in Tibetan tradition they are
> > simultaneous and not separable.
>  The following quotation clearly shows that Blavatsky didn't deny
> the conception of simultaneous kayas:
> Dhyani-Bodhisattva), in his Sambhogakaya "robe of absolute complete-
> ness", and in Dhyana, or a state which must cut him off from the world
> and all its connections; and finally and lastly he is, besides being a
> Nirmanakaya and a Sambhogakaya, also a Dharmakaya "of absolute purity",
> a Vairotchana or Dhyani-Buddha in full Nirvana! (See Eitel's Sanskrit-
> Chinese Dictionary.) This is the jumble of contradictions, impossible
> to reconcile, which is given out by missionaries and certain Orientalists
> as the philosophical dogmas of Northern Buddhism.

Sounds like a denial to me!

 If not an intentional
> confusion of a philosophy dreaded by the upholders of a religion based
> on inextricable contradictions and guarded "mysteries", then it is the
> product of ignorance. As the Trailokya, the Trikaya, and the Triratna
> are the three aspects of the same conceptions, and have to be, so to say,
> blended in one, the subject is further explained under each of these
> terms. (See also in this relation the term "Trisharana".)

Following these up would show whether she does indeed deny it, as
the above passage makes it appear, or not.  But it is surely not
"clear" from what you quote, which seems to say the opposite of
what you read it as saying.
>    But masters never declared themselves to be the lamas.

There are a great many inconsistent statements about the precise
relationship of HPB's Masters (which Masters do you refer to?) to
the Tibetan tradition. 

> You might similarly declare that "clergymen of russian orthodox church
> would never do such things". It would be the correct statement but would
> have no value as an argument.

It does depend on what the argument is.  David-Neel wasn't really
arguing for anything, just mentioned this in passing, but her
opinion was clearly that Theosophical writings misrepresent
Tibet.  Since the modus operandi of the Mahatmas was presented as
consistent with that of Tibetan lamas, whether or not they
themselves were lamas does not negate the implication of ADN's


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