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re: Newsewwk mentions

May 09, 1998 10:15 AM
by K. Zaitzev


5 May 1998 K. Paul Johnson <> wrote:

> That image is not entirely inaccurate, but glamorizes and
> mythologizes a real living culture.  It was recently asked here
> how HPB and Theosophy conflict with genuine Tibetan
> understandings of their religion.  Jerry has mentioned one
   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. 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. Otherwise he wouldn't come to celebrate 100th TS anniver-
sary & so 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.

> 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.

> 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:


Trikaya (Sk.). Lit., three bodies, or forms. This is a most abstruse
teaching which, however, once understood, explains the mystery of
every triad or trinity, and is a true key to every three-fold metaphysical
symbol. In its most simple and comprehensive form it is found in the
human Entity in its triple division into spirit, soul, and body, and in
the universe, regarded pantheistically, as a unity composed of a Deific,
purely spiritual Principle, Supernal Beings  its direct rays  and
Humanity. The origin of this is found in the teachings of the pre-
historic Wisdom Religion, or Esoteric Philosophy. The grand Panthe-
istic ideal, of the unknown and unknowable Essence being transformed
first into subjective, and then into objective matter, is at the root of
all these triads and triplets.  Thus we find in philosophical Northern
Buddhism (1) Adi-Buddha (or Primordial Universal Wisdom); (2) the
Dhyani-Buddhas (or Bodhisattvas); (3) the Manushi (Human) Buddhas.
In European conceptions we find the same: God, Angels and Humanity
symbolized theologically by the God-Man. The Brahmanical Trimurti and
also the three-fold body of Shiva, in Shaivism, have both been conceived
on the same basis, if not altogether running on the lines of Esoteric
teachings. Hence, no wonder if one finds this conception of the
triple body  or the vestures of Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and
Dharmakaya, the grandest of the doctrines of Esoteric Philosophy 
accepted in a more or less disfigured form by every religious sect, and
explained quite incorrectly by the Orientalists. Thus, in its general
application, the three-fold body symbolizes Buddha's statue, his teach-
ings and his stupas; in the priestly conceptions it applies to the
Buddhist profession of faith called the Triratna, which is the formula of
taking "refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha". Popular fancy
makes Buddha ubiquitous, placing him thereby on a par with an
anthropomorphic god, and lowering him to the level of a tribal deity;
and, as a result, it falls into flat contradictions, as in Tibet and China.
Thus the exoteric doctrine seems to teach that while in his Nirmana-
kaya body (which passed through 1000000 kotis of transformations on
earth), he, Buddha, is at the same time a Lochana (a heavenly
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. 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".)


           (Theosophical glossary by H.P.B.)

> Alexandra David-Neel, a one-time Theosophist, reports in her Magic and
> Mystery in Tibet that her Tibetan lamas regarded the stories about the
> Mahatma letters as ridiculous and took them as a joke, insisting that
> no real lama would do such things.

   But masters never declared themselves to be the lamas.
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.

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