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Buddhist Tantra and Theosophy

Oct 05, 1999 06:20 AM
by Gerald Schueler

Some short responses to Daniel:

>>I see that Rich also refers to another book:
>>by Daniel Cozort.

This is a "must" book for anyone interested in Tibetan
Tantra. I think that most Theosophists will still be
trying to figure out the sutras, and will not be ready to
understand this book.

>>Peter, this book appears to me ALSO to be  full of "hatha yoga style
breathing practices, forced visualisations and sexual tantra, all mixed up
with allusions to higher states of spiritual attainment."<<

Yes. It is, and there is no guru to hand to help you. However, it should
be clear that these "allusions" are core teachings of Tibetan
Buddhism. The "sexual" elements can be physical (karmamudra)
or mental (jnanamudra) as I have pointed out many times.

>>I have to agree with you Peter that both books are good examples of
"the very Tantric and hatha yoga practices that HPB and the Masters warned
against and distanced themselves from."<<

They take one up the spiritual mouontain at a steep rate and are
dangerous for all that. HPB was writing for the West, people who
had no time or inclination to "do it right" and thus who would likely
dabble and get burned. Thus the warning.  But anyone who yearns
for spiritual understanding has to ignore her warnings.

>>How can this be since both books are in the Gelugpa tradition---one being
the very founder of the Yellow Hats whom KH and M praise in very high

There are at least three basic stages to Tibetan Buddhism (actually
many others exist). First is the sutras which is mainly reading and
ethical development. This is where 99.99% of all Theosophists
are and probably 99% of Buddhists. Second is tantra which has two
stages: the developing or generation stage and the completion stage.
HIghest Yoga Tantra concerns the completion stage and should
only be practiced after success with the generation stage. Highest
Yoga Tantra is just that -- the highest form of tantra practiced in
Tibetan Buddhism. It is also the most dangerous because it does
ignite the kundalini (a physical expression of spiritual insight).

>>I ask Rich, Steve and Nicholas, what's going on here?

I think that this should be obvious by now, Dan, especially
for a person of your intellect and insight (you know more
than you let on).  HPB practiced these things while fully
realizing the dangers of condoning them to the public.
This is in keeping with almost all Teachers (i.e., he who
has ears, let him hear, etc).

>>Read what is said on these subjects as found throughout HPB's writings as
well as what is in the Mahatma Letters.  Compare them to what is found in
these two book mentioned above.>>

I agree that every Theosophist should do this as a personal
developmental task. I did so, years ago. Also read Je Tzongkapa
and compare him to HPB's writings. A great deal of his writings
are in English translation now.

>>Are any of you suggesting that these are the kinds
of practices that HPB's Masters M, KH, Serapis and others of the Occult
Brotherhood would practice or instruct their students to practice?>>

Yes, they would have to practice these things, and if they seem
disgusting to you, then you are not ready for them.  According to
virtually all of the modern Tibetan writers, generation and
completion stage tantra is practiced by all of the Tibetan leaders
of note including HH the Dali Lama.  However, it should be very
clear that only a handful of people are spiritually ready to
actually practice this. Most can barely get through the sutras
and ethical development that is basic before starting on tantra.
Anyone still hung up on ethics should stay away from tantra,
and probably will anyway. HPB deliberately wrote in such a
way as to encourage just this built in safety measure.

>>Colonel Olcott spoke of the Schools of HPB's Masters as follows:
". . . the Brothers. . . have told me that there are schools, under
appointed living adepts, where their Occult science is regularly taught."
Are any of you suggesting that the Brothers of HPB condone such "tantric"
practices in their schools???>>

If they had any regard or respect for Tibetan Buddhism, then yes
they did.  But they carefully and deliberately kept away those who
were not ready--a situation that I still see in today's Tibetan writers.

>>Can we just sweep all of this under the "theosophical" carpet and ignore
Especially in light of what Mahatm Koot Hoomi writes about Tsong Kha pa:>>

Dan, I can only see two choices here: (1) argue that Theosophy is not
Buddhism (I hear this on theos-l and theos-world a lot and it seems
to work for some Theosophists), and (2) try to find common ground
(my own personal choice that comes from my own experience rather
than anything I have read) between Theosophy and Tantricism (there
is no common ground with Hindu Tantricism, only with the Buddhist

>>". . . that is the highest form of adeptship man can hope for on our
But it is as rare as the Buddhas themselves, the last Khobilgan who reached
it being Sang-Ko-Pa of Kokonor (XIV Century), the reformer of esoteric as
well as of vulgar Lamaism."  (Mahatma Letters, Letter 9).>>

It is not called *Highest* Yoga Tantra for nothing.

>>IMHO, all of this is not some minor contradiction but a crucial, extremely
crucial issue that needs to be carefully discussed and studied by all
serious students of Madame Blavatsky's writings.>>

And I discovered years ago that this seeming disconnect can, in
fact, be resolved. But I suspect that each Theosophist should do so
on their own, and in their own way.

>>I write this in a rush, but does anyone see what I'm getting at?

Its obvious now as it was obvious tome years ago that HPBs diatribe
against tantra was directed toward the Hindu version. She never
mentioned any difference between Hindu and Buddhist tantricism,
did she?  Yet they are day and night apart because their motives
are different. Think about it. How could she possibly argue in favor
of Buddhist Tantras to the very Victorian audience she was
trying to invite into Theosophy?  It would turn most peope off.
Heck, it turns most Theoophists off even today. She did, I think,
what she felt she had to do. Today is a whole different world
thanks to China forcing the Tibetans into the West.

Jerry S

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