Category Archives: Buddha

Love Makes You Available to the Presence of God

STUDENTS of metaphysical theosophy are sometimes called to task for being too ‘intellectual.’ There may be an important lesson to learn from this critique, on both sides.

Some prefer the force of thought to hammer out truth, dismissing feelings and emotions as emanating from the ‘lower nature.’

Yet from the other side, as W. Q. Judge wrote in Ch. 7 The Ocean of Theosophy, “intellect alone is cold, heartless and selfish.” The effect is dramatized in scientific studies of neurological correlates of responses in the physical brain.

Materialistic, intellectual data are stored in the brain, but such data do not stimulate areas such as the pineal gland — known by occultists as “the seat of the soul”— the center that hosts spiritual impulses such as feelings of compassion.

We are spiritual beings at our core, but our behaviors on this physical plane — just like the actions of rider and horse — are solely governed by how we have entrained our psychic and physical instruments to respond to either higher or lower impulses.

“There are persons,” H. P. Blavatsky explains in an occult article, “who never think with the higher faculties of their minds at all.”

“This is why it is so very difficult for a materialist — the metaphysical portion of whose brain is almost atrophied — to raise himself,” she says,

“Or for one who is naturally spiritually-minded to descend to the level of the matter-of-fact vulgar thought. Optimism and pessimism depend on it also in a great measure.”

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Beyond the Personal: Something Unknown

ASTRONAUT Edgar Mitchell’s epiphany struck when he looked out the window of his spacecraft at the Earth, Moon and Sun, surrounded by an infinitely vast universe.

Suddenly it came to him that the molecules and cells of our bodies must have had their origin in those faraway stars.

It was at that moment an overwhelming realization of the interconnectedness of all life dawned on him. It was a life-altering flash of insight — not an “intellectual knowledge,” he says, but in a “visceral knowing.”

“It was accompanied by a very blissful feeling that I had never experienced before.”

Dr. Mitchell describes being completely engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness, in this excerpt from Renée Scheltema’s visionary film, Something Unknown is Doing We Don’t Know What.

Having had such a life-changing experience, sometimes called the Overview Effect, the former astronaut, along with parapsychologist Charles Tart, attempt to interpret the non-linear feelings and insights for the rest of us.

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Knots of the Heart

Child-PrayingTHAT all humans possess an immortal soul is a common belief of humanity, but to this Theosophy adds we do not just ‘have’ souls, but each of us is a soul.

Further that we are an indivisible and indissoluble part of the consciousness of great nature which is also, by degrees, both conscious and intelligent.

And flowering into an Adept like Jesus or Buddha and manifesting those soul powers, is perfectly possible to all human beings.

The driving power behind such development is what the ancients called the “Father which is in secret” (Matthew ch. vi. v. 6) in its esoteric meaning, and is not an extra-cosmic god.

“That ‘Father’ is in man himself,” Mme. Blavatsky wrote in the Key to Theosophy, unrestricted by age, social status or gender.

wavy_line2

Our inner spiritual self “is the only God we can have cognizance of,” and she asks: “how can this be otherwise? — Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the Deity?”

Candlelight Vigil to honor the departed in the BDR mutiny

“We call our ‘Father in heaven’ that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain or its fancy:”

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of (the absolute) God dwelleth in you?” Yet, let no man anthropomorphize that essence in us. Let no Theosophist, if he would hold to divine, not human truth, say that this ‘God in secret’ listens to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence — for all are one.”

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The Story of Team Hoyt

Compassionate-heartsTHE child who learns caring and compassion for others enhances not just her own life experience but all others around her.

If true, this suggests that the acquisition of a higher moral state could eventually change the world.

An example of this quintessential spiritual state is found in The Key to Theosophy, where Mme. Blavatsky insists that “altruism is an integral part of self-development.”

If a selfish, self-serving worldview were in fact the prevailing sentiment, then no one would ever care about starving children, the sick or elderly, or animal abuse. For such, helping to heal a stressed planet, homelessness, and poverty, would not be on their to-do list.

If life is ultimately purposeless, because we are “nothing but a pack of neurons” in the brain—then altruism would hold little importance for us. Only what we can grab for ourselves ‘now’ has any meaning.

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Man in the Red Bandana

buddha_actionSOCIAL scientists have often wondered if humans by nature are altruistic. Continuing studies show that, indeed, we are.

Those who are selfish, egotistic or abusive, Theosophy says, are breaking a primal law ruling all life – Universal Compassion.

Compassion is regarded as the ultimate power in occult philosophy by Eastern Masters. The Voice of the Silence, calls it “the Law of Laws”

This Law is described in the Voice as: “the light of everlasting Right, an fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.” It is a spiritual directive to every soul to always act for the benefit of others.

The esoteric tradition teaches that Gautama Buddha became the greatest teacher because he epitomized universal compassion. There is none higher that Buddha, and several of his Arhats, says the Voice: “On account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none [higher] known.”

The Voice of the Silence also teaches that each of us is a Buddha, if we choose to express that innate spiritual power, which is our heritage. Thus: “having sought him out, look inward: thou art Buddha,” says the doctrine.

manushibuddhaYet there are still those who champion the self-centered theory, as did the mid 19th century philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill. 

Science writer Elizabeth Svoboda, author of a new book – What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness – notes that Mill described man as a creature that “does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessaries, conveniences and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labor and physical self-denial.”

“Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote, “to think and reason for themselves” (The Key to Theosophy 271). Further she insisted: “We should aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things, unselfish. And we believe that much if not all of this could be obtained by proper and truly theosophical education.”

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15th International Theosophy Conference NYC, August 8 -11

compassionEQUAL justice to all and love to every creature is not the highest standard in Theosophy, co-founder H. P. Blavatsky maintained.

The Author of The Key to Theosophy held to a “far higher” standard.

Mme Blavatsky described that standard as “the giving to others more than to oneself , i.e. self-sacrifice.”

She also noted: “such was the standard and abounding measure which marked so preeminently the greatest Teachers and Masters of Humanity — e. g., Gautama Buddha in History, and Jesus of Nazareth as in the Gospels.”

“This trait alone was enough to secure to them the perpetual reverence and gratitude of the generations of men that came after them,” she insisted, noting “there are many instances to illustrate it in history.”

“Self-sacrifice for practical good to save many, or several people, Theosophy holds, is far higher than self-abnegation for a sectarian idea, such as that of ‘saving the heathen from damnation,’ for instance.”

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You Raise Me Up

ASTRONAUT Edgar Mitchell’s epiphany struck when he looked out the window of his spacecraft at the Earth, Moon and Sun, surrounded by an infinitely vast universe.

Suddenly it came to him that the molecules and cells of our bodies must have had their origin in those faraway stars.

It was at that moment an overwhelming realization of the interconnectedness of all life dawned on him. It was a life-altering flash of insight — not an “intellectual knowledge,” he says, but in a “visceral knowing.”

“It was accompanied by a very blissful feeling that I had never experienced before.”

Dr. Mitchell describes being completely engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness, in this excerpt from Renée Scheltema’s visionary film, Something Unknown is Doing We Don’t Know What.

Having had such a life-changing experience, sometimes called the Overview Effect, the former astronaut, along with parapsychologist Charles Tart, attempt to interpret the non-linear feelings and insights for the rest of us.

Continue reading

The Power of Compassion

GoddessEQUAL justice to all and love to every creature is not the highest standard in Theosophy, co-founder H. P. Blavatsky maintained.

The Author of the Key to Theosophy said she held to a “far higher” standard.

Mme Blavatsky described that standard as “the giving to others more than to oneself , i.e. self-sacrifice.”

She also noted: “such was the standard and abounding measure which marked so preeminently the greatest Teachers and Masters of Humanity — e. g., Gautama Buddha in History, and Jesus of Nazareth as in the Gospels.”

“This trait alone was enough to secure to them the perpetual reverence and gratitude of the generations of men that came after them,” she insisted, noting “there are many instances to illustrate it in history.”

“Self-sacrifice for practical good to save many, or several people, Theosophy holds, is far higher than self-abnegation for a sectarian idea, such as that of ‘saving the heathen from damnation,’ for instance.”

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Kangaroo Care

baby-in-pouchSCHOLARS and students of theoretical metaphysics tend to experience the world through squinting intellectual eyes as if blinded by a bright light..

They prefer the force of reason to hammer out truth, dismissing feelings and emotions as irrational and imperfect tools.

But as W. Q. Judge wrote in the Ocean of Theosophy, the intellect by itself is inherently “cold, heartless and selfish.”

This phenomenon is demonstrated by psychologist Mark Robert Waldman‘s research on the neurological correlates of compassion and spiritual practices, at the University of Pennsylvania. (More at the conclusion of this post, “Your Brain on God”.)

Everyday practical, evidence based intellectual data are processed through the brain, but do not appear to stimulate areas such as the pineal gland — an area recognized by occultists as the prime channel for spiritual impulses such as compassion and altruism.

Buried in the brain, the pineal gland, Blavatsky wrote, is nevertheless “the very key to the highest and divinest consciousness in man – his omniscient, spiritual and all embracing mind.”

rider_and_horse

“This seemingly useless appendage [pineal gland] is the pendulum which, once the clock-work of the inner man is wound up, carries the spiritual vision of the EGO to the highest planes of perception, where the horizon open before it becomes almost infinite.”

We are spiritual beings at core, but our behaviors on this physical plane — not unlike the relationship between a rider and her horse — are solely governed by how we have entrained our natures to perform seamlessly, as one mind, one heart. The inability to fully integrate these two demigods, leads unerringly to failure and disappointment.

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The Rise of Modern Mysticism

global-consciousnessTHEOSOPHY was not brought back to the world solely for the advancement of an elite few. The ancient wisdom aims to help re-catalyze the spiritual progress of the whole of humanity.

The Theosophical Society’s most important mission according to the American Section founder William Q. Judge (Letters, p. 71), was to uplift the hearts and minds of all, free from dogma.

“The dance between change and continuity has been at play throughout history,” notes the Journal of Consciousness Studies. “Today, we see a rapid rate of change that is calling on people to consider their worldview, and to develop different identities and ways of engaging with the world.”

“Among those skills most essential for success in this new era of global connectivity will be greater cognitive flexibility [….] and a capacity for discernment that relies equally on intellect and intuition.”

“These skills don’t spring as much from what we know, but instead from how we know it, and how we view the world.”

wavy_line2

“It is clear that navigating life in the twenty-first century will require not simply the acquisition of new skills, but also the intentional cultivation of novel states of mind.”

child_spinning

“The pupil must regain the child-state he has lost.”

But there are powerful barriers to inner change, all of our own making. They are our physical senses, habits, emotions, thought sensations, embedded worldviews. They compete for our time and attention, keeping us glued to the outer surface of an ever-whirling wheel.

Continue reading

Light Between the Eyes

Child-PrayingTHAT all humans possess an immortal soul is a common belief of humanity, but to this Theosophy adds we do not just ‘have’ souls, but each of us is a soul.

Further that we are an indivisible and indissoluble part of the consciousness of great nature which is also, by degrees, both conscious and intelligent.

And flowering into an Adept like Jesus or Buddha and manifesting those soul powers, is perfectly possible to all human beings.

The driving power behind such development is what the ancients called the “Father which is in secret” (Matthew ch. vi. v. 6) in its esoteric meaning, and is not an extra-cosmic god.

“That ‘Father’ is in man himself,” Mme. Blavatsky wrote in the Key to Theosophy, unrestricted by age, social status or gender.

wavy_line2

Our inner spiritual self “is the only God we can have cognizance of,” and she asks: “how can this be otherwise? — Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the Deity?”

Candlelight Vigil to honor the departed in the BDR mutiny

“We call our ‘Father in heaven’ that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain or its fancy:”

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of (the absolute) God dwelleth in you?” Yet, let no man anthropomorphize that essence in us. Let no Theosophist, if he would hold to divine, not human truth, say that this ‘God in secret’ listens to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence — for all are one.”

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helpers prepared a 2012 annual report for Theosophy Watch.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. Theosophy Watch was viewed about 96,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mahatma of the Himavat

ASANGA gave up. Twelve long years of meditation and spiritual practices, and still no vision of the future Buddha Maitreya.

He yearned to connect with Maitreya to receive teaching directly, which would accelerate his progress on the Bodhisattva path.

“Every new Bodhisattva or initiated great Adept is called the ‘liberator of mankind,’ Helena Blavatsky explains in footnote (20) in The Voice of the Silence:

“Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bodhisattva,” she wrote, “Compassion speaks and saith: ‘Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?’”

Asanga

After the first three years of spiritual practices to no avail, Asanga left his solitary cave, disheartened. But then he saw a little bird pecking a hole in a rock to build a nest in it, and he felt ashamed at his lack of persistence. He went back up to his cave.

birdnest

After the next three years, Asanga gave up again. As he descended the mountain, he met a man who was grinding down a thick rod of iron with a cloth to make needles. When the man showed him some needles he’d already made this way, Asanga hung his head and went back up the mountain.

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Thou Art Buddha

Photo: barrywheeler.net

DEDICATED repetition is the foundation of all accomplishment in true art, science, and even spiritual development.

Yet success may entail much more than just ‘practice, practice’ to get to Carnegie Hall, as the saying goes.

Sweat, talent and technical skill are of course required. But the intuitive musician has a growing sense of  how a composition ought to be performed.

She is able to increasingly embrace the intent of the composer while shaping the music into a unique performance of her own.

Becoming ‘free of the keyboard’ an accomplished artist is untied from the written score and physical instrument.

The shift signals an artist who has the required technical mastery, plus an inspiration of her own.

Yet in large orchestras, the conductor communicates directions to musicians during a performance, becoming the authoritative guide, interpreter, and dedicated amanuensis of the composer.

Not unlike the Buddha following his enlightenment, an orchestra conductor, or music instructor, has transformed herself into a guru to the searchers, coaxing them through their envelope of inexperience, to ever increasing emancipation.

They say that when a student is ready, the teacher will appear. Spiritual knowledge and development does require commitment and dedication to an ideal, but on a grander scale. Achievement is more demanding any art, religion, science or philosophy for it is the synthesis of them all.

“Practical Theosophy is not one Science,” Blavatsky explained, “but it embraces every science in life, moral and physical. It may, in short, be justly regarded as the universal ‘coach,’ — a tutor of world-wide knowledge and experience.”

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Crossing Over

LOOKING past our relatively short physical lives on Earth, Theosophy views the soul as eternal. Further, we don’t just ‘have’ a soul, we are souls, the wisdom tradition says.

There are many human beings who live to a ripe old age, and according to Wikipedia, the United Nations estimated in 2009 there were 455,000 living centenarians worldwide.

Methuselah is mentioned in the Bible as living 969 years. “But I have never heard of mortal man, layman, or Adept,”  H. P. Blavatsky says in The Key to Theosophy, “who could live even half the years allotted to Methuselah.”

“Some Adepts do exceed, by a good deal, what you would call the ordinary age — yet there is nothing miraculous in it, and very few of them care to live very long.”

She refers here to the Earthly body, not the Spiritual Body that high adepts have learned to occupy and control, thereby achieving self-conscious immortality — albeit invisible to uninitiated mankind.

Gautama, the Buddha, after reaching the goal of enlightenment, refused its fruition and remained on earth as a Teacher-Reformer, it is explained, and esoteric tradition teaches that he still remains in the world, invisibly watching over and protecting mankind.

Not only Gautama, but a “Wall of Protection” is built by the “accumulated efforts of long generations of Yogis, Saints and Adepts,those Buddhas of Compassion

who have woven for themselves glorious bodies in which they remain invisibly in the world, contributing towards man’s salvation.”

They do this “by influencing him to follow the Good Law and to tread the Path of Righteousness. Silently they impress the invisible atmosphere of our earth with their Ideation, thus keeping the balance on the side of right.”

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A Mother’s Heart

WHEN mother welcomed us back in the house after a long day outside at play, we knew there would be caring and love waiting for us within.

There would  be food, a soothing bath and a bedtime story. Clean pajamas and sheets were as much Mother’s rule as her unconditional love.

But if correspondence and analogy are the rule that points to spiritual knowledge, how does the universe work in the way of loving Mothers?

Nature knows how to care for her human children, but perhaps in these modern, distracting times modern humans have strayed too far from their offspring, self-interestedly allowed children to play too long outside.

The awesome Mother nature has always waited patiently for our return home, healing and assuaging the self-created darkness of separation and materialism, assaulting the tender soul.

Is it because we forget that nature and humanity are really One Being, that we lose our way?

In these often dark times of spirit, we may have overlooked the Golden Rule, or resisted helping others, instead of living unselfishly and harmlessly for  humanity’s needy and down-trodden.

Disease, poverty, hunger and the rise of environmental blights are, it seems, the inevitable result of our separation from the natural, unified state.

The opening proposition of The Secret Doctrine reminds us of the most important Theosophical idea: the “fundamental One Existence, or Absolute Being, must be the REALITY in every form there is.”

“Existence is ONE THING, not any collection of things linked together. Fundamentally there is ONE BEING.”

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Altered State

THEOSOPHY isn’t in the world solely for the spiritual benefit of its member groups. It aims to reach far more than helping a few individuals.

The Theosophical Society’s most important aim, William Q. Judge head of the American Section wrote (Letters, p. 71), is to “change the buddhi and manas [Sk.] of the human race,” – i.e, its heart and mind.

But there are powerful, unavoidable barriers to inner change, all of our own making. They are our physical senses, habits, emotions, thought sensations, embedded worldviews. They compete for our time and attention, keeping us glued to the outer surface of an ever-whirling wheel.

It’s a puzzle for the brain mind, because like an iceberg, the bulk of our nature lies below the surface, and only the tip is visible — just as an actor’s outer image, her costume, makeup, tone of voice, etc., sets our opinion of her.

But, in spiritual terms, the merry-go-round of personality is a trap.

The word personality itself derives from “persona,” a Latin word meaning “mask,” the appearance we present to the world — a marketing device also used by artists and musicians. Persona is also a the Jungian psychological term. 

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Stepping Stones

Photo: barrywheeler.net

DEDICATED repetition is the foundation of all accomplishment in true art, science, and even spiritual development.

Yet success may entail much more than just ‘practice, practice’ to get to Carnegie Hall, as the saying goes.

Sweat, talent and technical skill are of course required. But the intuitive musician has a growing sense of  how a composition ought to be performed.

Because, through an inner  transformation, she can embrace the intent of the composer, and transform the music into an exhilarating inspiration of her own.

The accomplished performer is not tied to notes on paper, becoming what is called ‘free of the keyboard.’ That shift signals an musician who not only has the required technical mastery, but is also ready to shape a performance in her own inspired way.

Yet in large orchestras, the conductor communicates directions to musicians during a performance, becoming the authoritative guide, interpreter, and dedicated amanuensis of the composer.

Not unlike the Buddha following his enlightenment, an orchestra conductor, or music instructor, has transformed herself into a guru to the searchers, coaxing them through their envelope of inexperience, to ever increasing emancipation.

They say that when a student is ready, the teacher will appear. Spiritual knowledge and development does require commitment and dedication to an ideal, but on a grander scale. The stakes are higher than any one art or science.

“Practical Theosophy is not one Science,” Blavatsky explained, “but it embraces every science in life, moral and physical. It may, in short, be justly regarded as the universal ‘coach,’ — a tutor of world-wide knowledge and experience.”

Continue reading

Genius of Emotion

HUNDREDS of facts and thousands details in a book can be understood by any average analytical and reasoning mind.

But intellectual understanding does not usually come with directions for living our life, or correctly understanding the fine print.

Because, “the intellect alone,” as William Q. Judge wrote in the Ocean of Theosophy, “is cold, heartless and selfish.”

Backing this up, Blavatsky says in an article, that “Great intellectual powers are often no proof of, but are impediments to spiritual and right conceptions.”

Altruism, a power that is surely a blend of feelings and mind, exemplifies, Blavatsky wrote,  “real Theosophy.”

The core heart power of Devotion, which underlies the whole universe, according to The Secret Doctrine (1:210), “is innate in us, and which we find alike in human babe and the young of the animal.”

“All of the skills and abilities you need to create a wonderful life and smoothly functioning relationships lie waiting somewhere else inside you,” empath and researcher Karla McLaren claims in her article “Welcoming Your Emotional Genius.”

And in her book, “The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You,” explains:

“I share these empathic skills to help you access the gifts your emotions bring you.”

That ‘somewhere else’ is your emotions, she says, and “if you learn their language, you’ll have all the energy, intelligence, intuition, empathy, integrity, and strength of character you need to create a healthy life for yourself, your loved ones, your colleagues, and the world.”

This may seem like a tall claim. Yet our emotional genius benefits our health through altruism, intention and intuition.

Spiritual activity apparently drives a higher aspect of our minds, capable of connecting whatever dots the game of life can throw at us. Continue reading

Heaven Waits

ALTHOUGH reincarnation is the law of nature, the complete trinity of Spirit, Soul and Mind, says Theosophy, does not yet fully incarnate in average humanity.

“They use and occupy the body by means of the entrance of Mind, the lowest of the three,” writes W. Q. Judge, “and the other two shine upon it from above, constituting the God in Heaven.”

“This was symbolized in the old Jewish teaching about the Heavenly Man” writes William Q. Judge, “who stands with his head in heaven and his feet in hell. That is, the head Spirit and Soul are yet in heaven, and the feet, Mind, walk in hell, which is the body and physical life.”

But even with such a limited degree of Mind (‘Manas’ in Sanskrit), even that is not fully acquired by the growing child “until seven years old,” Blavatsky maintains in The Key to Theosophy (Section 9)

“…and becomes a morally responsible being capable of generating Karma.”

§

Human beings in general are not yet fully conscious, Judge says, “and reincarnations are needed to at last complete the incarnation of the whole trinity in the body. When that has been accomplished the race will have become as gods, and the godlike trinity being in full possession the entire mass of matter will be perfected and raised up for the next step.”

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