Theosophy

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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David N. Snyder
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Re: Theosophy

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:06 pm

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Apparently Blavatsky was the first Western woman to officially take the 5 precepts. She might even be the first (Western woman) overall (official or unofficial).

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Re: Theosophy

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:09 pm

AFAIK, Olcott is highly revered in Sri Lanka. Here's one of the statues honoring him in Sri Lanka.

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Re: Theosophy

Postby form » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:19 pm

Ziujoeng wrote:
form wrote:I notice the teacher of a currently very influential Theravada monk is a Theosophist based on the wiki.

Which currently influential Theravada monk? According to which wiki? Thank you.

:candle: :buddha1: :candle:


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balango ... reya_Thero

Under biography, third paragraph.

Just want to make it clear, I have nothing against that and I have great respect for him and his outstanding student.

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Re: Theosophy

Postby chownah » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:55 am

form wrote:
Ziujoeng wrote:
form wrote:I notice the teacher of a currently very influential Theravada monk is a Theosophist based on the wiki.

Which currently influential Theravada monk? According to which wiki? Thank you.

:candle: :buddha1: :candle:


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balango ... reya_Thero

Under biography, third paragraph.

Just want to make it clear, I have nothing against that and I have great respect for him and his outstanding student.

Thanks for bringing that link. Here is the paragraph you mention:
Thero continued his studies after becoming a monk and later became a scholar in Buddhism and languages. Thero entered Ananda College, Colombo in 1919 and became a teacher of the same school in 1922.[5] Unusually for a Theravada teacher, he publicly studied some other traditions, such as Mahayana Buddhism, mantra and esoteric yoga. This is understandable when one realizes that he was a theosophist as well as a Buddhist. He was a self learner in most of his areas of studies.

Seems like there is no claim that supports the assertion that he was a theosophist. I'm wondering what it means that "he was a theosophist"? Did he have a card certifiying him as member? Did he regularly attend meeting? Did he attend seances? I am not trying to be derisive here....I am just wondering what it means that he allegedly was a theosophist. I'm hoping that there is some other source that can comment on this.
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Re: Theosophy

Postby Santi253 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:44 pm

To any Theosophists who might post here in the future, I mean no disrespect or disparagement to your sincerely held religious beliefs. Whether or not Buddhists should be involved in or connected to Theosophy is a different matter altogether.

Before converting to Buddhism, I believed Madame Blavatsky when she claimed to understand Buddhism (what she termed bodhism) better than the Buddha himself, something which I now regret.
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Re: Theosophy

Postby form » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:56 pm

Santi253 wrote:
Before converting to Buddhism, I believed Madame Blavatsky when she claimed to understand Buddhism (what she termed bodhism) better than the Buddha himself, something which I now regret.


That is a big big claim. How can she understand better than the originator? It is just impossible. Maybe she meant she knew how to bridge it for the modern mind.

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Re: Theosophy

Postby Santi253 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:09 pm

form wrote:That is a big big claim. How can she understand better than the originator? It is just impossible. Maybe she meant she knew how to bridge it for the modern mind.


According to Madame Blavatsky, the Buddha only founded the institutional religion of Buddhism, while the real truth is the esoteric doctrine which she called "Bodhism."

Esoteric Bodhism. Secret wisdom or intelligence from the Greek esotericos “inner”, and the Sanskrit Bodhi, “knowledge”, intelligence— in contradistinction to Buddhi, “the faculty of knowledge or intelligence” and Buddhism, the philosophy or Law of Buddha (the Enlightened). Also written “ Budhism”, from Budha (Intelligence and Wisdom) the Son of Soma.
http://theosophy.org/Blavatsky/Theosoph ... egloss.htm


Santi253 wrote:
Blavatsky elsewhere uses the term “budhism” (which she also terms “bodhism,” “deeper understanding”) for this teaching and she clearly makes a distinction between “Buddhism’ and “Esoteric Budhism.”

She equates the latter with “the ancient Wisdom-Religion” and states that it is not “the religious system preached by Gautama Buddha.” But elsewhere she fails to make this distinction, so it is not absolutely clear what she means by the term “Esoteric Buddhism.”

In any event, whatever it is called, she is unequivocal in stating (idem.), “There is an esoteric doctrine, a soul-ennobling philosophy, behind the outward body of ecclesiastical Buddhism,” even though this idea is not accepted by most Buddhists and is explicitly denied in the Theravada Tripitaka texts.
http://theosophy.ph/encyclo/index.php?t ... ,_Esoteric


Before converting to Buddhism, I LOVED Madame Blavatsky, which is why I was willing to look the other way at things, like her claim that Satan is the "one and only god" of this world.

Santi253 wrote:
It is “Satan who is the god of our planet and the only god,” and this without any allusive metaphor to its wickedness and depravity. For he is one with the Logos, “the first son, eldest of the gods,” in the order of microcosmic (divine) evolution; Saturn (Satan), astronomically, “is the seventh and last in the order of macrocosmic emanation, being the circumference of the kingdom of which Phoebus (the light of wisdom, also the Sun) is the centre.” The Gnostics were right, then, in calling the Jewish god “an angel of matter,” or he who breathed (conscious) life into Adam, and he whose planet was Saturn.
http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sd/sd2-1-13.htm



As far as I know, Theravada Buddhism traditionally rejects, or at least ignores, esotericism, which is problematic for someone who, like Madame Blavatsky, insists upon the importance of esoteric doctrine.
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Re: Theosophy

Postby Santi253 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:22 pm

Here is something that I think Madame Blavatsky got exactly right:

Amitâbha. The Chinese perversion of the Sanskrit Amrita Buddha, or the “Immortal Enlightened”, a name of Gautama Buddha. The name has such variations as Amita, Abida, Amitâya, etc., and. is explained as meaning both “Boundless Age” and “Boundless Light”. The original conception of the ideal of an impersonal divine light has been anthropomorphized with time.
http://theosophy.org/Blavatsky/Theosoph ... egloss.htm


As I've explained elsewhere on this forum, the deeper meaning of Pure Land practice is to awaken the Buddha within, rather than petitioning an external being, something that she would agree with in the above quote.
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Re: Theosophy

Postby Coëmgenu » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:40 pm

Santi253 wrote:from the Greek esotericos “inner”,
I guess I'll just let that slide. It "sort of" means "inner".

Santi253 wrote:
Amitâbha. The Chinese perversion of the Sanskrit Amrita Buddha,
This is so wrong on so many more levels than the above false etymology that I don't even know where to begin.

Amitābha is considered to have been a possible candidate for a title of the historical Buddha in Greco-Bactrian Buddhism, but that is hardly proven. And that is only a modern conjecture based on modern evidence (the discovery of the Gāndhārī texts), M Blavatsky would not have had access to such speculative theories, marking this as potentially her own fantasy.

Even if Amitâbha was a Chinese word, Chinese EBTs were not translated from Sanskrit, thus the amṛta --> amitābha confusion she suggests is even more unfounded.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Re: Theosophy

Postby Santi253 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:45 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:Even if Amitâbha was a Chinese word, Chinese EBTs were not translated from Sanskrit, thus the amṛta --> amitābha confusion she suggests is even more unfounded.


I italicized the part I agreed with:

Santi253 wrote:
The original conception of the ideal of an impersonal divine light has been anthropomorphized with time.
http://theosophy.org/Blavatsky/Theosoph ... egloss.htm

Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

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Re: Theosophy

Postby Coëmgenu » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:51 pm

Santi253 wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Even if Amitâbha was a Chinese word, Chinese EBTs were not translated from Sanskrit, thus the amṛta --> amitābha confusion she suggests is even more unfounded.


I italicized the part I agreed with:

Santi253 wrote:
The original conception of the ideal of an impersonal divine light has been anthropomorphized with time.
http://theosophy.org/Blavatsky/Theosoph ... egloss.htm

Which is perfectly fine. The etymologies presented, however, are... well... "interesting".
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Re: Theosophy

Postby Santi253 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:14 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:The etymologies presented, however, are... well... "interesting".


Yeah, which is one of the reasons I no longer consider her an authority. She frequently did that with etymologies throughout her writings. Jordan Maxwell does the same thing, her modern-day follower.
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Re: Theosophy

Postby form » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:10 pm

According to Madame Blavatsky, the Buddha only founded the institutional religion of Buddhism, while the real truth is the esoteric doctrine which she called "Bodhism."


Those information is to be realised by direct knowledge based on the nikayas. And her knowledge is not complete. Did she ever claim she has psychic powers? Many other Buddhism also have secret teachings.

But, she and leadbeaters are prolific writers.

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Re: Theosophy

Postby chownah » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:12 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Image

Apparently Blavatsky was the first Western woman to officially take the 5 precepts. She might even be the first (Western woman) overall (official or unofficial).

So is this her buddhist membership card?
chownah

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Re: Theosophy

Postby form » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:42 am

chownah wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:Image

Apparently Blavatsky was the first Western woman to officially take the 5 precepts. She might even be the first (Western woman) overall (official or unofficial).

So is this her buddhist membership card?
chownah


There is a theosophy society in Singapore that anyone can join. I am not sure if they give you a membership card.

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Re: Theosophy

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:18 pm

chownah wrote:So is this her buddhist membership card?
chownah


Yes. :tongue:

If she considered herself a Buddhist, then she was one. As I mentioned in another thread, being Buddhist doesn't make one a Buddha or even mean that one is good or advanced in any way.

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Re: Theosophy

Postby form » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:19 pm


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Re: Theosophy

Postby Will » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:10 pm

Not too much is known about Blavatsky's Hindu (not Tibetan) guru, but here is a little sketch about him:

http://theosophy.wiki/en/Morya

The other main guru of Blavatsky and other theosophists of her era was called 'Koot Hoomi', again a Hindu, not a Tibetan.

http://theosophy.wiki/en/Koot_Hoomi
A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Re: Theosophy

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:02 pm

Here's a contemporary account ... http://www.iapsop.com/ssoc/1884__lillie___koot_hoomi_unveiled.pdf
It's a scanned typescript so I can't easily quote chunks of it, but it certainly makes fascinating reading.

:reading:
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Re: Theosophy

Postby form » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:28 pm

Will wrote:Not too much is known about Blavatsky's Hindu (not Tibetan) guru, but here is a little sketch about him:

http://theosophy.wiki/en/Morya

The other main guru of Blavatsky and other theosophists of her era was called 'Koot Hoomi', again a Hindu, not a Tibetan.

http://theosophy.wiki/en/Koot_Hoomi


The descriptions of his looks like blue eyes and golden complexion reminds me of certain descriptions of the Buddha in the nikaya.


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