Theosophy

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Santi253
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Santi253 »

Kim OHara wrote: I'm just looking for a bit of balance, Nicholas, since you provide none at all: all of your sources in this thread are from within Theosophy
I've been citing sources from Theosophists as well, including Madame Blavatsky. I am not here to flip crap at people's sincerely held religious beliefs. Whether Theosophy has any helpful connection to Buddhism is a different matter.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Kim OHara wrote: I'm just looking for a bit of balance, Nicholas, since you provide none at all: all of your sources in this thread are from within Theosophy... If we are to have a useful discussion - which is the purpose of the board - we need both sides and (IMO) you need to argue your side rather than just plonk links and quotes in front of us.
Kim
Of course they are from within, just like the heart of Dhamma Wheel is the Dhamma. This thread is not for argument or advocacy, it is just showing a small movement (now) that helped support the Dhamma when it needed such a century plus ago. A helpful connection that is all.

Dharmapala Anagarika was another connection. He wanted to follow Blavatsky and her Mahatmas, but she said No, you would help humanity better by learning Pali and the Dhamma. So he took her advice.

If you crave 'discussion' or argument, then study up a little more on Theosophy (using my links & quotes, perhaps) and go ahead.
Good is virtue until life’s end, good is faith that is steadfast, good is the acquisition of wisdom, and good is the avoidance of evil. Dhammapada

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Kim OHara
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Kim OHara »

Will wrote:
Kim OHara wrote: I'm just looking for a bit of balance, Nicholas, since you provide none at all: all of your sources in this thread are from within Theosophy... If we are to have a useful discussion - which is the purpose of the board - we need both sides and (IMO) you need to argue your side rather than just plonk links and quotes in front of us.
Kim
Of course they are from within, just like the heart of Dhamma Wheel is the Dhamma. This thread is not for argument or advocacy, it is just showing a small movement (now) that helped support the Dhamma when it needed such a century plus ago. A helpful connection that is all. ...

If you crave 'discussion' or argument, then study up a little more on Theosophy (using my links & quotes, perhaps) and go ahead.
As you say, Nicholas, "the heart of Dhamma Wheel is the Dhamma." Any discussion here is therefore in the context of the Dharma but you, who are probably the member best qualified to make connections, choose not to do so.
That's one thing. The other is that I find it very difficult to let factual errors go unchallenged, and Theosophy's own narrative about itself is riddled with them. Until you acknowledge and (if you can) explain them, I will keep on presenting other viewpoints.

Incidentally, do you know how and why wikipedia's article on K.H. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koot_Hoomi matches the Theosophy Wiki's article http://theosophy.wiki/en/Koot_Hoomi so closely?

:namaste:
Kim

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Kim OHara wrote: As you say, Nicholas, "the heart of Dhamma Wheel is the Dhamma." Any discussion here is therefore in the context of the Dharma but you, who are probably the member best qualified to make connections, choose not to do so.
That's one thing. The other is that I find it very difficult to let factual errors go unchallenged, and Theosophy's own narrative about itself is riddled with them. Until you acknowledge and (if you can) explain them, I will keep on presenting other viewpoints.

Incidentally, do you know how and why wikipedia's article on K.H. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koot_Hoomi matches the Theosophy Wiki's article http://theosophy.wiki/en/Koot_Hoomi so closely?
Kim
Nope, do not know why the KH articles match closely.

Although I do not like to argue (especially about doctrinal differences, which are normal), be specific and I will respond. I cannot respond to the errors you see until you cite them. One at a time please, recall my dotage!

Also if you use a secondary source, they are often just repeating slander from before, so try to not just quote 'other viewpoints' without thorough research.

Evidently you did not find the visit to Ceylon and help from Olcott & Blavatsky, nor their influence on Dharmapala 'connections' worthy of comment.
Good is virtue until life’s end, good is faith that is steadfast, good is the acquisition of wisdom, and good is the avoidance of evil. Dhammapada

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Kim OHara
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Kim OHara »

Will wrote:
Kim OHara wrote: As you say, Nicholas, "the heart of Dhamma Wheel is the Dhamma." Any discussion here is therefore in the context of the Dharma but you, who are probably the member best qualified to make connections, choose not to do so.
That's one thing. The other is that I find it very difficult to let factual errors go unchallenged, and Theosophy's own narrative about itself is riddled with them. Until you acknowledge and (if you can) explain them, I will keep on presenting other viewpoints.

Incidentally, do you know how and why wikipedia's article on K.H. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koot_Hoomi matches the Theosophy Wiki's article http://theosophy.wiki/en/Koot_Hoomi so closely?
Kim
Nope, do not know why the KH articles match closely.

Although I do not like to argue (especially about doctrinal differences, which are normal), be specific and I will respond. I cannot respond to the errors you see until you cite them. One at a time please, recall my dotage!
Thanks - maybe later.
Also if you use a secondary source, they are often just repeating slander from before, so try to not just quote 'other viewpoints' without thorough research.
I'm quite familiar with the subject so, in a sense, I did that 'thorough research' decades ago. If I turn up anything that surprises me, I will naturally cross-check it.
Evidently you did not find the visit to Ceylon and help from Olcott & Blavatsky, nor their influence on Dharmapala 'connections' worthy of comment.
I said as much as I thought it needed - https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 60#p433440.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Theosophy

Post by form »

Theosophy is strong in their presentation of the occult anatomy and chakras meditation. Is these what the Buddha considered as unimportant or was what were presented erroneous?

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Javi
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Javi »

Ultimately the main problem with Theosophy is its teaching of an eternal Self, like with Hinduism.

But the contributions of Theosophists like Olcott to the spreading of the dhamma should be respected and lauded.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

Santi253
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Santi253 »

Javi wrote: But the contributions of Theosophists like Olcott to the spreading of the dhamma should be respected and lauded.
Not everyone who's promoted the spread of Buddhism should be respected and lauded, especially if ulterior motives were involved.

Like the Theosophists, the Nazis also promoted Buddhism, in their own distorted way, to bolster their racial and occultist beliefs:
https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-s ... -and-tibet
Last edited by Santi253 on Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Theosophy

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Javi wrote:Ultimately the main problem with Theosophy is its teaching of an eternal Self, like with Hinduism.
Doctrine is less important, (even if 'ultimate') than the motive & effects of our thoughts, words and deeds.

Here is the ethical keynote of Theosophy as taught by Blavatsky:
Many who have never heard of the Society are Theosophists without knowing it themselves; for the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to oneself, are its chief features. He who teaches Theosophy preaches the gospel of goodwill; and the converse of this is true also — he who preaches the gospel of goodwill, teaches Theosophy.
Good is virtue until life’s end, good is faith that is steadfast, good is the acquisition of wisdom, and good is the avoidance of evil. Dhammapada

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Coëmgenu »

Santi253 wrote:
Javi wrote: But the contributions of Theosophists like Olcott to the spreading of the dhamma should be respected and lauded.
Not everyone who's promoted the spread of Buddhism should be respected and lauded, especially if ulterior motives were involved.

Like the Theosophists, the Nazis also promoted Buddhism, in their own distorted way, to bolster their racial and occultist beliefs:
https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-s ... -and-tibet
The Nazis thought Shambala was Thule. Cults are wont to believe all manner of delusion.

Even if theosophy promoted what has come to be understood as misunderstandings of Buddhism, some early members did indeed do a great service to the Dhamma, regardless of their other few, or many, perceived, rightly or wrongly, defects and shortfalls. I am sure they reaped the rewards of that. Whether or not that "counteracted" or "counterbalanced" X or Y action(s), true or alleged, I (and, IMO, "we") cannot say.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di: yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia. ||| "All formations are inconstant," he said. "All formations are stressful," he said. "All phenomena are selfless," he said. When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity. ||| (Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)

Santi253
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Santi253 »

Coëmgenu wrote:Cults are wont to believe all manner of delusion.
Yes, like how Madame Blavatsky claimed to be in contact with immortalized masters from Tibet.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

More sloppy reading and thinking:
Like the Theosophists, the Nazis also promoted Buddhism, in their own distorted way, to bolster their racial and occultist beliefs:
https://studybuddhism.com/en/advanced-s ... -and-tibet
Within that very link are statements that Theosophists were persecuted by the Nazis. Many ended up in concentration camps - not understandable if Hitler thought they were fellow racist travelers.

Also Berzin points out that the simple reason the Nazis were relatively 'easy' on Buddhists was because their ally Japan had so many Buddhist followers.
Good is virtue until life’s end, good is faith that is steadfast, good is the acquisition of wisdom, and good is the avoidance of evil. Dhammapada

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Santi253 wrote:Madame Blavatsky claimed to be in contact with immortalized masters from Tibet.
You do persist in your erroneous opinions, and appear to be content with that, since you have yet to ask for a text or website that would clear up your some of your mistakes.

The Brothers or Masters known to Blavatsky were flesh and blood, thus not immortal, nor (as I wrote before) were they from Tibet. They travelled all over Asia and had homes in more than one place.

I gave the link to this book already, so will now give some of Blavatsky's comments on her Gurus and other Adepts. The interviewer is Charles Johnson - scroll down to 18b:

https://www.theosophical.org/online-res ... 1197932732
Good is virtue until life’s end, good is faith that is steadfast, good is the acquisition of wisdom, and good is the avoidance of evil. Dhammapada

Santi253
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Santi253 »

Here are some documentaries regarding Madame Blavatsky's purported travels to Tibet:
Buddhist writer Glenn Mullin leads 45 members of the Theosophical Society on a pilgrimage to the sacred places in Tibet that were made famous by the 19th century mystic Mme. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZPBDEl7kZA
Documentary on Madame Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society and scholar of ancient wisdom and literature.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFulhyWaArg
Here are some documentaries regarding the Mahatma Letters, which were purportedly written by an immortalized Tibetan master:
A brief description of the early days of The Theosophical Society, its founders and the connection with Mahatma`s.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAg0ZQFQhNc
Many of the core teachings of Theosophy are found in the letters written by two Masters of Wisdom to one of the early and prominent members of the Theosophical Society, Alfred P. Sinnett, then an editor for an English newspaper in India. These letters, which were held for many years in the British Museum and today are housed in the British Library, are extremely significant to Theosophists for two reasons: their metaphysical and philosophical content and the extraordinary methods used in their production. This video gives the historical background of the Mahatma Letters, discusses the phenomenal aspects of their production, and comments on their subsequent impact on the Theosophical Society. 2010
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRS5NcAidxo
As one can see, Madame Blavatsky and the early Theosophists claimed to be in contact with immortalized Tibetan masters.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

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Javi
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Re: Theosophy

Post by Javi »

Will wrote:
Javi wrote:Ultimately the main problem with Theosophy is its teaching of an eternal Self, like with Hinduism.
Doctrine is less important, (even if 'ultimate') than the motive & effects of our thoughts, words and deeds.

Here is the ethical keynote of Theosophy as taught by Blavatsky:
Many who have never heard of the Society are Theosophists without knowing it themselves; for the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to oneself, are its chief features. He who teaches Theosophy preaches the gospel of goodwill; and the converse of this is true also — he who preaches the gospel of goodwill, teaches Theosophy.
Well, this is true to an extent, but we must remember that attachment to eternalistic doctrines is an extreme, and thus an obstacle to awakening according to the dhamma.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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