Monthly Archives: November 2008

Gratitude Does More Good to The One Who Feels It

Kwan-Yin

Kwan-Yin

Never will I seek nor receive private, individual salvation; never will I enter into final peace alone; but forever and everywhere will I live and strive for the redemption of every creature throughout the world.

Kwan-Yin


Offering the Mandala
Here is the great Earth,
Filled with the smell of incense,
Covered with a blanket of flowers,
The Great Mountain,
The Four Continents,
Wearing a jewel
Of the Sun, and Moon.
In my mind I make them
The Paradise of a Buddha,
And offer it all to You.
By this deed
May every living being
Experience
The Pure World.

Idam guru ratna mandalakam niryatayami.

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart, author of The Field, explains what she learned from her recent intention experiments. These involved hundreds of participants focusing healing intentions towards otherwise complete strangers — and how the healings reportedly healed the healers themselves. How Healing Healed the Healers:

After participating, an overwhelming majority of our participants not only felt better about themselves and the world; they also tended to get along better with the people with whom they came into contact, most especially perfect strangers.

Many made profound changes in their lives and directions, and even sought to radically change direction or careers .

Others found it easier to cope with setbacks and downturns in their lives, including their  current financial difficulties. Most of all, they found it easier to accept people or ideas that clash with their own.

These preliminary results suggests that using this kind of altruistic intention not only may help to grow your own sense of compassion and tolerance, but also may help you to heal your own life.

It accords with much of the research I have studied on intention. Altruistic intention heals the healer as much as the healee.

Next are excepts from instructions inspired by the greatest of all spiritual teachers and healers, The Buddha.

books-gbwol-frontFrom The Bodhisattva’s Life:
Course VII: The Vows of the Bodhisattva

Even just wishing you could stop
A headache another person has
Can bring you merit without measure
Because of the helpful intent you feel.
What need then to mention the wish
That you could stop the immeasurable pain
Of every being, and put every one
In a state of measureless happiness?

There are many methods for achieving the “Great Compassion.” Each person strives in his/her own way, but there are useful contemplative truths. In The Voice of the Silence, one finds an important teaching about compassion. It is not an individual “virtue,” but rather a universal law of life. We have quoted the text before:

“Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of laws – eternal Harmony, Alaya’s SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.”

gautama-buddha-kThe Vows of the Bodhisattva:

To actually gain the wish for enlightenment he must first contemplate it. To contemplate it, he must first learn about it from another. “Loving-kindness” is an almost obsessive desire that each and every living being find happiness. “Compassion” is an almost obsessive desire that they be free of any pain.

Think of how a mother feels when her one and only and most beloved son is in the throes of a serious illness. Wherever she goes, whatever she does, she is always thinking how wonderful it would be if she could find some way of freeing him quickly from his sickness.

These thoughts come to her mind in a steady stream, without a break, and all of their own, automatically. They become an obsession with her. When we feel this way towards every living being, and only then, we can say we have gained what they call “great compassion.”

Once you develop great compassion, then you can develop the extraordinary form of personal responsibility, where you take upon yourself the load of working for others’ benefit. And the wish to achieve enlightenment for every living being comes from this.

We close with H. P. Blavatsky’s inspired reminder to all aspiring student-disciples from her The Key to Theosophy:

HPB

HPB

The Theosophical ideas of charity mean personal exertion for others; personal mercy and kindness; personal interest in the welfare of those who suffer; personal sympathy, forethought and assistance in their troubles or needs.

We Theosophists do not believe in giving money (N. B., if we had it) through other people’s hands or organizations. We believe in giving to the money a thousandfold greater power and effectiveness by our personal contact and sympathy with those who need it.

We believe in relieving the starvation of the soul, as much if not more than the emptiness of the stomach; for gratitude does more good to the man who feels it, than to him for whom it is felt.

- H. P. Blavatsky, The Key toTheosophy

Following The Wheel of The Good Law

Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of laws – eternal Harmony…

The Voice of the Silence

Dharma Wheel (Dharmachakra, Wheel of Law)

Dharmachakra

Dharmachakra

So much “original” writing is done today, so much “self-expression” is indulged in that, in the glamour that is raised, the chants of the Gods remain unheard. One of our tasks is to bring home the truth that it is not derogatory to respect the old age facts of the science of the soul.

The study of the wise ancients convinces us that our forefathers knew better and more than we do. …It is one of the tasks of this journal to awaken an intelligent appreciation of the hoary past so that an intelligent adaptation of some of the old truths to modern life and conditions may take place. -B.P.Wadia, “The Aryan Path”

THE KARMIC HEART

False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the Winds by the good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. … The wheel of the good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the Karmic heart.

True knowledge is the flour, false learning is the husk. If thou would’st eat the bread of Wisdom, thy flour thou hast to knead with Amrita’s [immortality] clear waters. But if thou kneadest husks with Maya’s dew, thou canst create but food for the black doves of death, the birds of birth, decay and sorrow. … Follow the wheel of life; follow the wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend and foe, and close thy mind to pleasures as to pain. Exhaust the law of Karmic retribution. Gain Siddhis for thy future birth. -The Voice of the Silence

THE SACRIFICE

Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna

“Those who dress their meat but for themselves eat the bread of sin, being themselves sin incarnate. Beings are nourished by food, food is produced by rain, rain comes from sacrifice, and sacrifice is performed by action. Know that action comes from the Supreme Spirit who is one; wherefore the all-pervading Spirit is at all times present in the sacrifice.”

The Bhagavad-Gita – Krishna, Chapter 3, “Devotion Through The Right Performance of Action.”

“This Law — whether Conscious or Unconscious,” says H. P. Blavatsky, “predestines nothing and no one. It exists from and in Eternity, truly, for it is ETERNITY itself; and as such, since no act can be co-equal with eternity, it cannot be said to act, for it is ACTION itself…Karma creates nothing, nor does it design. It is man who plans and creates causes, and Karmic law adjusts the effects; which adjustment is not an act, but universal harmony, tending ever to resume its original position.”

- H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine 2:304-5

At this time of “Thanksgiving,” all students of Theosophy feel an extra impulse to recognize the sacredness of life, and teach by example. To perform “sacrifice” by action, as Krishna says,  we avoid the unnecessary suffering and destruction of living beings. When the fruits and vegetables provided by Mother Gaia are so plentiful and nutritious, is it necessary to butcher millions of helpless animals for our sensory pleasure? Just a question, and we would be remiss if we did not raise the question on Theosophically inspired pages.

xmas-tree-revenge_150Each of us, semi-self-conscious humans, has the power of choice that other beings living here with us do not. With that comes moral responsibility. We were shamed, and strongly impressed by a Mike Adams article in NaturalNews.com dated Dec. ’07 “Revenge of The Christmas Trees.” Sorry if this seems raw, but the occasional straight talk can be a useful wake up call:

I’ve noticed that the people who are killing all the trees are the same people eating all the meat at Christmas dinners, too! How do those Christmas dinner prayers really work for meat eaters and tree harvesters, anyway? “God, please bless this family, bless this house, bless all the people on Earth… but MURDER ALL THE FREAKING TREES AND ANIMALS!” I guess those people believe God somehow supports animal factory farms that produce mass suffering and mass animal murder just so they can have their pretty nitrite-enhanced Christmas ham dinner.

THE WHEEL OF RECIPROCITY

“In other places and ages food is produced, but it does not in everything come up to the required standard. In this age we have to submit to these difficulties, and can overcome them by following Krishna’s instructions….

“In the verse above quoted the distinction is made between food naturally produced without, and that due to, sacrifice, for Krishna says, “For, being nourished by sacrifices, the gods will give you the desired food.”

“They are not the mere idols and imaginary beings … but are certain powers and properties of nature which leave the world when the Kali-yuga or dark age, as this is called, has fully set in.

“There is, however, another meaning to the “revolution of the wheel” spoken of by Krishna. He makes it very clear that he refers to the principle of reciprocity or brotherhood. And this he declares must be kept revolving; that is, each being must live according to that rule, or else he lives a life of sin to no purpose.

“And we can easily believe that in these days this principle, while admired as a fine theory, is not that which moves the people. They are, on the contrary, spurred by the personal selfish idea of each one becoming better, greater, richer than his neighbor. …

“And it was to counteract this that the Theosophical Society was founded, with the object of inducing men to once more revolve this wheel of brotherly love.”

Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 3, William Q. Judge


Wife of Billionaire T. Boone Pickens Plots to Save Wild Horses From Slaughter

Wild Horses

Wild Horses



Use All of Me

human-body-with-internal-organsBACK when Frank Sinatra wooed audiences with the song “All of Me,” and psychoanalyst Theodor Reik was writing Listening with the Third Ear, we were still on the fringes of holistic medicine – and the received wisdom was that our brains are the only source of consciousness.

A century earlier the Voice of the Silence taught two kinds of sentience – the brain or “Eye Doctrine,” and the feelings or “Heart Doctrine.”  Robert Crosbie, Founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists, described concepts for connecting these separated systems.

Spiritual Vibrations

Our perceptions come not only from the brain, he says, but also “from the impressions of the organs or cells of the body.

The Friendly Philosopher continues: Continue reading

Sacred Tribe of Heroes

YOU must not think that the gods are without employment, explained Synesius, the Greek bishop of Ptolemais.

The idea is developed by theosophist W. Q. Judge in his article “Cycles,” about the duty of the ancient gods to watch over humanity:

“For they descend according to orderly periods of time,” Synesius wrote,

“… for the purpose of imparting a beneficent impulse in the republics of mankind.”

“For this providence is divine and most ample, which frequently through one man pays attention to and affects countless multitudes of men.”

Please note: This post has been updated and republished. Click the link below:

Descent of the Gods

ξ

Our Green Horizon

Ferry Farm, Artist's rendering by L. H. Barker © 2008

Ferry Farm, Artist's rendering by L. H. Barker © 2008

WE would like to introduce a series on the practical necessity and spiritual implications of going “green.” Whether or not you voted for President-elect Obama, there is great anticipation that as our new president, he will change policies and laws to support the environment and sustainable agriculture. Let’s hope so.

But he won’t be the first president to go green. Our first president, George Washington, truly had a vision for agriculture as part of America’s future. In fact, he was really into compost as a basis for a successful farm.

We know from William Quan Judge’s writings, that the Adepts inspired key individuals behind the American Revolution. George Washington was a mason, as were a number of revolutionary luminaries with him. HPB noted that Masonry was the “Theosophy” of its era, “the Theosophists of Ammonias Saccas and the later Neo-Platonists, were all virtually Masons.”

And Judge himself, an April 5, 1896 New York Times article tells us, embodied as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

As the Adepts continue to inspire and guide us, what is Their ideal for a Green Horizon?

Let’s start with George Washington.

aa_wash_soldier_3_m1

“Our lands…were originally very good; but use, and abuse, have made them quite otherwise.”

-George Washington (1732-1799)

President George Washington was one of the most innovative farmers of his era. Instead of wearing out soil and then moving elsewhere to farm, he believed in restoring soil through adding compost, using “green manure,” and rotating crops on his 8,000-acre plantation at Mount Vernon.

Washington kept up with the latest agriculture practices in England and experimented with more than 60 different crops along with various fertilizers, techniques, and tools to increase yields.

Washington prized those who could make good compost; when looking for a new farm manager from England, he wrote to a friend for help stipulating that above all else, the manager had to be

“Midas-like, or who can convert every thing he touches into manure, as the first transmutation towards Gold.”

Washington built an unusual 31- by 12-foot building, probably the first of its kind in America, to compost manure and other materials into fertilizer, and instructed workers to “rake, and scrape up all the trash, of every sort and kind about the houses, and in the holes and corners,” to add to the compost.

Buckwheat Field

Buckwheat Field

He also experimented adding creek mud, fish heads, marine fossil clay, ashes, and plaster of Paris to nourish soil. Instead of letting fields idle to try to restore the soil–as was the practice of the time, Washington planted depleted fields with clover, peas, buckwheat, and grasses. When he plowed them under, green plants fed essential nutrients to revitalize the soil; thus the name, “green manure.”

Washington also devised portable fences to manage cattle grazing and manuring fields directly.

Before the mid-1760s, Washington grew tobacco as his main cash crop, but it had so depleted the soil, he stopped and grew wheat and other crops instead. He experimented growing peas and potatoes between rows of corn, and varied the distance between rows to see what worked best.

To keep his soil fertile, Washington rotated his crops. He carefully mapped out, for example, what would successively grow in each of his seven fields from 1793 to 1799. He assigned one field for corn and potatoes, one field for buckwheat, two fields for wheat, and three fields for clover or grass.

The next year, the crops would be planted in different fields. Washington wrote to his farm manager:

“My object is to recover the fields from the exhausted state into which they have fallen,” but two ways will enable me to accomplish this. This first is to cover them with as much manure as possible (winter and summer). The 2d a judicious succession of crops.”

While he emphasized self-reliance, Washington reveled in the latest farm tools to increase productivity and yields. In 1791, Washington and Thomas Jefferson traveled to a farm near Philadelphia to see a new threshing machine in action. Jefferson later built his own version of the machine.

threshing

Washington told Jefferson in a letter:

“If you can bring a movable threshing Machine, constructed upon simple principles to perfection, it will be among the most valuable institutions in this Country.”

Washington believed agriculture was the foundation of America’s economy and future:

“I hope some day or another, we shall become a storehouse and granary for the world.”

In his first State of the Union Address in 1790, he said:

“The advancement of agriculture, commerce and manufactures, by all proper means, will not, I trust, need recommendation. But I cannot forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad, as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home…”

George Washington delivered the State of the Union message aloud.

George Washington delivered the State of the Union message aloud.

Washington’s own farming repertoire included a threshing machine, an array of plows, drills to plant seeds, and other tools—some sent by his friend, British agriculturist Arthur Young, who thought Washington was as good a farmer as he was a general.

Just a few days before he died, Washington was absorbed in planning future operations for his farms. His zeal as a farmer was not only to succeed, but also to be the example for other farmers. He wrote:

“Nothing in my opinion would contribute more to the welfare of these States, than the proper management of our lands,” and nothing, in this State particularly, seems to be less understood. The present mode of cropping practiced among us, is destructive to landed property; and must, if persisted in much longer ultimately ruin the holders of it.”

(Excerpt from Kara LeBeau’s Writing Seminars master’s thesis, Natural Farming: A Dire Improvement Mandate and Planetary Solution Conscientious in Integrated Principles, at Johns Hopkins University.)

© Kara LeBeau 2003, 2008. All rights reserved.


Real Human Solidarity

Luna: Dancing Krishna

Luna: Dancing Krishna

WHEN we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence we experience the loss of soul, many shamanic societies  say.

“Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence, Gabrielle Roth attests, “are the four universal healing salves.”

For Roth physical movement, according to an Huffpost article, “is key to unlocking the spirit.”

She was an incredibly influential teacher of meditative dance and the creator of the 5Rhythms movement practice.”

“Roth dedicated her life, heart and soul to exploring how to engage her spirit and creativity through dance and movement — and helping others to do the same. The effect of her influence is palpable.”

“Dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth,”  she claimed. It is notable in this regard that two of the most powerful ancient gods, Krishna and Shiva, are so often depicted as dancing, and Krishna additionally is shown at the same time playing the flute.

Continue reading

Choosing Civility

Let us use with care those living messengers  called words.”

– William Q. Judge


W.Q.J.

Oprah Winfrey recently devoted a show to rudeness in contemporary society. Among her guests was Dr. P. M. Forni, the author of the book, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct.  Dr. Forni is a professor of Italian Literature at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and the co-founder and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project.

Dr. Forni makes several interesting points about the nature of civility, politeness and good manners in his book, a distillation of ideas on this topic that have been espoused throughout the ages. He looks at the root of the word “civil”—civitas– and notices that it is also the root of the word “civilization.” Thus “choosing civility means choosing the right thing to do for others – for the ‘city.’”

While Theosophy suggests that the root of “manners” is from the root “manas (Sanskrit, literally means“the mind”), the mental faculty which makes of man an intelligent and moral being, and distinguishes him from the mere animal…

(H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary)

P. M. Forni

P. M. Forni


Thus manners are the actions of a thinking being. Dr. Forni goes on to suggest that good manners, far from being the road to hypocrisy are, in fact, the “first steps of the soul toward love.” By choosing to act with good manners, we learn how to train our instrument, the body, and its attendant nature. We pay attention to the words we use and the ways we act, assuming responsibility for our own behavior whatever the circumstances. This, in turn, fosters the ability to pay attention to the needs of others, one of the distinguishing characteristics of love.

Chapter 12 of his book is titled, “Be Agreeable.” In it, Dr. Forni says:

choosing_civility21One of the most important things you can do to improve your relationships–both in your private life and at work–is listen to agree. Again, I am not saying that you have to agree with whatever is being said (see the rule “Assert Yourself”). Rather, I am encouraging you to look for possibilities of agreement.”

This reminds me of Robert Crosbie’s admonition:

“[T]here has to be first sought points of agreement….” This sets up a current of thought in a direction of unity and is one of the keys to practicing the ideal of universal brotherhood.

R. Anon

Meditate on the words of the Buddha…

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: all that we are is founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought happiness pursue him like his own shadow that never leaves him.” –Dhammapada