BUDDHA never had any intention of establishing a religion 2500 years ago, at least not our sectarian kind.
Nonetheless, followers across Asia and India soon split his teachings into separate branches and sects, ruled by numerous lamas and monks.
The same today in Hinduism, dominated by a priestly caste of Brahmins at the top, convinced of their right to rule.
Buddha’s life and teachings showed humanity the way to conscious enlightenment through personal merit and compassion sans intermediaries. Humans were inspired to rediscover their inner spiritual natures, without regard to caste or creed.
The Buddha’s teaching of individual responsibility, and primacy of personal will should have saved the world from priestly dogmatism, but it did not.
Similarly, Christian religious dogmatism, with its god and invented savior, cleverly situated beyond our mere earthly domain. The ‘only son of God’ dogma still has a very strong a hold on humanity.
“Shun ignorance, and likewise shun illusion. Avert thy face from world deceptions; mistrust thy senses, they are false,” declares The Voice of the Silence (Fragment 2). “But within thy body — the shrine of thy sensations,
“…seek in the Impersonal for the ‘eternal man,’ and having sought him out, look inward: thou art Buddha.”
Timeline: PED, India, December 21, 2011. NY TIMES correspondent Lydia Polgreen writes about the ‘untouchable’ Ashok Khade who overcame his allowed future. The ancient origin of the [Upanishads], H. P. Blavatsky wrote in The Secret Doctrine [Summing Up]:
“…proves they were written, in some of their portions, before the caste system became the tyrannical institution which it still is…half of their contents have been eliminated, while some of them were rewritten and abridged.”
Rags to Riches
“On his barefoot trudge to school decades ago,” Polgreen writes, “a young Ashok Khade passed inescapable reminders of what he was: the well from which he was not allowed to drink; the temple where he was not permitted to worship.”
“At school, he took his place on the floor in a part of the classroom built a step lower than the rest. Untouchables like him, considered to be spiritually and physically unclean, could not be permitted to pollute their upper-caste neighbors and classmates.“
Having achieved enlightenment, Buddha taught that we too have the potential to achieve freedom from our illusions. His compelling Heart Doctrine is lyrically reproduced in Book the Eighth of Sir Edwin Arnold’s The Light of Asia:
Ye are not bound! the Soul of Things is sweet,
The Heart of Being is celestial rest;
Stronger than woe is will: that which was Good
Doth pass to Better — Best.
I, Buddh, who wept with all my brothers’ tears,
Whose heart was broken by a whole world’s woe,
Laugh and am glad, for there is Liberty!
Ho! ye who suffer! know
Ye suffer from yourselves. None else compels,
None other holds you that ye live and die,
And whirl upon the wheel, and hug and kiss
Its spokes of agony…
Freedom vs Illusion
“The significant issues we face cannot be resolved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
The world’s greatest teacher hoped we would set free our inner Buddha. But practical doctrine is, evidently, too challenging a process of for many.
“The special doctrine of the Buddha was anatta or sunyatta (no-self or voidness), the former being the special case and the latter the general case of the same basic principle.
“This is a profound doctrine, difficult for beginners and in it’s subtleties an ongoing source of speculation for the philosophers”. Some of these breakaways are heroic affirmations of a soul in evolutionary struggle with its own self-imposed limitations.
But then as now, abstruse doctrinal disputes are widespread among the intellectually hardened sectarian elite. The Buddha had a much more egalitarian view of truth. He held that we ought to: “Believe nothing…”
…no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
Faster than Light
“The sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day,” one of the Adept co-authors of The Secret Doctrine wrote, “when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods.” Dogmatic Science was no exception.
The Dual Mind
Through history humans have frequently chosen intolerance over their kinder, gentler side. Why should this be? Because, Theosophy explains, our minds are dual in essence. Even the brain’s wiring accommodates this dual energy of consciousness.
The rationale for this relates to the Secret Doctrine teaching that the whole universe “is pervaded by duality.”
This ancient construct of the universe, notes The Secret Doctrine (1:15-19), “is the very essence of its ex-istence as ‘manifestation,'” — our individual minds necessarily follow the same pattern as their source.
When separated from its spiritual counterpart, the brain-based, intellectual and physiological mind then rules our actions, Blavatsky declares in The Key to Theosophy, and “can give only
“…that perception of the Universe which is based on the evidence of that mind — it cannot give spiritual vision.”
In this video segment, Dean Radin, senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), argues the overarching importance worldviews. Whether intellectual, spiritual or mixed, they “determine our moral sense, and directly influence what actions we are willing to take.”
Our sectarian institutions know, if they are to survive, like battleships in wartime they must continually monitor all movements of their members living beneath the waves — in those depths which are, by analogy, the real life of the soul.
To maintain dominance, Big Sonar must detect and punish every unapproved activity related to that life.
Psychological studies have also shown that the more one publicly suffers for his beliefs, the more binding is his commitment to his professed religion —
…beliefs become more “believable” and thus attract more followers, and so the behavior is encouraged by religious leaders.
And, suffering is quite compatible with the Darwinian belief in Natural Selection, which should also raise a warning flag.
A Conscious Universe
Perhaps Buddha was attempting to remind us that, unlike our human obsession for dogmatic predictability, the universe is, at its base, the penultimate free thinker. Atoms are forever engaged in an active and continuous search for reality. In this video clip, author of The Field Lynne McTaggart, reports that at the quantum level, “reality is unset jello.”
Buddha’s idea that we should “believe nothing” except the dictates of our common sense may be difficult for the dogmatically disposed, and nearly impossible for the very young — we need wise parents and teachers as we begin our journey.
But most of our parents and teachers were themselves raised in hand-me-down conformist systems, and have neither the desire or training to mentor free thinking.
Our increasingly material and technological worldviews seem to have gradually diminished our capacity to recognize and encourage individual spiritual instincts. Primal soul urges are also squelched by governments and society.
A new study, Global Restrictions on Religion, by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that 64 nations — about one-third of the countries in the world — have high or very high restrictions on religion.
The study found, tragically, that “public tensions between religious groups were reported in the vast majority (87%) of countries in the period studied (mid-2006 through mid-2008).” Little chance these statistics have change much since.
“In 126 countries (64%), these hostilities involved physical violence. In 49 countries (25%), private individuals or groups used force or the threat of force to compel adherence to religious norms.
“Religion-related terrorism caused casualties in 17 countries, nearly one-in-ten (9%) worldwide.”
Theosophy is not a religion, yet W. Q. Judge addressed the problem of the rigidity that can manifest even in Theosophical groups, and individuals
“… we must avoid dogmatism in theosophy as much as in anything else,” William Q. Judge wrote, “for the moment we dogmatise and insist on our construction of theosophy:
“…that moment we lose sight of Universal Brotherhood and sow the seeds of future trouble.”
Probably our teenage years, troubled as they often are, serve a important purpose after all — the time to find a needed independence and strength gained by struggling against rigid authority figures and systems.
“It is not as important to discover which religion is best able to prove its own claims, wrote theosophist Manly P. Hall, in “Daily Words of Wisdom” as it is to learn, if possible,
“…which system of religious belief has the most constructive effect upon human conduct.”
Maturing in society often implies an expectation that we must eventually settle down, get mellow, and start fitting in — and dress to conform to the norm. This is why perhaps we often see so may rebellious youths.
My Cousin Vinny
We are self-conscious, thinking men, Blavatsky wrote in The Secret Doctrine (2:103), “with the capabilities and attributes of Gods in us, for good as much as for evil,” declaring:
“Hence the rebels are our saviours. Let the philosopher ponder well over this, and more than one mystery will become clear to him.”
“It is only by the attractive force of the contrasts that the two opposites — Spirit and Matter — can be cemented on Earth, and, smelted in the fire of self-conscious experience and suffering, find themselves wedded in Eternity.”
“It is owing to this rebellion of intellectual life against the morbid inactivity of pure spirit, that we are what we are:—
“…self-conscious, thinking men, with the capabilities and attributes of Gods in us, for good as much as for evil.”
The unrepentant spiritual thinker doesn’t fit the norm, and is seldom found seated in the average corporate boardroom — or blindly obeying the commands of a Zeus-god worshiping culture. As Thomas Jefferson once remarked, perhaps disguising a knowing smile:
“A little revolution now and then
is a good thing.”
The earliest instructors of mankind are called the “divine rebels,” and their history is detailed in The Secret Doctrine Vol. 2:103. Our presence on Earth is due to the resistance of the ancient Prometheans, our ancestors, to “the morbid inactivity of pure spirit.”
In other words, they helped us grow up, just as parents are supposed to do now. “Hence the rebels are our saviours,” wrote Blavatsky, “let the philosopher ponder well over this, and more than one mystery will become clear to him.”
Reality Not Faith
The transition of classical physics to meta-physics, the relationship between mind and matter, and the belief systems which lead to either one are described by Dean Radin of IONS, in this short, provocative video clip:
When asked, in The Key to Theosophy, if she thought belief in Theosophy requires “blind faith,” Blavatsky replied: “we hold faith, such as you advocate, to be a mental disease—
“…and real faith, i.e., the ‘pistis’ of the Greeks, as ‘belief based on knowledge,’ whether supplied by the evidence of physical or spiritual senses.”
From dependence to independence, to interdependence and Mastership — all are steps on the Path to Self-enlightenment. Humanity as a whole “is in a transition state,” W. Q. Judge wrote in his Letters:
“…and many of its units are kept back by the condition of the whole. We find the path difficult because, being of the race, the general race tendencies very strongly affect us.”
Change Your Thoughts
Change Your Life
In this video clip, Biologist Bruce Lipton explains how we can change our inherent programming, i.e. those persistent opinions and images that determine our worldviews. These hidden patterns powerfully rule our self-image, and how we behave. Even our health is affected for good or ill through this subconscious mechanism.
Today, many people have shifted from a transition cycle to a period of transformation, from blind faith to reasoned faith — and those changes are due to hard-won self-knowledge. “We become,” says Dr. Wayne Dyer, “what we think about,” and
“If you change the way you think about things, you change the world you live in.”
The shift is achieved not just through independent, disciplined thinking — but also by greater compassion for others.
No sincere searcher after truth, Blavatsky wrote,”can ever be found among the blind believers.”
True self-knowledge is, according to the Voice of the Silence, “of loving deeds the child.” A significant point to ponder.
New Age Beliefs
On the upside, today New Age beliefs are widespread, and large numbers of Americans are engaging “in multiple religious practices, mixing elements of diverse traditions,” says a new Pew Research Center Forum poll.
The religious beliefs and practices of Americans do not fit neatly into conventional categories.
The poll by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that large numbers of Americans engage in multiple religious practices, mixing elements of diverse traditions.
Many say they attend worship services of more than one faith or denomination — even when they are not traveling or going to special events like weddings and funerals.
Edward’s Past Life
“Many also blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects,” the Poll finds.
“And sizable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups say they have experienced supernatural phenomena, such as being in touch with the dead or with ghosts.”
“One-third of Americans (35%),” the Polls discovered, “say they regularly (9%) or occasionally (26%) attend religious services at more than one place, and most of these (24% of the public overall) indicate that they sometimes attend religious services of a faith different from their own.
“Aside from when they are traveling and special events like weddings and funerals, three-in-ten Protestants attend services outside their own denomination, and one-fifth of Catholics say they sometimes attend non-Catholic services.”
In response to a separate question, half of Americans (49%) say they have had “a religious or mystical experience – that is, a moment of religious or spiritual awakening.”
This is roughly the same as the number that said this in 2006 (47%), but it represents a sharp increase over the past four decades. In 1962, only 22% of Americans reported having had such an experience, which grew to about a third in 1976 (31%) and 1994 (33%).
Since then, the number has continued to increase to roughly half of the public in this decade.
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