Category Archives: ethics

A Mother’s Love, The Law of Life

Mother and Child

WHENEVER there is separateness and selfishness, Theosophy teaches, there will always be suffering.

This is why we need to continually try to practice Divine Compassion, “the law of laws,” as urged in The Voice of the Silence, and all that implies about our daily actions.

“Compassion is no attribute, it is the LAW of LAWS — eternal Harmony —

“… a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things — the law of love eternal.”

(The Voice of the Silence)

A feeling of true, universal compassion and caring for others can never dissolve into either separateness or selfish pride. Says the Voice of the Silence of The Buddha: “The esoteric school teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats is such a Nirmânakâya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none known.”

Dalai Lama xlv

According to the H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, “compassion is something really worthwhile.”

It is not just a religious or spiritual subject, not a matter of ideology. It is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

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ITC 2016 Conference: Theosophy and Social Responsibility

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Theosophy and Social Responsibility

Applying the Head and Heart Teachings
of H. P. Blavatsky

La Casa de Maria
Santa Barbara, California

Thursday, August 11 to
Sunday August 14, 2016

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The aim of the 2016 Conference is to explore the active connection between Theosophical teachings and social responsibility, focusing on study and cross-pollination.

Guided by the principles and metaphysical perspectives given in The Secret Doctrine and other writings of H.P.B. and those of her close co-workers, conference participants are going to discuss how fundamental ethical questions reflected in contemporary social conditions might be answered.

– How might students of Theosophy understand and practice social responsibility?

– What thoughts and deeds might help us reduce suffering and improve the quality of life for all that lives?

– Do the teachings of Theosophy, in particular the messages of H. P. Blavatsky, indicate a duty to help others?

During the conference a number of themes relating to Social Responsibility will be introduced in short talks and further discussed in study circles. The results will be shared in plenary sessions.

View the Study Circles program here.

Registrants will receive a code with which they can access a form where they can enroll for the study circles of their interest. For each study circle theme a selection of reading material will be made available for participants to prepare themselves ahead of the conference.

The location and program of the Conference, at La Casa de Maria, will provide an inspiring and regenerative opportunity for both formal and informal discussion in a community of Theosophical learning.

LaCasadeMaria

La Casa de Maria

800 EL Bosque Road
Santa Barbara, California 93108

Click here for more photos of La Casa de Maria.

For a list of hotels and other accommodation options in the vicinity of Santa Barbara click here.

For transportation to the La Casa de Maria Conference: click here.

To register, please fill out the registration form.

Seats are limited with a maximum of 140 participants so in order to avoid disappointment you are strongly advised to register as soon as possible.

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From H. P. Blavatsky

HPB

“It is well known that the first rule of the [Theosophical] society is to carry out the object of forming the nucleus of a universal brotherhood. The practical working of this rule was explained by those who laid it down, to the following effect:-

“HE WHO DOES NOT PRACTICE ALTRUISM; HE WHO IS NOT PREPARED TO SHARE HIS LAST MORSEL WITH A WEAKER OR POORER THAN HIMSELF; HE WHO NEGLECTS TO HELP HIS BROTHER MAN, OF WHATEVER RACE, NATION, OR CREED, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER HE MEETS SUFFERING, AND WHO TURNS A DEAF EAR TO THE CRY OF HUMAN MISERY;

HE WHO HEARS AN INNOCENT PERSON SLANDERED, WHETHER A BROTHER THEOSOPHIST OR NOT, AND DOES NOT UNDERTAKE HIS DEFENSE AS HE WOULD UNDERTAKE HIS OWN – IS NO THEOSOPHIST.”

W. Q. Judge, by Charles Johnston

W. Q. Judge, by Charles Johnston

Methods of
Theosophical Work

by William Q. Judge

I have noticed a disposition on the part of some members to often object to the methods of others or to their plans on the ground that they are unwise, or not suitable, or what not. These objections are not put in a spirit of discord, but more often arise merely from a want of knowledge of the working of the laws which govern our efforts. H.P.B. always said – following the rules laid down by high teachers – that no proposal for theosophical work should be rejected or opposed provided the proposer has the sincere motive of doing good to the movement and to his fellows.

But no one method is to be insisted on. Each man is a potency in himself, and only by working on the lines which suggest themselves to him can he bring to bear the forces that are his. We should deny no man and interfere with none; for our duty is to discover what we ourselves can do without criticizing the actions of another. The laws of karmic action have much to do with this.

We interfere for a time with good results to come when we attempt to judge according to our own standards the methods of work which a fellow member proposes for himself. Ramifying in every direction are the levers that move and bring about results, some of those levers – absolutely necessary for the greatest of results – being very small and obscure. They are all of them human beings, and hence we must carefully watch that by no word of ours the levers are obstructed.

If we attend strictly to our own duty all will act in harmony, for the duty of another is dangerous for us. Therefore if any member proposes to spread the doctrines of theosophy in a way that seems wise to him, wish him success even if his method be one that would not commend itself to you for your own guidance.

(Excerpt from Methods of Theosophical Work)

blowingseeds

 For more ULT info click here: ULT Oxygen

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.

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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No Form Can Exist Without Love

LOVE in its most unselfish form was described by H. P. Blavatsky as the “absence of every ill-feeling , selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings.”

The alchemy of such enlightened ethics unleashes the power of an stoppable universal force.

“The powers and forces of spirit,” Blavatsky declared in her article Practical Occultism, “lend themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart — and this is DIVINE MAGIC.”

Kamadeva, a Sanskrit word, is defined in The Theosophical Glossary as “the first conscious, all-embracing desire for universal good, love, and the first feeling of infinite compassion and mercy for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness. Only later did kama become the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.”

“Desire first arose in It, which was the primal germ of mind,” (Secret Doctrine 2:176) — “and which sages, searching with their intellect, discovered to be the bond which connects Entity with Non-Entity.” 

That power arose,” Blavatsky said, “in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute.” It was also she who, in the article Love with an Object, fervently declared:

“Love can exist without form, but no form can exist without Love.”

Devotion arose out of a feeling she wrote, “and became the first and foremost motor in man’s nature — for it is the only one which is natural in our heart, which is innate in us.”

In her first Letter to a Theosophical Convention in 1888, she wrote: “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.”

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A Right Christmas

pinetree21

Dreaming Of A Right Christmas

“Children of Light, as ye go forth into the world,
seek to render gentle service to all that lives.”
– Egyptian Papyrus of Ani

I’m mostly a vegetarian, for ethical reasons, and have a growing passion for “the soul of things.” Reverence for life is something everyone understands, within reasonable limits.

I reluctantly “kill” a few carrots, tomatoes and salad greens every day. But I never was a Grinch about Christmas. Though I did oppose the roast turkey.

A friend reminds me that “Native Americans had reverence and gratitude as they sacrificed a deer for their food and clothing…it’s a matter of consciousness and attitude in what you do.”

“As long as we are imprisoned in this octave,” she says, “things will die to sustain us….look at the big picture.”

INTENTION

“It is the motive, and the motive alone,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote in Practical Occultism,which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic.” Lynn McTaggart thinks our intentions can change the world.

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MINDFULNESS

Maybe I’m a little weird. After all, even Buddhist monks have a bowl of rice every day. And, yes, “Hitler was a vegetarian.” The justification for my oddity is, at the very least, I am thinking about what I do! (My friend said, “Buddhists call that ‘mindfulness.'”)

This is how, Blavatsky admits, she understood the teaching of her Masters: “every plant without an exception feels and has a consciousness of its own.”

And, it is a axiom of The Secret Doctrine, that:

Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. (1:274)

“When we try to pick out anything by itself,” wrote John Muir, America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist, “we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

Plastic didn’t seem very hitched. And I was increasingly uncomfortable with “factory farmed” Christmas trees. What then should I do?

WHEN IN ROME

Living in the country, I could decorate, like any good Pagan, some sacred evergreen growing nearby. Here in the city, one can buy a potted evergreen. We did once, a few years back.

But it was even more painful to watch a live tree, isolated from its forest companions, die a slow death inside a stuffy apartment. With nowhere to replant it outdoors, it just didn’t feel right.

Growing up with strong feelings for the sacredness of life, and with much of my early childhood spent out-of-doors, it was natural to be an advocate for Nature. Now, in desperation, two days before Christmas, I faced an agonizing decision.

EVERYTHING GOT WRONG

Bundled against the bitter New York City wind and icy sidewalks, at a corner where a recently bailed-out-bank ironically thrived, the deed was done. I killed a tree that day.

“It was just cut,” a woman representing a local Boy Scout Troop injected, as I admired one in particular. A six-foot spruce from nearby Pennsylvania. Indeed, the needles were firm and fragrant, its tapering trunk and welcoming branches a work of art.

Then, amidst the blare of car horns, the little tree lay unflinching as it received a swift and indifferent Coup de grâce from an eager 12-year old Scout. A “fresh cut” was sawed from the base of its sap-stained stump. I paid cash.

At that moment, Oppenheimer’s knee-jerk quote from the Bhagavad-Gita, uttered at the first atomic test in New Mexico in 1945, overtook my violated conscience: “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

RECONCILIATION

The Bhagavad-Gita is preeminently an ethical treatise. It inculcates teachings applicable to daily life, suited not only to the time in which it was written, but for all time. So it was consoling to recall a quite different passage from the Gita, where Krishna, the Higher Self, counsels his favorite disciple:

I accept and enjoy the offerings of the humble soul who in his worship with a pure heart offereth a leaf, a flower, or fruit, or water unto me. Whatever thou doest…whatever thou eatest, whatever thou sacrificest, whatever thou givest, whatever mortification thou performest, commit each unto me. Thus thou shalt be delivered from the good and evil experiences which are the bonds of action; and thy heart being joined to renunciation and to the practice of action, thou shalt come to me.

Holding these words daily in our heart, we are reborn every moment. Like the Teacher, we can become a Master of all seasons. Another of Blavatsky’s Masters in a similar vein, as quoted by her (see- Altruism in The Secret Doctrine):

He who does not practice altruism; he who is not prepared to share his last morsel with a weaker or poorer than himself; he who neglects to help his brother man, of whatever race, nation, or creed, whenever and wherever he meets suffering, and who turns a deaf ear to the cry of human misery; he who hears an innocent person slandered, whether a brother Theosophist or not, and does not undertake his defense as he would undertake his own — is no Theosophist.

FRAGRANCE OF THE GOOD

A question posed to a disciple in The Voice of the Silence: “Hast thou attuned thy being to Humanity’s great pain, 0 candidate for light?,” reminded me of a New York Times Op-Ed piece (N. Y. Times (12/22/08), “Hard Times, a Helping hand.”)

Writing about the Great Depression’s mysterious benefactor “B. Virdot,” contributor Ted Gup says: “He sought no credit for acts of conscience. He saw them as the debt we owe one another and ourselves.”

The Times article is a must read, worthy of The Laws of Manu (Manava-Dharma-Sastra), and a modern lesson which could have been taken straight out of the 2500 year old injunctions of The Buddha, embodied in “The Dhammapada,” (Ch. 4, 11-16.):

“[T]he fragrance of the good wafts even against the wind. The fragrance of the good man pervades all his ways. … From a heap of rubbish on the roadside, a lily blooms, fragrant and pleasing; from a mass of blinded mortals arises the disciple of the truly Wise One…”

NON-SEPARATENESS

“[S]piritual perfection and spiritual knowledge can only be reached on the spiritual plane,” Blavatsky writes in Theosophy Queries: Answer to a Letter. Achieved, she adds, “…only in that state in which all sense of separateness, all selfishness, all feeling of personal interest and desire, has been merged in the wider consciousness of the unity of Mankind.”

Universal ethics were pointed to by her at every opportunity, against whatever the odds or snickering of her critics. We quote in full:

Now it is a fundamental doctrine of Theosophy that the “separateness” which we feel between ourselves and the world of living beings around us is an illusion, not a reality. In very deed and truth, all men are one, not in a feeling of sentimental gush and hysterical enthusiasm, but in sober earnest. As all Eastern philosophy teaches, there is but ONE SELF in all the infinite Universe, and what we men call “self” is but the illusionary reflection of the ONE SELF in the heaving waters of earth.

True Occultism is the destruction of the false idea of Self, and therefore true spiritual perfection and knowledge are nothing else but the complete identification of our finite “selves” with the Great All. It follows, therefore, that no spiritual progress at all is possible except by and through the bulk of Humanity. It is only when the whole of Humanity has attained happiness that the individual can hope to become permanently happy — for the individual is an inseparable part of the Whole.

SPIRITUAL PERFECTION

Hence there is no contradiction whatever between the altruistic maxims of Theosophy and its injunction to kill out all desire for material things, to strive after spiritual perfection. For spiritual perfection and spiritual knowledge can only be reached on the spiritual plane; in other words, only in that state in which all sense of separateness, all selfishness, all feeling of personal interest and desire, has been merged in the wider consciousness of the unity of Mankind.

This shows also that no blind submission to the commands of another can be demanded, or would be of any use. Each individual must learn for himself, through trial and suffering, to discriminate what is beneficial to Humanity; and in proportion as he develops spiritually, i.e., conquers all selfishness, his mind will open to receive the guidance of the Divine Monad within him, his Higher Self, for which there is neither Past nor Future, but only an eternal NOW.

(From Blavatsky Collected Writings 11:104-6)

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