Tag Archives: charity

Kwan-Yin, the Compassionate Rebel

Kwan Yin, Artist Vitthal Das Rathore

“IT is unfortunate that Buddhism’s most enduring (and universal) contribution to the world has been insufficiently translated as compassion. The original Sanskrit word is ‘karuna,’ which holds within itself traces of the fragment ‘ru,’ meaning to weep. While the Oxford dictionary describes compassion as pity bordering on the merciful, karuna is actually our ability to relate to another in so intense a measure that the plight of the other affects us as much as if it had been our own.

“Over centuries, Kuan Yin’s visual depictions have highlighted her lithe, flowing form, much like the willow tree itself, which has the ability to bend during the most ferocious winds and then spring back into shape again. Indeed, who wants to stand rigid like the tall oak that cracks and collapses in a storm? Instead, one needs to be flexible like the willow, which survives the tempest.”

(Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel)

H. P. Blavatsky’s definition of Compassion, in The Voice of the Silence, remains the favorite of Theosophists:

Yet, one word. Canst thou destroy divine compassion? 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.

The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become Compassion Absolute.

Such is the Ârya Path, Path of the Buddhas of perfection.

“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.”

Buddha Fields

(The Mandala Offering)

“First, we need to understand what a Buddha-field or pure land is. It is a place where everything is conducive for being able to study and practice the Dharma twenty-four hours a day.”

The Child State

“You don’t have to work; you don’t have to eat; you don’t have to sleep; you don’t have to pay rent; you don’t have to go to the toilet – you don’t have to do anything except study and practice all the time. It’s not a place that you go, hang around the swimming pool, and play cards all day long.

“Buddha-fields are filled with Arya Bodhisattva, those Bodhisattva who have had nonconceptual cognition of voidness, and there they are taught by Sambhogakaya forms of Buddhas, physical forms that Buddhas manifest in that make full use of the Mahayana teachings. That’s what happens in pure land Buddha-fields.”

Sambhogakaya

The Three Buddhic Bodies:

1. Nirmanakaya.
2. Sambhogakaya.
3. Dharmakaya.

“The first is that ethereal form which one would assume when leaving his physical he would appear in his astral body — having in addition all the knowledge of an Adept. The Bodhisattva develops it in himself as he proceeds on the Path. Having reached the goal and refused its fruition, he remains on Earth, as an Adept; and when he dies, instead of going into Nirvâna, he remains in that glorious body he has woven for himself, invisible to uninitiated mankind, to watch over and protect it.

“Sambhogakâya is the same, but with the additional lustre of ‘three perfections,’ one of which is entire obliteration of all earthly concerns.

Manushi Buddha

“The Dharmakâya body is that of a complete Buddha, i.e., no body at all, but an ideal breath: Consciousness merged in the Universal Consciousness, or Soul devoid of every attribute. Once a Dharmakâya, an Adept or Buddha leaves behind every possible relation with, or thought for this earth. Thus, to be enabled to help humanity, an Adept who has won the right to Nirvâna, “renounces the Dharmakâya body” in mystic parlance; keeps, of the Sambhogakâya, only the great and complete knowledge, and remains in his Nirmânakâya body. 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.”

“Although ‘Nirmanakaya’ is technically the name for the body or ethereal vesture of a Bodhisattva – being described on p. 45 of The Voice of the Silence as the ‘Bodhisattvic Body’ – it’s also often used simply as a synonym for the Bodhisattva himself or herself.

“This is the acquirement or attainment of a permanent astral, closely linked with the attainment of unbroken continuity of consciousness. According to Theosophy, this is the true immortality.”

(Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK, “The Permanent Astral”)

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

The Intention Experiment: 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.

Thoughts are Things

By Lynne McTaggart

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

Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life

Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: How to enjoy a life of great meaning and altruism

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.

The Law of Life

The Asian Classics Institute
Middle Way Philosophy (Madhyamika), Level Two
Course VII: The Vows of the Bodhisattva

Reading One: Bodhichitta, the Wish for Enlightenment Tsongkapa

The following selection is taken from the Commentary on the Three Principal Paths, an explanation by Pabongka Rinpoche (1878-1941) of the famous root text by Je Tsongkapa (1357-1419).

The 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.

Mother Theresa

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.

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

 

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

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

“That Secret Path leads the Arhan to mental woe unspeakable; woe for the living Dead, and helpless pity for the men of Karmic sorrow.”

Compassion Absolute, or Sin of Separateness?

TIME and tide wait for no man according to Geoffrey Chaucer, nor do such supreme powers submit to the dictates of  modern despots, gods or saviors.

The Laws of Karma rule always. No one is so all-powerful they can stop the march of time or turn back the ocean waves, as King Canute unsuccessfully tried.

Yet what he learned from the experience is that the best each of us can do is attempt to discover and live in harmony with nature’s immutable laws.

Shakespeare dramatized karma as a force that ebbs and flows cyclically, and that one must go with the flow. As Brutus notoriously exclaims in Julius Caesar:

“There’s a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”

Procrastinating wastes precious moments allowing beneficial waves or tides to begin to recede. If a moral or environmental opportunity is neglected, individuals and humanity as a whole may suffer dire consequences.

“All the passing shows of life, whether fraught with disaster or full of fame and glory, are teachers; he who neglects them, neglects opportunities which seldom the gods repeat,” W. Q. Judge wrote in his Essay on Chapter 2 of  the Bhagavad-Gita“And the only way to learn from them is through the heart’s resignation;

“for when we become in heart completely poor, we at once are the treasurers and disbursers of enormous riches. Krishna then insists on the scrupulous performance of natural duty.”

Ancient Atlantis, our former habitat, was destroyed by natural and human caused climate change thousands of years before its time, and we are heading down a very similar, dangerous path — the result of a pervasive collective selfishness. Just as Walt Kelly’s Pogo warned, as he stared at a trash filled swamp on Earth Day 1970:

“We have met the enemy,
and he is us.”

Atlantis

Sickness occurs when “a group of individual cells refuse to cooperate, and wherein is set up discordant action, using less or claiming more than their due share of food or energy,” wrote W. Q. Judge in The Synthesis of Occult Science, concluding:

“Disease is nothing more or less than ‘the sin of separateness.'”

So long as there is separateness and selfishness, Theosophy says, there will be suffering. And this is why we need to practice Divine Compassion, “the law of laws” as described in The Voice of the Silence.

“Compassion is something really worthwhile. It is not just a religious or spiritual subject, not a matter of ideology,” says the Dalai Lama: “It is not a luxury. It is a necessity.”

“It is an absolute fact that without good works the spirit of brotherhood would die in the world—and this can never be,” Blavatsky wrote in her article Let Every Man Prove His Own Work:

“Therefore is the double activity of learning and doing most necessary; we have to do good, and we have to do it rightly, with knowledge.”

The proverb about time and tide illustrates the complex interplay between fate and free will in human life. It has karmic beauty as well, suggesting that while we do not have total control over our lives, we do have a responsibility to take what few measures we can to live ethically and honorably.

Continue reading

Childhood Memories of Having Lived Before

Buddha in the SnowKRISHNA assures an uncertain Arjuna that he has lived many lives on Earth.

“Both I and thou have passed through many births,” the Master tells his disciple (Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 4:31):

“Mine are known unto me, but thou knowest not of thine.”

The fact is most people don’t recall their past lives, because in every rebirth the immortal soul must endure a new body and astral body, a new personality and a new physical brain. 

Being handed an empty photo album is a challenge to the incoming soul, hindering it finding a conscious connection to prior experiences and knowledge. Thus “the new ‘personality,'” Blavatsky wrote (Key to Theosophy, Ch. 8), “is no better than a fresh suit of clothes.”

Being so, yet “the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive,” H. P. Blavatsky continues, “for when Prince Siddhartha became Buddha the full sequence of His previous births were seen by Him.” In such a state he was able, she says, “to retrospectively trace the lines of all his lives.”

lineofsnowbuddhas

“This proves to you that the undying qualities of the personality — such as love, goodness, charity, etc., attach themselves to the immortal Ego, photographing on it, so to speak, a permanent image of the divine aspect of the man who was.”

The mind doesn’t fully incarnate until age seven, (Key to Theosophy Section 9). Thus, a child doesn’t feel the full weight of life and karma right away. As such, they are like karma-less “little Buddhas.” If not pressured to conform by parents and society, it is possible for them to express memories of their former life (s), i.e. experience “intimations of immortality” for an extended period.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Spirit got itself entangled with gross matter,” Blavatsky wrote in The Theosophist, “for the same reason that life gets entangled with the foetus matter. It followed a law, and therefore could not help the entanglement occurring.”

It was Plotinus who said that “our body is the true river of Lethe, for ‘souls plunged into it forget all’ — our terrestrial body is like Lethe” (the “river of forgetfulness” in the Hades of Greek mythology.) Using a modern analogy, a new computer cannot be expected to recall the data stored on the discarded one, unless the old data is preserved and reinstalled in the new machine.

snowchildren

But this is what sometimes happens with children who die at an early age from accidents or illness, if they had created no basis for a prolonged after-death dream state. Nature is never wasteful, and the still viable astral pattern body is not disintegrated as with normal death.

The still vital and alive astral matrix is attracted back into the soul’s new body, with all its memories preserved intact.Thus in many cases such children are said to be born with two astral bodies, one new, the other old.

Continue reading

From God Who is Our Home

Buddha in the SnowKRISHNA assures an uncertain Arjuna that he has in fact lived many lives on Earth.

“Both I and thou have passed through many births,” the Master tells his disciple (The Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 4:31). Adding: “mine are known unto me, but thou knowest not of thine.”

“It’s hard to believe,” writes the Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK, in an article titled “A Right Understanding of Reincarnation,” that until 130 years ago hardly anyone in the Western world had heard of reincarnation or knew anything about it.”

One reason for the ignorance around this teaching is that most people can’t remember every having a past life. This is because, in simple pragmatic terms, the immortal soul enters and uses a new body, new astral body, new personality, and a new physical brain. In the case of a new brain obviously it’s difficult to ‘remember’ a previous life never being there to witness it. 

Handed an empty photo album is a challenge to the incoming soul, hindering it finding a conscious connection to prior experiences and knowledge. “The new ‘personality,'” Blavatsky wrote (Key to Theosophy, Ch. 8), “is no better than a fresh suit of clothes.”

lineofsnowbuddhas

Even so, by a mysterious process, “the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote: “for when Prince Siddhartha became Buddha the full sequence of His previous births were seen by Him.” In such a state he was able, she says, “to retrospectively trace the lines of all his lives.”

“This proves to you that the undying qualities of the personality — such as love, goodness, charity, etc., attach themselves to the immortal Ego, photographing on it, so to speak, a permanent image of the divine aspect of the man who was.”

The mind doesn’t fully incarnate until age seven, (Key to Theosophy Section 9). Thus, a child doesn’t feel the full weight of life and karma right away. As such, they are like karma-less “little Buddhas.” If not pressured to conform by parents and society, it is possible for them to express memories of their former life (s), i.e. experience “intimations of immortality” for an extended period.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Spirit got itself entangled with gross matter,” Blavatsky wrote in The Theosophist, “for the same reason that life gets entangled with the foetus matter. It followed a law, and therefore could not help the entanglement occurring.”

It was Plotinus who said that “our body is the true river of Lethe, for ‘souls plunged into it forget all’ — our terrestrial body is like Lethe” (the “river of forgetfulness” in the Hades of Greek mythology.) Using a modern analogy, a new computer cannot be expected to recall the data stored on the discarded one, unless the old data is preserved and reinstalled in the new machine.

snowchildren

But this is what sometimes happens with children who die at an early age from accidents or illness, if they had created no basis for a prolonged after-death dream state. Nature is never wasteful, and the still viable astral pattern body is not disintegrated as with normal death.

The still vital and alive astral matrix is attracted back into the soul’s new body, with all its memories preserved intact.Thus in many cases such children are said to be born with two astral bodies, one new, the other old.

Continue reading

Rewiring the Brain with Love

STUDENTS of metaphysics and Theosophy are sometimes called to task for being too ‘intellectual.’

Some prefer the force of thought to hammer out truth, dismissing feelings and emotions as emanating from the ‘lower nature.’

But as W. Q. Judge wrote in the Ocean of Theosophy, “intellect alone is cold, heartless and selfish.” This is shown today by studies of neurological correlates in the brain.

Materialistic, intellectual data are stored in the brain, but do not stimulate areas such as the pineal gland — known by occultists to host spiritual impulses like feelings of compassion.

We are spiritual beings at our core, but our behaviors on this physical plane — just like the actions of rider and horse — are solely governed by how we have entrained our psychic and physical instrument.

“There are persons,” H. P. Blavatsky writes, “who never think with the higher faculties of their minds at all.”

“This is why it is so very difficult for a materialist — the metaphysical portion of whose brain is almost atrophied — to raise himself,”

“Or for one who is naturally spiritually-minded to descend to the level of the matter-of-fact vulgar thought,” she wrote. “Optimism and pessimism depend on it also in a great measure.”

Continue reading

River of Lethe

Buddha in the SnowKRISHNA assures an uncertain Arjuna that he has lived many lives on Earth.

“Both I and thou have passed through many births,” the Master tells his disciple (Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 4:31):

“Mine are known unto me, but thou knowest not of thine.”

The fact is most people don’t recall their past lives, because in every rebirth the immortal soul must endure a new body and astral body, a new personality and a new physical brain. 

Being handed an empty photo album is a challenge to the incoming soul, hindering it finding a conscious connection to prior experiences and knowledge. Thus “the new ‘personality,'” Blavatsky wrote (Key to Theosophy, Ch. 8), “is no better than a fresh suit of clothes.”

Being so, yet “the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive,” H. P. Blavatsky continues, “for when Prince Siddhartha became Buddha the full sequence of His previous births were seen by Him.” In such a state he was able, she says, “to retrospectively trace the lines of all his lives.”

lineofsnowbuddhas

“This proves to you that the undying qualities of the personality — such as love, goodness, charity, etc., attach themselves to the immortal Ego, photographing on it, so to speak, a permanent image of the divine aspect of the man who was.”

The mind doesn’t fully incarnate until age seven, (Key to Theosophy Section 9). Thus, a child doesn’t feel the full weight of life and karma right away. As such, they are like karma-less “little Buddhas.” If not pressured to conform by parents and society, it is possible for them to express memories of their former life (s), i.e. experience “intimations of immortality” for an extended period.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Spirit got itself entangled with gross matter,” Blavatsky wrote in The Theosophist, “for the same reason that life gets entangled with the foetus matter. It followed a law, and therefore could not help the entanglement occurring.”

It was Plotinus who said that “our body is the true river of Lethe, for ‘souls plunged into it forget all’ — our terrestrial body is like Lethe” (the “river of forgetfulness” in the Hades of Greek mythology.) Using a modern analogy, a new computer cannot be expected to recall the data stored on the discarded one, unless the old data is preserved and reinstalled in the new machine.

snowchildren

But this is what sometimes happens with children who die at an early age from accidents or illness, if they had created no basis for a prolonged after-death dream state. Nature is never wasteful, and the still viable astral pattern body is not disintegrated as with normal death.

The still vital and alive astral matrix is attracted back into the soul’s new body, with all its memories preserved intact.Thus in many cases such children are said to be born with two astral bodies, one new, the other old.

Continue reading

The Aeolian Harp

JANUARY the 4th is the day of Mercury, or Hermes-Buddha, the ancients taught. They also taught the birth of the year signals a unique energy upgrade.

“The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter,” Blavatsky wrote, and “those who form their wishes now, will have added strength to fulfill them consistently.”

And Truth, like the Life Force, springs eternal. What was taught 2,500 years ago by Buddha is still studied today.

And what the Master Krishna taught his disciple Arjuna in The Bhagavad-Gita, 2,500 years earlier, is a cautionary teaching humanity needs most now.

“The Self is the friend of self,” Krishna tells Arjuna, and added paradoxically: “also its enemy.”

In an article with the same title, theosophical teacher W. Q. Judge explains: “this sentence in the Bhagavad- Gita has been often passed over as being either meaningless or mysterious.”

But it is this powerful human duality which helps explain why so many religious sects, while publicly espousing harmony and peace, are at the same time

…so ready and willing to denounce, maim and kill non-believers.


Continue reading