Tag Archives: compassion

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.”

Esoteric Theosophy and the Masters of Wisdom

THE most intelligent being in the universe, man, has never been without a friend, but has a line of elder brothers who continually watch over the progress of the less progressed.

The term Mahatma has come into wide use as Mme. H. P. Blavatsky constantly referred to them as her Masters who gave her all the knowledge she possessed.

They were at first known only as the Brothers, but afterwards, when many Hindus flocked to the Theosophical movement, the name Mahatma was brought into use, inasmuch as it has behind it an immense body of Indian tradition and literature.

The ancients taught that the course of evolution is the drama of the soul and that nature exists for no other purpose than the soul’s experience.

There must be beings in the universe whose intelligence is as much beyond ours as ours exceeds that of the black beetle, and who take an active part in the government of the natural order of things.

They preserve the knowledge gained through aeons of trial and experience, and continually seek for opportunities of drawing the developing intelligence of the human race on this or other globes to consider the great truths concerning the destiny of the soul.

Divine Compassion

They keep the knowledge they have gained of the laws of nature in all departments, and are ready when cyclic law permits to use it for the benefit of mankind. They have always existed as a body, all knowing each other, no matter in what part of the world they may be, and all working for humanity in many different ways.

It would be subversive of the ends they have in view were they to make themselves public in the present civilization, which is based almost wholly on money, fame, glory, and personality.

For this age, as one of them has already said,
“is an age of transition.”

Every system of thought, science, religion, government, and society is changing, and man’s mind is only preparing for an alteration into that state which will permit the human race to advance to the point suitable for these elder brothers to introduce their actual presence to our sight.

Ancient Greece

They may be truly called the bearers of the torch of truth across the ages. They investigate all things and beings.

They know what man is in his innermost nature and what his powers and destiny, his state before birth and the states into which he goes after the death of his body.

They have stood by the cradle of nations and seen the vast achievements of the ancients, watched sadly the decay of those who had no power to resist the cyclic law of rise and fall. While cataclysms seemed to show a universal destruction of art, architecture, religion, and philosophy, they have preserved the records of it all in places secure from the ravages of either men or time.

Hypatia in the Alexandrian Library

But, asks the busy man of the nineteenth century who reads the newspapers and believes in “modern progress,”  if these elder brothers are all you claim them to be, why have they left no mark on history nor gathered men around them? Their own reply, was published some time ago (First Letter):

“The major and minor yugas [cycles] must be accomplished according to the established order of things. And we, borne along on the mighty tide, can only modify and direct some of its minor currents.”

“We never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in spite of the general drift of the world’s cosmic relations. The cycles must run their rounds. Periods of mental and moral light and darkness succeed each other as day does night.

 

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Karma and Reincarnation Alone Can Save Humanity

lotus-girl

Symbol of Rebirth

LOOKING beyond our relatively short physical lives on Earth, Theosophy teaches that the soul and spirit alone are eternal.

Further, the perennial wisdom tradition declares we don’t just ‘have’ a soul, we are Souls. (The Ocean of Theosophy, Chapter One)

Yet, there are many human beings who live physically to a ripe old age, and according to Wikipedia, the United Nations estimated in 2012 there were 316,600 living centenarians worldwide.

Methuselah is mentioned in the Bible as living 969 years. “But I have never heard of mortal man, layman, or Adept,”  H. P. Blavatsky wrote  in The Key to Theosophy, “who could live even half the years allotted to Methuselah.”

“Some Adepts do exceed, by a good deal, what you would call the ordinary age,” she said, “yet there is nothing miraculous in it, and very few of them care to live very long.” Mme. Blavatsky refers here only to the outward earthly physical body.

But the Spiritual and Astral Bodies that wise adepts have learned to occupy and control — achieving what is termed self-conscious immortality — have no expiration date.

Such Masters as Buddha remain fully alive while occupying their spiritual form (or Bodhisattvic Body). They are called Nirmanakayas, and remain invisible to the uninitiated. Such enlightened masters live a “secret life” of service to humanity.

One who selects the Path of Renunciation is described as a Bodhisattva, a “Buddha of Compassion.” The term literally means “one whose essence is wisdom” or “one of enlightened essence.”

A Buddha of Compassion

The Buddhist sage Aryasangha refers to Gautama Buddha as “the Supreme Nirmanakaya.” H. P. Blavatsky echoes his assertion, writing in a footnote: “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 for mankind, there is none known.”

(The Voice of the Silence, fn 34)

Gautama, the Buddha, after reaching the goal of enlightenment, refused its rewards and remained on earth as a Teacher-Reformer, it is explained, and esoteric tradition teaches that

“he remains in the world, invisibly watching over and protecting mankind.” 

And the Buddha is not alone. What is called a living, spiritual Wall of Protection still exists established to protect humanity, built by the “accumulated efforts of long generations of Yogis, Saints, and Adepts …

The Watcher

“… those  Buddhas of Compassion who have woven for themselves glorious bodies in which they remain invisibly in the world, contributing towards man’s salvation.”

The “Guardian Wall” may also be called the “Wall of Protection.” 

Those Masters are likened to ‘stones’ which go to form this spiritual Wall: “Built by the hands of many Masters of Compassion, raised by their tortures, by their blood cemented, it shields mankind, since man is man, protecting it from further and far greater misery and sorrow.”

The “Guardian Wall”

The “accumulated efforts of long generations of Yogis, Saints, and Adepts, especially of the Nirmanakayas, have created, so to say, a wall of protection around mankind, which wall shields mankind invisibly from still worse evils.” (Voice, fn 28)

These advanced beings assist suffering humans “by influencing them to follow the Good Law and to tread the Path of Righteousness.” Silently they impress the invisible atmosphere of our earth with their Ideation, thus keeping the balance on the side of right.

 (The Voice of the Silence, fn 34)

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July 4th: Theosophy, the Gospel of Goodwill

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

H. P. BLAVATSKY understood America because she loved America.

Confirming this in a letter delivered to the Second American Convention she wrote:

“Your great country which I love for its noble freedom . . . and of which country I myself am proud of being a citizen.”

This loving understanding of the American culture and temperament in the light of the marvelous knowledge which was hers, has graciously provided for the students of Theosophy everywhere in the world.

But more especially in America, hints, warnings, suggestions and, above all, inspiration for their labor on behalf of the Sacred Cause.

To the students of Theosophy in America, these Letters are of special value and significance at the present time.

In conducting their own lives and tasks as well as in helping their fellow men in all fields of activity, they will receive from these thoughtful and stirring words real help themselves, and that of an unique character. 

A Prayer Labyrinth

In these days of constant struggles of many and diverse kinds, when a myriad remedies are suggested and advocated for our ills physical and psychical, moral and mental . . . puzzled by the strange working of Mother Nature . . .

These wonderful Messages of one whose wisdom and compassion stirred her to point the finger of warning and at the same time to stretch out the hand of fellowship and sure guidance, ought to be read, studied; nay, meditated upon.

(Above excerpted from Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, CA)

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Wings to Fly, a Mother’s Love

WHEN our mother welcomed us back in the house after a long day outside at play, we knew there was caring and love inside.

There would  be a warm meal, soothing bath, a bedtime story. Clean pajamas and sheets were as much mother’s rule as was her unconditional love.

There is a perfect analogy “between the processes of Nature, in the Kosmos, and in the individual,” according to The Secret Doctrine (1:173.)  We learn, too, that analogy “is the surest guide to the comprehension of the Occult teachings.”

We are protected by a natural healing force in our bodies, the ever watchful immune system, surely a proof of a natural built-in ‘mother effect.’ There must be hundreds of examples of this built-in restorative force at work.

Cuts and scrapes are healed, harmful microbes are stopped in their tracks, and every day worn out parts all over the body are repaired with fresh new cells.  Nature knows how to care for her children, if only we obeyed her few basic rules, and didn’t derail the natural order.


But in these hectic and distracting times find many of us straying from nature’s tried and true ways. With increasing financial and psychological pressures on parents, children’s natural lives can be less than ideal. Maybe some parents have stopped paying attention.

This is shown by an upwelling of separation anxiety in our children, a serious state leading to numerous mental, emotional and physical disorders.

But there are proven ways to recover from the effects of a missing or hurtful parent as will be seen and heard later in this blog in a ground-breaking talk by Clancy D. McKenzie, M.D describing these problems, and revealing an unexpected solution. 

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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.

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The Birthday of Modern Theosophy

BIRTH on this physical plane, of the modern Theosophical Movement, occurred in New York City 141 years ago on November 17th in the year 1875.

Its reemergence had been carefully and wisely planned, behind the scenes, by those called the Elder Brothers of Humanity.

Pointing to Them, Theosophical pioneer William Quan Judge declared in his article Elder Brothers and Mahatmas, “the most intelligent being in the universe, man, has never been without a friend, but has a line of elder brothers who continually watch over the progress of the less progressed.”

The term Mahatma has come into wide use because Mme. H. P. Blavatsky constantly referred to them as her Masters who gave her all the knowledge she possessed, he said.

They were at first known only as the Brothers, but afterwards, after many Hindus flocked to the Theosophical movement, the name Mahatma was brought into use, inasmuch as it has behind it an immense body of Indian tradition and literature.

Krishna-Arjuna

Krishna-Arjuna

“The ancients taught that the course of evolution is the drama of the soul and that nature exists for no other purpose than the soul’s experience.” And Judge assured his readers “there must be beings in the universe

… whose intelligence is as much beyond ours as ours exceeds that of the black beetle, and who take an active part in the government of the natural order of things.”

“They preserve the knowledge gained through aeons of trial and experience, and continually seek for opportunities of drawing the developing intelligence of the human race on this or other globes to consider the great truths concerning the destiny of the soul.”

“They keep the knowledge they have gained of the laws of nature in all departments, and are ready when cyclic law permits to use it for the benefit of mankind. They have always existed as a body, all knowing each other, no matter in what part of the world they may be, and all working for humanity in many different ways.

“It would be subversive of the ends they have in view were they to make themselves public in the present civilization, which is based almost wholly on money, fame, glory, and personality.

“For this age, as one of them has already said, ‘is an age of transition.’

“Every system of thought, science, religion, government, and society is changing, and man’s mind is only preparing for an alteration into that state which will permit the human race to advance to the point suitable for these elder brothers to introduce their actual presence to our sight.”

“They may be truly called the bearers of the torch of truth across the ages. They investigate all things and beings.

“They know what man is in his innermost nature and what his powers and destiny, his state before birth and the states into which he goes after the death of his body.”

“They have stood by the cradle of nations and seen the vast achievements of the ancients, watched sadly the decay of those who had no power to resist the cyclic law of rise and fall. While cataclysms seemed to show a universal destruction of art, architecture, religion, and philosophy, they have preserved the records of it all in places secure from the ravages of either men or time.”

Hypatia and her Library at Alexandria

“But, asks the busy man of the nineteenth century who reads the newspapers and believes in ‘modern progress,’ if these elder brothers are all you claim them to be, why have they left no mark on history nor gathered men around them? Their own reply, was published some time ago (First Mahatma Letter):

“We never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in spite of the general drift of the world’s cosmic relations. The cycles must run their rounds. Periods of mental and moral light and darkness succeed each other as day does night.

The major and minor yugas [cycles] must be accomplished according to the established order of things. And we, borne along on the mighty tide, can only modify and direct some of its minor currents.”

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