The Book of the Golden Precepts
- Published: Friday, 29 September 2017 11:01
Sylvia Cranston – USA
[Condensed from Reincarnation, The Phoenix Fire Mystery, pp. 102-03, Theosophical University Press, 1998 edition.. This excerpt is reproduced on Theosophy Forward in a slightly revised format to fit the magazine’s template. Permission is granted to reprint one time this article written and published by Anita Atkins (aka-Sylvia Cranston) to Jan Nicolaas Kind, publisher of Theosophy Forward. Copyright Owner: Dr. Caren M. Elin, September 5, 2017].
Writing of mysticism in The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James quotes several passages from H. P. Blavatsky’s The Voice of the Silence, a translation of a portion of “The Book of the Golden Precepts.” Commenting, James says: “There is a verge of the mind which these things haunt; and whispers therefrom mingle with the operations of our understanding, even as the waters of the infinite ocean send their waves to break among the pebbles that lie upon our shores.” [New York: Longmans, Green, 1925, p.421].
Of the same work D. T. Suzuki remarked: “I saw The Voice of the Silence for the first time when at Oxford. I got a copy and sent it to Mrs. Suzuki (then Miss Beatrice Lane) at Columbia University, writing to her: ‘Here is the real Mahayana Buddhism.’ ” [The Middle Way, August 1965, p. 90], Later reviewing William Kingsland’s biography, The Real H. P. Blavatsky [London: John Watkins, 1922], Dr. Suzuki again called The Voice of the Silence “true Mahayana doctrine,” and added:
“Undoubtedly Madame Blavatsky had in some way been initiated into the deeper side of Mahayana teaching and then gave out what she deemed wise to the Western world as Theosophy ... There is no doubt whatever that the Theosophical Movement made known to the general world the main doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism, and the interest now being taken in Mahayana in the Western world has most certainly been helped forward by the knowledge of Theosophy ... As Mr. Kingsland says, ‘She did more than any other single individual to bring to the West a knowledge of Eastern religious philosophy.’ ” (The Eastern Buddhist (old series), editor, D. T. Suzuki, Vol. 5, p.572.)