Theosophy

The Principle, Not The Person

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy is not just a collection of intellectual abstractions. It is a prescription for living. Every Theosophical idea implies a form of Theosophical action. If we think about even a few of the basic Theosophical concepts, their practical applications are obvious.

For example, if we accept reincarnation, we should have no prejudices about other cultures or nations or the other sex, because in the past we have been born in other cultures and nations and as the other sex, and we will be so born again in the future. Similarly, if we accept karma, we should never consciously harm another, because every action we do returns to us in a similar form. Of course, open-mindedness and harmlessness are prescribed by ethical systems all over the world, but Theosophy provides a reasoned basis for practicing those virtues.

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Why Such Moral Weakness?

Radha Burnier - India
(from “On the Watch-Tower”, The Theosophist, December 2005)

One wonders why most human beings are morally so weak. Even well-educated persons with a good family background fall prey to temptations, which may not even appear as temptations to them. For example, when a group of people are gossiping about somebody, how many have the moral strength not to join in, and how many will exert their influence against idle talk? Very few. Most people are dragged along whatever current they find themselves in.

Temptation in the form of desire for power is very common. Well behaved and modest persons are known to succumb to it on attaining a position of authority over others—humans andanimals. Then the desire for power expands, and in a crisis such people might do dreadful things.

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Butterflies Are Not Free

Betty Bland - USA

[This Viewpoint article was published in the Quest magazine for September-October 2008, pp. 164-5]

The drifting dazzling beauty of a butterfly wafting on the summer breezes, floating from flower to flower, conjures in us an aesthetic appreciation and a certain longing to be carefree like this diaphanous illusion. As the Buddhist teachings affirm, “All beings wish to be happy.” And we human beings add the strength of our highly developed mental and emotional faculties to this search for happiness as a driving factor in our lives.

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Masters and the Path

Dora Van Gelder Kunz - USA

[Dora Kunz (1904-1999) as a girl lived in a Theosophical community in Australia, where she served as an assistant to C. W. Leadbeater. A natural clairvoyant, Dora regarded herself even in her late years as "a veddy prrractical girl." In the following talk, delivered in Philadelphia on White Lotus Day 1955, she examines one of the most characteristic of Theosophical ideas, the existence of those whom her husband, Fritz, called "men beyond mankind," the Masters, that is, those who have mastered the lessons of human life that the rest of us are still striving to learn. A transcription of this talk, supplied by Edward Abdill, has been lightly edited but is unaltered in any substantive way, preserving its oral and Dora-esque qualities.]

I would like to present a few of my own ideas about the Masters and the Path which are somewhat different from what you will find in books. I have been a Theosophist all my life, and the Masters have been real to me as far back as I can remember. I would like to tell you something about my point of view about the Masters and our relationship with them.

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The Wisdom of the East, the West, and the World

John Algeo - USA

Theosophists often talk, with considerable justification, about the wisdom of the East. The East—particularly Persia, India, and China—have indeed produced profoundly wise and views of life.

Persian wisdom, although less talked about than the other two, has been very influential. That wisdom, expressed through the revolutionary religious system of Zoroaster, influenced early Judaism, and through it later Christianity and Islam. Persian wisdom may be said to focus centrally on the view that the universe is ruled and guided by wise and beneficent powers. Those powers are personified in the person of Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, and the other Amesha Spentas, Holy Immortals. The personification of that power is specifically Persian, but the existence of a wise and beneficent force in the cosmos is a universal truth. Persian wisdom also recognizes the existence of a contrary power, whose operation appears ignorant and maleficent. But the ultimate triumph of wise beneficence is assured, and human beings are called to act with purpose and dedication in its cause.

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Study

Ed Abdill – USA

Clearly all knowledge is useful, but some is more useful. Whatever we learn may be used to benefit others and ourselves. What we choose to study depends on what motivates us to study. If we are driven by personal desire, we may gain a great deal of knowledge, but it will not move us one inch on the spiritual path. If we are driven by a thirst for ultimate truth and a longing to help bring our fellow human beings to that truth, then we are motivated rightly. By using our power of discernment, we will choose the areas of study that will most effectively lead to that noble goal. We may choose to study the spiritual literature from the saints of humanity. We may even put to good use what we learn from studying mechanics, computer programming, science, history, art, and a host of other things.

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