Notable Books

Notable Books 50


Pistis Sophia, A Gnostic Gospel - “A Gnostic Miscellany being for the most part extracts from the books of the Savior to which are added excerpts from a cognate literature”, George R.S. Meade - Spiritual Science Library

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The “Pistis Sophia”, a work translated into English by G.R.S. Mead, (commented upon by HPB as noted in the new publications of “Lucifer”) is verily a multidimensional treasure that can provide an approach to wisdom for the serious student. It consists of 6 books, two of which pertain to the repentance of Sophia, and the other four to doctrines of the wisdom Religion. For H.P.B. The Pistis Sophia, and the Gnostic Tradition might well be called the western version of the “Gupta Vidya”.

The writings in the Pistis clearly point to, if not reveal in degrees, the occult and possibly esoteric mysteries which await a true disciple of the Path. In the terminology of the Pistis, this can be considered one who has transformed themselves into the Path. Being one with and as the path, they awaken in degrees to the increasing radiances, illuminations, and lights, with their treasures. Not settling for phenomenon, they persistently, with unrelenting exercise and dispassion, make their way to the “Mystery of the Ineffable”.

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Notable Books 49

A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas, Daniel Caldwell,  2020, pp.250, All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License, Available from Lulu, CLICK HERE

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DANIEL H. CALDWELL has authored/compiled numerous well-written books, covering the life and works of Helena P. Blavatsky. His most recent title A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas is an outstanding addition to the list of earlier publications. Your editor has read the book and highly recommends it.

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Notable Books 48

Two books in one go!

Zen mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki, edited by Trudy Dixon with a preface by Huston Smith and an introduction by Richard Baker Paperback. Many used copies.

Notable Books 48 b

Crooked Cucumber, The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki Paperback, Illustrated.  Many used copies.

Notable Books 48 c

We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of Zen Mind Beginner's Mind (ZMBM).   Since 1970 Shunryu Suzuki book has introduced thousands of Americans to the practice and teaching of Zen Buddhism. I am going to review this book along with the biographical account of Suzuki's life (Crooked Cucumber) thus combining it into one long review. Back in the late 70s, this book (ZMBM) was continually discussed at Olcott, the American Headquarters of the TS.  I clearly remember at several meetings in that time frame discussing with some of the theosophical leaders ZMBM. It was a favorite along with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig which I shall mention again at the end of this review. 

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Notable Books 47


For readers of this section on Theosophy Forward the e-Magazine, you know that I normally start out with the review of a new book and then an old one  This time, the review is coming to you because of Synchronicity (a meaningful coincidence). I'm enough of a “Jungian” to take synchronicity very seriously. In this case, two events occurred within several weeks of each other for both books. I will explain each event as I review the two books.

Something New 

To Heal a Wounded Heart:  The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action, Pilar Jennings, PhD, Shambhala, Boulder, 2017, pp. 214, $18.95.

Book 1

Dr. Jennings has two books: both of which merits review. I choose this one because it is the most entertaining which is always a good place to start. I have a pile of books that are candidates for reviews.   Both of Pilar's books have been on  this pile for about 2 years. What I normally look (and wait for) is a "Hook" to pick one book over the others  Frequently, this "Hook" is simply my interest at the moment, or one of my theosophical friends making a suggestion. So far, I had no "Hooks" for either of Pilar's books.  That afternoon, I had gathered up the pile and it was ready to take down stair for another three months. I clearly remember looking the Wounded Heart book thinking, "I really need to pick this one because of its story line.”  Within 30 second, I  checked my Facebook page and Synchronicity struck. There, on the TSA page was a notice that a Webcast from headquarters by Dr. Pilar Jennings would be on October 10th! This certainly was one of the stronger Synchronicity events that I've recently experienced so someone reading this review probably needs this book in a big way! Having these experiences, I realized this was just another Synchronicity event. So, I guess I could say the Universe selected these two books this time! 

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Notable Books 46

Something New

Shadows of the sacred: Seeing Through Spiritual Illusions, Frances Vaughan, Foreword by Ken Wilber, Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, IL, 1995, pp. 313, $14.95.

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I realize this is not really a new book; however, I wanted it to be listed first. This is a Theosophical book that brings together how the transpersonal movement back in the 70s and 80s joined psychology and spirituality and became a force within itself. Also, it is a Theosophical book whose timing for publication was not the greatest because Transpersonal Psychology was being overwhelmed by the Jungian movement. So, it never got the circulation it deserved. In spite of some very big names attached to the promotional of this book, such as Ken Wilber, Larry Dossey, James Fadiman, Stan Grof, and even Ram Dass, it was viewed ‘Transpersonal' and not 'Jungian'. Hence, as good as the book was, I never felt it had not even come close to its 'being read' potential. With many used copies available, it is very worthy of being on your bookshelf. 

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Notable Books 45

Something New

Pauli and Jung: The Meeting of Two Great Minds, David Lindorff, PhD, Quest Books, TPH, Wheaton, IL 2004,  pages 299, $29.95

Notable Books 45 b

I was an undergraduate student when I first learned of Wolfgang Pauli (1900-58). It was in my first quantum mechanics course. By the time I finished my PhD, I knew a lot about the Pauli Exclusion Principle, This is not to be confused with the strange phenomena of the Pauli Effect which provide many amusing stories at various professional meetings (more later on this). He also was the recipient of a Nobel Prize in physics for his prediction of a particle we today call a "neutrino". 

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