Theosophy

Theosophy in Tibet: The Teachings of the Jonangpa School

David Reigle – USA


[By David Reigle, reprinted here from Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years of Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 83-95, with formal modifications for Theosophy Forward house style.]

Some seven centuries ago there arose in Tibet a school of teachings which has many parallels to Theosophy. This is the Jonangpa school. Like Theosophy, which attempted to restore teachings from “the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world,”1 it attempted to restore teachings of the earlier Golden Age. Like Theosophy, which teaches as its first fundamental proposition “an omnipresent, eternal, boundless, and immutable principle on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception,”2 it teaches a principle which is permanent, stable, quiescent, and eternal, which is devoid of anything but itself, or “empty of other” (gzhan stong), and which therefore transcends even the most subtle conceptualization. And like Theosophy, it was persecuted by orthodoxy.

A SECRET DOCTRINE

The teachings of the Jonangpa school were originated by Yumo Mikyo Dorje (yu mo mi bskyod rdo rje), an eleventh/twelfth-century yogi. He was a student of Somanatha, the Sanskrit pandit and Kalacakra master from Kashmir who translated the great Kalacakra commentary Vimala-prabha into Tibetan. Yumo is said to have received the Jonangpa teachings while practicing the Kalacakra six-limbed yoga in the Mt. Kailasa area of western Tibet. The Jonangpa teachings include primarily the Kalacakra transmission and the “empty of other” or shen-tong (gzhan stong) doctrine. Yumo expounded these as a “secret doctrine” (lkog pa’i chos).3 He did not, however, put these teachings into writing; so we do not have from him a work called The Secret Doctrine, as we do from H. P. Blavatsky. The task of putting them into writing was left to a successor, Dolpopa.

Read more: Theosophy in Tibet: The Teachings of the Jonangpa School

The Great Cause – Part two

Nicholas Weeks – USA

[This article is based on a talk given in April 2010 at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California by the author. References to Echoes of the Orient are from the revised version, 2009-2010.]


Now some thoughts on human perfectibility.  Some object to spiritual perfection because it sounds like a final status, with all change or progress ended.  I have not found this taught in the original Theosophy of HPB or WQJ.  Even if this were the case, consider the many thousands of incarnations involved in becoming a Buddha or Bodhisattva, for example.  Then, many manvantaras more helping the spiritual advance of all beings; boredom is not in the future.

Here is some of what William Quan Judge wrote on perfection:

“On this plane of ours the spirit focalizes itself in all human beings who choose to permit it to do so, and the refusal to permit it is the cause of ignorance, of sin, of all sorrow and suffering. In all ages some have come to this high state, have grown to be as gods, are partakers actively in the work of nature, and go on from century to century widening their consciousness and increasing the scope of their government in nature. This is the destiny of all beings, and hence at the outset Theosophy postulates this perfectibility of the race, removes the idea of innate unregenerable wickedness, and offers a purpose and an aim for life which is consonant with the longings of the soul and with its real nature, tending at the same time to destroy pessimism with its companion, despair.

In Theosophy the world is held to be the product of the evolution of the [Unknown eternal] principle..., from the very lowest first forms of life, guided as it proceeded by intelligent perfected beings from other and older evolutions, and compounded also of the egos or individual spirits for and by whom it emanates. Hence man as we know him is held to be a conscious spirit, the flower of evolution, with other and lower classes of egos below him in the lower kingdoms, all however coming up and destined one day to be on the same human stage as we now are, we then being higher still.”  [Echoes II 136]

Read more: The Great Cause – Part two

The Kali Yuga – The Present Age

H. P. Blavatsky

Collected Writings 9:99-104 [“Conversations on Occultism” in Path 3.1 (April 1888): 17-21]


Student. — I am very much puzzled about the present age. Some Theosophists seem to abhor it as if wishing to be taken away from it altogether, inveighing against modern inventions such as the telegraph, railways, machinery, and the like, and bewailing the disappearance of former civilizations. Others take a different view, insisting that this is a better time than any other, and hailing modern methods as the best. Tell me, please, which of these is right, or, if both are wrong, what ought we to know about the age we live in.

Sage. — The teachers of truth know all about this age. But they do not mistake the present century for the whole cycle. The older times of European history, for example, when might was right and when darkness prevailed over Western nations, was as much a part of this age, from the standpoint of the Masters, as is the present hour, for the yuga — to use a Sanskrit word — in which we are now had begun many thousands of years before. And during that period of European darkness, although this yuga had already begun, there was much light, learning, and civilization in India and China. The meaning of the words “present age” must therefore be extended over a far greater period than is at present assigned. In fact, modern science has reached no definite conclusion yet as to what should properly be called “an age,” and the truth of the Eastern doctrine is denied. Hence we find writers speaking of the “Golden Age,” the “Iron Age,” and so on, whereas they are only parts of the real age that began so far back that modern archaeologists deny it altogether.

Read more: The Kali Yuga – The Present Age

What Are the Books of Kiu-te?

David Reigle – USA

[“What Are the Books of Kiu-te?” by David Reigle, was published in the High Country Theosophist 9.2 (Feb. 1994): 2-9, and reprinted in David and Nancy Reigle’s collection Blavatsky’s Secret Books: Twenty Years’ Research (San Diego, CA: Wizards Bookshelf, 1999), pp. 43-52, from which it is reproduced here, with slight modifications for our house style.]

The books of Kiu-te, as most Theosophists know, are said to be the source from which the Stanzas of Dzyan in The Secret Doctrine were translated. We are told that besides the secret books of Kiu-te from which the Stanzas of Dzyan were translated, there exist public books of Kiu-te, found in the libraries of Tibetan monasteries.1 Yet these public books of Kiu-te remained, for all practical purposes, secret until 1981, when they were finally identified. Though the books are "public," in that they are found in the printed collection of Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, they continue to be regarded by Tibetan tradition as the Buddha's secret teachings, and therefore as having restricted access. Even now only a tiny fraction of them has been translated into English.

Read more: What Are the Books of Kiu-te?

The Great Cause – Part one

Nicholas Weeks – USA

[This article is based on a talk given in April 2010 at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California by the author. References to Echoes of the Orient are from the revised version, 2009-2010.]

Many ideas have been presented by both the modern and ancient Theosophical Movement.  Yet there are three which should stand out in the thought-life of this world.  Since these three ideas are radiant with goodness we must continually rescue them from oblivion.  Here is how William Q. Judge described them:

The first idea is that there is a great Cause — in the sense of an enterprise — called the Cause of Sublime Perfection and Human Brotherhood.  This rests upon the essential unity of the whole human family, and is a possibility because sublimity in perfectness and actual realization of brotherhood on every plane of being are one and the same thing.  All efforts by Rosicrucian, Mystic, Mason and Initiate are efforts toward the convocation in the hearts and minds of men of the Order of Sublime Perfection.

Read more: The Great Cause – Part one

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