Theosophy

On Being Human

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan – USA

Theosophy ASR b lotus flower that symbolise peace

Ignore what they are thinking of you because they are not thinking of you.

                                                                                                --Unknown

Scott Barry Kaufman (www.scottbarrykaufman.com ) is a Humanistic psychologist whose research on Abraham Maslow led him to write Transcendence: The Science of Self-Actualization. For those unfamiliar with Humanistic psychology, the field approaches the individual as a “whole person” rather than from just a cognitive or behaviorist perspective. It adopts the belief in self-exploration, human potential, and acknowledges spiritual aspiration as a part of the human psyche. One could say Transpersonal psychology emerged from the Humanistic field.

Read more: On Being Human

The Noble Eightfold Path - 4

Theosophy Bard b meditation buddha sculpture statue

No doubt, these are very difficult times. Many of us are terribly confused, in pain and disappointed, realizing that our world is at present enduring a dangerous and downward spiral. There is no “easy” fix for what we are confronted with. As your editor I have tried to offer a way of looking at our situation based on what old teachings point to. As theosophists we are familiar with Buddha’s (Noble) Eightfold Path, a clear and concise guideline to lead us from darkness into the Light. I guess that as a nucleus we ought to do everything to stick together, embracing our bonds, whilst radiating love and compassion for all that lives. [JNK]

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The Eightfold Path of Buddhism is the means by which enlightenment may be realized. The historical Buddha first explained the Eightfold Path in his first sermon after his enlightenment.

Most of the Buddha's teachings deal with some part of the Path. You might think of it as an outline that pulls together all the Buddha's teachings.

Read more: The Noble Eightfold Path - 4

The Noble Eightfold Path - 3

 Theosophy CJ b

[From the Buddhist Dharma Chakra Pravarttana Sutra; circa B.C. 300.]

Translation by Charles Johnston, Oriental Department Papers, October, 1895

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I.

There are two extremes, Brothers, that he who has renounced should shun.

On the one side, the constant following after things that appeal to lust and sensuality,—a low, bestial way, unworthy, unprofitable, fit only for the profane;

And, on the other side, the constant following after penance that is painful, unworthy, unprofitable.

There is a middle path, Brothers, that shuns these two extremes; a path found out by him who has come as others came before; a path that opens the eyes and gives understanding; a path that brings restfulness of mind, supreme wisdom, full enlightenment, Nirvana.

What then is this middle path, Brothers, that shuns these two extremes; the path found out by him who has come as others came before; the path that opens the eyes and gives understanding; the path that brings restfulness of mind, supreme wisdom, full enlightenment, Nirvana?

It is, verily, the Noble Eightfold Path; it is this:

Right seeing, right willing, right speaking, right behaving, right living, right striving, right concentrating, right meditating.

This is the middle path, Brothers, that shuns the two extremes; the path found out by him who has come as others came before; the path that opens the eyes and gives understanding; the path that brings restfulness of mind, supreme wisdom full enlightenment, Nirvana.

This, Brothers, is the noble truth about sorrow:

Birth is full of sorrow, decay is full of sorrow, sickness is full of sorrow, death is full of sorrow.

Contact with the pleasant is full of sorrow, separation from the unpleasant is full of sorrow, unsatisfied longing is full of sorrow. In a word the five groups of grasping are full of sorrow.

This, Brothers, is the noble truth about sorrow.

And this, Brothers, is the noble truths about the cause of sorrow:

It is, verily, the thirst that causes outward existence, accompanied by sensual enjoyment, seeking gratification now here, now there; it is the thirst for the gratification of desire, the thirst for outward existence, the thirst for present existence.

This, Brothers, is the noble truth about the cause of sorrow.

And this, Brothers, is the noble truth about the ceasing of sorrow:

It is, verily, the destroying, without any remnant of lust, of that same thirst; the putting away of, the getting rid of, the being free from, the ceasing to entertain this thirst.

This, Brothers, is the noble truth about the ceasing of sorrow.

And this, Brothers, is the noble truth about the path that leads to the ceasing of sorrow. It is, verily, the Noble Eightfold Path; it is this:

Right seeing, right willing, right speaking, right behaving, right living, right striving, right concentrating, right meditating.

This, Brothers, is the noble truth about the destroying of sorrow.

Read more: The Noble Eightfold Path - 3

The Noble Eightfold Path – 2

Charles Webster Leadbeater

Theosophy CWL b

[A lecture delivered through an interpreter to the Burmese Ladies at Moulmein, Burma (now Myanmar), in March,1914.]

You ask me to tell you the way to Nirvana; the way to Nirvana is to follow the teachings of our Lord Buddha. It is not enough only to talk about following the Precepts, it is not enough to go to the Temples, to take Pancha Sila and offer flowers. The great thing is to live your lives as the Lord Buddha wished you to live. He has given certain Precepts which we are to follow. Each morning many Buddhists repeat those Precepts, but often they immediately forget all about them, and do not think about them until next morning. That is useless, because the Lord Buddha when He gave these Precepts meant people to carry them out day by day. He gave you, for example, the Noble Eightfold Path. Now I suppose every one of you has heard from childhood all about the Noble Eightfold Path. You may repeat its steps in a moment, but the question is not to be able to repeat them, but to carry them out; because, unless you carry them out, they are useless to you. You know the first Step in that Noble Eightfold Path is Right Belief. Now what are the things that we ought to believe and those that we ought not to believe? The first thing is to believe in the Law of Karma. That is, that whatever you do brings corresponding results. If you do good things, good will come; if you do bad things, evil will come. We should all say that that was so, if anyone asked us, but the question is, do you live all the time as though it were true?  Sometimes people say they believe things, but they do not behave accordingly. In such cases their belief is only form. There are some things you do believe. You believe fire will burn you, so you are careful not to put your hand in the fire, lest it might get hurt. You know that if you fall from a height your arms or legs may be broken, so you are careful in walking up a dangerously steep hill. Also if you believe that for every evil thought or word or act, evil will come to you, you will be careful. But if you say that you believe in that, and still sometimes speak evil of another person, then you do not believe that really.

Read more: The Noble Eightfold Path – 2

The Noble Eightfold Path - 1

Annie Besant

Theosophy AB 2 Las figuras de buda y el budismo large

[A lecture delivered at the Ananda College, Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1907] 

Twenty-three hundred years have passed since the great Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka, sent to the Island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) his son and his daughter, to plant in this island not only the material slip from the sacred tree of Buddha Gaya, but also to plant here a slip of that Tree of Wisdom which, since that day, has spread abroad over the island, as it has spread far over the nations, over the world - that Tree of Wisdom which you call the faith of the Buddha. We are to take this afternoon one of His great teachings for our study. You remember how, when He had left His father's house, when He had left His wife and His infant son, when He had sought, by the help of instructors in the jungle, to win His way to life, when He had sought by asceticism to find the path which others had failed to teach Him, that He finally, sitting under that famous tree, having conquered every temptation, having thrown back all the illusions of Mara, when at last illumination reached Him, when He had entered into perfect knowledge - then He saw, for the first time in this life - the Four Noble Truths: sorrow, its roots, the cessation of sorrow, the path out of it - the Noble Eightfold Path. And it is that Noble Eightfold Path to which I ask your attention this afternoon.

Read more: The Noble Eightfold Path - 1

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