Key Ideas of Theosophy

Discussion in 'New Age' started by Nicholas Weeks, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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  2. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Skull,

    Do you consider yourself to be a Theosophist?
     
  3. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    How do you define one; dictionaries differ?
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Religious beliefs are largely self defined for starters.

    I am a christian a follower of Christ, however many wish to indicate they believe I am not.

    You have an avatar with an aum, could be indicating your belief leans in another direction....

    But I believe the question he is asking is not whether his definition of theosophist fits you, but if you believe it does.
     
  5. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    But I do not know "his definition" - thus my question.
     
  6. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Here is the first basic idea of Theosophy:

     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Are there different sects/denominations in theosophy? the blavatsky's etc?

    I believe he was asking your opinion whether you were one or not? I could be wrong, but tis the nature of discussion to answer questions and then follow up with questions, not to answer questions with questions.

    You know state your case, and then enter dialogue, otherwise it sounds like one is trying to trap the other somehow and discussion never starts.

    ie posting from other sites without commentary is not discussion.
     
  8. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I might jump in, at this point, Skull, and ask:

    What do you think about the "unity of all things" ... from Farthing's points?

    I think it is worth repeating what HPB has said - under Farthing's first point - about "God, the Soul and Man":
    In their origin and in eternity the three, like the universe and all therein, are one with the absolute Unity, the unknowable deific essence.
    To be specific:
    ... it must constantly be reaffirmed that the aspects are facets of a unity. The moment one lets this idea slip from the mind, "(and it is most easy to do so when engaged in any of the many intricate aspects of the Esoteric Philosophy) the idea of separation supervenes, and the study loses its value."
    So what I see in this, is that we have a Trinity, although certainly nothing like the more recent Trinity of Christian theology ... except that we should be able to agree that there is but ONE of them ~ else we have already deviated from this POINT that Farthing, and Theosophists, are trying to make!

    Every so often, for as long as religions have existed, a new angle of approach may show us something more about The TRINITY which we did not know before, or had not considered. Underlying that insight, however, is the ONE ... UNITY.

    Buddhists speak of the same, but prefer the term non-duality, to emphasize that we are speaking of something which is not-two, or not-other-THAN-One! This can become needlessly complicated, but the parallels are ENDLESS that may explain the significance of Unity, here:

    For example, you may divide the human body into various parts, organs, organ systems, functions, appearances, etc. But when all is said and done, however accurate these approaches may be to science, art, medicine, etc., we cannot deny, human beings express themselves through ONE physical body ... and we can never assemble our way to a holistic [WHOListic] grasp of this fact. Either we understand, or we do not.

    So too, with the UNITY that underlies the Trinity, Septenate, etc. ... except that now we speak of the most sublime, and apparently this affects some people in certain ways, such that they build an entire religion around it. And lo! A new doctrine is born! ;)
     
  9. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Andrew:
    Theosophy, as HPB puts it is not "a new doctrine" at all, but the most ancient root of all religious doctrines.

    The One Life or Principle is not one of the Trinity, nor their aggregate, nor something separate & beyond. It is not consciousness, nor unconsciousness etc. See the Mandukya Upanishad, verse 7.

    As the quote says: "In their origin and in eternity the three..." The origin of God, Soul & man differs from God, Soul & Man per se. "In eternity" means beyond time.

    It is a very profound notion, yet simple, in that it provides the reason for Universal Brotherhood or unity of all.
     
  10. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Blavatsky did not originate Theosophy, so where did this Divine Wisdom come from? Farthing quotes HPB from her Secret Doctrine:

     
  11. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Skull,
     
    I define a theosophist as someone who lives their life according to theosophical principles. But there is also a second definition, which says a theosophist is someone who calls themself a theosophist. Then there is a third definition, where a person says they follow the teachings of a particular theosophical teacher.
     
    This also brings up the issue of the two words theosophist vs. Theosophist. A Theosophist (capitalized) is generally understood to be a (somewhat) follower of Helena P. Blavatsky (HPB). A theosophist (non-capitalized) is understood to be more of a generic ‘believer,’ not necessarily a follower of HPB but following any (all?) of the theosophical teachers who have appeared during the entire history of humanity, such as Plato, Shankaracharya, etc. (This also brings up the issue of who are the great theosophical teachers throughout the ages.)
     
    This brings up a fascinating issue: Most Theosophists would say they believe in reincarnation, karma, etc. Can a person be a Theosophist and not believe in reincarnation and karma? I say yes. What do you say?
     
  12. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Nick,

    Since "theosophical principles" are not defined, that just pushes the question back a degree. Do you agree that Farthing's list is a good selection of theosophical principles? Are you a theosophist?

    I do not see myself in any of your three main definitions of theosophist.

    Your "generic" theosophist, who admires all ancient sages is closer to what my beliefs are. Yet, since I took refuge in the Triple Gem of Buddhism over 30 years ago, you could say Skull is a Buddhist with wide sympathies for most ancient paths.

    The terms theosophy & theosophist were not coined by Blavatsky, but in use before her time. So your question about Karma & Rebirth being part of a theosophist's principles depends on how the person defines their "theosophy". If they self-define, then anything goes. There are "Buddhists" today who ignore or deny rebirth.

    Here is what Webster's 1828 dictionary says about Theosophist:

    So, by dropping the sarcastic "pretends", one get a definition that has nothing to do with karma or rebirth.
     
  13. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Well, not overtly ... but I believe that `divine illumination' or `divine revelation,' if we pay attention to it, lays plain the fact of rebirth.

    To insist upon such belief to another is dogmatism. To recognize it for oneself is a different matter entirely:
    To Know, to Dare, to Will ... to be Silent! ;)

    I would also accept the same definition as applying to the term `gnostic,' without a capital `G,' which changes the meaning - similar to `Theosophy' vs. `theosophy.' I know a number of true gnostics, by this definition of KNOWER, and I am particularly interested in what each one may `know' ... and how it all relates. I don't mind considering myself a gnostic, either, with the caveat that we are speaking of Divine Wisdom, which can never be compiled or contained in some kind of written volume. The Tao that can be named is not the Eternal Tao.

    Of course, as soon as someone stands up and starts claiming infinite knowledge or awareness, either they're deluded, exaggerating considerably or a garden-variety fruitcake. Thumping a book, whether printed in red- or gold-lettering or authored by Divine Beings ... makes little difference, as at best it may indicate some sort of recognition on the thumper's part. And that's great, insofar as it goes, but that's as far as it goes, I often notice!

    Regarding theosophical principles, I'm not going to speak for Nick, but I think these are defined. Try and specify what Christian principles are, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Baha'i, etc. There can be specific beliefs, articles of `faith' ... even a more ethical approach where we consider `rules of the road.' Theosophists have all these, and so have they had since Theosophy first began. I prefer to capitalize this word, because I believe it represents one of the most sublime attempts to express for Humanity some of the Teachings it needs to progress from one Era [Pisces] to the next [Aquarius] ... and I believe that contributions from HPB's time onward also help us to live our lives as Disciples, if we accept the challenge. The instruction provided will eventually be superseded, but not for several decades ... and perhaps even when we are approaching Capricorn there will still be students benefitting from what modern Theosophy has revealed, just as is now the case with some - and I do mean some - who gain special Inspiration and Insight from the New Testament.

    If you don't accept rebirth, you can still be a fine Theosophist. Some will argue - even insist - that eventually one must accept this Teaching, and I would agree, but I don't think we should put the cart before the horse. Until we are ready, we can do just fine with whatever else is meeting the need. Beyond a certain point, it will - of necessity - be revealed to the student why the Law of Karma, of cyclical manifestation, of Cause and Effect, applies and must apply to all of Cosmos, Humanity included.

    So that's one Principle, or LAW, rather, which Theosophists do tend to study and accept. Shall we fault a Mother Teresa, or a Dr. MLK, Jr., however, if these great World Servers find no need for believing in Rebirth?

    I hope not, although Dr. MLK, Jr. probably did accept Rebirth. Certainly he was familiar with the roots of Christianity, and the relationship of the latter to the Mystery Traditions [essentially that of a graft onto the Yggdrasil Tree, with recognition and acknowledgment to Mithraism and Sol Invictus, etc.]. So who's to say!

    Regarding the Secret Doctrine, yes, some of us are quite aware that the bulk, if not the totality, of this Work is exactly what it purports to be ... and we know of the relationship of this Work to previous attempts [whether HPB's, as one might view Isis Unveiled, or those of ages past] to reveal the same or similar. We also know of the true authorship of this Work, and we recognize that for the earnest student, much of value can be found here ... and pondered for a lifetime. Additional contributions, since HPB's time, will help the student to progress ... if his goal is to build his Inner life upon the triple cornerstone of Study, Meditation and Service.

    There are those who boldly step forward to slander HPB or to criticize the Theosophical Society and its adherents. I pity them, but mostly I just hope they will either come to their senses post haste ... or wither.
     
  14. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Anyway, I'm interested in continued discussion of Theosophical PRINCIPLES, or Key Ideas, whether G. Farthing's list ... or something from the TSA or Intn'l TS websites.

    We could also, alternately or in tandem, take up what HPB herself told us makes a good Theosophist. Perhaps a consideration of `The Golden Stairs' is in order. These go straight to the Heart! :)
     
  15. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Skull,
     
    You said,
     
    "…"theosophical principles" are not defined…"
     
    --> Fascinating. Theosophy is based on the idea that a divine intelligence (or semi-divine intelligence, depending on how you look at it) created the earth, used specific principles when they created the earth, and that all of these principles are still in effect today. I would say the purpose of Theosophy is to find out what these principles are. But different people have different ideas as to what these principles are, so my definition of these principles may differ from yours.
     
    "Do you agree that Farthing's list is a good selection of theosophical principles?"
     
    --> Yes, it’s a very good list.
     
    "Are you a theosophist?"
     
    --> Yes, I am a Theosophist, just as Farthing was.
     
    "Your "generic" theosophist, who admires all ancient sages is closer to what my beliefs are."
     
    --> Then I’d say you are a theosophist.
     
    "Yet, since I took refuge in the Triple Gem of Buddhism over 30 years ago, you could say Skull is a Buddhist with wide sympathies for most ancient paths."
     
    --> That is the definition of Theosophy. The Triple Gem fits nicely into Theosophy.
     
    "If they self-define, then anything goes. There are "Buddhists" today who ignore or deny rebirth."
     
    --> Millions of Buddhists ignore or deny rebirth. I was quite shocked when I first learned this.
     
    "…by dropping the sarcastic "pretends", one get a definition that has nothing to do with karma or rebirth."
     
    --> I agree, but I have yet to meet a theosophist who does not believe in karma or rebirth — or reincarnation. Do you believe we have a ‘soul’?
     
  16. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Andrew & Nick,

    Theosophy can be presented doctrinally, via ideas, but another way is through ethical principles. Here is HPB from a letter to American theosophists in 1888:

    Looking at theosophy this way means any person who lives this way, irrespective of their spiritual or non-spiritual path, is a theosophist.
     
  17. FutureHumanDestiny

    FutureHumanDestiny New Member

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    what if i live this way, but don't want to be labeled thusly?
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Not uncommon, Muslims believe all to be Muslim and Islam was always here, just some don't know it.

    Christians make somewhat the same assumption by believing in only one G!d and knowing that only they know how to get into heaven, that all comply with their 'knowledge'
    nice snake avatar and nice question as well.
     
  19. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Try stamping your little feet & screaming at the top of your lungs, that usually works.
     
  20. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Muslim, Theosophist, Gnostic, Friend... what matter the label?
     

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