^.^ Thomas, you said, "Even from my distant perspective, a lot of what passes for 'Buddhism' in the West is far from what a Buddhist of the East would recognise." --> Theosophy would add one more layer to that. Buddhism as practiced today in many parts of the world may not be (according to Theosoph) what Buddha actually said. Theosophy also advances the theory that Buddha (and Jesus) taught ideas to their inner circle of students that were not taught to the public. All of this leads to quite a mish-mash of arguments about who taught what. "That I make no comment does not mean I have ignored them...." --> What, you do not have enough hours in the day, either?? "Books! More books! Books, the bane of my life!" --> People keep telling me, "You have just got to read this book." Yeah, right. Put in on the pile.... "...the symbol can be interpreted accurately, if one is cognizant of the hermeneutic and epistemological structure that contains it." --> Ah, but that is the trick, isn't it? Unfortunately, I think this is much more difficult to do in Theosophy than in Christianity. "...I once read an exegesis of the parable of the camel and the eye of a needle that was pages of rich information on Hebrew pun and linguistics." --> Have you read the Lamsa Bible version of that story? "...Tradition begins with the call of Abraham...." --> I see Abraham as one more Guide in a long line of Guides. My very curiosity would make me wonder what Guides there were before Abraham. (You feel there were no Guides before Abraham that were at the same level as Abraham?) "...The 'real' story for us begins with Abraham, and the Covenant between God, and Abraham and his seed...." --> I am not trying to criticise, I just want to know. What of the people before Abraham? They did not have access to this Covenent? ~~~ I did want to revisit two of your previous questions, and add to my answers. "...How does one contact an Initiate?" --> Here is one quote that I cannot find the author of: "...We should not seek out [discipleship]. We should work hard at improving ourselves, and let [discipleship] suddenly descend upon us one day from above." You previously asked, "If sex is the issue ... are you saying the act alone is forbidden?" --> Sex, itself, is not bad. What I failed to say before is, having a burning desire for anything is bad. It is bad because it causes us trouble (according to Theosophy) in Purgatory. According to Theosphy, no one can enter Heaven until their lower desires have been burned out — the newly-dead simply cannot bring these lower desires into Heaven. It is not that such a thing is forbidden, it is simply physically impossible. [Different parts of a human] "...die more or less with what is called the physical death.... [Lower-Desires] has [Purgatory] for its abode, where it suffers the throes of disintegration in proportion to the intensity of those lower desires...." (Five Years of Theosophy, p. 92) The key phrase here is, "in proportion to the intensity of those lower desires." According to Theosophy, we will spend more time in Purgatory (and that time will be more uncomfortable) according to the number and strengths of burning desires we had in physical Life. Sex is fine, but when we allow it cross over into burning desire, we automatically reserve a special place for ourselves in Purgatory (according to Theosophy).