AUSTRALASIAN TS NEWSLETTER
No. : 76 April 2002
Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Australasian Section
664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3162 AUSTRALIA
Tel. : (03) 9528.1011 Fax : (03) 9528.3907
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
WWW homepage : www.theosophie.net/australia/
ISSN : 0814-569
Even Mountains can become Buddha
Moral Sayings from the Mahabharata
Seven Jewels of Wisdom : Third Jewel : The Doctrine of Hierarchies - Stefan Carey
Obituaries : Heather Krauss
EVEN MOUNTAINS CAN BECOME BUDDHA
There is a Buddhist saying that recognises that everybody and everything in nature has inner divinity within waiting to be expressed - they say : “Even mountains can become Buddha”. What an inspiring thought that even the very rocks and soil we walk upon have the “Buddha nature” latent within them individually and collectively.
This thought is expressed beautifully in Grace Knoche’s new book on theosophy, To Light a Thousand Lamps : “By various metaphors an ancient Buddhist sutra brings the point home that every human being and thing partakes of the buddha-essence. In one example, it envisions the Primal Buddha (Adi-Buddha) on a thousand-petalled throne, each petal a universe which comprises a hundred million worlds, each of which in turn has its own suns and moons and minor buddha of the stature of Gautama. who himself is a “minute portion” of the original Buddha. So likewise every particle of dust contains “Buddhas without number.” [page ix].
If the mountains, rocks, and dust have Buddha essence, then how much more should we humans be able to express that higher aspect of ourselves and to look for it in others?
But, of course, we all know by looking at the state of the world these days, how terribly difficult it is to find and hold on to the inspiration of the Higher Self. Awakening to one’s own reality and the wider reality is the task of ages. Unfortunately so many people become discouraged in life and this may almost be looked upon as the disease of this new century - particularly for many young people. Injured by the ups and downs of life in this complex society we live in, many lose confidence in themselves and may feel that they or life is worthless. This is a tragic situation for those people trapped in this pervasive illusion.
The simple answer is to impress upon people that there is meaning to existence and that there is an inner divinity within every person and in all nature. Life’s suffering is simply the means by which we find our way to that inner strength, but we should never give up hope that it is there waiting patiently to be discovered.
As the Zen Buddhist poet put it so beautifully, Humanity is a “mountain of slowly ripening stones”.
************* NEW BOOK BY GRACE F.KNOCHE *************
In February 2002, the Theosophical University Press announced the publication of a new book by Grace F.Knoche, current Leader of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena). To Light a Thousand Lamps : a Theosophic Perspective is written with directness and warmth. This new book shares a universal perspective on the central questions of human existence, while providing practical insights into daily life and spiritual growth. Offering a thoughtful critique of religious and scientific views and current practices in the light of theosophy, the author presents the foundation ideas of man’s spiritual heritage, addressing our responsibility as partners in a oneness that reaches the core of each and every being. In so doing she suggests how we can live with dignity, purpose, and compassion, whatever our circumstances.
As Grace says :...”If enough men and women will not only believe in, but also follow their intuitions and consciously cast their lot with the cause of compassion, there is every reason to have confidence that our civilisation will one day make the leap from self-centredness to genuine brotherhood in every phase of human enterprise.”
Copies of Grace’s new book will be available shortly from our bookshop in Melbourne and you can reserve your copy by contacting Tony Downey on (03) 9528.1011.
INTERNET DEVELOPMENTS : Theosophical discussion group on the Internet : members of our Society have an international discussion group conducted by email over the Internet. Subjects covered recently include : meditation; exoteric and esoteric; commencing study groups; conduct and advertising of theosophical meetings; what is the special contribution our Society can make to world peace and development. If you would like to join this study group, please contact the convenor, Hugo Oosterwijk at : email@example.com
New internet addresses for our Headquarters : there have been changes to our International Headquarters webpages. The main Headquarters homepage is now at : www.theosociety.org Theosophical University Press is now at email address : firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondence with HQ is at : email@example.com and the TS library is now at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEWS FROM AFRICA : Nigeria : Igwe Amakulo reports from Nigeria on the efforts of the Nigerian TS Working Committee. The last meeting of the year was on 25th November in Port Harcourt where Igwe gave a lecture on steadfastness to the spiritual path. Since the formation of the Working Committee, there has been a gradual improvement in the work of the TS in Nigeria especially in the Eastern States of Nigeria. At present members are working on rebinding books sent by members from all over the world for the Nigerian TS library. Igwe sends the thanks of the Nigerian members for those friends who have sent books to help with TS work in Nigeria. More books are always needed for the library and study groups so please contact the editor for details of how you can help build the Nigerian library.
South Africa : the latest issue of Contact includes articles on whether the festivals of the northern hemisphere solstices have the same meaning in the southern hemisphere. The inner significance of Easter is discussed as are basic themes of the Bhagavad Gita.
NEWS FROM THE USA : Conference 2000 Proceedings available : The National Secretary of the American Section, Alan Donant has recently been in touch sending along a copy of the first booklet of the proceedings of “Conference 2000” the gathering of the American Section convened in July 2000. Subjects covered in the conference include : Objectives of the TS - Alan Donant; The Structure of the TS - Bill Dougherty; Theosophical Correspondence Courses - Eloise Hart; Theosophical Library centre - Ina Belderis; Sunrise : theosophic perspectives - Sally Dougherty; Theosophical University press - Will Thackara. Anyone requiring a copy of the proceedings should contact the editor.
New in Theosophic Link : The latest issue to hand of Theosophic Link includes many interesting articles as always including articles on “Divine aspects of music”, “Theofest” - a special gathering that occurred in September last year sponsored by the Great Lakes Branch of our Society, information on theosophical subjects for children, “Our ideas on evil”, and an article on Brotherhood by Alan Donant which concludes ...”now is the time to keep brotherhood alive, to find new and creative ways to deal with the darkness within and without. If we can see humanity as one being which is evolving forth a new potential, breaking through the chrysalis of old thought into a new world, there is ground for optimism.”
New from Theosophical University Press : besides the major announcement of the new book by Grace Knoche, To Light aThousand Lamps, New Age Books in India has made an agreement with TUP to print William Quan Judge’s The Ocean of Theosophy. This will make this theosophical classic easily available throughout Asia through the famous publishing house of Motilal Barnarsidass Ltd. of New Delhi, India.
NEWS FROM ENGLAND : the latest issue to hand of the British newsletter Compass reports visits to the Section by Bas Rijken van Olst from the Dutch Section who gave a talk on “Clement of Alexandra” and the visit of our own Lo Guest. Life’s Riddle by Nils Amneus is the focus of the Manchester group. Expanding Horizons continues to inspire the students in North Wales. Those in Exeter are also concentrating on Jim Long’s book. The Croydon group, which has been meeting for over a decade, is in the throes of finding a new venue. Glasgow meetings in Scotland continue, often with interested inquirers who have responded to our advertisement in the local newspaper. The William Quan branch in Liverpool continues to thrive as does the London Blavatsky branch. The latter two centres have a format of a prepared talk leading to a general discussion.
ODDSPOT : In December 2001, the journal Science published a report of a mysterious deep-water giant squid found in several ocean basins around the world. This animal is approximately 50 to 70 feet long and has a large head and body akin in appearance to a double-headed axe, with long tentacles trailing behind it like a “daddy-long-legs” spider! This animal has been sighted by robot submarines between 6,000 and 15,000 feet deep in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. This is one of many recent discoveries in a part of this wonderful Earth of ours that, even today, remains largely unknown to science.
We thank the members of other Sections around the world for sending us their newsletters and internet correspondence. Copies of newsletters from other Sections can be sent upon request to the editor.
MORAL SAYINGS FROM THE MAHABHARATA
Anxiety about the Future : It behoveth thee not to grieve for what is to be. Who by wisdom is able to turn the course of destiny? No one can quit the path marked out by Providence. Time is the root of all this - existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain. Time creates beings, time destroys beings. Time burns all creatures, and time extinguishes the fire. Time brings about all conditions in the three worlds, both pure and impure. Time cuts off all and anew creates beings. Time awakens when all sleep, for time is hard to overcome. Ever unchecked time moves among all creatures. Adhiparva 1. 246-250.
Gossiping about other people’s faults : It pains a good man to speak evil of others, but a wicked man delights in slander. The good find pleasure in reverencing the aged, but the fool is pleased when he has reviled the virtuous. Good men find happiness in ignoring faults, fools in seeking them. The wicked will ever speak evil of the good, but the good never injure the wicked even when they themselves are injured. What more ridiculous thing is there in the world than a wicked man saying that the good are themselves wicked? Even the godless are afraid of men fallen away from truth and goodness, as of angry poisonous snakes; what then must the righteous feel? Adhiparva lxxiv. 87-96.
Feeding insatiable Desire : Desire is never satisfied but increased by indulgence, as fire is by butter. The earth filled with gems, gold, cattle, women - all these are not enough to satisfy one man’s desires. Only when he commits no sin against any creature anywhere, by deed or thought or word, he becomes united with Brahm. When one fears nothing and is feared by none, when one desires nothing and hates nothing, one becomes united with Brahm. Adhiparva lxxv. 50-53.
Coping with Anger : Know that he who patiently endures the evil speech of others conquers all things. He who holds in check his rising anger as (the driver does) a horse, him the wise call a (good) charioteer and not him who slackens the reins. Know that he who calmly drives back his rising anger conquers all things. He is called a man who casts off his rising anger as a snake does its worn-out skin. He who controls his wrath, who patiently endures evil speaking, who, provoked, is not angry, certainly acquires the four objects of life (righteousness, possessions, fulfilment of wishes, salvation). Of him who sacrifices unweariedly month by month for a hundred years, and him who is never angry, he who is without anger is the superior of the two. Thoughtless boys and girls not knowing right and wrong may quarrel, the wise man never imitates them. Adhiparva lxxix. 1-7.
[Quoted from The Theosophist September 1887]
THE SEVEN JEWELS OF WISDOM : The third jewel : THE DOCTRINE OF HIERARCHIES - by Stefan Carey
We continue our series on the Seven Jewels of Wisdom or foundation teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. The First Jewel is Reincarnation, the second is Karma and the third, The Doctrine of Hierarchies....
The Doctrine of Hierarchies suggests that there are limitless levels of being above and below us in the grand march of evolution. At each level are consciousness’s directing and guiding the almost countless lives living on the various planes of the Universe. Dr G de Purucker writes : “The universe is embodied consciousness,...and these exist in a practically infinite gradation of varying degrees of perfection - a real ladder of life, or stair of life, stretching endlessly in either direction, for our imagination can conceive no limits except a hierarchical one; and such a hierarchical limitation is but spatial and not actual, qualitative and formal. The ladder of life marked at certain intervals by landing places, so to say, which are what we theosophists call the different “planes of being” - the different spheres of consciousness, to put the thought in another manner.” [Occult Glossary p.84]
From the perspective of the inner self we have the comment that : ...”its realms of consciousness are but the beginning of other realms still more divine, reaching ever deeper and deeper into the womb of Infinitude, because the ladder of life extends endlessly.” At each point in space there are a multitude of entities occupying it, in a vast range above and below what you and I are.
In everyday life we see this idea of hierarchy at work in our government, work organisations, schools, military, church, clubs etc... where we have a President, Secretary, Council/Board Members and ordinary members of the organisation all cooperating to get the work of their collective endeavour achieved. But, the main idea is that existence extends infinitely each way - “above” and “below” us.
This Doctrine of Hierarchies is also known as the Doctrine of Interpenetrating Beings or Existences. As the ancient Greek Stoics said, “Everything exists in everything else”. If we agree that Reincarnation and Karma are not just ideas but actual realities, and that consciousness progresses, then it is necessary for there to be a range of levels through which entities can pass and vehicles/bodies to experience each of these levels. This idea is common in popular entertainment, eg in the currently popular film “Lord of the Rings” many different types of beings at different levels of moral and ethical development inhabit the “Middle Earth” of J.R.Tolkein’s classic story. The spiritual essence of each individual is learning and gathering experience in all these different bodies and in all these different worlds. It progresses on from one level to another as it learns all the lessons that level has to offer and moves on up to the next level of experience in an eternal learning experience. We are Pilgrims on an eternal Pilgrimage of Discovery through the Hierarchies of Being.
Please contact the editor if you would like copies of handouts on ‘What are Hierarchies?’ and another one on the ‘Hierarchy of Compassion’
Our dear friend and fellow member of long-standing, Heather Krauss, recently passed to greater light. Heather and her late husband Ernst, were members since the late 1950s and will both be remembered for their incisive comments and contributions on many levels to the Australasian Section. In particular, Heather was a member of the Section Business Committee and a strong advocate of establishing our TS (Pasadena) Centre at 664 Glenhuntly Rd. We remember Heather with warmth and appreciation for her service to the development of theosophical work in Australia.
From our international HQ we heard with sadness of the passing of Elsa-Brita Titchenell on 10th February 2002. Elsa-Brita was a theosophical worker of immense talent and energy who worked at our HQ in Pasadena from the late 1940s till her passing. In that time she was personal assistant to Grace Knoche, Leader of the TS (Pasadena). In the scientific arena, she worked at the Department of Astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology. Amongst her literary achievements Elsa was a contributing editor of our international magazine Sunrise and she wrote a children’s theosophical book, Once around the Sun. Elsa was an accomplished theosophical lecturer giving innumerable lectures at HQ on the themes of mythology and symbolism particularly of her ancestral Norse peoples. Her book on the hidden meanings of Norse mythology, The Masks of Odin , stands as a theosophical classic in the field. We salute Elsa-Brita’s contributions to “The Great Work” with the Havamal - The High One’s Word’s : “Cattle die; kinsmen die; you likewise must die; But the voice of honour never dies for him/her who has earned a good name.” [from The Masks of Odin p.118].
Let us who remain to carry on the theosophical work into the 21st century, be inspired by Heather and Elsa-Brita’s example in our endeavours for theosophical work in the years ahead.
Australasian TS Newsletter is edited by Andrew Rooke. We can be contacted at the Theosophical Society (Pasadena), Australasian Section, 664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3162, AUSTRALIA. Tel : (03) 9528.1011 Fax : (03) 9528.3907 Email : email@example.com World Wide Web homepage at www.theosophie.net/australia/ The current issue of this newsletter is also published electronically on our website and copies can be sent via email.
We welcome contributions on theosophy or related subjects. You can be placed on the mailing list by contacting the editor or see our website.