Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

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Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:22 pm

The article of the title Buddhism In America appeared in New York Sun May 13. 1877, you can read it here http://theosophy.org/Blavatsky/Articles/BuddhismInAmerica.htm
Blavatsky was meticulous in her citations and at the end of her books there are long lists of her sources, which are in themselves very interesting.
In this article Blavatsky doesn't quite make the point of saying that name Yashas is the original form of the name Jesus. She has said it somewhere else, nevertheless.
Yashas is one of the Arhats, he is recognised both in the Sravaka vehicle and the Great vehicle. There is a useful source Pen Portraits of Buddha's Eminent Disciples, for information about Arhat Yashas.
I'm not theosophist, but I find Blavatsky's things interesting. There are many terms in her writings that you can know only through Buddhism, it seems clear that no theosophist can understand them, I have often wondered about this?!
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Blue Garuda » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:29 pm

Aemilius wrote:The article of the title Buddhism In America appeared in New York Sun May 13. 1877, you can read it here http://theosophy.org/Blavatsky/Articles/BuddhismInAmerica.htm
Blavatsky was meticulous in her citations and at the end of her books there are long lists of her sources, which are in themselves very interesting.
In this article Blavatsky doesn't quite make the point of saying that name Yashas is the original form of the name Jesus. She has said it somewhere else, nevertheless.
Yashas is one of the Arhats, he is recognised both in the Sravaka vehicle and the Great vehicle. There is a useful source Pen Portraits of Buddha's Eminent Disciples, for information about Arhat Yashas.
I'm not theosophist, but I find Blavatsky's things interesting. There are many terms in her writings that you can know only through Buddhism, it seems clear that no theosophist can understand them, I have often wondered about this?!


I am a member of the TS, and many of those members I know are also Buddhists. I understand that HPB and Col. Olcott took lay precepts and that Olcott spent much of his time in India and Sri Lanka examining source material. To this day, there is a TS HQ at Adyar near Chennai.

There is controversy over whether HPB actually visited Tibet but she certainly writes as if she had personal contact with Tibetan teachers and used a number of terms which one was then unlikely to trip over in the USA:
http://www.blavatsky.net/blavatsky/arts ... chings.htm
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Aemilius » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:31 am

"Number of terms"? , I don't know whether it is a mere coincidence, but about seven years ago when I glanced at some of the writings of Mde Blavatsky in a blavatskyonlinelibrary, everytime I came across a fantastic number of buddhist terms. Even Vajrasattva and Vajradhara were mentioned and explained by Balvatsky!!, and a lot of yogachara and madhyamaka terminology, the name Tsongkhapa was there, etc... I took prints of some of my findings, which I have given away now.

Things have changed, in 1970's when I knew some theosophists they most often were not buddhists,...
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Aemilius » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:37 am

I know that Colonel Olcott is the man who designed the Buddhist Flag, -I hope you know which flag this means? He also propagated buddhism in SriLanka to such an extent that the birthday of Colonel Olcott was (or it still is?) a national holiday in SriLanka, etc...
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:39 pm

Aemilius wrote:"Number of terms"? , I don't know whether it is a mere coincidence, but about seven years ago when I glanced at some of the writings of Mde Blavatsky in a blavatskyonlinelibrary, everytime I came across a fantastic number of buddhist terms. Even Vajrasattva and Vajradhara were mentioned and explained by Balvatsky!!, and a lot of yogachara and madhyamaka terminology, the name Tsongkhapa was there, etc... I took prints of some of my findings, which I have given away now.

Things have changed, in 1970's when I knew some theosophists they most often were not buddhists,...


Yes, there is quite a range in my local Lodge, even an expert on Crowley and the Golden Dawn - and even Crowley took on board some Buddhist teachings. I was underplaying the number of Buddhist references in HPB's work. It's difficult to pigeonhole people, and some of those who say they are Buddhists would also see themselves as Taoists or Pagans etc. . It's an interesting organisation but seems to be waning here in the UK, perhaps as the 'esoteric' is now easily available eslewhere.;)
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Heruka » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:53 pm

yeshe, what do you make of the bush/crowley connection?
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Will » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:19 pm

Helena Blavatsky had a noble, bodhisattva-like heart, but her intellectual understanding of the Dharma was often wrong. She gained much from books on the subject, and they (in the 19th c.) were also wrong at times.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:01 pm

Heruka wrote:yeshe, what do you make of the bush/crowley connection?


I haven't heard of this.

Sounds interesting. Could you elaborate please?
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Pero » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:33 pm

Will wrote:Helena Blavatsky had a noble, bodhisattva-like heart


What makes you think that?
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Will » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:57 pm

Pero wrote:
Will wrote:Helena Blavatsky had a noble, bodhisattva-like heart


What makes you think that?


Her life of spiritual service to humanity with no self-cherishing on her part. Read a good biography like HPB: The Extraordinary Life by Cranston
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Pero » Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:09 pm

Will wrote:
Pero wrote:
Will wrote:Helena Blavatsky had a noble, bodhisattva-like heart


What makes you think that?


Her life of spiritual service to humanity with no self-cherishing on her part. Read a good biography like HPB: The Extraordinary Life by Cranston


I don't really believe that. And no thanks, I'd rather not waste much time on the likes of her.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Will » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:16 am

Pero wrote:
I don't really believe that. And no thanks, I'd rather not waste much time on the likes of her.


What makes you think that?
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Heruka » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:42 am

Yeshe wrote:
Heruka wrote:yeshe, what do you make of the bush/crowley connection?


I haven't heard of this.

Sounds interesting. Could you elaborate please?



sure i could, but its out there on tinter web.

just wondering what this crowley expert thinks is all.
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Dharmakara » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:23 am

Aemilius wrote:I know that Colonel Olcott is the man who designed the Buddhist Flag, -I hope you know which flag this means? He also propagated buddhism in SriLanka to such an extent that the birthday of Colonel Olcott was (or it still is?) a national holiday in SriLanka, etc...


It still is a national holiday. Although some have an issue with Blavatsky, Olcott was more "orthodox" in approach, reflected not only in the support of the various editions of the Buddhist Catechism, but also as the first president of the Mahabodhi Society established by Anagarika Dharmapala.

"The White Buddhist" is an excellent book in regard to Olcott's contribution to Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon):

http://www.amazon.com/White-Buddhist-Od ... 0253330149
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:04 am

Heruka wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
Heruka wrote:yeshe, what do you make of the bush/crowley connection?


I haven't heard of this.

Sounds interesting. Could you elaborate please?



sure i could, but its out there on tinter web.

just wondering what this crowley expert thinks is all.



Just Googled the topic. Interesting to think there may be a direct bloodline, but Crowley seems to have has sex with so many people that only DNA would prove it for sure. If the 'Great Beast' did spawn Bush then the genetic material must have shed at least half of its intelligence content over the generations!

I'm no Crowley expert - read a few of his books and books about him, and like many of his time, he seems to have dipped into whatever was 'occult' and peppered it with drugs and sex. However, he was apparently very gifted in several fields (a top class mountaineer) and did explore religion and the occult with some sincerity. His strongest link with Buddhism was in his relationship with Charles Henry Allan Bennett, aka Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_He ... an_Bennett

The Golden Dawn and the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society both seemed to have attracted several of the cultural icons of the day, such as W B Yeats. Crowley's workings have become very public and open to analysis. Interestingly, the Esoteric Section of the TS survives to this day without revealing its secrets.

As for HPB, some tried hard to discredit her as just another fraudulent medium but having read her major works she exhibits a huge intellect and imagination, and a pioneering spirit willing to explore and examine themes in great depth:
http://theosophy.org/blavatsky.htm

The essence of the TS is summarised as:
'There is no Religion Higher than Truth' (Satyan Nasti Paro Dharma). I like it. ;)
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Pero » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:04 pm

Will wrote:
Pero wrote:
I don't really believe that. And no thanks, I'd rather not waste much time on the likes of her.


What makes you think that?


As for HPB, some tried hard to discredit her as just another fraudulent medium but having read her major works she exhibits a huge intellect and imagination, and a pioneering spirit willing to explore and examine themes in great depth:


Yes, I think she's kind of like a rich man's Lobsang Rampa. I'd take Crowley over her any day of the week.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Luke » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:21 pm

Pero wrote:Yes, I think she's kind of like a rich man's Lobsang Rampa. I'd take Crowley over her any day of the week.

And I'd take Martin Luther King, Jr. over both Crowley and Blavatsky!

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality . . . Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
http://endsandmeans.wordpress.com/2010/ ... rmon-1967/

Crowley and Blavatsky were both quite self-absorbed, despite their knowledge of some aspects of Buddhism. I think Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied Buddhist principles more in his actions and benefitted more sentient beings.

Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:59 pm

I don't think Martin Luther King or Lobsang Rampa were connected with Blavatsky whereas Gandhi met Besant and the TS in London..................and he's pretty quoteable. ;)

Next.................Carlos Castaneda? LOL :)
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Pero » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:16 pm

Yeshe wrote:I don't think Martin Luther King or Lobsang Rampa were connected with Blavatsky whereas Gandhi met Besant and the TS in London..................and he's pretty quoteable. ;)


I didn't mean to imply they were connected, just that Blavatsky was a much better fraud than Lobsang Rampa. That's not to say that nothing useful or beneficial came out of it all though. I'm sure it did, if nothing else it might have steered people towards authentic Tibetan Buddhism.
Something similar with Carlos Casteneda. :tongue:
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Blavatsky on Buddhism in America

Postby Ogyen » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:52 pm

Interesting thread. I'm curious as to what determines Blavatsky and Crowley and co. as frauds. Frauds to what, truth? Spirtuality? The reason I'm wondering is simple. Please someone explain.

I've studied extensively GD/TS and was very interested in Yeats' A Vision which seemed to contain a lot of interesting connecting points... this book can be studied for years, and every time something new jumps out. Yeats was another Golden Dawner, and my interest in these groups has always been in relation to my ethnographic study of early 18-20th century occult movements. I find you can track large bouts of global realization when you study its seeds. GD and TS were seeds in a way to something deeper. I think it eventually tied into Rupert Sheldrake's work and the morphogenic field.

I agree, they just had mostly access to a hodge-podge of occultic material they could get their hands on. I've waded through a lot of it myself (and as an academic, not a buddhist), but like I said, I'm curious as to what determines them as "frauds." And of what. None claimed to be spiritual or Buddhist masters that I can recall, except Crowley maybe and his sexdup-psychodelic trips as some kind of "warlock" lol...

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