I feel blessed to already have so many readers and comments that I have to explain my basic attitude to blogging and spirituality not just to theosophists, but to (Western) Buddhists as well.
First off: my basic concern is the pursuit of wisdom, not knowledge. This is what I also tried to say in my post about jnana yoga, but I’m not sure that came across.
Wisdom is for me not just the understanding of the difference and sameness of samsara with nirvana or sunyata. Though I have no doubt the ultimate insight is to that effect. In that sentence I’m keeping the ambivalence there for a reason (I’ll explain in more detail in a future post).
I’m of western upbringing. I was raised by a mathematician turned IT theoretician and a psychotherapist. My background is one with full grounding in Western style wisdom and insight. I feel I know the limitations of Western psychology as well as its blessings. The same goes for the type of knowledge western science can produce.
As a Book Buddhist I still practice the five precepts. Unlike H.P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott I haven’t ritually taken them on (yet), but that doesn’t change the fact that I do live by them. I’ve taken and passed all the classes on Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy that Leiden University offers. I’ve learned from them, but since they were of limited number – I’ve also learned how much there is yet to know.
Many Buddhist observers have concluded that Blavatsky’s Voice of the Silence is actually a deep expression of Mahayana Buddhism. It has the stamp of approval from D.T. Suzuki the famous Zen master himself (when writing to his future wife and one time theosophist Beatrice Lane.) Theosophists reading this are welcome to note other famous Buddhists who noted the same (there are a few but this one is the one I trust best). I’ve read and reread that booklet very often.
The main teaching of the Voice of the Silence is that of the Bodhisattva Vow. This is an ideal I aspire to.
Those are my credentials as a book Buddhist. I’ll leave it to a future post (perhaps tomorrow?) to explain my understanding of wisdom in this context.
2 thoughts on “To my Buddhist (and semi-Buddhist) readers”
H.H. The 9th Panchen Lama wrote a few lines about the path of liberation
for the “The Peking Edition” of the Voice.
I think this is the main stamp of approval since the Tashi Lamas focus on the esoteric side of Buddhism and the Dalai Lamas focus on the exoteric.
Yes, I know the whole line of reasoning. But the question is: did the Panchen Lama really know what he was approving? Did he know enough English? Or did he approve the way the Dalai Lama will approve a lot of books by writing a preface for them – probably more as an appreciation of pure motivation than as a ‘this is Tibetan Buddhism’ – which many of those books aren’t, after all.
The reason I put forward D.T. Suzuki is that he is an exponent of Mahayana Buddhism that we KNOW knew English (and very well). He was very learned in the Japanese traditions as well.
As theosophists of course we’d prefer to trust the Panchen Lama on this one: if he really read and understood the Voice of the Silence and approved it as the esoteric Tibetan Buddhist teachings, and in fact a translation of certain precepts in the inner sanctuary of his tradition – that would mean Blavatsky was proven right in her claims to that effect. Unfortunately there is not enough reason to believe that this is what the Panchen Lama meant to say.
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