Posts Tagged Buddha

Thinking – Secret Oral Teaching in Tibetan Buddhist Sects

Following Alexandra David Neel in Tibetan Oral Teachings the Tibetan Masters defined three main groups of people from their thinking capabilities:

“In general,” continued the Master, “we distinguish three kinds of individuals: those whose intelligence is completely dull : those whose intelligence is of average quality, able to understand some Truths which are specially evident; those endowed with an intelligence better equipped for acute perceptions, who are fit to penetrate below the surface of the world of physical phenomena and grasp the causes which are at work there.’

The last group is not bound by opinions, their mind is free to work with ideas presented to them:

“It is enough to direct the attention to these last, to say to them: ‘Look from this point of view, consider that’ and they perceive what is to be perceived there where they have been told to look; they understand what is really the thing which one has pointed out to them.

The dull will not be able to fathom the secret ideas:

“One may proclaim on the high road the Teachings considered secret, they will remain ‘secret’ for the individuals with dull minds who will hear what is said to them, and will grasp nothing of it but the sound.

“It is not on the Master that the ‘secret’ depends but on the hearer. A Master can only be he who opens the door:  it is for the disciple to be capable of seeing what lies beyond. Teachers exist who are able to discern the degree of intellectual acuteness of those who desire their Teaching, and they reserve the detailed explanation of certain doctrines for those whom they judge able to understand them. It is thus that the deep Teachings, transmitted orally from Master to disciple for many generations, have been passed on and preserved from oblivion. You have heard them. Do with them as you think fit. They are very simple, but, like a powerful battering ram, they run counter to the wall of false ideas rooted in the mind of man and the emotions which delight him casting him into suffering ….. Try!”

Those in between will create beliefs, opinions, out of what they hear, but will not understand the depth.

Transcendent Insight

Alexandra David NeelAbove the three categories we have a fourth, transcendent insight (lhag thong):

The Tibetan Masters who pass on the traditional oral teachings repeat insistently the fact that these teachings are for the use of individuals in the rab category, that is to say endowed with superior and excellent intelligence, the “lotus whose flowers grow above the level of the water” according to the picturesque comparison quoted above.

The object of these teachings is not to amuse the simple-minded, those charitably called in the Tibetan Scriptures the “children”, it is meant for the strong to make them stronger, for the intelligent to make them more intelligent, for the shrewd to develop their shrewdness and to lead them to the possession of transcendent insight (lhag thong) which constitutes the real enlightenment.

This oral tradition stems from a brilliant period of Buddhist philosophy, being handed down from master to disciple. They are not the result of supernatural revelation alone, but are the result of intellectual and spiritual investigations by men who also investigated the material plane, who possessed superior faculties of understanding, transcendent insight: lhag thong.

Transcendent Insight was the goal of the oral teachings:

The attainment of transcendent insight is the real object of the training advocated in the traditional Oral Teachings, which do not consist, as so many imagine, in teaching certain things to the pupil, in revealing to him certain secrets, but rather in showing him the means to learn them and discover them for himself.

Louise_Eugenie_Alexandrine_Marie_David_19th_centuryWhat we learn from each other is of no value, only what we ourselves understand trough our own investigations becomes wisdom. That’s what separate the second group from the third, the second group eats books and save their content as abstract thoughts in their memory, where the third group transforms it to wisdom.

Lhag thong means to look through the curtain, through the illusion:

Literally, lhag thong, means to see “more”, to see “beyond”, to see “extremely”, “supremely”. Thus, not only to see more than that which is seen by the mass of mankind who are crassly ignorant, but to see beyond the bounds limiting the vision of cultivated minds, to bring into being the third eye of Knowledge which the adepts of tantric sects place in the centre of the forehead of their symbolic Gods.

The primary advice Buddha gave his disciples was: Doubt. It leads to research and research leads to knowledge.

Those who follows the path has to take all the things up they take for granted, to understand it fully instead of abstract knowledge we have learned up through life.

Alexandra David Neel“Now investigate whether these facts which you accept as representing a reality are, truly, real. Examine them attentively and at length, putting aside all preconceived ideas, empty your mind of all the opinions which it has harboured concerning these facts; doubt that which you have mechanically admitted up to the present, look as you would look at quite new things, those which form your physical environment; you will then investigate the mental reactions to which they give rise.

Where have we received our current knowledge, from our senses:

We have seen, heard, tasted, smelt, touched various objects, either material or of a more tenuous nature. We have given names to these various objects, we have classified them in series of similar objects, we have built up, with them, a world which has become familiar to us in the same way as we furnish a house in which we live.

This is the illusion we live in. As children we have build our first illusions, the first rules we live by, we are not old enough to understand, so we create rules to live by, which we can change when we become older, but often we don’t, and these rules or packets of experiences are our karma and they can be sore to touch, but we have to open them to be free, and when we do, it only contains a childs fears, not a problem for a grown up.

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Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it – on Thinking

Nothing is such a joy as to learn something new, so enjoy each time you are wrong, you get wiser.

Gautama Buddha

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But after observations and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason; conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. (Chop Wood, Carry Water p. 281)

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Buddha was once asked, “What is truth?” He replied, “Truth is that which can be used.”

[ What can be used? See truth as a puzzle piece, it fits together with other puzzle pieces and together they create the full picture. A lie is a piece that don’t fit. ]

Arthur Conan Doyle

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Coleridge

He who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth will proceed by loving his own sect of church better than Christianity, and end by loving himself better than all.

Leo Tolstoy

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him. 1897

Mohandas Gandhi 

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.

Faith… must be enforced by reason… when faith becomes blind it dies.

Those who know how to think need no teachers.

And, not least

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.

Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.

Unknown author

Lie, n. :

A very poor substitute for the truth, but the only one discovered to date.

Sometimes we have to spend more time trying to understand, instead of pretending that we already do. Katherine gm

William Blake

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

Aristotle

Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.

To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.

Thomas Aquinas

Beware the man of one book. 

Truth is the equation of thing and intellect.

A judgment is said to be true when it conforms to the external reality.

John

 14, 6: I am the way and the truth and the life.

Soren Kierkegaard Kierkegaard

Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

The truth is a trap: you cannot get it without it getting you; you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you.

The reason I cannot really say that I positively enjoy nature is that I do not quite realize what it is that I enjoy. A work of art, on the other hand, I can grasp. I can — if I may put it this way — find that Archimedian point, and as soon as I have found it, everything is readily clear for me. Then I am able to pursue this one main idea and see how all the details serve to illuminate it.

Eli Wamberg

Knowledge resides in brains that are filled with the thoughts of others, but wisdom resides in the souls of those who attentively listens to their own thoughts.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though ’twere his own.

Oblivion is full of people who allow the opinions of others to overrule their belief in themselves.

First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth.

Common sense is the genius of humanity.

Few people have the imagination for reality.

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.

A person hears only what they understand.

Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.

Not to keep from error, is the duty of the educator of men, but to guide the erring one, even to let him swill his error out of full cups — that is the wisdom of teachers. Whoever merely tastes of his error, will keep house with it for a long time, … but whoever drains it completely will have to get to know it.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

‘I have the courage to be mistaken’.

Socrates

Sokrates could save his life if he renounced his teachings, but he said: “I think it’s better to have my lyre or a chorus that I might lead out of tune and dissonant, and have the vast majority of men disagree with me and contradict me, than to be out of harmony with myself, to contradict myself, though I’m only one person.” 

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

Understanding a question is half an answer

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Know thyself.

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

To find yourself, think for yourself.

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.

The unexamined life is not worth living

There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.

Plato

Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.

C.G.Jung

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.

Follow that will and that way which experience confirms to be your own.

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

The word “belief” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it – I don’t need to believe it.

Max Planck  Max_Planck_1933

Truth never triumphs — its opponents just die out.

It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.

New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized, but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher who struggles with his problems in lonely thought and unites all his thought on one single point which is his whole world for the moment.

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

No matter where and how far we look, nowhere do we find a contradiction between religion and natural science. On the contrary, we find a complete concordance in the very points of decisive importance. Religion and natural science do not exclude each other, as many contemporaries of ours would believe or fear. They mutually supplement and condition each other. The most immediate proof of the compatibility of religion and natural science, even under the most thorough critical scrutiny, is the historical fact that the very greatest natural scientists of all times — men such as Kepler, Newton, Leibniz— were permeated by a most profound religious attitude.

Albert Einstein 

Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.

Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.

I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterwards.

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

E. F. Schumacher

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

 

Hypatia

Reserve your right to think.

For even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.

Maimonides

Consequently he who wishes to attain to human perfection, must therefore first study Logic, next the various branches of Mathematics in their proper order, then Physics, and lastly Metaphysics. He, however, who begins with Metaphysics, will not only become confused in matters of religion, but will fall into complete infidelity.

Dalai Lama XIV

Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.

Adyashanti

Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Being wrong is erroneously associated with failure, when, in fact, to be proven wrong should be celebrated, for it elevates someone to a new level of understanding.

What we are trying in all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind. *Not accept things as they are* – but to understand it, to go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind with every thing that you have to find out. A way of living differently. But that depends on you and not somebody else. Because in this there is no teacher, no pupil. There’s no leader, there is no guru, there’s no master, no savior. You yourself are the teacher, and the pupil, you’re the master, you’re the guru, you are the leader, you are everything! And, to understand is to transform what is“.

You must understand the Whole of life, not just one little part of it.
That is why you must read,
that is why you must look at the skies,
that is why you must sing and dance,
and write poems,
and suffer,
and understand,
for all that is life.

Elbert Hubbard

The more one knows, the more one simplifies.

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.

The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.

If you can’t answer a man’s argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.

Jesus Christ

If you live by what I say, you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Saint Paul

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And do not marvel for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

So, you have full responsibility for what you believe!

Confucius

If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well-governed. 

When making a mistake, do not be afraid to correct it.

Dave Barry

We journalists… are also extremely impressed with scientists, and we will, frankly, print just about any wacky thing they tell us, especially if it involves outer space.

Thomas Henry Huxley

It sounds paradoxical to say the attainment of scientific truth has been effected, to a great extent, by the help of scientific errors.

Rita Dove

“If only the sun-drenched celebrities are being noticed and worshiped, then our children are going to have a tough time seeing the value in the shadows, where the thinkers, probers and scientists are keeping society together.”

Joseph Chilton Pearce

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.

Mark Twain

A lie can travel half way around the world before the truth gets out the front door.

H.P.BlavatskyH.P.Blavatsky

Nevertheless, one feature, at any rate, we have in common with the scientific method of investigation. We take nothing on faith, and we go beyond and higher than any dogmatic religion or materialistic physical science, since our motto—“There is no religion higher than truth” is followed by the principle enunciated by Arago: “outside of pure mathematics never pronounce the word impossible.”

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I speak “with absolute certainty” only so far as my own personal belief is concerned. Those who have not the same warrant for their belief as I have, would be very credulous and foolish to accept it on blind faith. Nor does the writer believe any more than her correspondent and his friends in any “authority” let alone “divine revelation”!

Osho

Intellect may arrive at certain inferences, but intellect is an unconscious phenomenon. You are almost behaving sleepily. Intelligence is awakening, and unless you are fully awake, whatsoever you decide is bound to be wrong somewhere or other. It is bound to be so, it is doomed to be wrong, because it is a conclusion arrived at by an unconscious mind.
To bring intelligence into activity you don’t need more information, you need more meditation. You need to become more silent, you need to become more thoughtless. You need to become less mind and more heart. You need to become aware of the magic that surrounds you: magic that is life, magic that is God, magic that is in the green trees and the red flowers, magic that is in people’s eyes. Magic is happening everywhere! All is miraculous, but because of your intellect you remain closed inside yourself, clinging to your stupid conclusions arrived at in unconsciousness or given to you by others who are as unconscious as you are.
Savita, intelligence is certainly creative because intelligence brings your totality into functioning — not only a part, a small part, the head. Intelligence vibrates your whole being; each cell of your being, each fiber of your life starts dancing, and falls in a subtle harmony with the total. That’s what creativity is: to pulsate in absolute harmony with the total. That’s how one becomes a Buddha, Christ, Zarathustra. These are the real creative people.Peter Deunov

Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov)

Wise persons do not need long speeches, what they need is a short, but sensible and comprehensible talk.

Rudolf Steiner 

To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.

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there’s something else that lies between believing and disbelieving, and that is listening without prejudice

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Many people think that they’re working for the good of mankind from morn till eve, but this is questionable.

A clairvoyant can see that efforts coming from materialistic thinking have the wrong effect, and it may lie in some people’s karma that they should wait until they can do certain things. Then a higher being can whisper such a task in his ear, so that it’s not induced by outer circumstances. Life is a destructive process for someone who only devotes himself to outer sense impressions. A meditating esoteric doesn’t let his life be determined by outer circumstances as much. One who makes repeated meditational efforts isn’t exposed to astral confusions at night and makes himself ready to receive the instructions of spiritual beings. And it’s very necessary that we be instructed in this way.

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The fact is, no art of any kind can be mastered without humour, especially the art of dealing with human beings.

This means that part of the art of education is the elimination of ill-humour and crossness from the teachers, and the development of friendliness and a love full of humour and fantasy for the children, so that the children may not see portrayed in their teacher the very thing he is forbidding them to be.

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Nevertheless one will sometimes have great trouble in controlling the children’s liveliness. You will succeed in controlling it if you possess a thing not sufficiently appreciated in this connection, namely humour.

The teacher must bring humour into the class room as he enters the door.

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Essentially, there is no education other than self- education, whatever the level may be. […] Every education is self-education, and as teachers we can only provide the environment for children’s self-education. We have to provide the most favourable conditions where, through our agency, children can educate themselves according to their own destinies.

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That is what you need – an enthusiasm in the experience of truth. This enthusiasm is an absolute sine qua non.

For years it has been so terribly painful to me, the way the members of the anthroposophical movement stand there as if they were rooted to the spot – and the young too, almost as much as the old. But now consider what it means, that they can stand there so impassively.

Look at Nietzsche! What a different sort of fellow he was – even if he did get ill from it! He made his Zarathustra become a dancer. Can’t you become dancers – in the sense Nietzsche meant it?

Why, you should be leading lives of joy – deep inner joy in the truth! There is nothing in the world more delightful, nothing more fascinating than the experience of truth.

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The right attitude for raising oneself into the higher world is never a sentimental one. Mere sentimentality is of no use for the man who wants to toil up the spiritual heights, in the right way, for it always smacks of egoism. You know how often, when the highest spiritual subjects are being discussed, I mix with our considerations something not designed to take you out of the mood, but simply to banish any egoistic sentimentality from it.

A genuine ascent to the spiritual must be undertaken in purity of soul (which is never destitute of humour), not from a motive of egoistic sentimentality.

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Theosophists also often tend to turn away from the outer world. But a loving interest in our surroundings is absolutely necessary if one wants to make progress. One doesn’t have to neglect what one is striving for theosophically thereby.

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Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another, the most varied opinions can be reconciled. Hence it is deeply significant that in Theosophy no religion is attacked and no religion is specially singled out, but all are understood, and so there can be brotherhood because the adherents of the most varied religions understand one another.

This is one of the most important tasks for mankind today and in the future: that men should learn to live together and understand one another. If this human fellowship is not achieved, all talk of occult development is empty.

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The mood of meditation should not be: I will inwardly lie down in a warm nest, which must become warmer and warmer for me.

Rather, our mood must be that we are about to dip into reality, to grasp something real.

Devoted attention to little things, indeed to the least thing, is what it comes down to.

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“Never should the phrase be heard that truths are accepted simply because I have voiced them!

We should sin against the truth were we to say any such thing. One thing or another may be grounded on confidence; but that can never be made into a principle.

Someone else may perhaps be better able to tread the path; but the rule to which every individual should adhere is this: not to accept things on authority, but to put them to the test.

Truth has to conquer its domain with complete disinterestedness. That is why, at bottom, nothing is more hated than the truth, the unvarnished truth. And so there may be many adherents here and there who actually cherish hatred deep down within them. No wonder that this hatred sometimes cuts through the force that builds a wall against it — cuts through this force because the hatred has been accumulating for so long. Such hatred is far more widespread than is imagined and it is a factor that must be reckoned with.

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The occultist will never dream of imposing dogmas.

He is one who tells what he has seen and tested in the astral and spiritual worlds or what has been revealed to him by trustworthy and reliable teachers.

He does not desire to convert but to quicken in others the sense that has awakened in him and to enable them to see likewise.

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The Rosicrucian way, which leaves the pupil with the greatest possible independence. … When we are on the physical plane, we perceive with the physical senses only what is to be found on that plane. Astral perceptions are valid for the astral plane; devachanic hearing is valid only in Devachan. Thus each plane has its own specific form of perception.

But one activity — logical thinking — goes through all worlds. Logic is the same on all three planes. Thus on the physical plane you can learn something which is valid also for the higher planes; and this is the method followed by Rosicrucian training when on the physical plane it gives primary attention to thinking, and for this purpose uses the means available on the physical plane.

A penetrative thinking can be cultivated by studying theosophical truths, or by practising mental exercises. Anyone who wishes further training for the intellect can study books such as Truth and Science, and The Philosophy of Freedom, which are written deliberately in such a way that a thinking trained by them can move with certainty on the highest planes. Even a person who studies these books and knows nothing of Theosophy might find his way about in the higher worlds.

But, as I have said, the teachings of Theosophy act in the same way.

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The first condition is the cultivation of absolutely clear thinking. For this purpose a man must rid himself of the will-o’-the-wisps of thought, even if only for a very short time during the day – about five minutes (the longer, the better).

He must become the ruler in his world of thought. He is not the ruler if external circumstances, occupation, some tradition or other, social relationships, even membership of a particular race, the daily round of life, certain activities and so forth, determine a thought and how he works it out.

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There is, in truth, no difference between esoteric knowledge and all the rest of man’s knowledge and proficiency. This esoteric knowledge is no more of a secret for the average human being than writing is a secret for those who have never learned it. And just as all can learn to write who choose the correct method, so, too, can all who seek the right way become esoteric students and even teachers….He must begin with a certain fundamental attitude of soul.

In spiritual science this fundamental attitude is called the path of veneration, of devotion to truth and knowledge. Without this attitude no one can become a student.

The disposition shown in their childhood by subsequent students of higher knowledge is well known to the experienced in these matters. There are children who look up with religious awe to those whom they venerate…. Only it must not be thought that this disposition leads to submissiveness and slavery. What was once a childlike veneration for persons becomes, later, a veneration for truth and knowledge.

Experience teaches that they can best hold their heads erect who have learned to venerate where veneration is due; and veneration is always fitting when it flows from the depths of the heart. … If we do not develop within ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve to something higher.

The initiate has only acquired the strength to lift his head to the heights of knowledge by guiding his heart to the depths of veneration and devotion. The heights of the spirit can only be climbed by passing through the portals of humility. You can only acquire right knowledge when you have learned to esteem it. Man has certainly the right to turn his eyes to the light, but he must first acquire this right.

A person who darts from one impression of the outer world to another, who constantly seeks distraction, cannot find the way to higher knowledge. The student must not blunt himself to the outer world, but while lending himself to its impressions, he should be directed by his rich inner life.

This life of the soul in thought, which gradually widens into a life in spiritual being, is called by Gnosis, and by Spiritual Science, Meditation (contemplative reflection).

This meditation is the means to supersensible knowledge. But the student in such moments must not merely indulge in feelings; he must not have indefinite sensations in his soul. That would only hinder him from reaching true spiritual knowledge. His thoughts must be clear, sharp and definite, and he will be helped in this if he does not cling blindly to the thoughts that rise within him. Rather must he permeate himself with the lofty thoughts by which men already advanced and possessed of the spirit were inspired at such moments.

He should start with the writings which themselves had their origin in just such revelation during meditation. In the mystic, gnostic and spiritual scientific literature of today the student will find such writings, and in them the material for his meditation. The seekers of the spirit have themselves set down in such writings the thoughts of the divine science which the Spirit has directed his messengers to proclaim to the world.

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For through his I the human being attains to control of his sensations, feelings, thoughts, instincts, passions, and desires. Perception and thought cannot be left to themselves in the soul. They must be regulated through attentive thinking.

It is the I that employs these laws of thinking and through them brings order into the life of visualization and thought. It is similar with desires, instincts, inclinations, and passions. The ethical principles become guides of these soul powers. Through moral judgment the I becomes the guide of the soul in this realm.

If the human being now draws a higher I out of his ordinary I, the latter becomes independent in a certain sense. From this I just as much of living force is withdrawn as is bestowed upon the higher I.

Let us suppose, however, the case in which the human being has not yet developed a sufficient ability and firmness in the laws of thought and in his power of judgment, and he wishes to give birth to his higher I at this stage of development. He will be able to leave behind for his everyday I only so much thought power as he has previously developed. If the measure of regulated thinking is too small, then there will appear a disordered, confused, fantastic thinking and judgment in the ordinary I that has become independent. Because the new-born I can only be weak in such a personality, the disturbed lower I will gain domination over supersensible perception, and man will not show equilibrium in his power of judgment in observing the supersensible world.

If he had developed sufficient ability in logical thinking, he would be able, without fear, to permit the ordinary I to have its independence.

This is also true in the domain of the ethical. If the human being has not attained firmness in moral judgment, if he has not gained sufficient control over his inclinations, instincts, and passions, then he will make his ordinary I independent in a state in which these soul powers act. It may happen that the human being in describing the knowledge he has experienced in the supersensible is not governed by the same high sense of truth that guides him in what he brings to his consciousness in the physical outer world.

With such a demoralized sense of truth, he might believe anything to be spiritual reality that in truth is only his own fantastic imagining. Into this sense of truth there must act firmness of ethical judgment, certainty of character, keenness of conscience, which are developed in the lower, first I, before the higher, second I becomes active for the purpose of supersensible cognition.

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Reality
In earthly existence we live in a world that is but a copy of true reality [Astral world transformed holographically through the wisdom of the Etheric world into the physical.]

Indeed, we only understand this physical world aright when we realize it to be this copy of reality. It behooves us, however, to feel the true reality within us [Astral world]; we must be aware of our connection with the spiritual world. And this is only possible if the bond that links us with pre-earthly existence remains intact.

This bond is strengthened by a love of truth and Integrity. Nothing establishes man’s true and original sense of existence so firmly as a feeling for truth and truthfulness.

To feel himself in duty bound first to “prove all things” he utters, to set due restraint on all his words — this helps to consolidate the sense of existence that is worthy of his being.

To be aware of the spirit within the physical body — with this, indeed, the sense of being is connected. There is, in effect, an intimate kinship between the physical body and this ideal of Truth.

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Word Thinking
After Atlantis was destroyed by water, continued evolution resulted in our contemporary fifth race, during which deductive reasoning was a special achievement. This enabled the human race to bring art and science to a high level of development, which previously had not been possible.

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Feelings
People think often enough that it is unnecessary to talk about the principles of man’s being, or the evolution of humanity or the different planetary evolutions, they would rather acquire beautiful feelings, they do not want to study earnestly.

Nevertheless, however many beautiful feelings one acquires in one’s soul it is impossible to rise into the spiritual worlds by that alone. Rosicrucian theosophy does not try to arouse the feelings, but through the stupendous facts of the spiritual worlds to let the feelings themselves begin to resound.

The Rosicrucian feels it a kind of impertinence to take people by storm with feelings. … It is only an empty phrase to say one should address oneself direct to the feelings, that is just indolence. Rosicrucian theosophy lets the facts speak, and if these thoughts flow into the feeling nature and overpower it, then that is the right way.”

Rosicrucian Theosophy does not wish to revel in feelings, it wishes to bring the facts of the spirit before your eyes. The pupil must take part, must let himself be stimulated by the facts which have been described, feelings and sensations must be aroused in him through them.

In this sense Spiritual Science should become a powerful impulse for the sphere of feeling, but at the same time be that which leads us direct into the facts of supersensible perceptions, which lets them first arise as thoughts and then leads the seeker upwards into the higher worlds.

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Abstract Thinking
Just think how abstract modern thinking has become when it uses abstract words for something which, in its reality, is not understood!

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Reality is not contained in the abstract concept; it is, however, contained in thoughtful observation, which does not one-sidedly consider either concept or percept alone, but rather the union of the two. PoF

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Freedom
Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.

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Fanatism and Objectivity
How does a fanatic behave? He wants to convert people as quickly as possible — while they, as a rule, do not want to be converted. Everybody is expected immediately to believe what the fanatic wants them to believe and he is angry when this does not happen.

In our day, when someone sets out to expound a particular subject, people simply do not believe that his aim may be not to voice his own views but something quite different, namely, the thoughts and opinions of the one of whom he is writing. For many years I was held to be a follower of Nietzsche because I once wrote an absolutely objective book about him.

People simply cannot understand that the aim of a writer may be to give an objective exposition. They think that everyone must be a fanatic on the subject of which he happens to be speaking!

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Imaginaire Thinking – Memory
The pupil now, however, begins to perceive his etheric body more directly. The most striking change that takes place in the etheric body, which many do not appreciate at all, and which is not recognised as a change in the etheric body, although it is such, is that as a result of esoteric or theosophical development it becomes very distinctly evident that the power of memory begins somewhat to diminish.

Through esoteric development, the ordinary memory almost invariably suffers diminution. At first one’s memory becomes poorer. If the student does not wish to have a less efficient memory, he cannot undergo an esoteric development.

Especially does that memory cease to be strongly active which may be described as the mechanical memory, best developed in human beings in childhood and youth, and generally meant when memory is alluded to.

Many esotericists have to complain of the diminution of their memory, for it soon becomes perceptible. In any case, this depreciation of the memory can be observed long before one perceives the more delicate things which have just been explained. But as the student, by pursuing correct theosophical training, can never suffer injury in his physical body — in spite of its becoming more mobile — neither will his memory be injured for long. …

Now, as regards the memory, we must also do the correct thing. We lose the memory belonging to the external life: but we need suffer no injury if we take care to develop more interest, a deeper interest in all that affects us in life, more concern than hitherto.

We must especially acquire a sympathetic interest for the things which to us are important. Previously we developed a more mechanical memory, and the working of this mechanical memory was fully reliable for a time, even without any particular liking for the things observed; but this ceases.

It will be noticed that when undergoing a theosophical or esoteric development it is easy to forget things. But only those things fly away for which one has not a sympathetic interest, which one does not particularly care for, which do not become part of one’s soul, as it were.

On the other hand, that which appeals to one’s soul fixes itself in the memory all the more. Therefore, the student must try systematically to bring this about. The following may be experienced. Let us imagine a man in his youth, before he came to Theosophy when he read a novel he was quite unable to forget it; he could relate it again and again. Later, when he has come into Theosophy, if he reads a novel, it very often vanishes from his mind; he cannot recount it. But if a student takes a book, of which he has been told — or tells himself — that it might be valuable, and reads it through once and then tries directly afterwards to repeat it mentally, and not only to repeat it, but repeat it backwards, the last matters first and the first last; if he takes the trouble to go through certain details a second time, if he becomes so absorbed in it that he even takes a piece of paper and writes brief thoughts on it, and tries to put the question: — what aspect of this subject especially interests me — then he will find that in this way he develops a different kind of memory. It will not be the same memory. By using it, the difference can be accurately observed.

When we use the human memory, things come into our soul as remembrances; but if, in the manner just described, we systematically acquire a memory as an esotericist or theosophist, then it is as though the things thus experienced had remained stationary in time.

We learn to look back into time, as it were, and it really seems as though we were looking at what we were remembering; indeed, we shall notice that the things become more and more picture-like and the memory more and more imaginative.

If we have acted in the manner just described — for instance, with a book — then, when it is necessary to bring the matter to mind again, we need only meet with something in some way connected with it, and we shall look back, as it were, at the occasion when we were studying the book, and see ourselves reading it.

The remembrance does not arise, but the whole picture appears. Then we are able to notice that, while previously we only read the book, now the contents actually appear. We see them as at a distance in time; the memory becomes a seeing of pictures at a distance in time. This is the very first beginning, elementary to be sure, of gradually learning to read the Akashic Record.

The memory is replaced by learning to read in the past. And very often a man who has gone through a certain esoteric development may have almost entirely lost his memory, yet he is none the worse for it, because he sees things in retrospect. He sees those with which he himself was connected, with special clearness. I am now saying something which, if it were said to anyone not connected with Theosophy, would only make him laugh. He could not help laughing, because he could not form any idea of what it means when an esotericist tells him that he no longer has any memory, and yet that he knows quite well what has happened, because he can see it in the past. The first man would say: ‘What you have is in reality a very excellent memory,’ for he cannot conceive of the change that has taken place. It is a change in the etheric body that has brought it about.

Then, as a rule, this changing of the memory is connected with something else, viz., we form, we might say, a new opinion about our inner man. For we cannot acquire this retrospective vision without at the same time adopting a certain standpoint as regards our experience. Thus when at a later date a man looks back at something he has done, as in the case described above about the book, for instance, when he sees himself in that position, he will, of course, have to judge for himself whether he was wise or foolish so to occupy himself.

With this retrospect there is closely united another experience, viz., a sort of self-criticism. The pupil at this stage cannot do otherwise than define his attitude towards his past. He will reproach himself about some things; he will be glad he has attained others. In short, he cannot do otherwise than judge the past he thus surveys, so that, in fact, he becomes a sterner judge of himself, of his past life.

He feels within him the etheric body becoming active, the etheric body which — as may be seen by the retrospect after death — has the whole of his past within it; he feels this etheric body as included in himself, as something that lives in him and defines his value. Indeed, such a change takes place in the etheric body that very often he feels the impulse to make this self-retrospect and observe one thing or another, so as to learn in quite a natural manner to judge of his own worth as a man.

While in ordinary life one lives without being aware of the etheric body, in the retrospective view of one’s own life it can be perceived, and this gradually rouses in the student an impulse to make greater efforts when he undergoes an esoteric development. The esoteric life makes it necessary for one to pay more attention to one’s merits and demerits, errors and imperfections.  [GA-145]

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Thinking in Words
Our ordinary thought life reaches only up to the astral world. No matter how brilliant our thoughts may be, thoughts that are not sustained by feelings go no further than into the astral world; they have no significance for other worlds. You will certainly understand in this connection what is said in regard to external science, dry, matter-of-fact external science.

No man can by means of thoughts not permeated by emotion affirm anything regarding other worlds than the astral realm. Under ordinary circumstances, the thinking of the scientist, of the chemist, the mathematician, runs its course without any sort of feeling. This goes no further than just under the surface. Indeed, scientific research even demands that it shall proceed in this way, and for this reason it penetrates only into the astral world.

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Discussions
Where knowledge exists, knowledge is imparted and there is no particular desire for discussion.

Where there is desire for discussion, however, there is as a rule no knowledge of the truth. Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge, and it is always and everywhere the sign of a decline regarding the seriousness of a subject when it is discussed. Disintegration of a particular trend is always proclaimed by discussions. It is important that in spiritual science we come increasingly to understand that the wish for discussion may really be taken as a sign of ignorance.

On the other hand, the opposite of discussion, the will to learn, the will gradually to comprehend what is in question, should be cultivated.

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Wordless Thoughts
Only when delight or repugnance are associated with the thoughts of the research scientist is there added to these thoughts the element needed in order to penetrate the world of Devachan.

Only when emotions enter into thoughts, into concepts, when we feel one thing to be good and another evil, do we combine with thoughts that which carries them into the Heavenly World. Only then can we get a glimpse into deeper foundations of existence. If we wish to grasp something belonging to the world of Devachan, no theories help us in the least. The only thing that helps us is to unite feelings with our thoughts. Thinking carries us only into the astral world.

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To say something that is incorrect is not the worst thing that can happen, for the world itself will soon put one right about it; but it is really serious to regard a one-sided truth as the absolute truth and to persist in so regarding it.

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Again and again one can listen: this is my opinion, I think this or that… As if it matters, what one or the other thinks! The point is much more to what the truth is!

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KGM: “When Rudolf Steiner made the first Goetheanum, an artist asked if he could design the doorknobs. Steiner said “Yes, but you’ll have to design the whole of Goetheanum around them”.

All of our reality is an integral whole, and that includes good art. So when we study esoteric science we should look for the whole pattern, and not draw conclusions out of details.”


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Old Souls
Compare the soul of an average European man with the soul of some of the people Darwin came across on his travels. The soul of contemporary man has a sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, of true and false.

Darwin wanted to explain to an aborigine, who was still cannibalistic, that one should not eat fellow human beings, that it was bad to do such things. The aborigine looked at him strangely and said, “How can you know that, you have to first have eaten him. Only if we have eaten him can we know if he was good or bad.”

That is how an imperfect soul understands the world; it will develop through time, becoming more and more perfect. Our individual souls do not arrive in the world like new-born babies but each soul has developed first through many imperfect incarnations in which at first it understood nothing more of right and wrong, than the pleasant or unpleasant taste on the tongue and the like.

Stage by stage the soul has evolved and only through many incarnations has it learned to get to the level it has reached at present.

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‘The more often a human being incarnates, the stronger becomes his character and his moral sense, and the more numerous and greater the talents and abilities.’ GA 55 VIII.

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Thinking… is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.

I have changed “ego” to “I” in Steiner’s texts as it’s a better translation of the German “Ich”, as “ego” is used in modern New Age to describe the Sentient Soul.

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The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path

The Wheel of Dharma

1. Right View –

I view things from what appears to me outwardly.

Man attains this kind of knowledge about the world when he acquires a right view of things, a view that has nothing to do with sympathy or antipathy or preference of any sort. He must strive as best he can to acquire the right view of each thing, purely according to what presents itself to him outwardly. That is the first principle: the Right View of things.

Lotus
2. Right Intent –

I judge in accordance with my right view.

Secondly, man must become independent of what has remained from earlier incarnations; he must also endeavor to judge in accordance with his right view of a thing and not be swayed by any other influences. Thus Right Judgment is the second principle.

Lotus
3. Right Speech –

I give true expression of my right view and judgment.

The third is that he must strive to give true expression to what he desires to communicate to the world, having first acquired the right view and right judgment of it; not only his words but every manifestation of his being must express his own right view, that and that alone. This is Right Speech.

Lotus
4. Right Focus –

I let my right view, judgment, and speech become deed.

The fourth principle is that man must strive to act, not according to his sympathies and antipathies, not according to the dark forces of Samskara within him, but in such a way that he lets his right view, right judgment and right speech become deed. This is Right Action.

Lotus
5. Right Alertness –

I act in my highest and best line of work.

The fifth principle, enabling a man to liberate himself from what is within him, is that he should acquire the right vocation and station in the world. We may best understand what Buddha meant by this, if we remember how many people are dissatisfied with the tasks devolving upon them, believing that some other position would be more advantageous. But a man should be able to derive from the situation into which he is born or into which fate has placed him, the best that is possible, i.e. to acquire the right `occupation’ or `vocation’. Whoever finds no satisfaction in the situation in which he is placed, will not be able to derive from it the power to unfold right activity in the world. This is what Buddha called Right Vocation.

Lotus
6. Right Purpose –

I work steadily till right action becomes a habit in me.

The sixth principle is that a man should make increasing efforts to ensure that what he acquires through right views, right judgment and so forth, shall become habit in him. He is born into the world with certain habits. A child gives evidence of this or that inclination or habit. But man’s endeavors should be directed, not towards retaining the habits, proceeding from Samskara but towards acquiring those that gradually become his own as the result of right views, right judgment, right speech, and so on. These are the Right Habits.

Lotus
7. Right Effort –

I link the present with the past and thus account for what I have already learned in previous lives.

The seventh principle is that a man should bring order into his life through not invariably forgetting yesterday when he has to act to-day. He would never accomplish anything if he had to learn his skills anew each time. He must strive to develop recollectedness, mindfulness, regarding everything in his life. He must always turn to account what he has already learned, he must link the present with the past. Thus along the Eightfold Path man must acquire Right Mindfulness in the sense of Buddha’s teaching.

Lotus
8. Right Motivation –

I let the things of the world speak directly to me without partiality to views of other humans or my former incarnations.

The eighth quality is acquired when, without partiality for one view or another and without being influenced by any element remaining in him from former incarnations, he surrenders himself with pure devotion to the things of the world, immerses himself in them and lets them alone speak to him. This is Right Contemplation.

Buddha - Mercury, by Jane Adams.Buddha – Mercury

This is the Eightfold Path, of which Buddha said to his disciples that if followed it would gradually lead to the extinction of the thirst for existence with its attendant suffering, and impart to the soul something that brings liberation from elements enslaving it from past lives.

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Throat Chakra, the Sixteen Petaled Lotus

The Eightfold Path is connected to the Vishuddha, the throat Chakra or the Sixteen Petaled Lotus as Rudolf Steiner Calls the astral organ.

In “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment” Rudolf Steiner goes more in depth with the Eightfold Path. The Initial words from the text about the Sixteen Petaled Lotus:

The organ in the vicinity of the larynx has sixteen petals or spokes; the one in the region of the heart twelve, and the one in the pit of the stomach ten.

Now certain activities of the soul are connected with the development of these organs, and anyone devoting himself to them in a certain definite way contributes something to the development of the corresponding organs. In the sixteen-petaled lotus, eight of its sixteen petals were developed in the remote past during an earlier stage of human evolution. Man himself contributed nothing to this development; he received them as a gift from nature, at a time when his consciousness was in a dull, dreamy condition. At that stage of human evolution they were in active use, but the manner of their activity was only compatible with that dull state of consciousness. As consciousness became clearer and brighter, the petals became obscured and ceased their activity. Man himself can now develop the remaining eight petals by means of conscious exercises, and thereby the whole lotus flower becomes luminous and mobile. The acquisition of certain faculties depends on the development of each one of the sixteen petals. Yet, as already shown, only eight can be consciously developed; the remainder then appear of their own accord.

The development proceeds in the following manner. The student must first apply himself with care and attention to certain functions of the soul hitherto exercised by him in a careless and inattentive manner.   There are eight such functions

Throat Chakra

[In Danish: “Hvordan når man til erkendelse af de højere verdener?” af Rudolf Steiner.]

References

I have made the presentation of Buddhas Eightfold Path from Rudolf Steiners lectures on The Gospel of Luke.

The goal was to make a short and simple description of the path, followed with references for deeper understanding of the why.

Se also the Twelf Petaled Lotus, Ahanhata, The Heart Chakra:

Heart Chakra

And the Six Petaled Lotus, Svadhistana, The Sacral Chakra:

Sakral Chakra

Kristina Kaine has elaborated over the theme in “Eightfold Path of Buddha in the Gospel of St John“.

A meditation for modern man: Meditation as contemplative inquiry : when knowing becomes love / Arthur Zajonc

See also The Noble Eightfold Path at Wikipedia.

The Path

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