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A monthly magazine devoted to the promulgation of Theosophy as it was given by those who brought it.
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FIS NO RELIGION HIGHER THAN TR
The Parent Theosophical Society was formed at New York, U. S. A., in 1875, by H. P. Blavatsky, with whom were associated William Q. Judge, Henry S. Olcott, and others.
The defined Objects of the Society were as follows:
I. To form a nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color. II. The study of ancient and modern religions, philosophies and sciences, and the demonstration of the importance of such study; and
III. The investigation of the unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers latent in man.
Assent to the First Object only was obligatory on the part of all Fellows, the other Objects being subsidiary and optional.
The being which is the inner self and which is minute, is always migrating in consequence of the connexion with the subtle body. The deluded do not perceive tha Lord, primeval and radiant, and possessed of creative power; but devotees perceive him within themselves.-Sanatsugatiya.
No Theosophical Society, as such, is responsible for any opinion or declaration in this magazine, by whomsoever expressed, unless contained in an official document.
Where any article, or statement, has the author's name attached, he alone is responsible, and for those which are unsigned, the Editors will be accountable.
A LONG-DELAYED PROMISE FULFILLED.
"They who are on the summit of a mountain can see
-From the Tched-du brjod-pai tsoms of the Bkah-Hgyur.
N THE January number of The Theosophist for 1882, we promised our readers the opinions of the Venerable Chohan-Lamathe chief of the Archive-registrars of the libraries containing manuscripts on esoteric doctrines belonging to the Ta-loï and Ta-shühlumpo Lamas Rim-boche of Tibet-on certain conclusions arrived at by the author of Buddha and Early Buddhism. Owing to the brotherly kindness of a disciple of the learned Chohan, than whom no one in Tibet is more deeply versed in the science of esoteric and exoteric Buddhism, we are now able to give a few of the doctrines which have a direct bearing on these conclusions. It is our firm belief that the learned Chohan's letters, and the notes accompanying them, could not arrive at a more opportune time. Besides the many and various misconceptions of our doctrines, we have more than once been taken severely to task by some of the most intelligent Spiritualists for misleading them as to the real attitude and belief
This article by H. P. Blavatsky was first published in Lucifer for September, 1894.
of Hindus and Buddhists as to "spirits of the departed." Indeed, according to some Spiritualists, "the Buddhist belief is permeated by the distinctive and peculiar note of modern Spiritualism, the presence and guardianship of departed spirits," and the Theosophists have been guilty of misrepresenting this belief. They have had the hardihood, for instance, to maintain that this "belief in the intervention of departed human spirits" was anathema maranatha in the East, whereas it is "in effect, a permeating principle of Buddhism."
What every Hindu, of whatever caste and education, thinks of the "intervention of departed spirits" is so well known throughout the length and breadth of India that it would be loss of time to repeat the oft-told tale. There are a few converts to modern Spiritualism, such as Babu Peary Chand Mittra, whose great personal purity of life would make such intercourse harmless for him, even were he not indifferent to physical phenomena, holding but to the purely spiritual, subjective side of such communion. But, if these be excepted, we boldly reassert what we have always maintained: that there is not a Hindu who does not loathe the very idea of the reappearance of a departed "spirit" whom he will ever regard as impure; and that with these exceptions no Hindu believes that, except in cases of suicide, or death by accident, any spirit but an evil one can return to earth. Therefore, leaving the Hindus out of the question, we will give the ideas of the Northern Buddhists on the subject, hoping to add those of the Southern Buddhists to them in good time. And, when we say "Buddhists," we do not include the innumerable heretical sects teeming throughout Japan and China who have lost. every right to that appellation. With these we have nought to do We think but of Buddhists of the Northern and Southern Churchesthe Roman Catholics and the Protestants of Buddhism, so to say.
The subject which our learned Tibetan correspondent treats is based on a few direct questions offered by us with a humble request that they should be answered, and the following paragraph from Buddha and Early Buddhism
"I have dwelt somewhat at length on this supernaturalism, because it is of the highest importance to our theme. Buddhism was plainly an elaborate apparatus to nullify the action of evil spirits by the aid of good spirits operating at their highest potentiality through the instrumentality of the corpse or a portion of the corpse of the chief aiding spirit. The Buddhist temple, the Buddhist rites, the Buddhist liturgy, all seem based on this one idea that a whole or portions of a dead body was necessary. What were these assisting spirits? Every Buddhist, ancient or modern, would at once admit. that a spirit that has not yet attained the Bodhi or spiritual awakenment cannot be a good spirit. It can do no good thing; more than that, it must do evil things.
"The answer of Northern Buddhism is that the good spirits are the Buddhas, the dead prophets. They come from certain fields of the Buddhas'" to commune with earth.
Our learned Tibetan friend writes:
"Let me say at once that monks and laymen give the most ridiculously absurd digest of the Law of Faith, the popular beliefs of Tibet. The Capuchin Della Penna's account of the brotherhood of the 'Byang-tsiub' is simply absurd. Taking from the Bkah-hgyur and other books of the Tibetan laws some literal. descriptions. he then embellishes them with his own interpretation. Thus he speaks of the fabled worlds of 'spirits,' where live the 'Lha, who are like gods'; adding that the Tibetans imagine 'these places to be in the air above a great mountain, about a hundred and sixty thousand leagues high and thirty-two thousand leagues in circuit; which is made up of four parts, being of crystal to the east, of the red ruby to the west, of gold to the north, and of the green precious stonelapis lazuli-to the south. In these abodes of bliss they-the Lharemain as long as they please, and then pass to the paradise of other worlds.'
"This description resembles far more-if my memory of the missionary-school-going period at Lahoula does not deceive me—the 'new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven' in John's vision that city which measured 'twelve thousand furlongs,' whose walls were of 'jasper,' the buildings of 'pure gold,' the foundations of the walls 'garnished with all manner of precious stones' and 'the twelve gates were twelve pearls' than the city of the Jang-Chhub either in the Bkah-hgyur or in the ideas of the Tibetans. In the first place, the sacred canon of the Tibetans, the Bkah-hgyur and Bstanhgyur, comprises one thousand seven hundred and seven distinct works-one thousand and eighty-three public and six hundred and twenty-four secret volumes-the former being composed of three hundred and fifty and the latter of seventy-seven folio volumes.
"Could they even by chance have seen them, I can assure the Theosophists that the contents of these volumes could never be understood by anyone who had not been given the key to their peculiar character, and to their hidden meaning.
"Every description of localities is figurative in our system; every name and word is purposely veiled; and a student, before he is given any further instruction, has to study the mode of deciphering, and then of comprehending and learning the equivalent secret term or synonym for nearly every word of our religious language. The Egyptian enchorial or hieratic system is child's play to the deciphering of our sacred puzzles. Even in those volumes to which the masses have access, every sentence has a dual meaning, one intended for the unlearned, and the other for those who have received the key to the records.
"If the efforts of such well-meaning, studious and conscientious men as the authors of Buddhist Records of the Western World, and Buddha and Early Buddhism-whose poetical hypotheses may be upset and contradicted, one by one, with the greatest easeresulted in nought, verily then, the attempts of the predecessors and