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Re: Response to Rich

Jan 15, 1999 08:52 AM
by Jerry Schueler

>No flame here, Jerry.  If what you say is true, it would very deeply
>me, since that teaching is so fundamental to mysticism generally,
>Buddhism.  But I wonder if HPB does teach this subject, without using the
>Sanskrit word "sunyata" or "emptiness/voidness."

She does, yes. My problem is that she gives it short shrift, maybe because
she felt people weren't ready for it.

> Some Tibetans identify
>reality as "rigpa," an untranslateable term, I fear, but meaning something
>like "ultimate, ordinary nature."  And rigpa is said by Tibetans to have
>flavor," no matter what way in which one perceives it.  Reminds me of HPB's
>"one essence."

Agreed. It is sometimes translated as the Basis because it is the foundation
or basis of all things (ie., the Source of both samsara and nirvana) and
so equates to HPB's Beness very nicely.

>There is also a curious Meditation Diagram that all serious students of HPB
>should have.  (If any list members don't have it, do email me privately
>mailing address, and I'll send off a photocopy.)  This meditation diagram,
>something I believe her Inner Group received, has one begin by conceiving
>UNITY, "Expansion in space and infinite in time."  This also seems to me
>functional equivalent of Buddhist emptiness, though again more positively
>phrased than most Madhyamaka Buddhists (like Tsong Kha Pa) would tolerate.

Agreed. Her monadic approach seems contrary to the stream
approach of Buddhism but again, this is probably a consession
on her part to Western readers who would not have understood
esoteric Buddhism at that time but who did have a grasp of soul
and spirit.

>So there are hints that HPB is teaching emptiness, though not as the
>would have it.  Again, I think HPB was not *merely* a Buddhist, though all
>Theosophists should be aware that HPB was IN FACT a Buddhist, in the
>completely literal and symbolic senses.

Agreed. And she was phenomenal for her day.

Jerry S.

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