RE: [theosophia] About The Use Of Stem Cells / Reincarnation / Ethics
Aug 01, 2005 04:55 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Aug 1 2005
As far as common sense says it is reasonable to use without taking undue
advantage of that which current technology provides. And of course Karma is
attached to that decision.
The real question is: Why do we stay alive? What are we contributing
positively to the world and the rest of humanity? I agree with the saying
attributed to Jesus.
If we live only for ourselves, or out of fear of death and the "great
unknown," then the resulting Karma is different.
I cannot find for myself and ability to think, any good reason to deny the
continuity of the Monad (myself and others).
As to the view that reality is the very narrow transaction of an evanescent
and fleeting present I cannot see that it is entirely logical.
I find HPB saying in TRANSACTIONS OF THE BLAVATSKY LODGE , p. 30 of the U
L T Edn.: " Maya is the perceptive faculty of every Ego which considers
itself a Unit separate from, and independent of the ONE infinite and eternal
SAT, or "be-ness."
What then is the Ego ?
Again H P B writes: ISIS UNVEILED AND THE VISHISTADVAITA --HPB Articles
III, p. 265:
"whether it be orthodox Adwaita or not, I maintain as an occultist, on the
authority of the Secret Doctrine, that though merged entirely into
Parabrahm, man's spirit while not individual per se, yet preserves its
distinct individuality in Paranirvana, owing to the accumulation in it of
the aggregates, or skandhas that have survived after each death, from the
highest faculties of the Manas.
The most spiritual--i.e., the highest and divinest aspirations of every
personality follow Buddhi and the Seventh Principle into Devachan (Swarga)
after the death of each personality along the line of rebirths, and become
part and parcel of the Monad. The personality fades out, disappearing before
the occurrence of the evolution of the new personality (rebirth) out of
Devachan: but the individuality of the spirit-soul [dear, dear, what can be
made out of this English!] is preserved to the end of the great cycle
(Maha-Manwantara) when each Ego enters Paranirvana, or is merged in
To our talpatic, or mole-like, comprehension the human spirit is then lost
in the One Spirit, as the drop of water thrown into the sea can no longer be
traced out and recovered. But de facto it is not so in the world of
This latter stands in relation to the human dynamic thought, as, say, the
visual power through the strongest conceivable microscope would to the sight
of a half-blind man: and yet even this is a most insufficient simile--the
difference is "inexpressible in terms of foot-pounds."
That such Parabrahmic and Paranirvanic "spirits," or units, have and must
preserve their divine (not human) individualities, is shown in the fact
that, however long the "night of Brahma" or even the Universal Pralaya (not
the local Pralaya affecting some one group of worlds) yet, when it ends, the
same individual Divine Monad resumes its majestic path of evolution, though
on a higher, hundredfold perfected and more pure chain of earths than
before, and brings with it all the essence of compound spiritualities from
its previous countless rebirths.
Spiral evolution, it must be remembered, is dual, and the path of
spirituality turns, corkscrew-like, within and around physical,
semi-physical, and supra-physical evolution. But I am being tempted into
details which had best be left for the full consideration which their
importance merits to my forthcoming work, the Secret Doctrine. "
H. P. BLAVATSKY
Theosophist, January, 1886-
I recognize I am quoting doctrine, and the doctrine you have adopted (from
one of the Buddhistic Schools) uses other terms and concepts of expressing
them. But to me, while maya describes the eternal shifting of FORMS
(composed of Monads of lesser experience) under the laws of Karma, this does
not dispel or obviate the ETERNAL MONAD that is my egoic base (nor that of
any other ※Eternal Pilgrim.§ )
HPB continues on p. 30 of Transactions:
※Maya, illusion or ignorance ＃awakens Nidanas; and the cause or causes
having been produced, the effects follow according to Karmic law. Having
then produced this cause, the whole discord of life follows immediately as
an effect; in reality it is the endeavour of nature to restore harmony and
As to "replaceable parts: I would say that in view of ever acting maya and
due to the eternal exchange of atoms and molecules, such "parts" are son
altered into compatible bases for sustaining cooperative life in our gross
You speak of fear. True, the personality that has not reconciled the
eternal puzzle of its existence and relation with the Higher Self and the
Ego in man, has not logically provided itself with a reasonable basis for
understanding its continuity -- and it does have a continuity -- call it a
memory if you will, but he "good" that a man does ever remains as evidence
that he lived then!, and lives now.
In The KEY TO THEOSOPHY, HPB writes:
"...memory is one thing and mind or thought is another; one is a recording
machine, a register which very easily gets out of order; the other
(thoughts) are eternal and imperishable. Would you refuse to believe in the
existence of certain things or men only because your physical eyes have not
seen them? Would not the collective testimony of past generations who have
seen him be a sufficient guarantee that Julius Caesar once lived? Why should
not the same testimony of the psychic senses of the masses be taken into
ENQUIRER. But don't you think that these are too fine distinctions to be
accepted by the majority of mortals?
THEOSOPHIST. Say rather by the majority of materialists. And to them we say,
behold: even in the short span of ordinary existence, memory is too weak to
register all the events of a lifetime. How frequently do even most important
events lie dormant in our memory until awakened by some association of
ideas, or aroused to function and activity by some other link. This is
especially the case with people of advanced age, who are always found
suffering from feebleness of recollection. When, therefore, we remember that
which we know about the physical and the spiritual principles in man, it is
not the fact that our memory has failed to record our precedent life and
lives that ought to surprise us, but the contrary, were it to happen.
WHY DO WE NOT REMEMBER OUR PAST LIVES?
ENQUIRER. You have given me a bird's eye view of the seven principles; now
how do they account for our complete loss of any recollection of having
THEOSOPHIST. Very easily. Since those "principles" which we call physical,
and none of which is denied by science, though it calls them by other names,
* are disintegrated after death with their constituent elements, memory
along with its brain, this vanished memory of a vanished personality, can
neither remember nor record anything in the subsequent reincarnation of the
Reincarnation means that this Ego will be furnished with a new body, a new
brain, and a new memory. Therefore it would be as absurd to expect this
memory to remember that which it has never recorded as it would be idle to
examine under a microscope a shirt never worn by a murderer, and seek on it
for the stains of blood which are to be found only on the clothes he wore.
It is not the clean shirt that we have to question, but the clothes worn
during the perpetration of the crime; and if these are burnt and destroyed,
how can you get at them?
ENQUIRER. Aye! how can you get at the certainty that the crime was ever
committed at all, or that the "man in the clean shirt" ever lived before?
THEOSOPHIST. Not by physical processes, most assuredly; nor by relying on
the testimony of that which exists no longer. But there is such a thing as
circumstantial evidence, since our wise laws accept it, more, perhaps, even
than they should. To get convinced of the fact of re-incarnation and past
lives, one must put oneself in rapport with one's real permanent Ego, not
one's evanescent memory. ...
ENQUIRER. But how can people believe in that which they do not know, nor
have ever seen, far less put themselves in rapport with it?
THEOSOPHIST. If people, and the most learned, will believe in the Gravity,
Ether, Force, and what not of Science, abstractions "and working hypotheses,
" which they have neither seen, touched, smelt, heard, nor tasted求 why
should not other people believe, on the same principle, in one's permanent
Ego, a far more logical and important "working hypothesis" than any other?
ENQUIRER. What is, finally, this mysterious eternal principle? Can you
explain its nature so as to make it comprehensible to all?
THEOSOPHIST. The EGO which re-incarnates, the individual and immortal 求not
personal求 "I"; the vehicle, in short, of the Atma-Buddhic MONAD, that which
is rewarded in Devachan and punished on earth, and that, finally, to which
the reflection only of the Skandhas, or attributes, of every incarnation
attaches itself. [There are five Skandhas or attributes in the Buddhist
teachings: "Rupa (form or body), material qualities; Vedana, sensation;
Sanna, abstract ideas; Samkhara, tendencies of mind; Vinnana, mental powers.
Of these we are formed; by them we are conscious of existence; and through
them communicate with the world about us."]
ENQUIRER. What do you mean by Skandhas?
THEOSOPHIST. Just what I said: "attributes," among which is memory, all of
which perish like a flower, leaving behind them only a feeble perfume. Here
is another paragraph from H. S. Olcott's "Buddhist Catechism"矣 which bears
directly upon the subject. It deals with the question as follows:求
"The aged man remembers the incidents of his youth, despite his being
physically and mentally changed. Why, then, is not the recollection of past
lives brought over by us from our last birth into the present birth? Because
memory is included within the Skandhas, and the Skandhas having changed with
the new existence, a memory, the record of that particular existence,
develops. Yet the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive,
for when Prince Siddhartha became Buddha, the full sequence of His previous
births were seen by Him. . . . and any one who attains to the state of Jhana
can thus retrospectively trace the line of his lives."
This proves to you that while the undying qualities of the personality求
such as love, goodness, charity, etc.求 attach themselves to the immortal
Ego, photographing on it, so to speak, a permanent image of the divine
aspect of the man who was, his material Skandhas (those which generate the
most marked Karmic effects) are as evanescent as a flash of lightning, and
cannot impress the new brain of the new personality; yet their failing to do
so impairs in no way the identity of the re-incarnating Ego.
ENQUIRER. Do you mean to infer that that which survives is only the
Soul-memory, as you call it, that Soul or Ego being one and the same, while
nothing of the personality remains?
THEOSOPHIST. Not quite; something of each personality, unless the latter was
an absolute materialist with not even a chink in his nature for a spiritual
ray to pass through, must survive, as it leaves its eternal impress on the
incarnating permanent Self or Spiritual Ego. [ Or the Spiritual, in
contradistinction to the personal Self. The student must not confuse this
Spiritual Ego with the "HIGHER SELF" which is Atma, the God within us, and
inseparable from the Universal Spirit.] ...
The personality with its Skandhas is ever changing with every new birth. It
is, as said before, only the part played by the actor (the true Ego) for one
night. This is why we preserve no memory on the physical plane of our past
lives, though the real "Ego" has lived them over and knows them all.
ENQUIRER. Then how does it happen that the real or Spiritual man does not
impress his new personal "I" with this knowledge?
THEOSOPHIST. How is it that the servant-girls in a poor farm-house could
speak Hebrew and play the violin in their trance or somnambulic state, and
knew neither when in their normal condition? Because, as every genuine
psychologist of the old, not your modern, school, will tell you, the
Spiritual Ego can act only when the personal Ego is paralysed. The Spiritual
"I" in man is omniscient and has every knowledge innate in it; while the
personal self is the creature of its environment and the slave of the
physical memory. Could the former manifest itself uninterruptedly, and
without impediment, there would be no longer men on earth, but we should all
ENQUIRER. Still there ought to be exceptions, and some ought to remember.
THEOSOPHIST. And so there are. But who believes in their report? Such
sensitives are generally regarded as hallucinated hysteriacs, as
crack-brained enthusiasts, or humbugs, by modern materialism. Let them read,
however, works on this subject pre-eminently "Reincarnation, a Study of
Forgotten Truth" by E. D. Walker, F. T. S., and see in it the mass of proofs
which the able author brings to bear on this vexed question.
One speaks to people of soul, and some ask "What is Soul?" "Have you ever
proved its existence?" Of course it is useless to argue with those who are
materialists. But even to them I would put the question: "Can you remember
what you were or did when a baby? Have you preserved the smallest
recollection of your life, thoughts, or deeds, or that you lived at all
during the first eighteen months or two years of your existence? Then why
not deny that you have ever lived as a babe, on the same principle?" When to
all this we add that the reincarnating Ego, or individuality, retains during
the Devachanic period merely the essence of the experience of its past
earth-life or personality, the whole physical experience involving into a
state of in potentia, or being, so to speak, translated into spiritual
formulae; when we remember further that the term between two rebirths is
said to extend from ten to fifteen centuries, during which time the physical
consciousness is totally and absolutely inactive, having no organs to act
through, and therefore no existence, the reason for the absence of all
remembrance in the purely physical memory is apparent.
ENQUIRER. You just said that the SPIRITUAL EGO was omniscient. Where, then,
is that vaunted omniscience during his Devachanic life, as you call it?
THEOSOPHIST. During that time it is latent and potential, because, first of
all, the Spiritual Ego (the compound of Buddhi-Manas) is not the HIGHER
SELF, which being one with the Universal Soul or Mind is alone omniscient;
and, secondly, because Devachan is the idealized continuation of the
terrestrial life just left behind, a period of retributive adjustment, and a
reward for unmerited wrongs and sufferings undergone in that special life.
It is omniscient only potentially in Devachan, and de facto exclusively in
Nirvana, when the Ego is merged in the Universal Mind-Soul. Yet it rebecomes
quasi omniscient during those hours on earth when certain abnormal
conditions and physiological changes in the body make the Ego free from the
trammels of matter.
Thus the examples cited above of somnambulists, a poor servant speaking
Hebrew, and another playing the violin, give you an illustration of the case
in point. This does not mean that the explanations of these two facts
offered us by medical science have no truth in them, for one girl had, years
before, heard her master, a clergyman, read Hebrew works aloud, and the
other had heard an artist playing a violin at their farm.
But neither could have done so as perfectly as they did had they not been
ensouled by THAT which, owing to the sameness of its nature with the
Universal Mind, is omniscient. Here the higher principle acted on the
Skandhas and moved them; in the other, the personality being paralysed, the
individuality manifested itself. Pray do not confuse the two.
ON INDIVIDUALITY AND PERSONALITY *
ENQUIRER. But what is the difference between the two? I confess that I am
still in the dark. Indeed it is just that difference, then, that you cannot
impress too much on our minds.
* Even in his Buddhist Catechism, Col. Olcott, forced to it by the logic of
Esoteric philosophy, found himself obliged to correct the mistakes of
previous Orientalists who made no such distinction, and gives the reader his
reasons for it. Thus he says: "The successive appearances upon the earth, or
'descents into generation,' of the tanhaically coherent parts (Skandhas) of
a certain being, are a succession of personalities. In each birth the
PERSONALITY differs from that of a previous or next succeeding birth. Karma,
the DEUS EX MACHINA, masks (or shall we say reflects?) itself now in the
personality of a sage, again as an artisan, and so on throughout the string
of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line of life along
which they are strung, like beads, runs unbroken; it is ever that particular
line, never any other. It is therefore individual, an individual vital
undulation, which began in Nirvana, or the subjective side of nature, as the
light or heat undulation through aether began at its dynamic source; is
careering through the objective side of nature under the impulse of Karma
and the creative direction of Tanha (the unsatisfied desire for existence);
and leads through many cyclic changes back to Nirvana. Mr. Rhys-Davids calls
that which passes from personality to personality along the individual chain
'character,' or 'doing.' Since 'character' is not a mere metaphysical
abstraction, but the sum of one's mental qualities and moral propensities,
would it not help to dispel what Mr. Rhys-Davids calls 'the desperate
expedient of a mystery' (Buddhism, p. 101) if we regarded the
life-undulation as individuality, and each of its series of natal
manifestations as a separate personality? The perfect individual,
Buddhistically speaking, is a Buddha, I should say; for Buddha is but the
rare flower of humanity, without the least supernatural admixture. And as
countless generations ('four asankheyyas and a hundred thousand cycles,'
Fausboll and Rhys-Davids' BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES, p. 13) are required to
develop a man into a Buddha, and the iron will to become one runs throughout
all the successive births, what shall we call that which thus wills and
perseveres? Character? One's individuality: an individuality but partly
manifested in any one birth, but built up of fragments from all the births?"
(Bud. Cat., Appendix A. 137.) [Key pp. 126 - 134]
Now this is long enough, I hope it puts my points clearer.
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2005 1:19 PM
Subject: About The Use Of Stem Cells / Reincarnation / Ethics
Well I suppose I might as well put in my two cents here.
DTB Modern physiology is using the physical visible cells and their
to try to effect regeneration of failing cell structures, or to bring on by
physiological means conceptions where Karmically -- under the normal
process of bodily self-restoration -- it may not be possible for the body
achieve the healing or the reproduction desires.
Dal, in my own opinion I don't see any difference in using stem cells or
aspirin. I have heart failure. My life is currently being sustained by
heart medications that I take each day. My wife has a laundry list of
physical problems and her life is also being sustained by daily pills. If
left alone, we would have both died some years ago. So viv la medicine. I
like modern medicine., but I do not care much for the medical model which
is a one-size-fits-all model.
DTB It all starts with DESIRE and with the TANHAIC FEELING that a long
life is desirable, and death is to be deferred for as long as possible,
and every means.
Why do we eat food? Is it not to sustain life? Why bother to breath? Is it
not to sustain life? What is the difference between eating a salad and
eating a pill? Both are chemicals that combine in the body and do things to
sustain the body. We avoid meat if we think that it is bad for us, and we
eat salads if we think that they are good for us. It is all a matter of
belief. Jesus said that what comes out of our mouth is more important that
what goes into it. I think that he was right.
DTB Karma, reincarnation, individual effects for deeds in past lives
manifesting at least 3 causes. These relate to the Monads of lesser
experience who aggregate around a Monad to provide it with its personality
in this life through which it progresses morally, ethically and
If you want to believe in past lives and so on, then you are free to do so.
Your "monads of lesser experience" are mayavic illusions, but if you want
to worry about them and so on, you are free to do so. I see no difference
between bodies, organs, cells, atoms, and monads. Any differences are
purely intellectual hair-splitting.
DTB Modern medicine knows little of this. >>
To which I wonder, so what?
DTB Students of THEOSOPHY are generally ignorant of medicine. And they
do not know the ins and outs of the Astral or of Karma.
Ignorance is no excuse. Or is it?
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