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Re: Lord's Prayer

Jan 06, 2006 05:12 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

1/6/2006 5:09 AM

Thanks Roberto:

: a valuable addition for us to consider --

Also add:	on “PRAYER” : --

“Ancient Theosophists claimed, and so do the modern, that the infinite cannot be known by the finite― i.e., sensed by the finite Self― but that the divine essence could be communicated to the higher Spiritual Self in a state of ecstasy. This condition can hardly be attained,like hypnotism, by "physical and chemical means."  

ENQUIRER. What is your explanation of it?  

THEOSOPHIST. Real ecstasy was defined by Plotinus as "the liberation of themind from its finite consciousness, becoming one and identified with the infinite." This is the highest condition, says Prof. Wilder, but not one of permanent duration, and it is reached only by the very, very few. It is, indeed, identical with that state which is known in India as Samadhi. The latter is practised by the Yogis, who facilitate it physically by the greatestabstinence in food and drink, and mentally by an incessant endeavour to purify and elevate the mind. Meditation is silent and unuttered prayer, or, as Plato expressed it, "the ardent turning of the soul toward the divine; not to ask any particular good (as in the common meaning of prayer), but forgood itself ―for the universal Supreme Good" of which we are a part on earth, and out of the essence of which we have all emerged. Therefore,adds Plato, "remain silent in the presence of the divine ones, till they remove the clouds from thy eyes and enable thee to see by the light which issues from themselves, not what appears as good to thee, but what is intrinsically good." * Key pp 10-11


ENQUIRER. Do you believe in prayer, and do you ever pray?  

THEOSOPHIST. We do not. We act, instead of talking.  

ENQUIRER. You do not offer prayers even to the Absolute Principle?  

THEOSOPHIST. Why should we? Being well-occupied people, we can hardly afford to lose time in addressing verbal prayers to a pure abstraction. The Unknowable is capable of relations only in its parts to each other, but is non-existent as regards any finite relations. The visible universe depends for its existence and phenomena on its mutually acting forms and their laws, not on prayer or prayers.  

ENQUIRER. Do you not believe at all in the efficacy of prayer?  

THEOSOPHIST. Not in prayer taught in so many words and repeated externally,if by prayer you mean the outward petition to an unknown God as the addressee, which was inaugurated by the Jews and popularised by the Pharisees.  

ENQUIRER. Is there any other kind of prayer? [67] 

THEOSOPHIST. Most decidedly; we call it WILL-PRAYER, and it is rather an internal command than a petition.  

ENQUIRER. To whom, then, do you pray when you do so?  

THEOSOPHIST. To "our Father in heaven" -- in its esoteric meaning.  

ENQUIRER. Is that different from the one given to it in theology?  

THEOSOPHIST. Entirely so. An Occultist or a Theosophist addresses his prayer to his Father which is in secret (read, and try to understand, ch. vi. v.6, Matthew), not to an extra-cosmic and therefore finite God; and that "Father" is in man himself.  

ENQUIRER. Then you make of man a God?  

THEOSOPHIST. Please say "God" and not a God. In our sense, the inner man isthe only God we can have cognizance of. And how can this be otherwise? Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle,and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the Deity? We call our "Father in heaven" that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain or its fancy: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of (the absolute) God dwelleth in you?"* Yet, 


* One often finds in Theosophical writings conflicting statements about the Christos principle in man. Some call it the sixth principle (Buddhi), others the seventh (Atman). If Christian Theosophists wish to make use of suchexpressions, let them be made philosophically correct by following the analogy of the old Wisdom-religion symbols. We say that Christos is not only one of the three higher principles, but all the three regarded as a Trinity.This Trinity represents the Holy Ghost, the Father, and the Son, as it answers to abstract spirit, differentiated spirit, and embodied spirit. Krishna and Christ are philosophically the same principle under its triple aspectof manifestation. In the Bhagavatgita we find Krishna calling himself indifferently Atman, the abstract Spirit, Kshetragna, the Higher or reincarnating Ego, and the Universal SELF, all names which, when transferred from the Universe to man, answer to Atma, Buddhi and Manas. The Anugita is full of the same doctrine. [68] let no man anthropomorphise that essence in us. Let no Theosophist, if he would hold to divine, not human truth, say that this "God in secret" listens to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence -- for all are one. Nor, as just remarked, that a prayer isa petition. It is a mystery rather; an occult process by which finite and conditioned thoughts and desires, unable to be assimilated by the absolute spirit which is unconditioned, are translated into spiritual wills and the will; such process being called "spiritual transmutation." The intensity ofour ardent aspirations changes prayer into the "philosopher's stone," or that which transmutes lead into pure gold. The only homogeneous essence, our"will-prayer" becomes the active or creative force, producing effects according to our desire.  


ENQUIRER. Do you mean to say that prayer is an occult process bringing about physical results?  

THEOSOPHIST. I do. Will-Power becomes a living power. But woe unto those Occultists and Theosophists, who, instead of crushing out the desires of the lower personal ego or physical man, and saying, addressing their Higher Spiritual EGO immersed in Atma-Buddhic light, "Thy will be done, not mine," etc., send up waves of will-power for selfish or unholy purposes! For this isblack magic, abomination, and spiritual sorcery. [69] 
Unfortunately, all this is the favourite occupation of our Christian statesmen and generals, especially when the latter are sending two armies to murder each other. Both indulge before action in a bit of such sorcery, by offering respectively prayers to the same God of Hosts, each entreating his help to cut its enemies' throats.  

ENQUIRER. David prayed to the Lord of Hosts to help him smite the Philistines and slay the Syrians and the Moabites, and "the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went." In that we only follow what we find in the Bible.  

THEOSOPHIST. Of course you do. But since you delight in calling yourselves Christians, not Israelites or Jews, as far as we know, why do you not rather follow that which Christ says? And he distinctly commands you not to follow "them of old times," or the Mosaic law, but bids you do as he tells you,and warns those who would kill by the sword, that they, too, will perish by the sword. Christ has given you one prayer of which you have made a lip prayer and a boast, and which none but the true Occultist understands, In it you say, in your dead-sense meaning: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgiveour debtors," which you never do. Again, he told you to love your enemies and do good to them that hate you. It is surely not the "meek prophet of Nazareth" who taught you to pray to your "Father" to slay, and give you victory over your enemies! This is why we reject what you call "prayers."  

ENQUIRER. But how do you explain the universal fact that all nations and peoples have prayed to, and worshipped a God or Gods? Some have adored and propitiated devils and harmful spirits, but this only proves the universalityof the belief in the efficacy of prayer. [70]

THEOSOPHIST. It is explained by that other fact that prayer has several other meanings besides that given it by the Christians. It means not only a pleading or petition, but meant, in days of old, far more an invocation and incantation. The mantra, or the rhythmically chanted prayer of the Hindus, has precisely such a meaning, as the Brahmins hold themselves higher than the common devas or "Gods." A prayer may be an appeal or an incantation for malediction, and a curse (as in the case of two armies praying simultaneously for mutual destruction) as much as for blessing. And as the great majority of people are intensely selfish, and pray only for themselves, asking to be given their "daily bread" instead of working for it, and begging God notto lead them "into temptation" but to deliver them (the memorialists only)from evil, the result is, that prayer, as now understood, is doubly pernicious: (a) It kills in man self-reliance; (b) It develops in him a still more ferocious selfishness and egotism than he is already endowed with by nature. I repeat, that we believe in "communion" and simultaneous action in unison with our "Father in secret"; and in rare moments of ecstatic bliss, in the mingling of our higher soul with the universal essence, attracted as itis towards its origin and centre, a state, called during life Samadhi, andafter death, Nirvana. We refuse to pray to created finite beings― i. e., gods, saints, angels, etc., because we regard it as idolatry. We cannot pray to the ABSOLUTE for reasons explained before; therefore, we try toreplace fruitless and useless prayer by meritorious and good-producing actions. [71 ]

ENQUIRER. Christians would call it pride and blasphemy. Are they wrong?  

THEOSOPHIST. Entirely so. It is they, on the contrary, who show Satanic pride in their belief that the Absolute or the Infinite, even if there was such a thing as the possibility of any relation between the unconditioned and the conditioned― will stoop to listen to every foolish or egotistical prayer. And it is they again, who virtually blaspheme, in teaching that an Omniscient and Omnipotent God needs uttered prayers to know what he has to do! This― understood esoterically ―is corroborated by both Buddha and Jesus. The one says "seek nought from the helpless Gods― pray not! but rather act; for darkness will not brighten. Ask nought from silence, for it can neither speak nor hear." And the other― Jesus― recommends: "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name (that of Christos) that will I do." Of course, this quotation, if taken in its literal sense, goes against our argument. But if we accept it esoterically, with the full knowledge of the meaning of the term, "Christos," which to us representsAtma-Buddhi-Manas, the "SELF," it comes to this: the only God we must recognise and pray to, or rather act in unison with, is that spirit of God of which our body is the temple, and in which it dwelleth. 


ENQUIRER. But did not Christ himself pray and recommend prayer?  

THEOSOPHIST. It is so recorded, but those "prayers" are precisely of that kind of communion just mentioned with one's "Father in [72] secret." Otherwise, and if we identify Jesus with the universal deity, there would be something too absurdly illogical in the inevitable conclusion that he, the "veryGod himself" prayed to himself, and separated the will of that God from his own!  

ENQUIRER. One argument more; an argument, moreover, much used by some Christians. They say, "I feel that I am not able to conquer any passions and weaknesses in my own strength. But when I pray to Jesus Christ I feel that he gives me strength and that in His power I am able to conquer."  

THEOSOPHIST. No wonder. If "Christ Jesus" is God, and one independent and separate from him who prays, of course everything is, and must be possible to "a mighty God." But, then, where's the merit, or justice either, of such a conquest? Why should the pseudo-conqueror be rewarded for something done which has cost him only prayers? Would you, even a simple mortal man, pay your labourer a full day's wage if you did most of his work for him, he sitting under an apple tree, and praying to you to do so, all the while? This idea of passing one's whole life in moral idleness, and having one's hardestwork and duty done by another― whether God or man― is mostrevolting to us, as it is most degrading to human dignity.  

ENQUIRER. Perhaps so, yet it is the idea of trusting in a personal Saviour to help and strengthen in the battle of life, which is the fundamental ideaof modern Christianity. And there is no doubt that, subjectively, such belief is efficacious; i. e., that those who believe do feel themselves helpedand strengthened.  

THEOSOPHIST. Nor is there any more doubt, that some patients of "Christian"and "Mental Scientists"― the great [73] “Deniers” *―are also sometimes cured; nor that hypnotism, and suggestion, psychology, and even mediumship, will produce such results, as often, if not oftener. You take into consideration, and string on the thread of your argument, successes alone. And how about ten times the number of failures? Surely you will not presume to say that failure is unknown even with a sufficiency of blind faith, among fanatical Christians?  

ENQUIRER. But how can you explain those cases which are followed by full success? Where does a Theosophist look to for power to subdue his passions and selfishness?  

THEOSOPHIST. To his Higher Self, the divine spirit, or the God in him, and to his Karma. How long shall we have to repeat over and over again that thetree is known by its fruit, the nature of the cause by its effects? You speak of subduing passions, and becoming good through and with the help of God or Christ. We ask, where do you find more virtuous, guiltless people, abstaining from sin and crime, in Christendom or Buddhism― in Christian countries or in heathen lands? Statistics are there to give the answer and corroborate our claims. According to the last census in Ceylon and India,in the comparative table of crimes committed by Christians, Mussulmen, Hindoos, Eurasians, Buddhists, etc., etc., on two millions of population takenat random from each, and covering 

* The new sect of healers, who, by disavowing the existence of anything but spirit, which spirit can neither suffer nor be ill, claim to cure all andevery disease, provided the patient has faith that what he denies can haveno existence. A new form of self-hypnotism. [74] the misdemeanours of several years, the proportion of crimes committed by the Christian stands as 15to 4 as against those committed by the Buddhist population. (Vide Lucifer for April, 1888, p. 147, Art. Christian lecturers on Buddhism.) No Orientalist, no historian of any note, or traveler in Buddhist lands, from Bishop Bigandet and Abbe Huc, to Sir William Hunter and every fair-minded official,will fail to give the palm of virtue to Buddhists before Christians. Yet the former (not the true Buddhist Siamese sect, at all events) do not believe in either God or a future reward, outside of this earth. They do not pray, neither priests nor laymen. "Pray!" they would exclaim in wonder, "to whom, or what?"  


ENQUIRER. Then they are truly Atheists.  

THEOSOPHIST. Most undeniably, but they are also the most virtue-loving and virtue-keeping men in the whole world. Buddhism says: Respect the religionsof other men and remain true to your own; but Church Christianity, denouncing all the gods of other nations as devils, would doom every non-Christianto eternal perdition.  

ENQUIRER. Does not the Buddhist priesthood do the same?  

THEOSOPHIST. Never. They hold too much to the wise precept found in the DHAMMAPADA to do so, for they know that, "If any man, whether he be learned ornot, consider himself so great as to despise other men, he is like a blindman holding a candle -- blind himself, he illumines others."
Key, 66 – 74

“For Karma in its effects is an unfailing redresser of human injustice, and of all the failures of nature; a stern adjuster of wrongs; a retributive law which rewards and punishes with equal impartiality. It is, in the strictest sense, "no respecter of persons," though, on the other hand, itcan neither be propitiated, nor turned aside by prayer. This is a belief common to Hindus and Buddhists, who both believe in Karma. “ Key,p. 198

"The doctrine of the [Japanese Buddhist] sect is also called by them "the Doctrine of the Pure Land." The pure land referred to is the Land of Amida Buddha [Amitabha]: the object is to be born into that land, that is, to obtain salvation. It has been other wise stated in this manner:

"Among those who follow the doctrine of the Pure Land, there are several different systems of teaching, which are as follows: - 'Some say that we should practise various good works, bring our stock of merits to maturity, and be born in the Pure Land. Others say that we should repeat only the name ofAmitabha Buddha in order to be born in his Pure Land, by the merit produced from such repetition.' These doctrines are all considered as yet the temporary expedients. To rely upon the power of the original prayer of AmitabhaBuddha with the whole heart and give up all idea of Ji-Riki or 'self-power' is called the truth. This truth is the doctrine of this sect." (2)

The eighteenth of the forty-eight prayers of Amita Buddha is the prayer referred to. It is: 
"If any of living beings of the ten regions who have believed in me with true thoughts and desire to be born in my country, and have even to ten timesrepeated the thought of my name, should not be born there, then may I not obtain the perfect knowledge." 

This prayer was made by him because of his great desire to deliver all beings from suffering. It was a prayer which he first uttered long before he himself obtained salvation, but he continued for ages after that to work to the end that he might be able to make the prayer of force and value to any one who should use it. It follows, of course, that he accomplished his desire, and the Shin-Shiu sect accordingly claims that this prayer or vow has a peculiar effect of its own, and has strength to enable whoever uses it to reach salvation.

[see Pledge of Kwan Yin ( GITA NOTES, p. 152 )  

“Never shall I seek nor receive private individual salvation.  
Never shall I enter into final peace alone.  
But forever and everywhere shall I live and strive 
for the redemption of every creature throughout the world.” ]

The claims made for this prayer are in accordance with certain views that are held in the East about the force that resides in the vows of a wise or great saint. They are said to have an actual dynamic effect upon the minds and hearts of all persons who shall use them, even after the saint has died.It is claimed that the power has to do with magnetism. And it is said by the followers of Shin-Shiu that, when one begins to repeat and rely upon theprayer of Amita Buddha, he at once connects himself with the whole body ofreal believers, and as well with the power of Amita himself.

In its essence the doctrine is one of salvation by faith, but at the same time the sect does not claim - as the Christian does for his dogma - that there is no other way to be saved. 

They admit that a person may be saved "by his own power"- if he has the requisite strength to hold out -, but they think that in general men have not the power to resist evil for a time sufficient to permit the accomplishmentof the result; and they assert that besides the lack of strength there will be doubt, for, "Faith by one's own power cannot afford rest to the heart.It is said, 'Shall I surely attain salvation or shall I not?' and thus what is called faith is in reality doubt," but "Faith by the power of another affords rest to the heart. It is said -: 'I am born by the power of that vow; I shall certainly attain salvation.' There is not the smallest doubt in the heart." Another Sutra says: "Those who follow the method of 'self power' believe in many other Buddhas; those who follow the method of 'another's power' believe only in the one Buddha, as a faithful servant does not servetwo masters."	
W Q J Art Vol. 1 pp. 279-280

Best wishes,



-----Original Message-----
From: Roberto N. Lupercio [] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 12:38 PM
Subject: Re: Lord's Prayer

Here are some answers to those who would pray.:

Q. Does the hierarchy of Dhyanis, whose province it is to watch over a Round, watch during its period of activity, over the whole series of globes, oronly over a particular globe?
A. There are incarnating and there are watching Dhyanis. Of the functions of the former you have just been told; the latter appear to do their work in this wise. Every class or hierarchy corresponds to one of the Rounds, the first and lowest hierarchy to the first and less developed Round, the second to the second, and so on till the seventh Round is reached, which is under the supervision of the highest Hierarchy of the Seven Dhyanis. At thelast, they will appear on earth, as also will some of the Planetary, for the whole humanity will have become Bodhisattvas, their own "sons," i. e., the "Sons" of their own Spirit and Essence or--themselves. Thus there is only a functional difference between the Dhyanis and the Planetary. The one are entirely divine, the other sidereal. The former only are called Anupadaka, parentless, because they radiated directly from that which is neither Father nor Mother but the un-manifested Logos. They are, in fact, the spiritual aspect of the seven Logoi; and the Planetary Spirits are in their totality, as the seven Sephiroth (the three higher being super-cosmic abstractionsand blinds in the Kabala), and constitute the Heavenly man, or Adam Kadmon; Dhyani is a generic name in Buddhism, an abbreviation for all the gods. Yet it must be ever remembered that though they are "gods," still they are not to be worshipped.
Q. Why not, if they are gods?
A. Because Eastern philosophy rejects the idea of a personal and extra-cosmic deity. And to those who call this atheism, I would say the following. It is illogical to worship one such god, for, as said in the Bible, "There be Lords many and Gods many." Therefore, if worship is desirable, we haveto choose either the worship of many gods, each being no better or less limited than the other, viz., polytheism and idolatry, or choose, as the Israelites have done, one tribal or racial god from among them, and while believing in the existence of many gods, ignore and show contempt for the others, regarding our own as the highest and the "God of Gods." But this is logically unwarrantable, for such a god can be neither infinite nor absolute, but must be finite, that is to say, limited and conditioned by space and time. With the Pralaya the tribal god disappears, and Brahmâ and all the other Devas, and the gods are merged into the Absolute. Therefore, occultists do not worship or offer prayers to them, because if we did, we should have either to worship many gods, or pray to the Absolute, which, having no attributes, can have no ears to hear us. The worshipper even of many gods must of necessity be unjust to all the other gods; however far he extends his worship it is simply impossible for him to worship each severally; and in his ignorance, if he choose out any one in particular, he may by no means select the most perfect. Therefore, he would do better far to re-member that every man has a god within, a direct ray from the Absolute, the celestial ray from the One; that he has his "god" within, not outside, of himself.

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