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Re: Theos-World Fundamentalism, religion and reason

Aug 03, 2006 01:39 PM
by pedro oliveira

Dear Adelasie,

Thank you very much for your comments. My recent South-East Asia 
tour has helped me to revise my understanding of the 
expression 'organised religions', which is so much used in 
theosophical jargon. You mentioned corruption and yet we know that 
corruption is a universal malady in human life. How many thousands 
of lives, for example, were affected by the schemes of Enron's 
bosses? I am not trying to say that there is no corruption in 
religion. I was made aware of it even in countries like Sri Lanka, 
which has a Buddhist majority, and where Hindus and Christians are 
perceived to be second class citizens. My point is that, for 
thousands of people, their faith helps them to be better persons and 
therefore to contribute to peace in the world. The problems are 
started by religious leaders blinded by hatred and who utilise the 
platform of religion to advance their own ideology of domination and 
fear. I would respectfully suggest that even the US is not free from 
this malady. And I would like to underline your words: compassion 
can be practiced anytime, anywhere. How do we get out of this 
deadlock - faith-centred individuals dominated by bigoted religious 
leaders? A first step would be, imho, to make Theosophy more widely 

Warm good wishes,

--- In, "adelasie" <adelasie@...> wrote:
> Dear Pedro,
> Thanks very much for this description of your experiences. How 
> interesting to know of theosophists in Muslim countries. We must 
> realize I suppose that organized religion, no matter what its 
> original impulse (always the same impulse, if we accept the 
> of ancient wisdom) inevitably corrupts the original message. This 
> not to say, of course, that an earnest student cannot find truth 
> any religious teaching. It's just that the sublime spiritual 
> be fully or adequately expressed in material form, and then there 
> the weakness of humanity which tries to adapt the teaching to suit 
> its own lower desires. 
> In this post you offered an answer to my unspoken question of 
> days, as I read what theosophists online have to say, and wonder 
> anyone has any thoughts on the current condition of humanity. What 
> does the ancient teaching have to offer us that can help us 
> understand what is going on. I'm not talking about politics here, 
> about the real underlying causes and possible effects, about what 
> can do. 
> You sum it all up, when you say, "...perhaps kindness  (or 
> compassion) is the soul of religion." And compassion is something 
> can practice anytime, anywhere, no matter what one's religion 
> background may be.
> All the best,
> Adelasie
> On 3 Aug 2006 at 12:46, pedro oliveira wrote:
> > Dear Perry,
> > 
> > Thank you for your reply. I recently went on a lecture tour 
> > Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As you know, both Malaysia 
> > Indonesia are Muslim countries and one should be careful about 
> > words, not only to avoid offending sensibilities but also to 
> > alive!
> > 
> > In Bandung, Indonesia, I was invited to give a lecture at a 
> > University in which the majority of the audience consisted of 
> > Muslims. The subject of my lecture was "The Perennial Philosophy 
> > its Application in Daily Life", and it was based, in part, on 
> > Three Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine. After the 
> > talk, my translator, a very dedicated theosophist who is also 
> > president of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS (Adyar), told 
> > he was uncomfortable with me mentioning the Third Fundamental 
> > Proposition, and specifically commenting on the identity of 
> > human Soul with the Universal Over-Soul. He told this teaching 
> > frowned upon in Islam as God is ever transcendent and that I 
> > consider myself fortunate that nobody in the audience objected 
> > it. Just to give you an idea of the risk involved, many 
> > ago a Sufi teacher, Mansur Al-Hallaj, was beheaded for affirming 
> > publically his union with God! Such are the risks of trying to 
> > disseminate Theosophy today.
> > 
> > A very interesting experience awaited me in Jakarta, the last 
> > (or neck, if you prefer!) of my tour. A commemorative meeting of 
> > anniversary of the Indonesian TS (due to legal reasons they call 
> > themselves 'Federation of Indonesian Theosophists', as earlier 
> > governments, after the Independence from Holland, banned any 
> > association with foreign organisations) was organised and the 
> > General Secretary, who is a Muslim, gave us a talk about the 
> > of the TS in that country. I felt deeply moved by it. For 
> > during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, in World War II, 
> > Indonesian theosophists kept the Society alive by holding 
> > undergound, at the risk of their own lives.
> > 
> > After the talk, I asked the old gentleman for his opinion about 
> > difficulty in conveying to audiences in that country, the 
> > fundamental identity between the human Soul and the Universal 
> > Soul. He said that for him that was not a problem as he 
> > God to be the unity of all existence. He is 84 and still holding 
> > study meetings in his house.
> > 
> > Sorry for my rambling. What I really wanted to say is that the 
> > mystical heart of religion, I feel, is still alive, whether it 
is in 
> > Judaism, Christianity or Islam. I felt it in Indonesia very 
> > and it expressed itself in the attitude of kindness of the many 
> > people I met. And perhaps kindness (or compassion) is the soul 
> > religion. 
> > 
> > Cheers,
> > 
> > Pedro
> >

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