August 2012 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the August 2012 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
Commentary on The Mystery of The Buddha
By C. W. Leadbeater
In her article on The Mystery of Buddha in the third volume of The Secret Doctrine, Madame Blavatsky explains that Shrī Shankarāchārya, who appeared in India shortly after the death of the Lord Buddha, was in a sense a reincarnation of the Buddha, inasmuch as He used the “astral” remains of Gautama, and she says, such “astral bodies” must be regarded in the light of separate or independent Powers or Gods rather than material objects. She concludes: “Hence the right way of representing the truth would be to say that the various principles, the Bodhisattva, of Gautama Buddha, which did not go to Nirvāna, re-united to form the middle principle of Shankarāchārya, the earthly Entity.”
In order to understand this mystery of Buddha we must first realize the constitution of the physical atoms and then how these evolve by being used in the human body both in a general way to build up its particles and in a special way as permanent atoms. When you look at a physical ultimate atom with etheric sight you first of all see that it resembles a wire cage; then, looking more closely, you find that each wire is made up of a finer coil, and that in all there are seven sets of such spirillæ. One of these spirillæ is developed into activity in each round of evolution, so as we are now in the fourth round of our earth chain incarnation there are only four spirillæ in activity at present in the majority of atoms. In each round a new set will be developed, so that in the seventh round the entire seven spirillæ will be active; the atoms will therefore be better atoms in the seventh round than they are now, and the people who will live in that round will therefore find it far easier than people do today to respond to inner things and to live the higher life.
This awakening or evolution of the atoms is due to their being used in the bodies of living creatures, from the mineral to man. Everything is built of atoms, which are floating around us in unthinkable numbers. There must be some of them which have never been used at all, but others have frequently been taken into and thrown off from the bodies of living beings. Some few have experienced constant association with man, having been adopted as permanent atoms, to be carried from life to life through the man’s cycle of reincarnations. The atoms thus live with us and form our bodies.
All atoms absorbed into living things are changed considerably. Those which form part of the earth are very little evolved by that, but those which compose precious stones are considerably developed. Vegetables and animals offer a still better opportunity, but the best possible evolution for atoms is to be drawn into the bodies of human beings. Among men, those who are living the occult life offer better conditions than men less advanced, since they have purer bodies because of what they eat and drink (or rather because of what they do not eat nor drink). As we evolve we also attract better atoms and our bodies more and more tend to reject those less evolved.
When a man reaches Adeptship he cannot express himself through the ordinary atoms that we find about us. They must be specially advanced and refined atoms, because his various vehicles are required to be so very much purer than ours, and capable of vibrating at rates which ours cannot maintain. When a person reaches the level of a Buddha, it is quite impossible for him to find atoms useful to him, except such as have been used as permanent atoms, and have therefore been in the human body all the time, except during the intervals between incarnations. Permanent atoms are very much more evolved than others. They are at the fullest development of seventh round atoms in men who are about to become Adepts. They are as highly developed as atoms can possibly be, and are charged with all the qualities which they have brought over from previous births.
All the permanent atoms of all who, in connection with this world or probably even this chain of worlds, have attained Adeptship and have cast them off, have been collected together by the Lord Gautama, or for Him. He was the first Buddha of our human race. All those who had been Buddhas before Him had come from some other evolution, and had no doubt brought whatever they needed in the way of bodies with them. But the Lord Gautama, who was the first really human Buddha, had to find His bodies from the material of this chain. Therefore He, or some greater Ones for Him, made these bodies. His causal body was built up of the “remains”, or permanent atoms of all the causal bodies which had been used by such great Ones; His mental body was built of the mental units gathered from such people, and His astral body was made of their permanent astral atoms. There were not quite enough of these to make the entire vehicle, so some ordinary atoms, the best available, had also to be employed; but these were galvanized into activity, by the others, and they are replaced by permanent atoms obtained from every new Adept who takes the Sambhogakāya or the Dharmakāya vesture. Thus has been built up a set of bodies which is absolutely unique. There are no other such bodies in the world, and there is no material to make another such set. They were used by Gautama Buddha, and afterwards preserved.
We are now in a position to understand Madame Blavatsky’s statement that the principles of the Buddha were employed as the middle principles of Shrī Shankarāchārya, but the physical Shankarāchārya was quite a different man, and the Ātma of Shankarāchārya was absolutely distinct from that of the Buddha. These three intermediary bodies were used by Shankarāchārya, and are now being used by the Lord Maitreya. Madame Blavatsky employed a curious nomenclature in her article. S. Paul divided man into three parts—spirit, soul and body. By the spirit he meant what we call the Monad; by the soul the ego, and by the body the personality, no doubt. Madame Blavatsky is alluding to the same triple division; but she says that the Buddha is a person so exalted that you cannot think of His component principles in the same way as those of a man. So instead of speaking of the Monad of the Buddha, she speaks of it as the Dhyāni Buddha. Then she calls the intermediate principles His Bodhisattva. Thirdly, she calls the physical body of the Buddha the Manushya Buddha. And so we have these three things as the principles of the Buddha: the Monad of the Buddha, which, because He is one with it in a way which is not the case with us now, is called the Dhyāni Buddha; the Bodhisattva; and then the Manushya Buddha, which is His manifestation on the physical plane. The astral and mental bodies, which have not been dissipated, are also included in the Bodhisattva.
At first many of us were much confused by Madame Blavatsky’s terminology, but as the facts became more fully known to us we began to see what she means when she says that the Manushya Buddha dies and passes away, the Dhyāni Buddha enters Nirvāna, and the Bodhisattva remains on the earth to carry on the work of the Buddha. The Bodhisattva means the principles of the Buddha, which the present Bodhisattva uses.
The first we ever heard about the occult relation between the Lord Buddha and Shrī Shankarāchārya was from the teaching given in Esoteric Buddhism, by Mr. Sinnett. In that he said that the Buddha reincarnated as Shrī Shankarāchārya, that Shankarāchārya was simply Gautama in a new body. Now very early we knew that that was not so, for the reason—besides many others—that Shankarāchārya was a first ray man, and the Lord Buddha was the head of the second ray. Madame Blavatsky quotes that remark of Mr. Sinnett’s, and says that it is true in a certain occult way, but that it was very misleading as it was put. She was asked if Shankarāchārya was the Lord Gautama under a new form. Her answer was that there was the astral Gautama inside the outward Shankarāchārya, whose Ātmā was nevertheless His own divine prototype, the heavenly mind-born son of Light.
When Madame Blavatsky says that Shrī Shankarāchārya was a Buddha, but not an incarnation of the Buddha, she means that He is a Pratyeka Buddha, that is a Buddha on the first ray. He still lives at Shamballa in the body which He brought from Venus. The bodies of the Lords of the Flame are not like ours at all. They do not change their particles, but have been compared to bodies of glass; they look like ours, but very much more glorified, and I suppose that They brought them entire from Venus, and that they are built of the physical matter of that evolution. Madame Blavatsky says that Shankarāchārya was an avatāra in the full sense of the word, the abode of a flame of the highest of manifested spiritual beings. As an avatāra is literally one who “crosses over” or “descends”, not one of our humanity, the term is strictly applied in this case, as He is one of the three Lords of the Flame from Venus who remain on our earth as assistants and pupils of the Lord of the World.
35th Edition of A Course in Theosophy & Meditation
As part of our continuing effort to achieve our twin-object of popularizing a knowledge of theosophy and induction of new members, we will be starting our 35th edition of A Course in Theosophy & Meditation on Monday, 3 September 2012.
Theosophy encompasses the science of life and the philosophy of living and has helped many people in the world. All members can help in the mission of popularizing a knowledge of theosophy. You will be doing humanity a great service by reaching out and bringing newcomers to the Society, to expose them to the theosophical teachings. As the Master has said, “Spheres of usefulness can be found everywhere. The first object of the Society is philanthropy. The true Theosophist is a philanthropist who—‘not for himself but for the world he lives’…” “This, and philosophy—the right comprehension of life and its mysteries—will give the ‘necessary basis’ and show the right pathway to pursue. Yet the best ‘sphere of usefulness’ for the applicant is now in his own land.”
You would have received our email appeal to publicize this course by appending the following course information to the end of all your out-going emails between now and the commencement of the course on 3rd September. That way we can collectively reach out to as many people as possible.
Once again, the theosophy course will be combined with the popular meditation course, both to optimize our resources and also to give attendees the benefit of two courses at the same time.
The schedule of the next combined course is posted on our website at singaporelodge.org/btc_dates.htm.
Do them a service, get your relatives and friends to enroll online for A Course in Theosophy & Meditation.