September 2015 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the September 2015 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
Significance of The
“Think you truth has been shown to you for your sole advantage? That we have broken the silence of centuries for the profit of a handful of dreamers only? The converging lines of your karma have drawn each and all of you into this Society as to a common focus, that you may each help to work out the results of your interrupted beginnings in the last birth. None of you can be so blind as to suppose that this is your first dealing with Theosophy? You surely must realize that this would be the same as to say that effects came without causes. Know then that it depends now upon each of you whether you shall henceforth struggle alone after spiritual wisdom thro’ this and the next incarnate life, or, in company of your present associates and greatly helped by the mutual sympathy and aspiration. Blessing to all—deserving them.”
A Master of the Wisdom
We are truly appreciative of your support. You have supported the Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society in various ways. Some of you have volunteered as co-workers of our lodge, helping in the management and running of the T. S. in Singapore. Others have made it a point to come regularly for lodge meetings, thus helping to generate beneficent thought powers with far reaching effects and making the lodge a vibrant spiritual centre. Some have donated generously to our coffers. Still, a large percentage of members have not been able to participate actively in the activities of the lodge for one reason or another. Saturday, although the preferred day for lodge meetings for most members, is not the best day for others. Unfortunately, some members have other commitments on Saturdays and are therefore unable to come for lodge meetings. For that very reason, we decided to conduct the Mahatma Letters Study Class on a weekday evening. Indeed, we realize that there is no ‘perfect’ day that can suit all members. Over a period of time, mainly as a result of infrequent attendance, some members begin to lose interest or find themselves increasingly indifferent to our cause. These same members are the ones who are prepared to allow their memberships to lapse. We have lost many members this way.
We need members for very good reasons, not least of which is the financial support required. As our only means of subsistence is membership subscriptions, the more members we have the more viable we will become financially. In this respect, I am happy to say that we do have many members who remain sympathetic to our cause. Many of our members, though not active owing to other commitments, have found it worthwhile to continue paying their subscriptions year after year. Although we hardly see this group of members—shall we call them the invisible helpers—we are grateful to them all the same for their continued financial support. That is perhaps the next best thing that we may expect from members—renewal of subscriptions—if they cannot be with us physically.
It is that time of the year again—membership renewal time. Those members who have the Society’s interest at heart and those who continue to relate to our cause will no doubt continue to support the Society financially, if not physically, by paying their annual subscriptions and continuing their membership. Those members who have not been coming to the lodge may alas wonder if they should or should not continue their membership with the Society. To those of you, my friends, who find yourselves in such a predicament, may I share some thoughts with you?
All of us joined the Theosophical Society for pretty much the same reasons initially. We had a strong interest in theosophical teachings or we could relate to the ideals and objects of the Society or we believed in spiritual philanthropy and the Society’s cause. All these do not change simply because we do not go to the lodge anymore. Indeed, your support is required more than ever to ensure the survival of the lodge for posterity. In order that future generations will continue to be inspired and guided by Theosophy, we must all do our part to preserve this institution—the Theosophical Society.
Should you think about not continuing your membership, you may wish to ask yourself why not? Just because you don’t have time to go to the lodge anymore? We know that is not a good enough reason, for if we cannot support the T. S. physically, we can certainly support it financially. Because you cannot afford it? At $69 per annum or less than $6 per month, the subscription is quite a nominal sum and should not be a problem for anyone who is gainfully employed. Even at the sacrifice of other things, it is for a noble cause. Consider it charity if you wish. Because you cannot relate to the ideals and objects of the Society? Try to recall why you joined the T. S. in the first place. What has changed? Certainly not the teachings nor ideals.
The Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society needs all the support it can get to carry out its role as a part of the great theosophical movement worldwide. Karma has brought you to the Society for whatever reason. We hope you will not sever this karmic link.
For those of you who do not wish to be bothered with the annual reminders, you may choose to renew your membership automatically by setting up Giro payments or by standing bank transfer instructions through your own bank. More than 80 members have already made such arrangements. You can join this growing group by giving us your Giro instructions by 5 September 2015. Your continued membership and financial support will most certainly make a difference to the lodge’s viability. We are counting on your continued financial support!
Our Hon. Librarian, Serena Lee Mei Lyn, will be going abroad for a year on study leave. I am certain we will all miss her greatly as she is pretty much the face of the Library. Indeed, the Library may be quite different without her lively presence. We have taken for granted her opening the lodge and library at 3 p.m. on Saturdays, for the convenience of members to borrow or return books. It is therefore not surprising that we are looking forward to her return even before she leaves.
In the meantime, we are happy to appoint two Deputy Librarians to help us out during Serena’s absence. They are Sis. Wu Xueying and Bro. Kevin Ng Kian Heng. Both are younger generation members, representing our workers for the future. Please give Xueying and Kevin your fullest cooperation and kindly comply with the rules on the loan of books. Enjoy our Library while helping us to preserve it for posterity.
Study Class on Light on the Path
We commenced our Study Class on Light on the Path on 4 August 2015 with exactly 50 participants turning up for the inaugural class out of the 67 who registered. This is a reprise of the class that was last conducted sometime ago from 14 February 2004 to 24 July 2004 when the same book was studied over 18 sessions. You are most welcome to join the Study Class, every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
The Theosophical Society does not have any dogma and does not impose on its members any restrictions with respect to personal preferences, be it religion, method of meditation or diet. It may be therefore curious to the uninitiated why most of the leaders of the Society are vegetarians. Is there something they know that makes them so? On the other hand, it is also true that vegetarianism is one of the prerequisites when a member joins the Esoteric School of Theosophy. Then again, why? Another case in point are the Theravada Buddhist monks. Although this particular Buddhist tradition does not require their bhikhus to be vegetarians, you will find that the elders in the Sangha are mostly vegetarians.
As a matter of fact, there is a growing population of vegetarians world-wide—a greater awareness, perhaps, of the benefits of being a vegetarian. Consequently, these days, when one travels around the world, it is not uncommon to find a vegetarian section in the menu of a regular restaurant to cater for those who observe a strict vegetarian diet. So what motivates more and more people to become vegetarians voluntarily? And why do some schools of occultism, such as our EST, make vegetarianism mandatory for its members?
When asked, some would say they are vegetarian either because of religious or health reasons. Broadly speaking, other than those who were born in a vegetarian family and raised as one, a person becomes a vegetarian for one or both of the following reasons. Firstly, it has to do with pursuit of good health or occult development. Most, if not all, true occultists and earnest students of occultism are vegetarians. In reply to the question “Is it necessary to be a vegetarian in order to be an occultist and does vegetarianism help one on the path of occultism?”, Mr. Geoffrey Hodson, a devoted theosophist and a renowned clairvoyant answered “Yes!” on both counts. We are what we eat. Students of theosophy know that in addition to the physical body, we have several other subtle bodies, each of which is affected greatly by what we eat. Secondly, there are many who became vegetarian simply because they do not wish to take life, out of compassion, love of animals and respect for other living creatures. Hence, while the first reason might be termed selfish the second is purely altruistic.
Lily Chong will give a comprehensive talk on 12 September 2015 at 4 p.m. on her research into vegetarianism, using copious illustrations to take us through various facets of the subject. In the talk she will debunk the myth on the lack of nutrition of a vegetarian diet. She will also show us the consequences of the demand and supply of animal products, including a video show on animal farming. Come to the talk and delight in the merits of vegetarianism. You may bring your friends along for this talk.
Incidentally, are you game to take a 21-day Vegetarian Challenge? Come and hear what it takes!