May 2017 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the May 2017 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
“I will first say that there can be no Planetary Spirit that was not once material or what you call human. When our great Buddha — the patron of all the adepts, the reformer and the codifier of the occult system, reached first Nirvana on earth, he became a Planetary Spirit; i.e. — his spirit could at one and the same time rove the interstellar spaces in full consciousness, and continue at will on Earth in his original and individual body. For the divine Self had so completely disfranchised itself from matter that it could create at will an inner substitute for itself, and leaving it in the human form for days, weeks, sometimes years, affect in no wise by the change either the vital principle or the physical mind of its body. By the way, that is the highest form of adeptship man can hope for on our planet.”
A Master of the Wisdom
The Great Wesak Blessing
Bishop Charles W. Leaderbeater a renowned theosophist and occultist writes:
"The Lord Gautama Buddha, instead of devoting Himself wholly to other and higher work after His Mahaparanirvana, has remained sufficiently in touch with our world to be reached by the invocation of His successor when necessary, so that His advice and help can still be obtained in any great emergency. He also undertook to return to the world once in each year and shed upon it a flood of blessing.
The Lord Buddha has His own special type of force, which He outpours when He gives His blessing to the world, and this benediction is a unique and very marvellous thing; for by His authority and position, a Buddha has access to planes of nature which are altogether beyond our reach, hence He can transmute and draw down to our level the forces peculiar to those planes. Without this mediation of the Buddha these forces would be of no use to us here in physical life; their vibrations are so tremendous, so incredibly rapid, that they would pass through us unsensed at any level we can reach, and we should never even know of their existence. But as it is, the force of the blessing is scattered all over the world; and it instantly finds for itself channels through which it can pour (just as water instantly finds an open pipe), thereby strengthening all good work and bringing peace to the hearts of those who are able to receive it.
The occasion selected for this wonderful outpouring is the full moon day of the Indian month of Vaisakh (Wesak), and usually corresponding to the month of May, the anniversary of all the momentous occurrences of His last earthly life—His birth, His attainment of Buddhahood and His departure from the physical body.
In connection with this visit of His, and quite apart from its tremendous esoteric significance, an exoteric ceremony is performed in the physical plane at which the Lord actually shows Himself in the presence of a crowd of ordinary pilgrims. All Members of the Great Occult Hierarchy, except the Lord of the World and the three Kumaras, usually attend this ceremony.
The place selected for this stupendous occasion is a small plateau surrounded by low hills, which lies on the northern side of the Himalayas, not far from the frontier of Nepal, about 400 miles west of Lhasa. This location is commonly referred to as the Wesak Valley and the occasion is referred to as the Wesak Festival."
Bishop C. W. Leadbeater gave a first-hand account from his personal participation and the Wesak Festival is described in great detail in his book The Masters And The Path which was first published in 1925. There are several entries in Geoffrey Hodson’s occult diary, Light of the Sanctuary, chronicling his attendance at the Wesak Festival. In his entry of May 30, 1949 he writes “This is a most vivid conscious experience and completely satisfies me concerning C.W. Leadbeater’s account”.
Normally this day coincides with the 15th (full-moon) day of the Fourth Month in the Chinese Lunar calendar, which is always a public holiday in Singapore. This year, Wesak Day falls on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 although the full moon occurs in the morning of Thursday, 11 May 2017. We shall hold our traditional annual Wesak Day celebration on the public holiday on Wednesday, 10 May, at 10 a.m.
White Lotus Day
Madame H. P. Blavatsky has always been a tremendous source of inspiration for all students of occultism. Not only was she well loved and remembered by members of the original Theosophical Society, she also had many friends and followers outside of the Theosophical Society. Indeed, many movements were founded outside the Theosophical Society to study her teachings. Even today, more than a century after her death, new movements are still being formed pledging personal allegiance to H.P.B. and faithfully adhering to her original teachings. This is especially true in the cyberworld of the Internet. We could almost say that many people are fiercely loyal to our founder, Madame Blavatsky.
We join all these followers and students throughout the world to commemorate the passing of Madame H.P. Blavatsky on May 8. This is the 126th anniversary of the death of one of the greatest occultists in recent history. We call this day White Lotus Day to remember with fondness the founder of the Theosophical Society. White Lotus Day was declared by the co-founder and President Col. H. S. Olcott in 1892 as a Day of Remembrance to "express the feeling of loving regard for her who brought us the chart of the climbing Path which leads to the summit of knowledge".
This year we shall celebrate Wesak Day on Wednesday 10 May 2017 at 10 a.m. Although the actual Wesak Day this year is the following day, we believe there will be a tremendous outpouring of beneficent forces on 10 May 2017 as millions of people, a great portion of the world’s population from the various Buddhist traditions, will be celebrating Wesak on that day. This, we understand, is in line with the laws of nature that divine forces will take advantage of great congregations of devotional people as useful channels for the outpouring of blessing.
As we normally do, we will have a talk giving a detailed account of the esoteric Wesak Festival including a video recording made by an Australian TV station of pilgrims gathering at the legendary Wesak Valley. Members who have attended this talk previously may be interested to know that we will be showing slides indicating what could be the actual location of the Wesak Valley which was previously thought to be in the vicinity of Mount Kailas. We will then have group meditation for 49 mins. A vegetarian buffet lunch will be served thereafter. Come and join this spiritual celebration on Wednesday, 10 May 2017, at 10 a.m. Please note that this programme is for members only.
A Talk on Suicide
Is Suicide a Crime? This was a question posed to Madame H. P. Blavatsky by an Inquirer. She gave a rather illuminating reply that was published together with the poser in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 2, November, 1882, pp. 31-32 which was reproduced in our June 2009 Newsletter. A partial extract of her reply follows:
“ ‘Inquirer’ is not an Occultist, hence his assertion that in some cases suicide “is not only justifiable, but also morally desirable.” No more than murder, is it ever justifiable, however desirable it may sometimes appear. The Occultist, who looks at the origin and the ultimate end of things, teaches that the individual, who affirms that any man, under whatsoever circumstances, is called to put an end to his life, is guilty of as great an offence and of as pernicious a piece of sophistry, as the nation that assumes a right to kill in war thousands of innocent people under the pretext of avenging the wrong done to one. All such reasonings are the fruits of Avidya mistaken for philosophy and wisdom.
...No man, we repeat, has a right to put an end to his existence simply because it is useless. As well argue the necessity of inciting to suicide all the incurable invalids and cripples who are a constant source of misery to their families; and preach the moral beauty of that law among some of the savage tribes of the South Sea Islanders, in obedience to which they put to death, with warlike honours, their old men and women.
...The result, in one sense, is certainly invariable; and there is but one general law or rule for all suicides. But, it is just because “the afterstates” vary ad infinitum, that it is erroneous to infer that this variation consists only in the degree of punishment. If the result will be in every case the necessity of living out the appointed period of sentient existence, we do not see whence ‘Inquirer’ has derived his notion that “the result is invariably bad.’ ”
Religions generally condemn suicide, although attempts have been made to justify it under certain circumstances. JUDAISM does not permit a full Jewish burial for a person who commits suicide. This tradition has also been adopted among Christians. In BUDDHISM, self-destruction is similarly frowned upon, although some believe that it is implied in the Nikāyas that among Arhats, they may have the power to choose whether to retain their bodies or not. ISLAM similarly disapproves of suicide. Although the Qur’ān does not refer to it, several Hadiths or traditions explicitly condemn suicide. Hinduism also condemns it with the possible exception of the practice of prayopaveśa, or fasting to death, which is allowed only under certain conditions.
Suicide is a tragedy that must be prevented at all costs. On Saturday, 6 May 2017, at 5 p.m., Chong Sanne will be giving a talk on Suicide. Suicides, who sadly and mistakenly tried to escape their suffering, only find themselves still alive and conscious without a physical body, regretting their actions, and thus suffer with intensity. To quote an Adept:
“The suicides, who, foolishly hoping to escape life, found themselves still alive, have suffering enough in store for them from that very life. Their punishment is in the intensity of the latter.”
The grave consequences of suicide will be discussed with references to statements made by those who know. We shall also discuss the circumstances driving one to suicide and what options are available to those who are suicidal, suicide clearly not being one of them.
This important talk is open to non-members. You should bring along anyone, including teenagers, who are likely to benefit from it. Knowledge of the grave consequences of suicide and its futility might well deter those who are suicidal from planning such a tragedy.
43rd Edition of A Course in Theosophy
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 43rd edition of A Course in Theosophy on Monday, 22 May 2017.
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. That way we can collectively reach out to as many people as possible.
The schedule of the next 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.