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« on: March 21, 2013, 01:58:10 PM »

What of the saints who were astrologers (Daniel 5:11)?

Ioannis Climacus:

May I ask -what does that symbol represent, at the bottom of your posts?
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 02:04:13 PM »


I've often wondered the same thing.   Undecided
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 02:25:32 PM »

It's a symbol for theosophy and is clickable.  The link takes you to blavatsky.net, wherein a cursory look shows Unitarian beliefs with some occult/mystical language thrown in to make it more palatable to the liturgically minded.
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 02:46:32 PM »

It's a symbol for theosophy and is clickable.  The link takes you to blavatsky.net, wherein a cursory look shows Unitarian beliefs with some occult/mystical language thrown in to make it more palatable to the liturgically minded.

Very much a relic of 19th century European oriental fantasy. Now that lots of authentic Buddhist and Hindu stuff is available in the West, I can't imagine why someone would waste time with such an obvious counterfeit.
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 03:19:10 PM »

It's a symbol for theosophy and is clickable.  The link takes you to blavatsky.net, wherein a cursory look shows Unitarian beliefs with some occult/mystical language thrown in to make it more palatable to the liturgically minded.

Yeah....I realized it was clickable....I just wasn't sure I wanted to click on it....and see what was at the other end.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2013, 03:41:21 PM »

What of the saints who were astrologers (Daniel 5:11)?

Ioannis Climacus:

May I ask -what does that symbol represent, at the bottom of your posts?


I've often wondered the same thing.   Undecided

It's a symbol for theosophy and is clickable.  The link takes you to blavatsky.net, wherein a cursory look shows Unitarian beliefs with some occult/mystical language thrown in to make it more palatable to the liturgically minded.
It is a symbol of Theosophy. In short, it is what we would call divine ethics and divine science. To categorize it according to common terminology, it is pantheism that explains the world through occult principles (rather than supernaturalism). There is certainly more to it than that, but I will refrain so as to not derail the thread too far. Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2013, 03:44:19 PM »

It's a symbol for theosophy and is clickable.  The link takes you to blavatsky.net, wherein a cursory look shows Unitarian beliefs with some occult/mystical language thrown in to make it more palatable to the liturgically minded.

Very much a relic of 19th century European oriental fantasy. Now that lots of authentic Buddhist and Hindu stuff is available in the West, I can't imagine why someone would waste time with such an obvious counterfeit.
Iconodule, there are plenty of Buddhist and Hindu scholars who would disagree with you, as many were/are Theosophists. I don't have the particular book that chronicles these people in greater details (and I can try to the get it tomorrow), but off the top of my head both Christmas Humphreys and D. T. Suzuki (two very important names in the western transmission of Buddhism) were particularly active Theosophists, as was Anagarika Dharmapala (who, along with the Theosophical Society, was vital in the revival of Buddhism in Ceylon [Sri Lanka]). The Dalai Lama (both the current and former) possess nothing but the greatest respect for H.P.B. and if I recall correctly, actually wrote the forward to a later addition of the Voice of Silence. The Panchen Lama actually requested its publication.

Of course this is not speak of the countless Hindus who embraced Theosophy (which was vital in strengthening the Indian spirit against imperialism - both cultural and spiritual).
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2013, 03:56:09 PM »

D.T Suzuki was quite the salesman and knew his European audiences very well. His presentations of Buddhism are deeply distorted by various non-Buddhist European philosophies. His writings on Zen, while not without value, have fostered deep misunderstandings of Zen in the West and are geared to tickle individualist fancies. Dharmapala was likewise presenting a very adulterated Buddhism, mixed with many modern, non-Buddhist ideas. He was especially keen on pandering to modern scientism and wanted to give the impression of Buddhism as some "pure" rational philosophy fit for modern man. Much the same could be said, though to a lesser extent, of the Dalai Lama.

Appeal to authority aside, it's pretty clear that the principles of "Theosophy" are not compatible with the principles of Buddhism and the theosophists' ignorance of Buddhism comes out whenever they try to invoke a connection to Buddhism.
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2013, 04:07:08 PM »

D.T Suzuki was quite the salesman and knew his European audiences very well. His presentations of Buddhism are deeply distorted by various non-Buddhist European philosophies. His writings on Zen, while not without value, have fostered deep misunderstandings of Zen in the West and are geared to tickle individualist fancies. Dharmapala was likewise presenting a very adulterated Buddhism, mixed with many modern, non-Buddhist ideas. He was especially keen on pandering to modern scientism and wanted to give the impression of Buddhism as some "pure" rational philosophy fit for modern man. Much the same could be said, though to a lesser extent, of the Dalai Lama.

Appeal to authority aside, it's pretty clear that the principles of "Theosophy" are not compatible with the principles of Buddhism and the theosophists' ignorance of Buddhism comes out whenever they try to invoke a connection to Buddhism.
I would say instead that Buddhism, like all religions, suffers from a distortion of sorts. Exoteric religion is written for the masses of a particular time. It only makes sense that certain aspects are later abandoned and changed as humanity becomes yet ready for the more esoteric truths. Call it distortion if you want, but Theosophy has no desire of pandering to the more superstitious (or simply mistaken) elements of various world religions.

If I may ask, what particular teaching(s) of Theosophy do you find incompatible with your conception of Buddhism?
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2013, 04:24:28 PM »

D.T Suzuki was quite the salesman and knew his European audiences very well. His presentations of Buddhism are deeply distorted by various non-Buddhist European philosophies. His writings on Zen, while not without value, have fostered deep misunderstandings of Zen in the West and are geared to tickle individualist fancies. Dharmapala was likewise presenting a very adulterated Buddhism, mixed with many modern, non-Buddhist ideas. He was especially keen on pandering to modern scientism and wanted to give the impression of Buddhism as some "pure" rational philosophy fit for modern man. Much the same could be said, though to a lesser extent, of the Dalai Lama.

Appeal to authority aside, it's pretty clear that the principles of "Theosophy" are not compatible with the principles of Buddhism and the theosophists' ignorance of Buddhism comes out whenever they try to invoke a connection to Buddhism.
I would say instead that Buddhism, like all religions, suffers from a distortion of sorts. Exoteric religion is written for the masses of a particular time.

This is rather amusing since there is nothing in the theosophical doctrine which was not taught "exoterically" by someone at some point. All the theosophical doctrines are regurgitations of someone else's "exoterism." Blavatsky had nothing substantial to say that wasn't said already, and quite openly, by Platonists and Vedantists in the past. The esoteric/exoteric divide is really just a device for people to sneak their personal philosophical conceits, which they consider profound, into the garb of some more popular religion.

Quote
If I may ask, what particular teaching(s) of Theosophy do you find incompatible with your conception of Buddhism?

Among other things, Blavatsky misunderstood the doctrines of anatman and sunyata which are central to Buddhism; she attempted to address these doctrines in a way that allowed for her "soul" and "over-soul" but ended up just speaking gibberish in the process.
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2013, 07:10:52 PM »

D.T Suzuki was quite the salesman and knew his European audiences very well. His presentations of Buddhism are deeply distorted by various non-Buddhist European philosophies. His writings on Zen, while not without value, have fostered deep misunderstandings of Zen in the West and are geared to tickle individualist fancies. Dharmapala was likewise presenting a very adulterated Buddhism, mixed with many modern, non-Buddhist ideas. He was especially keen on pandering to modern scientism and wanted to give the impression of Buddhism as some "pure" rational philosophy fit for modern man. Much the same could be said, though to a lesser extent, of the Dalai Lama.

Appeal to authority aside, it's pretty clear that the principles of "Theosophy" are not compatible with the principles of Buddhism and the theosophists' ignorance of Buddhism comes out whenever they try to invoke a connection to Buddhism.
I would say instead that Buddhism, like all religions, suffers from a distortion of sorts. Exoteric religion is written for the masses of a particular time.

This is rather amusing since there is nothing in the theosophical doctrine which was not taught "exoterically" by someone at some point. All the theosophical doctrines are regurgitations of someone else's "exoterism." Blavatsky had nothing substantial to say that wasn't said already, and quite openly, by Platonists and Vedantists in the past. The esoteric/exoteric divide is really just a device for people to sneak their personal philosophical conceits, which they consider profound, into the garb of some more popular religion.
Well, it should be of no suprise that many Theosophical doctrines can be found elsewhere. One of the primary goals of Theosophy is to promote the study of ancient wisdom literature and advocate the truths contained therein. The process, of course, involves purging works of excess and misunderstanding. In short, Theosophy demonstrates how the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Plato, Pythagoras, etc. point to the same divine Truth. I would call a good number of these corrections "esoteric" as well as the alchemical principles put forward in the Secret Doctrine (many of which are now accepted in the scientific community). I also do not believe that "planetary chains", or "rounds" are found in any prior exoteric literature or teachings. Indeed, the detailed account of evolution is perhaps one of HPB's biggest exoteric contributions.

Of course the Stanzas of Dzyan are certainly new to the public. http://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/dzyan/dzyan.htm

This is to say nothing of the esoteric section of the TS, which taught doctrine not available to the either of us.

If you don't mind me asking, Iconodule, how much of Blavatsky, Judge, etc. have you read? "All the theosophical doctrines" is an incredibly bold way to begin sentence and carries with it, at least, the pretension of great familiarity with the subject.

Quote
If I may ask, what particular teaching(s) of Theosophy do you find incompatible with your conception of Buddhism?

Among other things, Blavatsky misunderstood the doctrines of anatman and sunyata which are central to Buddhism; she attempted to address these doctrines in a way that allowed for her "soul" and "over-soul" but ended up just speaking gibberish in the process.
Iconodule, you need to be much more specific. What is your conception of Blavatsky's view? How does this contradict your understanding of Buddhism? A fair question, I believe, for someone with knowledge of "all the theosophical doctrines".
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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2013, 09:26:40 AM »

Well, it should be of no suprise that many Theosophical doctrines can be found elsewhere. One of the primary goals of Theosophy is to promote the study of ancient wisdom literature and advocate the truths contained therein. The process, of course, involves purging works of excess and misunderstanding. In short, Theosophy demonstrates how the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Plato, Pythagoras, etc. point to the same divine Truth.

Like other forms of esoterism, it accomplishes this demonstration by ignoring, distorting, or dismissing the aspects of these religions or philosophies that don't conform to this preconception. Looking at them honestly, it's clear that they don't teach the same thing. The Buddha, for instance, was very rigorous is distinguishing his teaching from a number of false views which were and are maintained by other Indian philosophies.

Quote
I also do not believe that "planetary chains", or "rounds" are found in any prior exoteric literature or teachings.

Similar ideas to the planetary chains/ rounds can be found in Plato and his commentators, as well as the Corpus Hermeticum. If you mean to say that Blavatsky's particular presentation of the idea is new, sure it is, but it could hardly be claimed that it is somehow more profound or subtle than her ancient sources.

Quote
If you don't mind me asking, Iconodule, how much of Blavatsky, Judge, etc. have you read? "All the theosophical doctrines" is an incredibly bold way to begin sentence and carries with it, at least, the pretension of great familiarity with the subject.

I admit I haven't read a great deal. My "All the theosophical doctrines" is a rhetorical overstatement. Doubtless one can mine the writings of Blavatsky for a lot of original absurdities, such as the ridiculous "root race" theory. We must all manage our time with some prejudice, and slogging through 1000+ pages of "The Secret Doctrine" just seems too much a commitment for something which is obviously silly from the starting point.

Quote
Quote
If I may ask, what particular teaching(s) of Theosophy do you find incompatible with your conception of Buddhism?

Among other things, Blavatsky misunderstood the doctrines of anatman and sunyata which are central to Buddhism; she attempted to address these doctrines in a way that allowed for her "soul" and "over-soul" but ended up just speaking gibberish in the process.
Iconodule, you need to be much more specific. What is your conception of Blavatsky's view? How does this contradict your understanding of Buddhism? A fair question, I believe, for someone with knowledge of "all the theosophical doctrines".
[/quote]

Blavatsky borrowed the concept of "Over-soul" from Emerson and at the same time tried to identify it with Buddhist concepts. Encountering the Buddhist teachings on sunyata, she attempted to explain sunyata (she identifies it with "space") as some kind of absolute principle independent of phenomena and in doing so showed a basic misunderstanding of the teaching. Space is the one eternal thing that we can most easily imagine, immovable in its abstraction and uninfluenced by either the presence or absence in it of an objective Universe. It is without dimension, in every sense, and self-existent. Spirit is the first differentiation from That, the causeless cause of both Spirit and Matter. It is, as taught in the esoteric catechism, neither limitless void, nor conditioned fulness, but both. It was and ever will be. Compare this with the standard Madhyamika presentations of Emptiness and especially their warnings about misconceptions.

I would also note that Sunyata, which Blavatsky treats as a "secret doctrine," was taught quite exoterically in Buddhism. It could only be called "esoteric" insofar as it is a very subtle doctrine which is easily misinterpreted.
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2013, 10:21:15 AM »

I discovered Rene Guenon in Fr. Damascene's biography of Hieromonk Seraphim Rose.  Although, Guenon eventually converted to Islam, he wrote several critiques of the modern world.  One of the most famous of these was his informative critical history of Theosophy first published circa 1920:

'Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion'
By Rene Guenon
http://www.sophiaperennis.com/books/esoteric-studies/theosophy

More recently, Maria Carlson wrote a critical history of Russian theosophy.

Of particular interest to Orthodox Christians is the influential freindship which Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky for many years had with theosophist Vladimir Soloviev who was Helena Blavatsky's greatest ally in Russia according to Guenon and most others. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Solovyov_(philosopher)

This friendship of Soloviev with Archbishop Khrapovitsky is mentioned is Fr. Georges Florovsky's 'Ways of Russian Theology' which is also highly critical of Archbishop Khrapovitsky's stavroclastic heresy which claimed that Jesus Christ's weeping in the garden of gethsemane rather than His death on the Cross is what atones for men's sins.

Probably the most significant influence or common factor which Vladimir Soloviev shared with Archbishop Khrapovitsky was the pan-heresy of oecumenism since both of them sought union of the Russian Orthodox Church with western denominations.  Vadimir Soloveev specifically advocated union of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Frankist papacy.  Soloviev wrote a book entitled 'The Russian Church and the Papacy':
http://www.amazon.com/Russian-Church-Papacy-Vladimir-Soloviev/dp/1888992298

Archbishop Khrapovitsky sought the union of the Russian Orthodox Church with protestant Anglicans which argued in this essay written in 1927.
http://anglicanhistory.org/orthodoxy/khrapovitsky_orders1927.html

Thus, theosophy was an important source of Russian oecumenism.  It is not surprising that a doctrine which is destructive to the Orthodox Church originated with its enemies.
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2013, 10:46:26 AM »

Archbishop Khrapovitsky sought the union of the Russian Orthodox Church with protestant Anglicans which argued in this essay written in 1927.
http://anglicanhistory.org/orthodoxy/khrapovitsky_orders1927.html

Thus, theosophy was an important source of Russian oecumenism. 

Met Anthony's paper, which you link to, does not concern itself with a supposed union between the Russian Orthodox Church and Anglicanism, but rather addresses the subject of how Anglican clergy who wished to convert to Orthodoxy should be received into the Orthodox Church.

To what blame do lay upon St. Tikhon of Moscow for ecumenism?  Certainly his views towards the Anglicans were no more strict than those of Met Anthony. 
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2013, 10:57:20 AM »

To what blame do lay upon St. Tikhon of Moscow for ecumenism?  Certainly his views towards the Anglicans were no more strict than those of Met Anthony.
To answer your question, Bishop Tikhon (Patriarch from circa 1918 onwards) concelebrated with Anglicans.  He participated in common with them in Church services.  

I do not believe him to be a saint since he had so many errors of judgment including enactment of the Frankist Gregorian calendar and signing a heretical decree against the Name of Jesus Christ concerning the dispute that Archbishop Antony had with Hieromonk Antony Boulatovich.

To Patriarch Tikhon's credit, he repented of these last things which is why I do not count him as a heretic.
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2013, 11:06:38 AM »

To what blame do lay upon St. Tikhon of Moscow for ecumenism?  Certainly his views towards the Anglicans were no more strict than those of Met Anthony.
To answer your question, Bishop Tikhon (Patriarch from circa 1918 onwards) concelebrated with Anglicans.  He participated in common with them in Church services.  

I do not believe him to be a saint since he had so many errors of judgment including enactment of the Frankist Gregorian calendar and signing a heretical decree against the Name of Jesus Christ concerning the dispute that Archbishop Antony had with Hieromonk Antony Boulatovich.

To Patriarch Tikhon's credit, he repented of these last things which is why I do not count him as a heretic.

Are you claiming that he repented of his relations with, and view of, Anglicans?  If so, to what can you point to demonstrate this?

Do your bishops venerate Patriarch Tikhon as a saint?  I have known many Old Calendarist and various anti-ecumenical sects, but have not before encountered one that believed Patriarch Tikhon was not a saint.  Even the Matthewites that I knew regarded and venerated him as such.
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2013, 11:43:16 AM »

Are you claiming that he repented of his relations with, and view of, Anglicans?  If so, to what can you point to demonstrate this?
I said that he repented of "these last things" I had mentioned which were his enactment of the Gregorian calendar and his declaration against Saint Antony Boulatovich. 

Patriarch Tikhon did not repent of his concelebration with Anglicans as far as I am aware, but I do not know everything.  If you have evidence that he did repent of this, then I would be interested in it.

Do your bishops venerate Patriarch Tikhon as a saint?
Neither my priest and confessor nor I believe Patriarch Tikhon as a saint.

I also do not have knowledge of my synod ever having canonized him, but I do not know every detail of my synod's historical resolutions.
As to Matthewites, two general characteristics might be stated here:
(1) Matthewites are rather opposed to modern oecumenism.
(2) Matthewites are mostly Greeks who are not generally knowledgeable about obscure details of Russian history.

Therefore, it is entirely possible if this ugly history about Patriarch Tikhon were known and considered in tandem with the ill informed notion that he is a saint, then I would reckon that a scrutiny of his life would be the least thing that would follow with many Matthewites (and other Orthodox Christians) were they to become aware of historical facts concerning his activities with Anglicans - especially when considered in tandem with the other mistakes of his life.

Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos wrote well that it is dangerous to our spiritual health give anyone the honour due to a saint who does not merit.  A synodal investigation involving the scrutiny of that person's life is mandatory.  I am not saying that Patriarch Tikhon was not a martyr, but a canonization of sainthood by a synod such as ROCOR is not canonical.  ROCOR's founder Archbishop Khrapovitsky had multiple heresies, and they canonized Tsar Nicholas II as a saint, but he was not even a martyr of the Church.  He was killed because he was a king - not because of his faith. 

As far as anti-oecumenist synods which do not accept Patriarch Tikhon as a saint, the first possibility to come to mind would be the Russian Old Orthodox synods such as the Bela Krinitsa hierarchy.  I am likewise unaware of that hierarchy having canonized Patriarch Tikhon as a saint.  I have not specifically researched it, but I would honestly be a little bit surprised if I discovered they had canonized him.
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2013, 11:56:12 AM »

Are you claiming that he repented of his relations with, and view of, Anglicans?  If so, to what can you point to demonstrate this?
I said that he repented of "these last things" I had mentioned which were his enactment of the Gregorian calendar and his declaration against Saint Antony Boulatovich. 

Patriarch Tikhon did not repent of his concelebration with Anglicans as far as I am aware, but I do not know everything.  If you have evidence that he did repent of this, then I would be interested in it.

Do your bishops venerate Patriarch Tikhon as a saint?
Neither my priest and confessor nor I believe Patriarch Tikhon as a saint.

I also do not have knowledge of my synod ever having canonized him, but I do not know every detail of my synod's historical resolutions.
As to Matthewites, two general characteristics might be stated here:
(1) Matthewites are rather opposed to modern oecumenism.
(2) Matthewites are mostly Greeks who are not generally knowledgeable about obscure details of Russian history.

Therefore, it is entirely possible if this ugly history about Patriarch Tikhon were known and considered in tandem with the ill informed notion that he is a saint, then I would reckon that a scrutiny of his life would be the least thing that would follow with many Matthewites (and other Orthodox Christians) were they to become aware of historical facts concerning his activities with Anglicans - especially when considered in tandem with the other mistakes of his life.

Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos wrote well that it is dangerous to our spiritual health give anyone the honour due to a saint who does not merit.  A synodal investigation involving the scrutiny of that person's life is mandatory.  I am not saying that Patriarch Tikhon was not a martyr, but a canonization of sainthood by a synod such as ROCOR is not canonical.  ROCOR's founder Archbishop Khrapovitsky had multiple heresies, and they canonized Tsar Nicholas II as a saint, but he was not even a martyr of the Church.  He was killed because he was a king - not because of his faith. 

As far as anti-oecumenist synods which do not accept Patriarch Tikhon as a saint, the first possibility to come to mind would be the Russian Old Orthodox synods such as the Bela Krinitsa hierarchy.  I am likewise unaware of that hierarchy having canonized Patriarch Tikhon as a saint.  I have not specifically researched it, but I would honestly be a little bit surprised if I discovered they had canonized him.

I am very curious, what Synod are you part of?  Your profile says only "Met Antonios".  Aside from maybe the Old Believers, I'm not aware of any Orthodox or sectarian group (Greek Old Calendarist or splinter group from ROCOR) who considers Patriarch Tikhon to not be a saint and Tsar Nicholas II to not be a martyr.  To hold these views, and those against Ecumenism, while highly regarding the writings of a contemporary bishop of the Church of Greece (Met Hierotheos), is very curious indeed. 
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2013, 12:32:24 PM »

For what it's worth, I have a much higher estimation of Patriarch Tikhon than I do of Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky.

Archbishop Anotny Khrapovitsky was an unrepentant heretic.

Patriarch Tikhon was a humble Orthodox Christian who acknowledged anmd repented of his errors, and he was a martyr for the Church.

I am very curious, what Synod are you part of?
 
My faith is with the synod of Archbishop Nicholas of Athens.  I should hasten to say that I am only a catechumen and cannot hardly therefore speak on behalf of my synod, but I regularly attend Church.  I am not baptized yet since I am waiting on the immigration of my fiance from Honduras in oder that we be baptized the same day.

As far as I am concerned with Patriarch Tikhon, the burden is on you if you want to convince me of my own synod's canonization of him, but I would be willing to take a look at anything serious you presented on that matter.  Not that I would be compelled to accept it, since I do not accept a rather well known and misguided encyclical from the synod of the early 1990's involving iconography - but that is another subject. 

Aside from maybe the Old Believers...
Stop right there.  I have been investigating them quite a bit as of late, I frankly see know reason why the two more moderate priested hierarchies such as the Bela Krinitsa synod are not as completely legitimate as the hierarchy which came from Saint Matthew. 
They seem to be two hierarchies under the same Bishopric of our Lord Jesus Christ who are not yet in official communion only because of language differences, ignorance of other Christians, and history involving disruptive things like persecution.  As a matter of fact, persecution by the Russian synod in the nineteenth century is what prevented Russian Old Orthodox Christians in Russia from obtaining enough information to anaylyze Saint Ambrose of Bosnia's consecrations of new bishops that initiated the Bela Krinitsa hierarchy (although the Patriarchte of Constantinople of the time approved and confirmed thos consecrations).  Thus lack of information over large distances during persecution is the only reason some of the priested Old Orthodox Christians did not accept Saint Ambrose at that time and acquired another hierarchy later.
Thus, that was never a schism between those two preisted hierarchies.
 
As far as that goes, Bishop Kerykos (Matthewite) who unfortunately had a schism with our synod has had dialogue (both before and after the schism as I understand) with priested Russian Old Orthodox Christian bishops.   

To hold these views, and those against Ecumenism, while highly regarding the writings of a contemporary bishop of the Church of Greece (Met Hierotheos), is very curious indeed.
A man from our synod once told my priest that Metropolitan Hierotheos was schizophrenic.  Being familiar with his books, my priest admires Metropolitan Hierotheos and was therefore confused and questioned the conclusion.  The man explained that anyone who wrote books as good as Metropolitan Hierotheos and simulataneously commemorates a bishop like Bartholomew (of Constantinople) has something amiss, but his books are outstanding.
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2013, 02:40:41 PM »

For what it's worth, I have a much higher estimation of Patriarch Tikhon than I do of Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky.

Archbishop Anotny Khrapovitsky was an unrepentant heretic.

Patriarch Tikhon was a humble Orthodox Christian who acknowledged anmd repented of his errors, and he was a martyr for the Church.

I am very curious, what Synod are you part of?
 
My faith is with the synod of Archbishop Nicholas of Athens.  I should hasten to say that I am only a catechumen and cannot hardly therefore speak on behalf of my synod, but I regularly attend Church.  I am not baptized yet since I am waiting on the immigration of my fiance from Honduras in oder that we be baptized the same day.

As far as I am concerned with Patriarch Tikhon, the burden is on you if you want to convince me of my own synod's canonization of him, but I would be willing to take a look at anything serious you presented on that matter.  Not that I would be compelled to accept it, since I do not accept a rather well known and misguided encyclical from the synod of the early 1990's involving iconography - but that is another subject. 

Aside from maybe the Old Believers...
Stop right there.  I have been investigating them quite a bit as of late, I frankly see know reason why the two more moderate priested hierarchies such as the Bela Krinitsa synod are not as completely legitimate as the hierarchy which came from Saint Matthew. 
They seem to be two hierarchies under the same Bishopric of our Lord Jesus Christ who are not yet in official communion only because of language differences, ignorance of other Christians, and history involving disruptive things like persecution.  As a matter of fact, persecution by the Russian synod in the nineteenth century is what prevented Russian Old Orthodox Christians in Russia from obtaining enough information to anaylyze Saint Ambrose of Bosnia's consecrations of new bishops that initiated the Bela Krinitsa hierarchy (although the Patriarchte of Constantinople of the time approved and confirmed thos consecrations).  Thus lack of information over large distances during persecution is the only reason some of the priested Old Orthodox Christians did not accept Saint Ambrose at that time and acquired another hierarchy later.
Thus, that was never a schism between those two preisted hierarchies.
 
As far as that goes, Bishop Kerykos (Matthewite) who unfortunately had a schism with our synod has had dialogue (both before and after the schism as I understand) with priested Russian Old Orthodox Christian bishops.   

To hold these views, and those against Ecumenism, while highly regarding the writings of a contemporary bishop of the Church of Greece (Met Hierotheos), is very curious indeed.
A man from our synod once told my priest that Metropolitan Hierotheos was schizophrenic.  Being familiar with his books, my priest admires Metropolitan Hierotheos and was therefore confused and questioned the conclusion.  The man explained that anyone who wrote books as good as Metropolitan Hierotheos and simulataneously commemorates a bishop like Bartholomew (of Constantinople) has something amiss, but his books are outstanding.

I realize we are taking this thread far afloat from its subject, but I do appreciate you clarifying what Synod you are with, as in this context it does go a long way in explaining your views.  "Met Antonios" for your jurisdiction means that you are under Metropolitan Anthony (Gavalas) of NY under Abp Nicholas of Athens.  As to whether your Synod ever "canonized" or glorified Patriarch Tikhon, I honestly cannot think of a single saint that your Synod has canonized since the beginning of the Old Calendarist schism in 1935 (or Bishop Matthew's departure in 1937).  Do you know of any?

As for the legitimacy of the two priested Old Believers groups, I would agree that they are on very similar canonical ground as the Matthewites, but we would disagree on whether that ground is "solid", and whether or not that ground is located within the Church or on the outside.

As for Met Hierotheos, I have long been amused how the Synod of Archbishop Nicholas has depended on him, though they consider him to be outside of the Church and without grace as a Bishop of the (New Calendar) Church of Greece.  For instance, in your Synod's condemnation of Met Kyrikos' teaching concerning the Holy Trinity as the "Uncreated Church" (Keryx Gnesion Orthodoxon, issue 294, October, 2002, pp. 249-251), the Synod of Abp Nicholas did not quote a single Church Father in defense of their condemnation, but quoted only the words of Met Hierotheos to the effect that "The unity of the Church cannot be apprehended through the theological dogma of the most Holy Trinity..."  It is very ironic for this Old Calendarist Synod to depend solely on a bishop who they consider to be outside of the Church in order to prove the Orthodoxy of its teaching.  It would be like the Russian Orthodox Church condemning a teaching solely because it contradicts the words of a Roman Catholic bishop.
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2013, 03:00:17 PM »

I do appreciate you clarifying what Synod you are with, as in this context it does go a long way in explaining your views.
Glad to see that cleared up the better part of the mystery for you.  It is certainly no accident that I am with our holy synod.
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2013, 06:47:59 PM »

Like other forms of esoterism, it accomplishes this demonstration by ignoring, distorting, or dismissing the aspects of these religions or philosophies that don't conform to this preconception. Looking at them honestly, it's clear that they don't teach the same thing. The Buddha, for instance, was very rigorous is distinguishing his teaching from a number of false views which were and are maintained by other Indian philosophies.
You speak as though the philosophies and religions of the modern age are somehow free from distortion themselves. Every ancient religion/philosophy, as it exists today, does so in distortion.  

I think the overall similarities speak for themselves. It is too absurd to suppose that all of the these schools of wisdom arrived at similar ideas all by means of chance. If not by chance, then how else? This is the question Theosophy answers. It is not so much a preconception, but an exercise of logic. It is not that Theosophy distorts their teachings, but that it purges them of distortion.

Theosophy does not teach that all philosophies and all religions are equally correct. Such things are organized and founded by humans. Quot homines tot sententiae. As would a good Platonist point out the flaws of Aristotle, so does Theosophy point out the flaws in the exoteric teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Similar ideas to the planetary chains/ rounds can be found in Plato and his commentators, as well as the Corpus Hermeticum. If you mean to say that Blavatsky's particular presentation of the idea is new, sure it is, but it could hardly be claimed that it is somehow more profound or subtle than her ancient sources.
Similar ideas? Yes. It would only make sense that allusions and parallels can be drawn from other sources. The contributions of Blavatsky are not revelations (or whatever her detractors suppose she claimed them to be). They are elucidations. The esotericism of Theosophy (or former esotericism) is not about presenting new doctrine, but gradually unveiling the secrets of nature. I wouldn't call her assertions more profound, but her exoteric presentation of them certain is more detailed.

Would you be so kind as to provide references to these teachings in Plato and the Hermeticum?

Blavatsky borrowed the concept of "Over-soul" from Emerson and at the same time tried to identify it with Buddhist concepts. Encountering the Buddhist teachings on sunyata, she attempted to explain sunyata (she identifies it with "space") as some kind of absolute principle independent of phenomena and in doing so showed a basic misunderstanding of the teaching. Space is the one eternal thing that we can most easily imagine, immovable in its abstraction and uninfluenced by either the presence or absence in it of an objective Universe. It is without dimension, in every sense, and self-existent. Spirit is the first differentiation from That, the causeless cause of both Spirit and Matter. It is, as taught in the esoteric catechism, neither limitless void, nor conditioned fulness, but both. It was and ever will be. Compare this with the standard Madhyamika presentations of Emptiness and especially their warnings about misconceptions.

I would also note that Sunyata, which Blavatsky treats as a "secret doctrine," was taught quite exoterically in Buddhism. It could only be called "esoteric" insofar as it is a very subtle doctrine which is easily misinterpreted.
Its a bit of stretch to say that Blavatsky "borrowed" the view from Emerson. The idea is much, much older than either of them. You are mistaken, however, in your understanding of Theosophy if you believe the over-soul is synonymous with sunyata or the absolute.

While there are certainly differences between exoteric Buddhism and Theosophy (and I wouldn't call it misunderstanding in that case, as the old lady taught Budhism not Buddhism), I fail to see a distinction between the Theosophical understanding of sunyata (and I don't know where you got the impression that she believed it was an esoteric teaching) and the Buddhist one. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

If I may, I would like to return to your earlier accusation concerning Blavatsky's understanding of anatta? Quoting from The Key to Theosophy :

Section 8 ON RE-INCARNATION OR RE-BIRTH, Footnote 6 :

"Even in his Buddhist Catechism, Col. Olcott, forced to it by the logic of Esoteric philosophy, found himself obliged to correct the mistakes of previous Orientalists who made no such distinction, and gives the reader his reasons for it. Thus he says: "The successive appearances upon the earth, or 'descents into generation,' of the tanhaically coherent parts (Skandhas) of a certain being, are a succession of personalities. In each birth the PERSONALITY differs from that of a previous or next succeeding birth. Karma, the DEUS EX MACHINA, masks (or shall we say reflects?) itself now in the personality of a sage, again as an artisan, and so on throughout the string of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line of life along which they are strung, like beads, runs unbroken; it is ever that particular line, never any other."

What in this contradicts your conception of Buddhism?
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« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2013, 02:50:03 PM »

beginning of the old calendarist schism in 1935 (or Bishop Matthew's departure in 1937)
Rather the beginning of the new calendarist schism in 1924 (or the departure of Bishop Chrysostomos of Florina in 1924 and again in 1937)

After I freely cooperated with your inquisition to identify my synod and various other questions which ended with your derogatory personal interpretations about my Church which I took years searching to find, it is my hope that you do not mind my setting the record straight about your erroneous and condescending understanding of Church history. 

When I read your detailed opinion about our Bishop Kerykos, et al citing chapter and verse, my first thought was I sensed no love or genuine concern for us at all.  You told me legalistic details citing chpater and verse in order to assert some kind of fault with our synod and show off your knowledge of obscure details with our synod.  I find it difficult to believe your motive was otherwise.

Thank God I can say from experience that our synod lacks people with your condescending attitude, and I sympathize with people in other synods that have to deal with it.

For what it's worth, I love and respect Bioshop Kerykos.  In spite of the fact that I believe the Church which is the Body of Christ began with Christ's Nativity and is not beginningless (as Saint John of Damascus wrote that Christ began with the Theotokos conception), if I encountered Bishop Kerykos, I would not hesitate to reverently kiss his right hand out of genuine respect and be relieved to be without a legalistic hiding hatred or condescension inside.  I totally respect Bishop Kerykos in spite of the unfortunate schism which I hope and pray will be healed as especially as he has so many worthy characteristics. 

I believe that sad things like personal grudges were what that schism was all about, and to the extent that Matthewites take that path, then we will descend to the spiritual level of the Florinite synods. 

My personal policy is to go wide of the mud and follow the light.
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« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2013, 02:57:05 PM »

Apologize to Ioannis Climacus and the others in this thread discussing theosophy for drifting so far from the central topic.
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« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2013, 03:38:54 PM »

If I may, I would like to return to your earlier accusation concerning Blavatsky's understanding of anatta? Quoting from The Key to Theosophy :

Section 8 ON RE-INCARNATION OR RE-BIRTH, Footnote 6 :

"Even in his Buddhist Catechism, Col. Olcott, forced to it by the logic of Esoteric philosophy, found himself obliged to correct the mistakes of previous Orientalists who made no such distinction, and gives the reader his reasons for it. Thus he says: "The successive appearances upon the earth, or 'descents into generation,' of the tanhaically coherent parts (Skandhas) of a certain being, are a succession of personalities. In each birth the PERSONALITY differs from that of a previous or next succeeding birth. Karma, the DEUS EX MACHINA, masks (or shall we say reflects?) itself now in the personality of a sage, again as an artisan, and so on throughout the string of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line of life along which they are strung, like beads, runs unbroken; it is ever that particular line, never any other."

What in this contradicts your conception of Buddhism?

I don't know whether the quote from Olcott reflects any particular Buddhist school's view of reincarnation, but it was my understanding that the five skandhas ("aggregates") are not passed on to the next incarnation - they dis-aggregate at death.

The passage seems to contradict itself: either the "tanhaically coherent" (what a scholastic/purposefully esoteric choice of words!) skandhas are reborn and (at least) part of the former personality is preserved, or it's just the karma that's passed on (how?). This is one of the issues that I find most problematic with the theory of reincarnation - what exactly is that "line of life" on which "personalities" are "strung like beads"? What/who gets reincarnated, if not a personality?

Also, is there any Buddhist literature where karma is personified? Maybe Col. Olcott is thinking of the brahman of the Hindus and writes karma instead? 

 
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« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2013, 05:14:55 PM »

If I may, I would like to return to your earlier accusation concerning Blavatsky's understanding of anatta? Quoting from The Key to Theosophy :

Section 8 ON RE-INCARNATION OR RE-BIRTH, Footnote 6 :

"Even in his Buddhist Catechism, Col. Olcott, forced to it by the logic of Esoteric philosophy, found himself obliged to correct the mistakes of previous Orientalists who made no such distinction, and gives the reader his reasons for it. Thus he says: "The successive appearances upon the earth, or 'descents into generation,' of the tanhaically coherent parts (Skandhas) of a certain being, are a succession of personalities. In each birth the PERSONALITY differs from that of a previous or next succeeding birth. Karma, the DEUS EX MACHINA, masks (or shall we say reflects?) itself now in the personality of a sage, again as an artisan, and so on throughout the string of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line of life along which they are strung, like beads, runs unbroken; it is ever that particular line, never any other."

What in this contradicts your conception of Buddhism?

I don't know whether the quote from Olcott reflects any particular Buddhist school's view of reincarnation, but it was my understanding that the five skandhas ("aggregates") are not passed on to the next incarnation - they dis-aggregate at death.

The passage seems to contradict itself: either the "tanhaically coherent" (what a scholastic/purposefully esoteric choice of words!) skandhas are reborn and (at least) part of the former personality is preserved, or it's just the karma that's passed on (how?). This is one of the issues that I find most problematic with the theory of reincarnation - what exactly is that "line of life" on which "personalities" are "strung like beads"? What/who gets reincarnated, if not a personality?

Also, is there any Buddhist literature where karma is personified? Maybe Col. Olcott is thinking of the brahman of the Hindus and writes karma instead? 

 
Olcott is most certainly not suggesting the preservation of the personality, or rebirth of the skandhas, but rather that skandhas (five are presented in exoteric Buddhism, but Koot Hoomi unveils the existence of two more) are acquired once again upon our descent into the physical. I am not sure if you are only interested in an exoteric Buddhist presentation, but this is the Theosophical teaching (of which one will find many parallels in the various schools of Wisdom). The personality vanishes following the devachanic state (a purely blissful, but illusory and temporary experience following death that corresponds with one's subconscious expectations of the afterlife) also known as bardo. What survives will perhaps make more sense if I explain it within the context of the septenary. Man is composed of seven parts :

1) Physical body (Sthula-Sarira)

2) Vital principle (Prana)

3) Astral body (Linga Sharira)

4) Passion principle (Kama Rupa)

----------------------------------------------------------------

5) Mind (Manas)

6) Spiritual soul (Buddhi)

7) Spirit (Atma)

Of these, only the last three are eternal and the last two are shared by all. The reincarnating "I" or EGO is the mind/soul (manas) and it is the creator and recipient of karma. According to Blavatsky, karma waits for the next incarnation and immediately attaches itself to the ego upon the soul's descent. The ego, however, is distinct from the illusion of personality. Personality is ever changing and ever dependent on other circumstances. It is an aggregation of our everyday experiences (as a mere matter of etcetera, here is an earlier thread of mine that briefly contained a discussion of personality and permanence from a more western perspective http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,48790.0.html).

The personification of karma should not be taken literally though. While not Buddhist literature, I (and other Theosophists) would insist that this is the esoteric meaning of St. Paul's words in Galatians 6:7 "God [Karma] is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.". 
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« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2013, 05:36:41 PM »

Apologize to Ioannis Climacus and the others in this thread discussing theosophy for drifting so far from the central topic.
Don't feel too bad. We did exactly the same thing to the horoscope thread.  Smiley

I would be interested in hearing more about your thoughts on Guenon though. I haven't tackled his work on Theosophy myself, but some of his statements are pretty absurd (like insisting that reincarnation as a concept did not exist until the 1800s).
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« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2013, 06:16:12 PM »

Man is composed of seven parts :

1) Physical body (Sthula-Sarira)

2) Vital principle (Prana)

3) Astral body (Linga Sharira)

4) Passion principle (Kama Rupa)

----------------------------------------------------------------

5) Mind (Manas)

6) Spiritual soul (Buddhi)

7) Spirit (Atma)

These are not the five "aggregates" the Buddha spoke of. It's curious that words that could be partially synonymous in Sanskrit (manas, buddhi, atman ~ mind, intellect, self/soul) become distinctive "parts of man" in Theosophy. Seven happens to be a very neat number! And some people have more parts than others? In all honesty - what guarantee do you have that this is not "knowledge falsely so-called" (1 Tim. 6:20)?     

Also the "devachanic" state as you (or Mme. Blavatsky) describe it seems to have more in common to Plato's myth of Er than with the Tibetan bardo. Buddha never taught that all men go to (a) paradise after death/between incarnations.   
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« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2013, 06:57:58 PM »

Apologize to Ioannis Climacus and the others in this thread discussing theosophy for drifting so far from the central topic.
Don't feel too bad. We did exactly the same thing to the horoscope thread.  Smiley
Appreciate that.  Since my belief is so different from yours, it might ironically enough be more difficult for us to offend each other.  Smiley

I would be interested in hearing more about your thoughts on Guenon though. I haven't tackled his work on Theosophy myself, but some of his statements are pretty absurd (like insisting that reincarnation as a concept did not exist until the 1800s).
Although I did have the impression that both Rene Guenon and his colleague Ananda Coomaraswamy held that the doctrine of reincarnation was not as ancient as some people that believe in it hold it to be, that was the first time that I recall seeing such a recent date ascribed to it. 

I have not read books by either one of these writers in some years, but I do get the impression that I value them more htan you do - perhaps because they are critical of some things in which you believe - especially Guenon. 

Half of my personal library is in Greece (several thousand volumes), and this includes most of Guenon's books (except his book on freemasonry which was disappointing compared with some other books I have as I recall).  However, I do have two of his books with me here in the states, and one of them is his book on theosophy of which he is highly critical.
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« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2013, 07:22:05 PM »

In a nutshell, Rene Guenon was profoundly anti-modern.  He also believed in most every tradition including masonry, and he believed that the modern forms of almost all of these religions and traditions were corrupted at best or more likely crude imposters.  One could even make a good case that he was an evolutionist who was against the modern theory of evolution at least as staunchly as any modern Christian.   

Guenon was outstanding at discovering interesting aspects of ancient relgions, and he especially looked for commonalities.  An example of this is the four yugas of hinduism - the fourth being the kali yuga - or dark age in which we now live and how this corresponded to the dream of four empires in the Book of Daniel or the four ages in which the ancient Greeks believed as described by Hesiod. 
Aspects of his belief such as this were principles that transcended and gave dynamism to his belief which made him a more interesting than the obscurantist stick in the mud which some might imagine upon first hearing that he was very anti-modern. 

One particular itme of interest is that I personally came to the convction that the world is more or less physically flat with a domed or vaulted roof above as the early Christians believed.  According to the Christian Monk Cosmas Indicopleustes writing in the time of Emperor Justinian (sixth century A.D.) from Mount Sinai, the sun and moon orbit a tall mountain in the far north mentioned by the prophet Isaiah (in chapter 14), and the shadow cast by the mountain creates night on the part of the world opposite the sun. 

I have a book by Rene Guenon entitled 'The King of the World' which discusses the existence of this hyperborean mountain which is a major part of ancient flat earth cosmos in the most ancient tradition of every nationality, and Guenon gives the the names of the mountain in many of the major traditions including the Sufi tradition of Islam.
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« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2013, 04:13:08 PM »

Man is composed of seven parts :

1) Physical body (Sthula-Sarira)

2) Vital principle (Prana)

3) Astral body (Linga Sharira)

4) Passion principle (Kama Rupa)

----------------------------------------------------------------

5) Mind (Manas)

6) Spiritual soul (Buddhi)

7) Spirit (Atma)

These are not the five "aggregates" the Buddha spoke of. It's curious that words that could be partially synonymous in Sanskrit (manas, buddhi, atman ~ mind, intellect, self/soul) become distinctive "parts of man" in Theosophy. Seven happens to be a very neat number! And some people have more parts than others? In all honesty - what guarantee do you have that this is not "knowledge falsely so-called" (1 Tim. 6:20)?     

Also the "devachanic" state as you (or Mme. Blavatsky) describe it seems to have more in common to Plato's myth of Er than with the Tibetan bardo. Buddha never taught that all men go to (a) paradise after death/between incarnations.   
My dear friend, I believe you misunderstood me. The seven components of man are not the aforementioned aggregates/skandhas. I only made mention of the septenary to help explain what survives death and what reincarnates. Everyone, however, is composed of seven [principles] (while incarnated).

The similar meanings in the words is perhaps true from an exoteric (and I use that word more loosely in this instance) point of view. I can think of numerous words in English, Greek, etc. that possess a "similar" definition, but take on a different understanding when used philosophically. Even in (and according to) your own tradition, similar (and identical) words are used differently. Does not every good Orthodox theologian insist that the nous of St. Paul is the dianoia of the fathers, whilst St. Paul's dianoia is one with the patristic nous?

As to my "guarantee", are you asking why I am a Theosophist? I will explain in detail if that is the nature of your inquiry. If so, do you want the abbreviated version, or the more detailed one?

You are wrong, however, if you believe devachan was not taught by Buddha. It is described rather exoterically as sukhavati, or Pure land in the Amida Sutra. Of course, the Tibetan rendition of this word is bde ba can from which devachan is transliterated. Devachan is exoterically described as the sixth bardo. But yes, Plato (who was an Initiate) describes these things as well.

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« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2013, 04:55:26 PM »

I have not read books by either one of these writers in some years, but I do get the impression that I value them more htan you do - perhaps because they are critical of some things in which you believe - especially Guenon.  

Half of my personal library is in Greece (several thousand volumes), and this includes most of Guenon's books (except his book on freemasonry which was disappointing compared with some other books I have as I recall).  However, I do have two of his books with me here in the states, and one of them is his book on theosophy of which he is highly critical.
Well, while I haven't read Guenon's work on Theosophy, the table of contents says much. It seems that a great deal of his criticism is directed towards Blavatsky's "successor" Besant (and presumably Leadbeater) as well as Steiner's Anthroposophy. Neither of the latter mentioned present Theosophy according to Blavatsky or the Masters, so in that case, I may appreciate Guenon's criticism. Condemnation of Blavatsky based on the SPR's "report", however, is quite outdated (especially seeing as the SPR has since retracted its accusations) and inaccurate (I can explain in detail if you are interested) as is anything written by the hand of Vsevolod Solovyov (who's slanders are easily refuted with facts). I may, as time permits, check out at least the Blavatsky portion of the book.

In a nutshell, Rene Guenon was profoundly anti-modern.  He also believed in most every tradition including masonry, and he believed that the modern forms of almost all of these religions and traditions were corrupted at best or more likely crude imposters.  One could even make a good case that he was an evolutionist who was against the modern theory of evolution at least as staunchly as any modern Christian.    

Guenon was outstanding at discovering interesting aspects of ancient relgions, and he especially looked for commonalities.  An example of this is the four yugas of hinduism - the fourth being the kali yuga - or dark age in which we now live and how this corresponded to the dream of four empires in the Book of Daniel or the four ages in which the ancient Greeks believed as described by Hesiod.  
Aspects of his belief such as this were principles that transcended and gave dynamism to his belief which made him a more interesting than the obscurantist stick in the mud which some might imagine upon first hearing that he was very anti-modern.  

One particular itme of interest is that I personally came to the convction that the world is more or less physically flat with a domed or vaulted roof above as the early Christians believed.  According to the Christian Monk Cosmas Indicopleustes writing in the time of Emperor Justinian (sixth century A.D.) from Mount Sinai, the sun and moon orbit a tall mountain in the far north mentioned by the prophet Isaiah (in chapter 14), and the shadow cast by the mountain creates night on the part of the world opposite the sun.  

I have a book by Rene Guenon entitled 'The King of the World' which discusses the existence of this hyperborean mountain which is a major part of ancient flat earth cosmos in the most ancient tradition of every nationality, and Guenon gives the the names of the mountain in many of the major traditions including the Sufi tradition of Islam.
This is quite interesting. While he most certainly has numerous disagreements with HPB, he shares some similar ideas. Blavatsky for instance speaks of northern Hyperborea as the home of the second root race (though she rejects the flat earth model).

Dionysii, would you consider yourself an occultist or at least an esotericist?
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« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2013, 05:18:44 PM »

Madam Blavatsky believed that the Aryan race was created in Atlantis one million years ago, descending from the descendents of asexual ape worm men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_race#The_civilization_of_Atlantis
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« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2013, 05:21:52 PM »

Madam Blavatsky believed that the Aryan race was created in Atlantis one million years ago, descending from the descendents of asexual ape worm men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_race#The_civilization_of_Atlantis
That sounds amazing...asexual ape worm men? lulz
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« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2013, 05:28:34 PM »

Madam Blavatsky believed that the Aryan race was created in Atlantis one million years ago, descending from the descendents of asexual ape worm men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_race#The_civilization_of_Atlantis
Blavatsky believed the Aryan race (the fifth root race) began its evolution on Atlantis and modern day humans are descendant from earlier asexual ones.

Please quote Blavatsky though and don't plug Wikipedia articles based on the writings of Besant/Leadbeater/Powell - represent neo-Theosophy or psuedo-Theosophy (or if you do, don't attribute them to Blavatsky). It would be the equivalent of plugging John Hagee and insisting this is "what Christians believe".

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« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2013, 05:32:38 PM »

The seven components of man are not the aforementioned aggregates/skandhas. I only made mention of the septenary to help explain what survives death and what reincarnates.

Obviously. Since Buddha taught there is no ātman, no one who says that an ātman reincarnates can claim that their teaching is consistent with Buddhism.   

Everyone, however, is composed of seven [principles] (while incarnated).

Why seven? Why not less? Or more? This is St. Irenaeus' question to the Gnostics - why 8, 12, 33 or some other number of Eons?

The similar meanings in the words is perhaps true from an exoteric (and I use that word more loosely in this instance) point of view. I can think of numerous words in English, Greek, etc. that possess a "similar" definition, but take on a different understanding when used philosophically.

There is such a thing as inane speculation and vacuous language play. Once one goes down that slippery slope, there's no end to it and no claim to credibility.

Even in (and according to) your own tradition, similar (and identical) words are used differently. Does not every good Orthodox theologian insist that the nous of St. Paul is the dianoia of the fathers, whilst St. Paul's dianoia is one with the patristic nous?

No - a good Orthodox theologian should know better. Nous is "mind" or "intellect" - dianoia is a particular function of the mind that enables it to discern or distinguish (right from wrong, night from day, etc.). This is dianoia: "Blessed are You, Adonay, our God, King of the Universe, Who gave the rooster understanding (bina) to distinguish between (bein) day and night." 

As to my "guarantee", are you asking why I am a Theosophist? I will explain in detail if that is the nature of your inquiry. If so, do you want the abbreviated version, or the more detailed one?

Actually, I was more interested in a rational and objective reason for which all men could/should believe a certain claim (the "septenary", etc.) made by Theosophy to be true. For instance, all of Christianity stands or falls with the fact of Christ's resurrection according to St. Paul. If it didn't happen, then all the rest can be dismissed as vain hope and empty speculation.

You are wrong, however, if you believe devachan was not taught by Buddha. It is described rather exoterically as sukhavati, or Pure land in the Amida Sutra. Of course, the Tibetan rendition of this word is bde ba can from which devachan is transliterated. Devachan is exoterically described as the sixth bardo. But yes, Plato (who was an Initiate) describes these things as well.

I am pretty sure that doctrine was not taught by the historical Buddha, since the Sutra you mention is a much later apocryphal source peculiar to Pure Land Buddhists in China and some Japanese sects. 

Does Theosophy incorporate the teachings of "initiates" from all around the world? Like shamans from newly discovered Amazonian tribes or from unexplored Siberia? Indigenous Australians? Native Americans? Africans? Polynesians? Or does it stop where the knowledge available back in Mme. Blavatsky's day stops?

I read about Krishnamurti that he was chosen by Theosophists and educated to become the incarnation of Maitreya. Was this a failed attempt or is he still regarded as an enlightened being/boddhisattva? What about Anthroposophy and other rival factions? Do you consider them schismatic, heretical, deceived? (I ask because "there can be no sectarianism in truth seeking".)   
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« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2013, 06:13:01 PM »

Please quote Blavatsky though and don't plug Wikipedia articles
No can do, it's just too funny.
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« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2013, 09:14:45 PM »

Madam Blavatsky believed that the Aryan race was created in Atlantis one million years ago, descending from the descendents of asexual ape worm men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_race#The_civilization_of_Atlantis
Blavatsky believed the Aryan race (the fifth root race) began its evolution on Atlantis and modern day humans are descendant from earlier asexual ones.


Because that's so much less ridiculous.
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« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2013, 11:18:13 PM »

Obviously. Since Buddha taught there is no ātman, no one who says that an ātman reincarnates can claim that their teaching is consistent with Buddhism.
Insofar as one believes atman to be the individual soul, you are correct. Buddha taught the formerly esoteric doctrines of the brahmins, or at least those teachings he was able to reveal. Sunyata is complimentary to atman when understood correctly. That is, what they describe is one. This is perhaps most evident in Advaita Vedanta where atman is Brahman.

Why seven? Why not less? Or more? This is St. Irenaeus' question to the Gnostics - why 8, 12, 33 or some other number of Eons?
To be honest, I don't know why, nor do I have an entirely clear conception of numerology (I am still trekking my way through Isis Unveiled). Seven, like three, seems to have a particularly mystical or at least symbolic nature to it. I understand that it is a reflection of universal harmony. It is also a universal symbol, and even plays an important role in your tradition. Does not Jesus command forgiveness seven times seventy seven? Or is the killer of Cain not threatened with retribution "seven times over"? Of course, Revelation (itself a kabalistical work) is covered with symbols of seven. God likewise created the world and rests within seven days.

No - a good Orthodox theologian should know better. Nous is "mind" or "intellect" - dianoia is a particular function of the mind that enables it to discern or distinguish (right from wrong, night from day, etc.). This is dianoia: "Blessed are You, Adonay, our God, King of the Universe, Who gave the rooster understanding (bina) to distinguish between (bein) day and night."
Well, I won't push this too far (as it is not my area of expertise), but it was Fr. John Romanides who insisted as such. My knowledge of Greek is lacking, so I must defer to others.

In any event, you must agree, however, that the Orthodox nous is indeed different from the Platonic or Aristotelian? The inanity lies rather in word choice obsession seeing as neither I nor Blavatsky have suggested the words to have the ascribed Theosophical meaning in every selection of archaic literature.

Actually, I was more interested in a rational and objective reason for which all men could/should believe a certain claim (the "septenary", etc.) made by Theosophy to be true. For instance, all of Christianity stands or falls with the fact of Christ's resurrection according to St. Paul. If it didn't happen, then all the rest can be dismissed as vain hope and empty speculation.
Which is fundamentally a question of "why Theosophy?" I don't know of any reason to believe in the septenary apart from it [Theosophy]. The question is ultimately "was Blavatsky a liar/fraud?". This I can say with an emphatic no. I say this from the overwhelming number of accurate observations/predictions on her part (scientific, religious, otherwise) to the immense complexity of the phenomena surrounding her and people who knew her (indeed too complex for mere legerdemain) to the wonderful history of her life (of which slanders against are easily refuted) to the utter soundness of her logic and reasoning. If she was truthful, then it only further confirms the Masters exist. From there, I can accept their teachings. This, of course, says nothing of the more spiritual and fulfilling dimension of Theosophy, but of its intellectual merit alone.

I am pretty sure that doctrine was not taught by the historical Buddha, since the Sutra you mention is a much later apocryphal source peculiar to Pure Land Buddhists in China and some Japanese sects.
The sutra is Indian in origin for what it's worth, but criticizing it based on a date seems rather silly considering there is a significant gap between the life of Buddha and every available manuscript. This is true with your own traditional as well (with not only the Gospels, but others such as the Book of Genesis).

Does Theosophy incorporate the teachings of "initiates" from all around the world? Like shamans from newly discovered Amazonian tribes or from unexplored Siberia? Indigenous Australians? Native Americans? Africans? Polynesians? Or does it stop where the knowledge available back in Mme. Blavatsky's day stops?
I don't think you understand the concept of Theosophical initiates. Initiates are those who have been trained and taught by the Masters (those humans who remain on earth, in seclusion at the moment, to assist in the evolutionary process). Some initiates are tasked with presenting aspects of Truth to the masses - unveiling more and more over time. If humanity is ready, more teachings (perhaps accompanied by an initiate) will be presented in 2075-2100.

I read about Krishnamurti that he was chosen by Theosophists and educated to become the incarnation of Maitreya. Was this a failed attempt or is he still regarded as an enlightened being/boddhisattva? What about Anthroposophy and other rival factions? Do you consider them schismatic, heretical, deceived? (I ask because "there can be no sectarianism in truth seeking".)
Krishnamurti was "chosen" not by Theosophists (if we may define that term as those who follow the teachings of Blavatsky and the Masters), but by psuedo-Theosophists/neo-Theosophists (particularly Leadbeater and Besant). Following Blavatsky's death, the Adyar society was commandeered by innovators. Besant's edits of the Secret Doctrine, for instance, contained over 30,000 edits, or what Besant called "corrections". Leadbeater claimed to have direct contact with the Masters, yet constantly and consistently contradicted them. This was only further confirmed, much to his ire, when the Mahatma letters were published. Bishop Leadbeater's claims to clairvoyance are pretty absurd given his "visions" (e.g. his attempt to describe in detail the life on Mars).

Prior to this attack on actual Theosophy, William Quan Judge was expelled from the TS. Judge, of course, rejected their teachings (holding fast to the original Truth) and took most of the American society with him.

It has only been in more recent times that the Adyar society has begun to spurn the absurdities of Besant and Leadbeater and return to actual Theosophical teachings (though it is still a work in progress).

As far as viewing others as schismatic, heretical, deceived, I suppose it depends on what one means by those terms. Wrong would perhaps be the best word. Terms like schismatic and heretic carry too much baggage and are too reminiscent of the Christian/etc. sectarian model. While the Adyar Society, the Anthroposophical Society, and (to a much, much lesser extent), the Pasadena/Point Loma Society have departed from Blavatsky's teachings, there have been good things produced and done by all of them. Truth is truth, no matter the source. While most people who interested in authentic, original Theosophy are associated with the ULT (United Lodge of Theosophists), there are numerous individuals who spread truth elsewhere (Geoffrey Farthing, for instance, was actually a member of the Adyar Society).

The greatest individuals though are not those who hold correct belief, but those who give themselves over to humanity. Father Damien of Molokai, for instance, is held in higher regard than any self proclaimed intellectual. Truth is good insofar as it is useful. We oppose sectarianism on the grounds that it hinders love.
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« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2013, 11:36:13 PM »

Madam Blavatsky believed that the Aryan race was created in Atlantis one million years ago, descending from the descendents of asexual ape worm men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_race#The_civilization_of_Atlantis
Blavatsky believed the Aryan race (the fifth root race) began its evolution on Atlantis and modern day humans are descendant from earlier asexual ones.


Because that's so much less ridiculous.
What is ridiculous? Things that sound strange to the modern scientific community? Do they not similarly criticize things such as six-winged, many eyed seraphim, or perhaps bread and wine becoming flesh and blood?

Truly though, Atlantis is pretty well documented (and evidenced thanks to modern technology, even if scientists are unwilling or unable to recognize it yet).
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« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2013, 06:12:20 PM »

Madam Blavatsky believed that the Aryan race was created in Atlantis one million years ago, descending from the descendents of asexual ape worm men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_race#The_civilization_of_Atlantis
Blavatsky believed the Aryan race (the fifth root race) began its evolution on Atlantis and modern day humans are descendant from earlier asexual ones.


Because that's so much less ridiculous.
What is ridiculous? Things that sound strange to the modern scientific community? Do they not similarly criticize things such as six-winged, many eyed seraphim, or perhaps bread and wine becoming flesh and blood?

It's true, Christianity is weird. Generally though one doesn't find Christians claiming that seraphim have been proven to exist by science. Theosophy, on the other hand, loves to claim scientific evidence for its claims (something you have done yourself in this thread) which is another indication that theosophy is a 19th century relic.

Quote
Truly though, Atlantis is pretty well documented (and evidenced thanks to modern technology, even if scientists are unwilling or unable to recognize it yet).

You really need to make up your mind whether you consider modern science an arbiter of truth or not. From a modern scientific perspective, the root races theory is ridiculous.
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« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2013, 03:57:34 AM »

It's true, Christianity is weird. Generally though one doesn't find Christians claiming that seraphim have been proven to exist by science. Theosophy, on the other hand, loves to claim scientific evidence for its claims (something you have done yourself in this thread) which is another indication that theosophy is a 19th century relic.

You really need to make up your mind whether you consider modern science an arbiter of truth or not. From a modern scientific perspective, the root races theory is ridiculous.
It isn't a matter of either/or. It is simply recognizing the good in science without accepting it unquestionably/rejecting it entirely (the middle way, if you will).

For instance, science has proven numerous assertions by Blavatsky (and earlier alchemists) concerning the nature of atoms and the physical world (Blavatsky interestingly predicted the timing of some of these discoveries) yet, as you rightly point, rejects others. It is fallible and subject to the prejudices and misconceptions of its time, as well as the faculties of its practitioners. Despite its failings, progress does exist. The science of the past century has seen the acceptance of a multitude of occult principles previously dismissed and I expect this century will be no different. It is on the grounds that Theosophy is being confirmed gradually (even if not in its entirety) that I make my case (or a case).

Of course it is worth mentioning that while science is no arbiter of truth, its application in dialogue is noteworthy because certain aspects can be accepted by most, if not all, parties present.
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« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2013, 04:13:23 PM »

Truly though, Atlantis is pretty well documented (and evidenced thanks to modern technology, even if scientists are unwilling or unable to recognize it yet).

But the Minoans only existed for a thousand years or so, and weren't a proro-race of any sort.
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« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2013, 04:14:36 PM »

It seems that a great deal of his criticism is directed towards Blavatsky's "successor" Besant (and presumably Leadbeater) as well as Steiner's Anthroposophy. Neither of the latter mentioned present Theosophy according to Blavatsky

Besant/Leadbeater/Powell - represent neo-Theosophy or psuedo-Theosophy (or if you do, don't attribute them to Blavatsky). It would be the equivalent of plugging John Hagee and insisting this is "what Christians believe".
I see that you differentiate between Blavatsky and Besant (and others).  Although I am not a fan of Blavatsky, that would be an interesting distinction to bear in mind as I read Guenon's book myself.  I recall Guenon's view of Annie Besant as an instrument of British policy which makes sense if the "independent" India that she helped create is understood as neocolonialist (as Kwame Nkhrumah or Mao Tse Tung understood it).  A comparable critical perspective of modern Hinduism would be interesting.  Although I recall that Guenon was very critical of Vivekananda, a study of Hindu religious history from such a perspective would take the story forward a hundred years and necessarily involve Annie Besant (among others) and hidnuism's involvement in the oecumenist movement which Vivkananda helped launch. 

Dionysii, would you consider yourself an occultist or at least an esotericist?
No.  I would say that my faith is Orthodox Christian. 

I have found that Rudolf Steiner was a bit of an environmentalist and actually wrote well on agricultural issues.  I would tend to agree with him there irrespective of his religious beliefs.  I have also heard that the Nazis despised Steiner for some reason, but I have not looked into that matter deeply. 

I have some thoughts about the remark you made concerning Guenon's dating of reincarnation as a very recent doctrine.  Briefly, I could say that doctrines associated with reincarnation such as metempsychosis did of course exist in ancient times as seen in the writings of Pythagoras and others.  Rene Guenon perhaps had in mind that reincarnation in modern times in fact lacks a continuous tradition all the way back to ancient times.  That would be a controversial issue to prove, but it is worth noting that Islamic dynasties had ruled India for the better part of a thousand years before the British, and Hinduism (or a modern form of it) would not rule India today unless the west had intervened. 
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« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2013, 04:41:37 PM »

Islamic dynasties had ruled India for the better part of a thousand years before the British, and Hinduism (or a modern form of it) would not rule India today unless the west had intervened.
This last thought recalls an interesting and obscure 1975 movie starring Christopher Plummer (of Sound of Music) as Rudyard Kipling.  It also stars Sean Connery (i.e. James Bond during his dry spell) and Michael Caine as two nineteenth century British masons who adventure on their on into Afghanistan and actually conquer it militarily, and Sean Connery is subsequently crowned king by a Buddhist sect who mistakenly recognizes him as Alexander the Great's successor.  The movie ends with their recognition as frauds by all the natives, and Caine's return to Kipling (Plummer) in Delhi three years later to tell him the story of thei rise and downfall including his own crucifixion and release (after a day) with holes in his hands to prove it.  Sean Connery's fate was even worse since he was decapitated, and Caine carried his head and leaves it with Kipling at the closing scene.  Fairly gruesome but fitting ending to an all time classic. 

The story seems loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's classic novel 'Kim' - a novel which Rene Guenon wrote is a factual history disguised as a novel. 
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