HPB's Search in Tibet & Her Personal Learning Regarding Esoteric Buddhism

Tibetan Bhuddha

PLEASE NOTE: You may attend this meeting either in person at our lodge building or via Zoom by using the link listed at the bottom of this page.


Thai Buddhism Bibliography

A.P. Sinnett published the early version of the system presented in HPB’s The Secret Doctrine in his Esoteric Buddhism in 1883. It was broadly criticized as not being any kind of Buddhism at all. HPB addresses the issue in The Key to Theosophy, but western academic skepticism prevailed at the time. The consensus academic opinion at the time, with some dissenting voices, was that Theosophy was not some form of esoteric Buddhism.

Explore how spirituality is increasingly becoming known as a form of esoteric Buddhism that seems to be a good match for being the eastern source of Theosophy. Bon is a religious tradition of Tibet (and Central Asia, Mongolia, China and Siberia) before the arrival of Buddhism. It modified the indigenous shamanism of these cultures. It claims to have originated in Shambhala. It historically claims to have entered Tibet from the north and spread from there throughout Tibet. It claims there is a primordial esoteric Buddhism with many Buddhas.

Discover that it did not begin with Siddhartha Gautama. Gautama Buddha was just one expression of it. It teaches that anatman (no self) is just a denial that the psycho mental flux that constitutes what is conventionally regarded as the person and is not our true nature. The absolute denial of self by the Theravadins is a distortion. There is a higher Buddha nature. It does not itself reincarnate and is only reflected in the lower planes.

Investigate why this higher Buddha nature is the real immortal individuality. It is that component within all sentient beings that make them already potentially a Buddha. If they did not already have this, they could not become a Buddha any more than an acorn could become a pine tree. When a Buddha becomes a Buddha, according to Bon, he or she becomes a living universe within which all the living beings that formerly made up the body and psyche are nurtured within that buddha-universe to evolve to become Buddhas themselves.

Discuss the idea that Nirvana is not the end; it is a beginning of a new development. The Bon term for this life force energy is pho-ha. That might be as close as we get to the term Fohat. Fohat would be the Turkic version of that term. The teachings that were one of HPB’s sources, are said to come from Shambhala which is a physical location (or that location is the entrance to it) attested in ancient Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Russian, Siberian, shamanic, and Bon sources to be north of the Kunlun Mountains. It is also an alternative dimension, plane or planet. It is also a state of consciousness. Shambhala is also a contributor to the emerging new age concept of a higher state of evolution/consciousness.

Presenter: Dr. Thomas Mether

Thomas Mether holds degrees in philosophy, history of religion, and cognitive science including his PhD in Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He has been a college professor and academic researcher for 27 years in Asian philosophy and religion. He grew up in the Gurdjieff Work. He studied under Tantric and Taoist teachers since 1976. He is authorized to teach in those traditions. He is a Life Member of the Theosophical Society. He leads the Gurdjieff Work groups in Nashville and is the Secretary of the Theosophical Society of Nashville.

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