Theme of the Week: Purity and Pollution

"One should recognize one's own liability to contribute to astral pollution and so one should resolve to purify oneself and one's emanations."— The Aquarian Almanac"

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August 1, 2015  Theme for the Week: Purity and Pollution

“One trembles to think of that mysterious thing in the soul,  which seems to acknowledge no human jurisdiction, but in spite of the individual’s own innocent self, will still dream horrid dreams, and mutter unmentionable thoughts.�?

—Herman Melville

It is probably good for us to acknowledge that within each one of us is the capacity to create a Hitler or a Gandhi, someone wicked or someone wonderful.  The whole range of human nature lies within each one of us.

I think your idea here is an important one to keep in mind.  Without it we are apt to fall into the trap of judgmentalism.  It is also important to remember that we have lived thousands of lives some more pure or polluted than others, and we too are experiencing the karmic results of those choices and acts.

August 2, 2015   Theme for the Week: Purity and Pollution�?

�? Whosoever is purged of all impurity, firmly fixed in moral precepts, endowed with temperance and truth, is indeed deserving of the saffron robe.�?

 — Buddha

“Eternal life’s pure waters, clear and crystal, with the monsoon tempest’s muddy torrent cannot mingle.�?

 — The Voice of the Silence

Do you think it is correct to assume that when the Buddha speaks of purging impurity he is speaking of selfishness in its many forms?

Concerning the Voice of the Silence passage: why is it that these two cannot "mingle"?  What is the Voice telling us here?

I've always understood Purity to be the most inherent quality of any given thing- living or nonliving.  

"Eternal life's pure waters, clear and crystal, with the monsoon tempest's muddy torrents cannot mingle.

Heaven's dew-drop glittering in the morn's first sun-beam within the bosom of the lotus, when dropped on earth becomes a piece of clay; behold, the pearl is now a speck of mire."

The two cannot "mingle" because if anything were to change Purity, then its Nature (that of Purity) would be false- altered and corrupted.  It isn't the glistening dew-drop from Heaven which becomes changed from its inherent state of Purity- it is the crust of endless conditionings which have seemed to cause its modification, itself, forever untouched, unable to mingle.  Consider the relation of the kaleidoscope and Light.

This is my very generalized understanding.   


Just a stray thought on "unable to mingle";

"The divine spark dwells in the still place where no convulsion of Natire can shake the air; this is so always. But the soul may lose its hold on that; it's knowledge of it; even though these two are part of one whole; and it is by emotion, by sensation, that this hold is loosed. To suffer either pleasure or pain, causes the vivid vibration which is, to the consciousness of man, life."

Light on the Path; 39

“Eternal life’s pure waters, clear and crystal, with the monsoon tempest’s muddy torrent cannot mingle.�?

The monsoon tempest's muddy torrent represents the violent fluctuation of our earthly desires, which are not compatible with the Soul's eternal life.    Kama clouds the pure waters of Buddhi.

Such an interesting thought Barbaram.  Would you care to elaborate?

I read the passage as a contrast between

 the nature of buddhi - Eternal life's pure waters, clear and crystal and the quality of kama - monsoon tempest's muddy torrent.   When desires are activated and aroused, they disrupt the clarity of buddhi or clear perception. 

August 3,  2015  Theme of the Week: Purity and Pollution

“When the mind remains unsatisfied, desires wantonly proliferate and misdeed is heaped upon delusion.�?

— Sutra of the  Eightfold Awakening

“We live in an atmosphere of gloom and despairs……  because our eyes are downcast and are riveted to the earth.�?

— H.P. Blavatsky

August 4,  2015     Theme for the Week: Purity and Pollution

“Soul is not more polluted than the beams

Of heaven’ pure orb ere round their rapid lines

The taint of earth-born atmosphere arise.�?

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

“The soul’s natural progress is towards selflessness and purity

and one might, therefore, say that man who strays from the path of purity strays from selflessness.�?

— M.K. Gandhi

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on August 5, 2015 at 7:17am

How might we define purity and pollution in regard to thought?  What is a pure thought?  What is a polluted one?  What are the defining characteristics of each?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 5, 2015 at 7:41am

That is an interesting question.  Pure and impure could be looked at philosophically as the relation between real and unreal, real and illusory. Psychologically it could be seen in terms of selfish and unselfish motivations.  Metaphysically it might be seen in terms of degrees of universality.  A pure thought might be thought of as one that is true, detached and universal.  A modern application of this concept might be "Act locally, think globally."

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 5, 2015 at 8:09am

August 5, 2015 Theme of the Week: Purity and Pollution

“Mind is twofold, pure and impure. Polluted by desire, it is impure; free from desires, it is pure.�?

— Maitrayana Upanishad

“As the sun burns away pollution, so the Bodhisattva endowed with insight and wisdom burns away the pollution of the kleshas.�?

— Prajnaparamita Sutra

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 7, 2015 at 8:21am

August 6, 2015 Theme for the Week: Purity and Pollution

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.�?

— Jesus

“My strength is as the strength of ten,

Because my heart is pure.�?

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 7, 2015 at 8:22am

August 7, 2015 Theme for the Week: Purity and Pollution

“Let no man either by his words, or by his actions, ever seduce thee, nor entice thee to say or to do what is not profitable for thee.�?

— Pythagoras

“We should wash away the uncleanness from our eyes by moral science.�?

— Pico della Mirandola

Permalink Reply by Shen Rampersaud on August 7, 2015 at 10:21am

I find Pythagoras' words akin to the Cherokee parable that discusses a grandfather's talk with his grandson. The grandfather expresses that there are two wolves that fight within him: one good and the other bad. In response to the grandson's question of which wolf will win, the grandfather says, "the wolf I feed."

Part of not being compelled to say or do what is "not profitable," regardless of the actions or words of others, is an acceptance of unconditional responsibility for one's own words and actions. 

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on August 7, 2015 at 12:30pm

" ... two wolves that fight within him: one good and the other bad... of which wolf will win[?]... the wolf I feed."

As it is easily seen in this parable, the idea of Purity and Pollution is quite relevant to every practical aspect of life if the above is constantly applied.  Pride, self-condemnation, selfness, service, and the like are indeed food for those Wolves of like natures.  Everything has a particular magnetic attraction and repulsion, one ought to take responsibility for not only what one emit, but for what one receives as well. 

" regardless of the actions or words of others, is an acceptance of unconditional responsibility for one's own words and actions. "

This is very true.  Responsibility, or Duty, has been said to be the "Royal Talisman." Humanity, I believe, is more of an atmosphere than a collective body or group of individuals.  One can imagine our earth for example- nothing cast into the atmosphere leaves, it is truly a closed system.  So the Mind of Humanity.  All gets eventually becomes digested, however, not all is immediately felt.  Taking responsibility for every action, deed, and thought is an initiative that far extends beyond the individual, a truly selfless act.

Permalink Reply by Shen Rampersaud on August 14, 2015 at 11:36am

Taking responsibility for what is also received is an impactful yet subtle message that may easily be forgotten. Regardless, it is an action.

Perceiving one's actions, deeds and thoughts to have permeating effects in the human atmosphere, which is profoundly illustrated, is a powerful recognition in order to carry forth one's responsibility or duty. 

Permalink Reply by barbaram on August 8, 2015 at 12:53pm

What a nice parable - simple and poignant. 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2015 at 3:59pm

Points well made Shen.