"Every human soul is an apprentice in the sacrificial art of applying cosmic energies for the sake of universal good." — The Aquarian Almanac

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March 12, 2015 Theme for Contemplation: Skillful Practice

” Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few.”

– George Berkeley

” The great end of life is not knowledge but action.”

– T.H. Huxley

In HPB's Key to Theosophy she makes a similar point to Huxley's when she quotes Carlyle's truism:

"The end of man is an action and not a thought, though it were the noblest."

It is a human duty to put truth to use in the philosophy. She brings this up in the section called: "What is Practical Theosophy?".

You might say we need to marry Karma Yoga with Jnana Yoga, wisdom with action.

March 13, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Skillful Practice

“Yoga is skill in the performance of actions: therefore do thou aspire to this devotion.“

— Shri Krishna

“In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In action, watch the timing.”

— Lao Tzu

How does one generate a keener perception of good timing?

Well the image of the guitar player is interesting in that respect.  Timing is everything in music.   We start with rhythm which is a kind of timing, it creates a pace.  Rhythm is important in all actions it seems. A sense of proportion and measure were very important to the Greek tradition starting with Pythagoras.  "a due measure is excellent in these things."  Having a regular time for practicing something, or for a period of meditation, is always good advice, as a practical example of the idea.

Looking for the moment when the deed or word will make the most impact is always good.

March 14, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Skillful Practice

“Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.”

— James Russell Lowell

“There is no salvation for civilization, or even the human race, other than the creation of a world government.”

— Albert Einstein

March 15, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Skillful Practice

“The great man does not think beforehand of his words that they may be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be resolute — he simply speaks and does what is right.”

— Mencius

“I live and love in God’s peculiar light.”

— Michelangelo

The inmost becoming the outmost.

March 16, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Skillful Practice

“Consult and deliberate before thou art, that thou may’st not commit foolish actions, for it is the part of a miserable man to speak and to act without reflection.“

— Pythagoras

“Actions will be judged according to intentions.“

— Muhammad

Why are intentions crucial in making an action right? How about the expression "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"?

Intentions are crucial but they are incomplete without being put into action. Thus I think both of these quotes are correct. Thus "actions will be judged according to intentions" but mere intentions are not productive of anything and pave the road to hell.

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Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on March 18, 2016 at 2:35pm

March 17, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Skillful Practice

“As the sun warms all things equally, so the Bodhisattva, in reaching his goal, gladdens all beings with the warmth of his skill in action .”

— Prajna Paramita Sutra

” In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.”

— Ecclesiasticus

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on March 18, 2016 at 2:36pm

March 18, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: Skillful Practice

“To perform one’s duties properly is in itself the highest offering.”

— Dnyaneshwar

“The Spiritual Will cannot act so long as there is any selfishness in the action or the desire for its results.”

— Robert Crosbie

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on March 18, 2016 at 2:41pm

At our study group meeting we have once a month at our home we read with interest from HPB's Key to Theosophy the following passage which relates to the duty quote above:

"Theosophy is the quintessence of duty."  Anyone care to comment on this?

Permalink Reply by barbaram on March 18, 2016 at 7:01pm

Hi Gerry:

Can you tell us what your study group said about the quote?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on March 18, 2016 at 10:26pm

The group had a lot to say, I will do my best to summarize.  Not my thoughts but the group as best I remember it:  Theosophical ethics is at its core altruism, putting the good of others before oneself.  This is the key idea behind duty, giving what is due or needed to each person we encounter.  To do that requires wisdom and insight.  Theosophy is urging us to apply wisdom in action, meaning to give a turn to the wheel of evolution, however small or insignificant it might seem.  It is the role of man (humanity) to instantiate wisdom, to bring it into the manifest world.  Duty then, with these ideas in mind is the royal talisman of the spiritual path and not personal progress per se.

These are a few things I remember.

I might add that we get better at doing our "duty" the more we practice.  It is an art and a science I suppose.