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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

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    Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    “By the power of thought one can enable what is in the higher vestures to act magnetically upon the lower vestures.”  — Aquarian Almanac

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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    August 19, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    When continence is complete, there is a gain of strength, in body and mind.
    — Patanjali

    The practice of Benevolence, Tenderness and Complacency brings about cheerfulness of the mind, which tens to strength and steadiness.
    — W.Q. Judge

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    August 20, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    Learn how to adapt your thoughts and ideas to your plastic potency. — H.P. Blavatsky

    The intimacy between the Divine Ego and the human personality is not established in the man of flesh till the neophyte learns to evoke, by purity, sacrifice and control, the power and the radiance of that Divinity. — B.P. Wadia

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    August 21, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    The spirit is the master, imagination the tool, and the body the plastic material. Imagination is the power by which the will forms sideral entities out of thoughts. — Parcelsus

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    August 22, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    Mind alone is samsara; purify it with diligence.
    — Maitrayana Upanishad

    It is only because we have created a vicious atmosphere of impotence round ourselves that we consider ourselves to be helpless even for the simplest possible things. — M.K. Gandhi

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    August 23, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.
    — Walt Whitman

    Magnetic fluid penetrates everything and can be stored up and concentrated, like the electric fluid.

    —Frans Anton Mesmer

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
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    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    Can someone explain or elaborate on this week’s theme – self-magnetization? What does it really mean? Why should we care about magnetizing our self? And What are the ways of doing it?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe
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      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

      One way to think of it is in terms of attraction and repulsion. Every waking hour of every day, and perhaps while we sleep, we are charging life atoms, elemental lifes, with the vibration and tone of our state of consciousness. Every deed, every word, every action is magnetizing the elemental lives of our vestures. This magnetization plays a role in attracting to us and repelling from us various influences. To self-magnetize, which is an occult art, is to choose wisely those thoughts, those feelings, those actions which will spiritualize our vestures giving them the capacity to transmit influences from higher spheres.

      It ties in nicely with last week’s theme of Training the Mind. What we think is what we become. See the Twin Verses of the Dhammapada on these two topics.

      http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/dhamma/dham1.htm#Canto1

      thoughts from others?

      • Profile photo of Peter
        Peter
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        Profile photo of PeterPeter

        Gerry, sorry to contradict. I don’t think that’s quite what the Dhammapada is saying. ‘What we think is what we become’ or ‘you are what you think’ with its slight variations is a popular phrase used by theosophists and spiritual seekers. I wonder, how does this fit along side that other statement, ’you are not your thoughts’, which is equally well used?

        The source for ‘you are what you think’ etc is often given as the Buddha’s teaching in the first two verses of the Dhammapada just as you have done. Teachers such as Eknath Easwaran and Osho render the first verse of the Dhammada in that way as does the Theosophy Company translation:

        ‘Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves. (Easwaran)

        ‘We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts [etc..]’ (Osho)

        ‘1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: all that we are is founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts [etc…]’ (Theosophy Company)

        But do the above renderings of the Dhammapada accurately convey what the Buddha is recorded as saying and meaning in the original scripture?

        Translations of the Dhammapada by buddhists and pali scholars show a different meaning, namely, the Buddha is saying that our experience (suffering and happiness in particular) is fundamentally determined by the mind. That’s quite different from saying we are or become what we think, a phrase that does not appear in the original scripture. For example:

        ‘All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a corrupted mind and suffering follows as the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox. All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a peaceful mind and happiness follows like a never departing shadow.’ (Fronsdal)

        ‘Mental phenomena (are) preceded by mind, (have) mind as a master, (are) produced by mind. If (one) speaks or acts with a corrupted mind then suffering follows him [etc…] Mental phenomena (are) preceded by mind, (have) mind as a master, (are) produced by mind. If (one) speaks or acts with a a virtuous mind then happiness follows [etc…]’
        (from K.T.S Sarao translation with word for word transliteration of the original Pali. See also H. Kaviratna’s almost identical translation in link provided by Gerry.)

        ‘Fore-run by mind are mental states, ruled by mind, made by mind [etc…]’ (Roebuck)

        ~~

        • Profile photo of barbara
          barbara
          Participant
          Profile photo of barbarabarbara

          “Translations of the Dhammapada by buddhists and pali scholars show a different meaning, namely, the Buddha is saying that our experience (suffering and happiness in particular) is fundamentally determined by the mind. That’s quite different from saying we are or become what we think, a phrase that does not appear in the original scripture.”

          Hi Peter,

          What is the definition of mind in the above context? I wonder if the terms mind, thoughts, consciousness, and states of mind are used interchangeably.

          • Profile photo of Peter
            Peter
            Moderator
            Profile photo of PeterPeter

            I think for the purposes of these versus it’s just a very general use of the term, Barbara, to present the view that we are primarily responsible for our own suffering or happiness. We could link it directly back to the Four Noble Truths where the Buddha indicates the causes of suffering (such as craving for sensual delights & so on) and the causes of freedom from suffering (2nd and 3rd Noble Truths). In other words, the origin of suffering and liberation from suffering is within us and not in any external factors.
            So, in the Dhammapada verses under discussion we find this stated in the various correct translations (references already given in previous post):

            – ‘Mental phenomena are preceded by mind and have mind as a master’
            – ‘Fore-run by mind are mental states, ruled by mind made of mind’
            – ‘All phenomena of existence have mind as their precursor, mind as their supreme leader, of mind they are made’
            – ‘All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind’

            Of course, the notion that the origin of suffering and liberation is within the mind and not in external factors also needed to be put into the context of karma and reincarnation. These three factors were brought together in the teachings on the Twelve Nidanas (links of causation) which provide the overview of how ignorance and craving lead to suffering, death and further births and so on.

            Common sense shows us that one thought follows another, certain mental states lead to happiness and others lead to suffering. But nobody believes an alcoholic becomes the drink she constantly thinks about and craves, or that a man becomes the large amounts of money that preoccupies his daily thoughts.

            Buddhist theories of mind are fairly complex. In the Abhidharmakosa, for example, we find that there are main minds and secondary minds; six perceptual main minds (5 sensory and 1 mental) and one conceptual main mind. There are fifty one mental factors in six different groups. Mental states or mental phenomena are products or aspects of the main mind in conjunction with mental factors. Presumably this is why in the translations above we find it stated that ‘mental phenomena have mind as their master’, or, ‘fore-run by mind are mental states’. Main minds are neutral and uncoloured, but that neutral nature of mind can be obscured by mental states.

            In the Mahayana schools this neutral state of Mind is described more positively, namely ‘Clear and Knowing’ – these being the two aspects of the minds nature which cannot be destroyed. The knowing aspect of mind is obvious; the clarity aspect refers to the space like unobstructed nature of consciousness.

            ~~

            • Profile photo of barbara
              barbara
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              Profile photo of barbarabarbara

              I think the word mind is sometimes used very loosely. Even in the dharma talks, the teacher would the term mind but is actually referring to thoughts, or understanding, or mental states. The only way one knows for sure is by the context.

              Shenxiu, the fifth Chinese Chan Buddhist Patriarch, describes the nature of the mind in the following manner,

              The body is the wisdom-tree,
              The mind is a bright mirror in a stand;
              Take care to wipe it all the time,
              And allow no dust to cling.

              • Profile photo of Peter
                Peter
                Moderator
                Profile photo of PeterPeter

                Barbara – yes, the context of terms and of quotes is everything. As students of theosophy we know this is particularly important when studying HPB’s works, as the meaning of identical terms used by her often varies according to context. Yet we tend not to do this when looking at quotes drawn from different traditions.

                Your beautiful quote from Shenxui is a good example of yet another meaning applied to the term mind. Shenxui provided this quote in response to Grand-Master Hung-jen (Hongren) who asked his disciples (of which Shenxui was one) to look into the nature of their own mind and present a verse which showed they understood its true nature. Hung-jen was the fifth Grand Master and he had announced that he would pass on the robe of succession (dharma robe) to which ever of his disciples showed they had really understood their own true nature.

                In the Chan tradition Mind can also refer to Buddha-nature – the real nature of our individual mind. All beings already have enlightenment or Buddha-nature within them, which would reveal itself if only we removed that which obscures its nature, just as the mirror’s nature is to illuminate and does so if no dust is allowed to cling to it. At least this was the purport of Shenxiu’s verse, which it seems was left in view of the other disciples after it was viewed by Hung-jen, who thought that Shenxiu’s verse showed that while his understanding was very good, he still did not fully grasp the essential nature.

                According to the story, Hui-neng (another disciple of the Grandmaster) came across Shenxiu’s verse one night and asked for a verse of his own to be placed next to it:

                There is no Body-tree,
                Nor stand of mirror-bright,
                Since all is void,
                Where can the dust alight?

                According to tradition, at least as told by the followers of Hui-neng, Hung-jen passed the robe of Dharma onto to Hui-neng. Historically it seems that after the fifth Grandmaster, Chan split into two major schools. The Northern school under Shenxui, the Southern under Hui-neng.

                The crux of these seemingly different approaches shows that Mind according to Chan can also refers to the underlying principle or essence of everything. Hui-neng’s view is that since everything arises from Mind or Buddha nature, which is essentially pure and undefiled, why is there the need to change or brush off what arises from it? To think there is something other than buddha-nature is to fall into a grip of dualism, subject and object & so on. Hui-neng’s approach appears to rest on the third line of his verse – ‘since all is void’, but that’s another story which those interested might want to explore further on their own as this post as already got too long!

                ~~

                • Profile photo of Peter
                  Peter
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of PeterPeter

                  The auto-spelling-correct so often reveals my lapse of concentration. It should, of course, be bodhi, not body.

                  ‘There is no bodhi tree’

                  ~~

      • Profile photo of Peter
        Peter
        Moderator
        Profile photo of PeterPeter

        “To self-magnetize, which is an occult art, is to choose wisely those thoughts, those feelings, those actions which will spiritualize our vestures giving them the capacity to transmit influences from higher spheres.”

        Perhaps what’s missing in the above and about self-magnetisation is choosing and cultivating right thought, right feeling and right action for their own sake. Do we seek to develop an altruistic approach to life in order to spiritualise our vestures and receive influences from higher spheres? If so, is our intention still altruistic?

        ~~

        • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
          Gerry Kiffe
          Moderator
          Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

          Yes

          • Profile photo of Peter
            Peter
            Moderator
            Profile photo of PeterPeter

            Can you say a bit more, Gerry? ‘Yes’ on its own doesn’t really explain why you think it’s so.

            The underlying thoughts behind my own question are along the following lines: do we not strive to do the right thing (whether in thought, feeling or action) because it’s the right thing to do and not because of the side effect it will have produce in us? In other words, should I help my fellow beings because its the right thing to do, or, because helping them is a means of self magnetising the elementals and ultimately receiving influences from higher spheres?

            ~~

            • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
              Gerry Kiffe
              Moderator
              Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

              Yes, the purpose behind self-magnetization is so that the vestures can transmit benevolent energies from higher planes for the good of the whole. The question seemed rhetorical to me.

              • Profile photo of Peter
                Peter
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                Profile photo of PeterPeter

                Yes, it did sound somewhat rhetorical, Gerry. That wasn’t the aim. Sometimes I simply try to raise some questions that might be worth considering when we consider these kind of claims and metaphysical propositions in general. I hope other people might also want to reflect on those questions and add their own.

                My own view is that if right deeds, thoughts and actions automatically results in magnetising the elementals and spiritualising our vestures, ‘giving them the capacity to ‘transmit influences from higher spheres’, then don’t worry about whether we should or shouldn’t self-magnetise. Just focus on right deeds, thoughts and actions and let what automatically follows unfold in its own way.

                ~~

                • Profile photo of barbara
                  barbara
                  Participant
                  Profile photo of barbarabarbara

                  “Sometimes I simply try to raise some questions that might be worth considering when we consider these kind of claims and metaphysical propositions in general. I hope other people might also want to reflect on those questions and add their own.”

                  Yes, Peter, your questions are always very thought-provoking. I very much appreciate them. We have a tendency to take things for granted. In a way, many of us on this site think and speak along similar lines because we are already students of Theosophy. It is very helpful to question our preconceived ideas and look at ourselves from outside the box.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    August 24, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    Like sandlewood, the fragrance of the atman will fill the air when it has been cleansed by constant rubbing with the thought ‘I am brahman’.
    — Shankaracharya

    The food to be partaken of must be pure, so that the body may become the temple of Bhagavan. — Bhavani Shankar

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    August 25, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Self-Magnetization

    It is the atman, the Spirit, by whose power the ear hears, the eye sees, the tongue speaks, the mind understands and life functions. The wise man separates the atman from these faculties, rises out of sense-life and attains immortality. — Kena Upanishad

    A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,

    No dangers fright him and no labours tire. — Samuel Johnson

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
    Participant
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    Peter,

    Thank you for expanding on the background behind Shenxui’s verse on the mind. It is a very interesting story in the history of Chan Buddhism. I thought Shenxui’s verse was more relevant to our current discussion.

    I fully appreciate Hui-neng ‘s brilliant verse; it is beautiful.

    There is no bodhi-tree,
    Nor stand of mirror-bright,
    Since all is void,
    Where can the dust alight?

    Yet, it reminds me something that HPB said, which is, students have a tendency to jump too fast to the Absolute. To some students, every rung on the ladder embodies hidden meanings which eventually results in wisdom. To others, every step is an illusion since all is Maya. Both are right in its own way and the approach one chooses depends much on one’s motive.

© 2017 Universal Theosophy

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