THE TWO PATHS
And now, O Teacher of Compassion, point them the way to other men. Behold, all those who, knocking for admission, await in ignorance and darkness to see the gate of the Sweet Law flung open!
The voice of the Candidates:
Shalt not thou, Master of thine own Mercy, reveal the Doctrine of the Heart? (2) Shalt thou refuse to lead thy Servants unto the Path of Liberation?
Quoth the Teacher:
The Paths are two; the great Perfections three; six are the Virtues that transform the body into the Tree of Knowledge! (3)
Who shall approach them?
Who shall first enter them?
Who shall first hear the doctrine of two Paths in one, the truth unveiled about the Secret Heart? (4) The Law which, shunning learning, teaches Wisdom, reveals a tale of woe.
Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya, be one with the Great Soul, and that, possessing it, Alaya should so little avail them!
Behold how like the moon, reflected in the tranquil waves, Alaya is reflected by the small and by the great, is mirrored in the tiniest atoms, yet fails to reach the heart of all. Alas, that so few men should profit by the gift, the priceless boon of learning truth, the right perception of existing things, the knowledge of the non-existent!
Saith the pupil:
O Teacher, what shall I do to teach to Wisdom?
O Wise one, what, to gain perfection?
Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before them startest on thy journey. Before them takest thy first step, learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-wisdom, the "Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine.
Yea, ignorance is like unto a closed and airless vessel; the soul a bird shut up within. It warbles not, nor can it stir a feather; but the songster unite and torpid sits, and of exhaustion dies.
But even ignorance is better than Head-learning with no Soul-wisdom to illuminate and guide it.
The seeds of wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live and reap experience, the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul. (5) Seek not those points in Maya's realm: but soar beyond illusions, search the eternal and the changeless SAT, (6) mistrusting fancy's false suggestions.
For mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects. (7) It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions. Seek, O, Beginner, to blend thy Mind and Soul.
Shun ignorance, and likewise shun illusion. Avert thy face from world deceptions: mistrust thy senses; they are false. But within thy body — the shrine of thy sensations — seek in the Impersonal for the "Eternal Man"; (8) and having sought him out, look inward: thou art Buddha. (9)
Shun praise, O Devotee. Praise leads to self-delusion. Thy body is not Self, thy SELF is in itself without a body, and either praise or blame affects it not.
Self-gratulation, O Disciple, is like unto a lofty tower, up which a haughty fool has climbed. Thereon he sits in prideful solitude and unperceived by any but himself.
False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the winds by the Good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. The "Doctrine of the Eye" (10) is for the crowd; the "Doctrine of the Heart" for the Elect. The first repeat in pride: "Behold, I know"; the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess: "Thus have I heard." (11)
"Great Sifter" is the name of the "Heart Doctrine," O Disciple.
The wheel of the Good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beating of the karmic heart.
True knowledge is the flour, false learning is the husk. If thou wouldst eat the bread of Wisdom, thy flour thou hast to knead with Amrita's clear waters. (12) But if thou kneadest husks with Maya's dew, thou canst create but food for the black doves of death, the birds of birth, decay, and sorrow.
If thou art told that to become Arhan thou hast to cease to love all beings — tell them they lie.
If thou art told that to gain liberation thou hast to hate thy mother and disregard thy son; to disavow thy father and call him "householder"; (13)for man and beast all pity to renounce — tell them their tongue is false.
Thus teach the Tirthikas the unbelievers. (14)
If thou art taught that sin is born of action and bliss of absolute inaction, then tell them that they err. Non-permanence of human action, deliverance of mind from thraldom by the cessation of sin and faults, are not for "Deva Egos." (15) Thus saith the "Doctrine of the Heart."
The Dharma of the "Eye" is the embodiment of the external and the non-existing.
The Dharma of the "Heart" is the embodiment of Bodhi, (16) the Permanent and Everlasting.
The Lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean. To make them clean a cleaner is required. The flame feels not the process of the cleaning. "The branches of a tree are shaken by the wind; the trunk remains unmoved."
Would'st thou become a Yogi of "Time's Circle"? Then, O Lanoo:
Believe thou not that sitting in dark forests, in proud seclusion and apart from men; believe thou not that life on roots and plants, that thirst assuaged with snow from the great Range — believe thou not, O Devotee, that this will lead thee to the goal of final liberation.
Think not that breaking bone, that rending flesh and muscle, unites thee to thy "silent Self." (17) Think not that when the sins of thy gross form are conquered, O Victim of thy Shadows, (18) thy duty is accomplished by nature and by man.
The blessed ones have scorned to do so. The Lion of the Law, the Lord of Mercy! (19) perceiving the true cause of human woe, immediately forsook the sweet but selfish rest of quiet wilds. From Aranyaka, (20) He became the Teacher of mankind. After Julai (21) had entered the Nirvana, He preached on mount and plain, and held discourses in the cities, to Devas, men, and Gods. (22)
Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin. Thus saith the Sage:
Shalt thou abstain from action? Not so shall gain thy soul her freedom. To reach Nirvana one must reach Self-Knowledge, and Self-Knowledge is of loving deeds the child.
Have patience. Candidate, as one who fears no failure, courts no success. Fix thy Soul's gaze upon the star whose rays thou art, (23) the flaming star that shines within the lightless depths of ever-being, the boundless fields of the Unknown.
Have perseverance as one who doth for evermore endure. Thy shadows live and vanish; (24) that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows, for it's knowledge (25) is not of fleeting life: it is the Man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike.
If thou would'st reap sweet peace and rest. Disciple, sow with the seeds of merit the fields of future harvests. Accept the woes of birth.
Step out from sunlight into shade, to make more room for others. The tears that water the parched soil of pain and sorrow bring forth the blossoms and the fruits of karmic retribution. Out of the furnace of man's life and its black smoke, winged flames arise, flames purified, that soaring onward 'neath the karmic eye, weave in the end the fabric glorified of the three vestures of the Path.
1. "The Voice of the Silence and other Chosen Fragments from the Book of Golden Precepts for the daily use of Lanoos (disciples) translated and annotated by H. P. B." Published by The Theosophical Publishing Company, 144 Madison Avenue, New York. (return to text)
2. The two schools of Buddha's doctrine, the Esoteric and the Exoteric, are respectively called the Heart and the Eye Doctrine. The Bodhidharma Wisdom Religion in China — whence the names reached Tibet — called them the Tsung-men (Esoteric) and Kiau-men (Exoteric school). The former is so named, because it is the teaching which emanated from Gautama Buddha's heart, whereas the Eye Doctrine was the work of his head or brain. The Heart Doctrine is also called the "seal of truth" or the "true seal," a symbol found on the heading of almost all Esoteric works. (return to text)
3. The "tree of knowledge" is a title given by the followers of the Bodhidharma to those who have attained the height of mystic knowledge — Adepts. Nagarjuna, the founder of the Madhyamika School, was called the "Dragon Tree," Dragon standing as a symbol of Wisdom and Knowledge. The tree is honored because it is under the Bodhi (wisdom) Tree that Buddha received his birth and enlightenment, preached his first sermon, and died. (return to text)
4. "Secret Heart" is the Esoteric Doctrine. (return to text)
5. "Diamond Soul," Vajrasattva, a title of the supreme Buddha, the "Lord of all Mysteries," called Vajradhara and Adi-Buddha. (return to text)
6. SAT, the one Eternal and Absolute Reality and Truth, all the rest being illusion. (return to text)
7. From Shin-Sien's Doctrine, who teaches that the human mind is like a mirror which attracts and reflects every atom of dust, and has to be, like that mirror, watched over and dusted every day. Shin-Sien was the Sixth Patriarch of North China, who taught the Esoteric Doctrine of Bodhidharma. (return to text)
8. The reincarnating Ego is called by the Northern Buddhists the "true man," who becomes, in union with his Higher Self, a Buddha. (return to text)
9. "Buddha" means "Enlightened." (return to text)
10. See page 233, footnote No. t The Exoteric Buddhism of the masses. (return to text)
11. The usual formula that precedes the Buddhist Scriptures, meaning, that that which follows is what has been recorded by direct oral tradition from Buddha and the Arhats. (return to text)
12. Immortality. (return to text)
13. Rathapala, the great Arhat, thus addresses his father in the legend called Rathapala Sutrasanne. But as all such legends are allegorical (e.g., Rathapala's father has a mansion with seven doors) hence the reproof, to those who accept them literally. (return to text)
14. Brahman ascetics. (return to text)
15. The reincarnating Ego. (return to text)
16. True, divine Wisdom. Both action and inaction may find room in thee; tin- body agitated, thy mind tranquil, thy Soul as limpid as a mountain lake. (return to text)
17. The "Higher Self," the "seventh" principle. (return to text)
18. Our physical bodies are called "Shadows" in the mystic schools. (return to text)
19. Buddha. (return to text)
20. A forest, a desert. Aranyankas, a hermit who retires to the jungles and lives in a forest, when becoming a Yogi. (return to text)
21. Julai is the Chinese name for Tathagata, a title applied to every Buddha. (return to text)
22. All the Northern and Southern traditions agree in showing Buddha quitting his solitude as soon as he had resolved the problem of life — i. e., received the inner enlightenment — and teaching mankind publicly. (return to text)
23. Every spiritual Ego is a ray of a "Planetary Spirit" according to Esoteric teaching. (return to text)
24. Personalities or physical bodies called "shadows" are evanescent. (return to text)
25. Mind [Manas) the thinking principle or Ego in man, is referred to "Knowledge" itself, because the human Egos are called Manasaputra, the sons of (universal) Mind. (return to text)
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