Mr dear Mr. Sinnett,
I have never read Rhys David's Paranibbana and therefore do not know how far he blunders. But judging by what I have read by him, I should say he blunders all along the line and to set it as all a blunder is the safest.
Boar's flesh eaten by Buddha is of course a very transparent symbology. The first form assumed by Brahma when he arose from primal chaos (water in which the earth was formed, see Ramayana), and Manu, was that of a boar who raised the earth out of that water.
The dish of rice and boar's flesh refers to Brahmanism. The Secret Doctrine explains that the legend of the Adepts of the Left Path — (whose descendants are now the Tantrikas) — Brahmins, had by magical arts, induced Buddha to eat of a meal of boar's flesh with rice. That rice was, called tsale rice — synonymous with the paradise for "forbidden fruit" or apple. The original Tantrikas are said to be the descendants — (as also the dug-pas) of those Brahmins who, as the symbolical legend says, coming from the world of the Devas lived on earth, and by eating the tsale rice forfeited all their powers and from heavenly adepts became simple mortal men in their bodies. I am explaining this symbolism in the Secret Doctrine along with other things. The explanation of it is simply that left hand Brahmanism (instead of the Right Divine Knowledge) prevailed. The rice is the "forbidden fruit" and boar and pig's flesh is Brahmanical exotericism — Buddha being vowed to secrecy and having compromised between the whole truth and symbolism as much as he dared — that truth choked him and he died of grief for being unable to explain all. Kunda (or Tzonda as he is called by the Tibetan and Burmese) the coppersmith or rather the son of a wealthy goldsmith, the builder of the monastery of Pontoogon, asks permission of preparing a meal for Buddha and his Arhats. He kills a young boar or pig (something strictly forbidden by Buddhist law) and dresses it with rice, the devas infusing into it most delicious perfume; and the choicest dishes are prepared with it. When Buddha comes to Tzonda or Kunda, Buddha chose the pork and rice and would not let his disciples eat of it — as he said that no one but himself could digest such food. The rest of it he ordered Tzonda to bury in the earth, that no one should eat of it; and right away he is taken sick. Transparent enough I should say? No one could after him — Buddha, preach the Good Law holding strictly to the essentials of the Secret, the true Doctrine, and yet without giving out anything of it, donnant le change to the public — therefore giving the "heart" of the doctrine to the few Elect — he left with the world only its "eye" — which Bodhidarma and Ananda were commissioned to preach after him. There is an extraordinary and awful mystery at the bottom of this ridiculous allegory which none but the initiates know. If it had been simple pork and rice — how is it that Buddha compares the "pork and rice" or puts it on the same footing as the delicious Nogana he ate on the morning of the day when he reached Buddha-ship? And why should he send Ananda to thank the goldsmith's son for the exquisite food and promise him great rewards for it hereafter in Brahma-loka. I explain it as far as I am allowed in one of the Chap. of Secret Doctrine which grows, grows and grows.
The 500 fine clothes and 500 layers . . . . . . . . [The remainder of this letter is missing. — Ed.]