The Theosophical Society (Adyar)

Amendments to the Society's Rules and Regulations

Comments of the actual situation by Editor
27.10.2008

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Dear friends,

I would like to make some comments because it seems that it is now presumed that the Theosophical Society is and has been till now true democracy, which is now endangered by group of people lead by John Algeo, what is, from my point of view, completely twisted perspective of the actual situation.

In first place let me overview once again some basic statistics of past TS President election results. Votes were received from 12,993 members out of 20,879 members of the Society eligible to vote and this number represents 62, 2 % of members eligible to vote and 44, 8 % of all members of the Theosophical Society. John Algeo received 4,323 votes or 20, 7 % and Radha Burnier 8,560 votes or 41% of all members eligible to vote. Therefore none of the candidates received majority support of the TS members eligible to vote, still less of all members of the Society. The fact that the elected President does not enjoy the majority support should represent a warning that in the Society some necessary changes are eminent and that there is an urgency to find such solutions which will find consensus of majority of the Society’s members.

The proposal of the Amendments to the TS Rules and Regulations certainly didn’t lead to the consensus solution and only deepened the polarization in the Society. More over, none of the poles have till now presented any concrete proposal or visible sign of willingness to find some consensus solutions and foster the democratization and transparency in the Society.

Next, there seems that it is absent fundamental direction of the Society for the next years as it seems that the General Council, as the Governing Body of the TS, will not discuss any proposal and accept any policy and plan of work. At least we didn’t see any such proposal except that in John Algeo’s election campaign material.

Further on, although it was clearly established that during the election process several TS officers have behaved immorally, violating TS Rules and Regulations and unethically conducted the election campaign, what certainly damaged the Society, we didn’t see any statement of regret or apology to the membership, still less any sign of willingness to offer a resignation.

And finally, it is hoped that continuation of this unconstructive, war-like situation will soon wake up those uniting forces and numerous towards brotherhood oriented members to step forward and launch the revitalization of the Society on the principle of brotherhood and cooperation and transcend the quarrels which from broader perspective of the needs of the Society and humanity at large would look really silly if they were not sad.

Warmest regards,
Anton Rozman

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p.s. I am adding excerpts from David R. Loy’s “Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness”, Vol. 1 No. 2 Page 123, The Non-duality of Good and Evil: Buddhist Reflections on the New Holy War (Copyright Wickedness Net 2003, http://www.wickedness.net.)

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If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago.

In his autobiography Gandhi writes that “those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means” … religion is about how we should live, and politics is about deciding together how we want to live. The main reason it has not been obvious is because most modern societies have been careful to distinguish the secular public sphere from the personal, private world of religious belief. This has been essential for creating a multicultural climate of religious tolerance, but at a price: such tolerance effectively “displaces morality” by “asking you to inhabit your own moral convictions loosely and be ready to withdraw from them whenever pursuing them would impinge on the activities and choices of others.”

And that brings us to a third aspect of Gandhi’s statement, the one that I want to focus on: the intersection of religion and politics in the way we understand good and evil. Our understanding of good and evil cannot be simply identified with any religious worldview, but the two are intimately related.

In other words, one of the main causes of evil in this world has been human attempts to eradicate evil, or what has been viewed as evil. In more Buddhist terms, much of the world’s suffering has been a result of our way of thinking about good and evil.

You’re either with us or against us.

From a Buddhist perspective, there is something delusive about both sides of this mirror image, and it is important to understand how this black-and-white way of thinking brings more suffering, more evil, into the world.

This dualism of good-versus-evil is attractive because it is a simple way of looking at the World.

If the world is a battleground of good and evil forces, the evil that is in the world must be fought and defeated by any means necessary.

Nevertheless, it is a tragic fact that many religious people - or many people who believe themselves to be religious - have objectified and projected this struggle as a struggle in the external world between the good (most of all, their own religion) and evil (other religions).

Perhaps the basic problem with this simplistic good-versus-evil way of understanding conflict is that, because it tends to preclude further thought, it keeps us from looking deeper, from trying to discover causes. Once something has been identified as evil, there is no more need to explain it; it is time to focus on fighting against it.

For Buddhism, evil, like everything else, has no essence or substance of its own; it is a product of impermanent causes and conditions. Buddhism emphasizes the concept of evil less than what it calls the three roots of evil, or the three causes of evil, also known as the three poisons: greed, ill will and delusion.

Buddhism emphasizes ignorance and enlightenment because the basic issue depends on our self-knowledge: do we really understand what motivates us?

One way to summarize the basic Buddhist teaching is that we suffer, and cause others to suffer, because of greed, ill will and delusion. Karma implies that when our actions are motivated by these roots of evil, their negative consequences tend to rebound back upon us. That is true for everyone. However, the Buddhist solution to suffering does not involve requiting violence with violence, any more than it involves responding to greed with greed, or responding to delusion with delusion. … the Buddhist solution involves breaking that cycle by transforming greed into generosity, ill will into loving kindness, and delusions into wisdom.

Realizing our interdependence and mutual responsibility for each other implies something more than just an insight or intellectual awareness. When we try to live the way this interdependence implies, it is called love. Such love is much more than a feeling; perhaps it is best understood as a mode of being in the world. Buddhist texts emphasize compassion, generosity, and loving-kindness, and they all reflect this mode, being different aspects of love.

Such love is sometimes mocked as weak and ineffectual, yet it can be very powerful, as Gandhi showed. It embodies a deep wisdom about how the cycle of hatred and violence works, and about how that cycle can be ended. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, but there is an alternative. Twenty-five hundred years ago Shakyamuni Buddha said:

“He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me” - for those who harbor such thoughts ill-will will never cease. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me” - for those who do not harbor such thoughts ill-will will cease.

Because Buddhist enlightenment or “awakening” requires mindfulness of our ways of thinking, Buddhism encourages us to be wary of antithetical concepts …

Perhaps the most important way the interdependence of good and evil shows itself is that we don’t know what is good until we know what is evil, and we don’t feel we are good unless we are fighting against that evil. We can feel comfortable and secure in our own goodness only by attacking and destroying the evil outside us.

Because the villains like to hurt people, it’s okay to hurt them. … After all, they are evil and evil must be destroyed. What is this kind of story really teaching us? That if you want to hurt someone, it is important to demonize them first: in other words, to fit them into your good-versus-evil script.

When I manipulate the world to get what I want from it, the more separate and alienated I feel from it, and the more separate others feel from me, of course, when they have been manipulated; this mutual distrust encourages both sides to manipulate more. On the other side, the more I can relax and open up to the world, trusting it and accepting the responsibility that involves responding to its needs - which is what loving it means - the more I feel a part of it, at one with other people; and the more others become inclined to trust and open up to me.

Last update: January 2009
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