12 - Mystery Schools

TALKS By NAMGYAL RINPOCHE

Toronto 1971
Rab Wilkie (Editor)
Kennedy Long (Scribe)


07 Feb 1971 (2pm)

PHILOSOPHY: The MYSTERY SCHOOLS

Philosophy is the main study of the Mystery Schools. This included history, comsmology, and so forth. The search. The candidate was led to the temple door blindfolded, representing ignorance, and let in still blind to go through a psychodrama - a journey of sounds and physical encounters - then instructed in some aspect before starting a study, especially philosophy, with question and answer. Philosophy was not dogmatic or closed in the sense of final, but rather probing and investigation. Dialogue was the earliest true search for meaning. In the Mystery Schools it involved a search for values.

How to define philosophy? It is the science of estimating values, meaning, and purpose. It applies the thinking function to the feeling function), of meaning, of purpose. It is an approach to clear seeing - to see those ideas and concepts that are of most value to Man for his spiritual unfoldment. It is the study and discovery of the relationships of the manifest with their unmanifest ultimate source, and about their cause and nature. This may bring forth the statement that there is a God and a purpose to life.

Do you study to know, or to not know?

In the philosophy of the Mystery Schools six aspects or disciplines were traditional:

Metaphysics
cosmology, theology, the nature of being.
Logic
the structure of reasoned thought, rational & orderly.
Ethics
science of morality, individual involvement and responsiveness of character; types of beings and their motivations.
Psychology
classification of forms of phenomena referable to a mental origin; study of the inner and its relationship to the outer.
Epistemology
origin and nature of knowledge itself.
Esthetics
study of phenomena which are beautiful, harmonious, elegant, noble, and whether or not they are real; and of the effects of the outer on the inner.

To be a philosopher in ancient Greece, one had to be proficient in all six disciplines.

The concept of 'homeostasis', the dynamic harmony of the universe, was important.

The title of 'Sophos', wise one or sage, was conferred upon seven thinkers, the immortals: Solon, Chilon, Pithecus, Bias, Calobylus, Pereander, Thales.

Thales held that Water was the primal element on which Earth floated; earthquakes were the result of disturbance in the universal sea. He founded the Ionian and Late Ionic school which dissolved in 546 BC. In cosmological philosphy the search was for the First Cause or prime principle of existence. His students included Anaxamander, Anaxagoras, and Archeus who declared that undefinable infinity was the First Cause, and Air was how it manifested physically. The Prime Element was Ether, and souls and God were composed of it. Zero (0) represented pure potential, formless chaos moving in a vortex. The led to the study of the 'atom', the smallest unit of matter. God was infinite, self-moving mind.

The Cynics were founded between 434-365 BC by Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates, the bane of Athens. They propounded a doctrine that led individuals driven by misery to austere delving into themselves. He who was closest to God was the one with fewest wants. Diogenes was the most famous Cynic.

The emphasis was on simplification. They held that God was free from want and Man can become divine by wanting less and less. Individuality was akin to divinity, and in becoming the Hermit there is an unfolding that leads back to the Ground of Being. Renunciation and suffering creates a drive towards innerness, withdrawal. This is the Via Negativa ("Neti, neti" - not this, not that). Wants, distractions, and attachments hinder the acquisition of knowledge of one's own being. It was a philosophy that led into despair and the experience of the Void.

The Cynics held that everything in the world belongs to the gods, who are friends to the wise, and all [things, possessions] are common among friends, and all things belong to the wise. By giving up clinging you come to the true possession of nothing in particular. These ideas are current today.

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