Guest Post: The Bodhisattva Question

by Hans van Willenswaard

Regular readers of this blog may recall me announcing my intention to organise a conference at Emerson College in 2019 on some kind of post-capitalism theme. Since then, the conference theme has been through several changes and it is still being worked on with colleagues.  The most likely outcome will be an event in 2020 rather than 2019 and, rather than choosing subject matter likely to draw us into despair and angst, which is all too easy given the state of the world, the theme will be focused on asking the Earth what it needs now from human beings. In the course of navigating these changes, I made contact with a wonderful group of people who organised the International Earth Trusteeship Gathering in The Hague from 22nd-23rd June this year. Hans van Willenswaard is a member of this group, and I am pleased to publish the following article by him.

Dear Jeremy,

I follow your blog with keen interest and joy. Anthropopper blog is a great platform where challenging subjects can be discussed with openness, sincerity, humour and depth.

An issue that has been intriguing me – it indirectly appears through a number of your blog conversations – is the so-called “Bodhisattva question”. It is difficult to pin my contribution down to one existing thread. So, let me formulate a few points for discussion in this separate message. The two reasons why I send these now are: the recent rehabilitation of Ita Wegman and Elisabeth Vreede by the General Assembly of the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach. The two Dutch ladies were both expelled from the board of directors of the society in 1935. And, as a remarkable gesture of synchronicity, the opening of “Elisabeth Vreede house” in The Hague as the new centre of the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands. Elisabeth Vreede is of course known in the first place for her extraordinary knowledge and research in the fields of mathematics and astronomy. But also for a series of lectures she held on the “Bodhisattva question”.

Two months ago the new Elisabeth Vreede house offered an intriguing location for my musings on this “Bodhisattva question”. I had the pleasure to be a co-organiser of an event in the restyled “Vreedehuis”, called the International Earth Trusteeship Gathering, 22-23 June 2018. Unexpectedly, as much improvisation was needed, the gathering turned out to be a significantly meaningful and dynamic international gathering with, at its peak, around 90 participants from all over the world including – to mention a few – professor in environmental law from New Zealand Klaus Bosselmann; Right Livelihood Award laureate (“the Alternative Nobel Prize”) and former chair Friends of the Earth International, Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria; and Dutch expert in sustainable finance Roland Mees. Focal points were the Earth Charter, launched in 2000 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth adopted in Bolivia in 2010. I will explain later why this is relevant for a discussion on the “Bodhisattva question”. A highlight of the gathering certainly was the spirited speech on transforming ownership held by Gerald Häfner, leader of the Social Sciences Section at the Goetheanum. Gerald presented his views in front of the bust of Elisabeth Vreede. Elisabeth was born and grew up not far from the centre which now carries her name. The forward-looking Earth Trusteeship gathering perfectly matched the scale and warmth of Vreedehuis, the former Eurythmy Academy. The house is located at walking distance from the Peace Palace, seat of the UN International Court of Justice and other global judicial institutes.

My entanglement with the “Bodhisattva question” on which Elisabeth Vreede had lectured in The Hague, April 1930, and the same year in Stuttgart, stems from my inter-cultural background. I was born in the Netherlands and live in Thailand where I married Wallapa, my Thai wife. Midway in my career I joined the (then) Rural Development Programme (RDP) at Emerson College, 1982-’84. During my education at Emerson I became a member of the Dutch anthroposophical society. While I had taken earlier in the Netherlands, 1979, “refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha” – after years of training in Vipassana meditation – in other words: I was going to try to be a Buddhist. It has been and still is my intention to explore opportunities for synergy between these two commitments, both in my personal life and search for inner insight, as well as in the context of social development and inter-cultural co-creation of a better future. But are Buddhism and anthroposophy compatible?

I visited Forest Row and London occasionally to touch base. When I went to England in 1993 I discovered in a famous Steiner bookshop, not far from the British Museum, the freshly published English version of The Bodhisattva Question: Krishnamurti, Rudolf Steiner, Valentin Tomberg, and the Mystery of the Twentieth-Century Master written by Thomas Meyer. The book includes the two complete Stuttgart lectures of Elisabeth Vreede on the subject. It was originally published in German as Die Bodhisattvafrage by Pegasus, 1989. The publisher’s introductory text reads:

“According to Rudolf Steiner, the future Maitreya Buddha (…) incarnated (as a Bodhisattva: (my addition) in a human body in the twentieth century. Presuming this to be so, then who was this person? The Theosophists believed they had discovered the Bodhisattva in an Indian boy, Krishnamurti, who grew up to be a teacher of some magnitude. Adolf Arenson and Elisabeth Vreede, both students of Rudolf Steiner, made independent examinations of this question in relation to Steiner’s personal mission, and were led to contrasting conclusions. More recently a claim has been made that Valentin Tomberg – a student of anthroposophy but later an influential Roman Catholic – was the Bodhisattva. These conflicting theories are analysed by Thomas Meyer, who demonstrates how the question can be useful as an exercise in developing sound judgement in spiritual matters.”

“Developing sound judgement in spiritual matters” is what I have been trying to do, in particular at the crossroads of Buddhism and anthroposophy, since I got acquainted with both streams. The urge to make judgements in matters of “public spirituality” was a particular challenge to me, initially, as a founding team-member and later volunteer of De Kosmos meditation centre in Amsterdam from 1968 onwards. Later I combined my “taking refuge” with a vow to live my commitment to walking the path of the Buddha in a context of interreligious dialogue. For I did not want to renounce my Christian roots. For more than a decade I volunteered as secretary of the Dutch national chapter of what is now Religions for Peace, one of the global organisations for interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

It was thus with great anticipation that I started reading the book of Thomas Meyer. I expected positive clues towards synthesis, the dawn of common ground, efforts towards reconciliation and cross-cultural collaboration. At Emerson College – where my engagement with Buddhism fitted in a genuinely multi-cultural “RDP community” – I befriended pioneers of Steiner education in India and I felt the sadness of the historical divisions between the students of Krishnamurti, Mahatma Gandhi and Rudolf Steiner. Annie Besant had ushered Gandhi into his role as leader of the independence movement. And Krishnamurti, after his break with the Order of the Star in the East in 1929 (four years after Steiner’s passing), became a wisdom leader in his own right.

So I was deeply puzzled on the one hand by the lucidity of Meyer’s characterization of anthroposophy and his critique of the early Theosophists, of Krishnamurti and in particular Valentin Tomberg. However, at the same time I was struck by his apparent failure, maybe even disinterest, in making an equally intelligent effort to positively answer the question “who was the Bodhisattva of the 21st century?”. How can you intellectually cut down your antagonists in great style yet not be able to follow the stated predictions of Rudolf Steiner to discover this person so vital for the future of the Earth and humanity?

In 2010 a new German edition of Thomas Meyer’s book was released (which I did not read but in essence is announced to be the same) under the title Scheidung der Geister: Die Bodhisattwafrage als Prüfstein des Unterscheidungsvermögens. In English: The Bodhisattva question as test case for the power of discrimination. The introductory text now says:

“Elisabeth Vreedes Vorträge sind nach wie vor mustergültig in ihrer Klarsicht: Sie betonen den Ich- und Intuitionscharakter von Steiners Geisteswissenschaft, die sich von jeder Bodhisattwa-Inspiration unterscheidet.”

(Google Translate version: Elisabeth Vreede’s lectures are still exemplary in their clarity: They emphasise the ego and intuition character of Steiner’s spiritual science, which differs from any bodhisattwa inspiration.)

Isn’t this – rather by Thomas Meyer than by Elisabeth Vreede  – a disturbing appropriation of what Bodhisattva inspiration might be, and whether that excludes intuition as known in Steiner’s spiritual science? How can one do research into a “Bodhisattva question” in the context of the 20th century without a dialogue with leading contemporary Buddhist scholars – especially those who cherish Buddhist philosophy as a spiritual science rather than a religion – and with practitioners? Fortunately, I found consolation in the gentle but firm wisdom demonstrated by Elisabeth Vreede, of whom I had not heard before. I recognized in her approach the best of Dutch “normality” and tolerance in spiritual matters, be it combined with due earnestness and assertiveness.

In Vreede’s first lecture – included in Meyer’s book – she quotes Rudolf Steiner speaking on the Buddha:

“Earlier on he had allowed himself, so to speak, to be led from above; he had received impulses from the spiritual world and then passed them on. In this incarnation, however, 600 years before our era, he was raised to the rank of Buddha in his twenty-ninth year, i.e. in this incarnation he experiences the entry of his whole individuality into the physical body. (…)’

‘This was the enlightenment of the Buddha in the twenty-ninth year of his life under the Bodhi tree. There it was that the teaching of compassion and love flowered in him, independent of connections with the spirit world, as something belonging to the human soul; so that he could think through to the teaching of compassion and love, of which he spoke in the Eightfold Path. And the sermon following this is the great teaching of compassion and love, issuing for the first time from a human breast!”[1]

The rehabilitation of Elisabeth Vreede does not of course imply that there are no different opinions left regarding the Bodhisattva question today. Different opinions on the subject are, though not of primary importance, maybe as much related, albeit indirectly, to the present governance crisis in the General Anthroposophical Society as the “question” was during the, certainly much deeper, crisis in the 1930s. The popularity of Meyer’s book shows that the issue is still alive. From this perspective it is vital, in my view, to approach the different opinions as learning points – including learning how to govern diversity – rather than taking them as a “separation of spirits” and the proclamation of a doctrine.

Sergei O. Prokofieff wrote, in Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries (German version 1982; first English version 1986), in line with the 1930 argumentation of Adolf Arenson:

“As an initiate Rudolf Steiner sacrificed his earthly astral body by placing it at the service of the lofty spiritual being of the Bodhisattva, and – in a wider sense – of the whole circle of the Master individualities, who are connected with the high sphere of the Holy Spirit who form now onwards, spoke through him.”

“(…) this event brings his autobiography The Course of My Life to its logical conclusion for Rudolf Steiner can no longer apply the word ‘my’ only to himself as an individual on Earth, but henceforth must apply it also to the cosmic beings working through him.”[2]

Elisabeth Vreede suggests – cautiously contradicting Arenson – that Rudolf Steiner himself had stated that he was not the Bodhisattva of the 20th century; and that he spoke out of his own soul. Would she have agreed with the description of Sergej Prokofieff in which Steiner largely gives up his “I” to make place for a “we”? Isn’t there a contradiction full of enigma between this description by Prokofieff and what Steiner had said about the Buddha: “There it was that the teaching of compassion and love flowered in him, independent of connections with the spirit world, as something belonging to the human soul.” Has there been a debate between Sergej Prokofieff and Thomas Meyer on how to understand the “Bodhisattva inspiration” in Rudolf Steiner’s development as a teacher of spiritual science, and how that inspiration relates to the path of “I – intuition”?

Steiner made, reluctantly, under pressure of the misleading Theosophical claim of clairvoyantly determining Krishnamurti as the Maitreya / reborn Christ, the prediction following below. [Lorenzo Ravagli added recently that, according to an account of Friedrich Rittelmeyer, Rudolf Steiner had stated orally that the revelation of the spiritual world leader would start in the 1930s[3].

Steiner’s prediction on the Bodhissattva of the 20th century contains three points. The Bodhisattva is:

  • Incarnated during the lifetime of Rudolf Steiner
  • Shows transition to exceptional leadership around the age of 30 years
  • Announces the appearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth

It may not be good story-telling to give away the major observation I try to make in this conversation at this point but I would like to compare an early personal experience in my search for insight, with a quintessential reference to Rudolf Steiner by Thomas Meyer:

“Rudolf Steiner took such a serious view of this lack of discrimination, to which members of spiritual movements seem particularly prone, that he occasionally felt obliged to make very pointed remarks to rouse his pupils to an awareness of the grave consequences the lack of this faculty would have.”[4]

Let’s compare this with another source. It was in the year 1973 that (His Holiness) the Dalai Lama visited the Netherlands, and Europe, for the first time. I attended his public lecture in the main auditorium of the Royal Tropical Museum in Amsterdam. I do not remember much more than the extraordinary light in the lecture hall. Only one question and answer struck – as a beginning student of Buddhist meditation – me as exceptional. A person in the audience asked: “are there possible negative impacts of meditation?” The Dalai Lama was visibly amused being challenged by a difficult question, and he took time to think before he replied. “Yes, you risk to lose your capacity for discrimination”.

So, we all agree that Unterscheidungsvermögen (Discernment) is essential. But should that lead to a “separation of spirits,” to a Scheidung der Geister?

Now before I consider further the point of who could be considered to be the Bodhisattva of the 20th century, let me first raise the question of who invented this “Bodhisattva of the 20th century” concept in the first place. In Buddhism there are myriads of teachings on what a Bodhisattva is, but no teacher spoke about it in these terms, as far as I know. In early Theravada traditions bodhisattvas are personifications of the Buddha in incarnations before the one in which he attained Enlightenment. In Mahayana tradition and growing contemporary practice everyone can and is encouraged to make a Bodhisattva vow to “renounce individual enlightenment and work for the liberation of all beings and to attain buddhahood for their sake”.(5) We can all become Bodhisattvas within our limitations.

So the “throne that Krishnamurti left vacant” as Thomas Meyer says sarcastically, is a particular construction of the Theosophy and Anthroposophy movements only, it seems. This may clarify why Thomas Meyer considers candidates for the “Bodhisattva of the 20thcentury” exclusively from his own small circle.

In the theosophical context with its inclination to the East this is still understandable, but why does the exotic term “bodhisattva” remain common in the anthroposophical movement? With good reasons it can be argued that the phenomenon “bodhisattva” has been universalised and no longer belongs exclusively to the Buddhist tradition. This point of view rightly grants anthroposophical science equal – but not more than others – legitimacy to research, define and debate Bodhisattva inspiration. Universalisation is a fair legitimation, but needs to be exercised with due respect to cultural origin. Most importantly it remains to be seen whether the universalisation principle stands being reciprocal when applied to other phenomena.

Does it make sense, at all, to prove that Rudolf Steiner was right or wrong with his prediction? At least as an exercise for our own critical awareness, as Prüfstein des Unterscheidungsvermögens. And if we can solve the riddle, try to construct an answer, it may lead us to insights that enable us to unlock more mysteries that were left to the generations after Rudolf Steiner’s passing in 1925. It may, among others, help us to clarify what we mean with “clairvoyant evidence”.

Are Buddhists, like me, taken seriously when they try to contribute to solving the riddle of the Bodhisattva of the 20thcentury’s presumed manifestation?

Ton Majoor in his reaction, anthropopper February 5, 2017, links us, in one breath with a reference to Rudolf Steiner’s works – as if they are written in the same spirit – to the book The Shadow of the Dalai Lama by Victor and Victoria Trimondi. I was shocked to discover that this book, which I did not know but could read online following the link, is at least as malicious in its assessments of the Dalai Lama as many Steiner critics are towards Rudolf Steiner. Read it yourself. However, and that is one of the good things of the anthropopper blog, our efforts to appropriately discriminate – or discern –does not prevent us from admitting that, yes, critique is to be taken into consideration without prejudice.

So, far from being blind to the shadows of historic and contemporary Buddhism[6], let me make the following observations:

  • The Dalai Lama was incarnated in the person of the XIII Dalai Lama 1876 – 1933, so during Rudolf Steiner’s lifetime. The XIII Dalai Lama still was a fully feudal lama. Anyhow, according to the information transmitted by Friedrich Rittelmeyer the Bodhisattva of the 20thcentury would start to be revealed in the 1930ies. The XIV Dalai Lama was born in 1935.
  • The XIV Dalai Lama was formally recognized by means of traditional Tibetan procedures as the “Bodhisattva of Compassion” in 1939. In the initial years of his exile in India from 1959 onwards he still was confined to the traditional constrictions of his position. However, in 1967, at the age of 32, he started traveling abroad. His first destinations were Japan and Thailand. At the age of 38 he made his first journey to Europe. In an interview in the Netherlands, 1973, he stated that he himself never had said that he was the Dalai Lama, demonstrating a remarkable detachment from the traditional powers bestowed on him. He renounced his position as political leader and ushered in democratic elections of the Tibetan Government in exile. He initiated an open dialogue between traditional Buddhist scholars and leaders in contemporary science. The scholars that jointly shaped these Mind and Life dialogues included from an early stage anthroposophist Arthur Zajonc[7]. Arthur published various volumes based on the dialogues and ultimately led the Mind and Life Institute 2012 – 2015.
  • From his first journeys outside India onwards, the XIV Dalai Lama taught Universal Responsibility, in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but adding two essential dimensions toit: his teachings emphasise responsibility over rights, and a telosinclusive Nature, or “the environment”, rather than being predominantly human-centred.

My second encounter with the Dalai Lama (others were to follow) came in 1979, by coincidence just after I had “taken refuge”. As a volunteer I accompanied a delegation of – South East Asia based – Theravada teachers residing in Europe under the guidance of my Thai meditation teacher. The delegation made this journey to pay their respect to the Dalai Lama in his Tibetan monastery in Rikon, Switzerland. This gesture of respect, unusual among the Theravada and Mahayana streams in Buddhism, was instigated by Mahasi Sayadaw, a renowned senior Burmese meditation teacher, when he visited Europe. The Dalai Lama gave a teaching on the text of Shantideva (685 – 763) the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.The Dalai Lama demonstrated a deeply engaging attitude of shared learning rather than authoritative teaching.

Leaving aside the particular predicate “the Bodhisattva of the 20thcentury” I would say without doubt, that the Dalai Lama, who liberated himself from feudal tradition and doctrine, while respecting and practicing meaningful tradition, is indeed a Bodhisattva of Compassion. But did he announce the appearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth?

In my eyes the appearance of the Christ is a “possibility” that can only be realised through human awareness. If it cannot be perceived by the whole of humanity in universal terms, it will not happen. Nothing less than active universal awareness, shared by humanity as a whole, so “universal responsibility”, will be needed to make this possibility come to realisation. The test of clairvoyant evidence is realisation. Universalisation of the Bodhisattva phenomenon, as earlier agreed, is legitimate. I argue that universalisation, with due respect to the original context and taking into account related culturally specific wisdom, that legitimate universalisation also applies to the concept of the “(re-)appearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth.”

In times of urgency, for those who can see it, this transformation of the Earth into “personhood” is happening. This was also the common “feeling” of fiery enthusiasm during the Earth Trusteeship gathering at Elisabeth Vreede house, 22 – 23 June 2018. Without solidifying it in coercive expectation, it was providing gentle direction to intuitive action. Of course this is only one small event among many developments gradually countering reigning human behavior that results in climate change, inadequate governance and massive economic over-exploitation. But for me it was especially significant “to see it happen”, on a human-to-human scale, in the house of Elisabeth Vreede. And hear her say, as if she spoke to me: [for (…) a person who treasures Bodhisattva Inspiration]

“‘active waiting’ which consists in learning the language of spiritual science should continue to be the guiding principle.”[8]

A great Bodhisattva of the 20thcentury is still in our midst. His message, along with anthroposophy and a diversity of streams, enables us to use our I- and intuition capabilities to make the re-appearance of the Christ in the Etheric body of the Earth happen – making Earth Trusteeship work for the benefit of future generations.

References:

1 Lecture by Rudolf Steiner: Deeper Secrets of Human History in the Light of the Gospel of St Matthew, Stuttgart, 14 November 1909 (GA 117), English version, quoted by Elizabeth Vreede according to the book of Thomas Meyer.

2 Prokofieff page 75.

3 Lorenzo Ravagli 1930 ǀSukzession und falsche Bodhisattvas, Anthroblog, 26 Match 2014

4 Thomas Meyer The Bodhisattva Question, pages 11 – 12.

5 The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicharyavatara) by Shantideva (Author), Padmakara Translation Group (Translator), Shambala publishers, 2006.

6 I am an active member of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) which brings together a diversity of streams in Buddhism characterized by social engagement and system critique. INEB was founded in 1989 in Thailand by social activist and scholar Sulak Sivaraksa.

7 We published various of his books in Thai language.

8 Second Stuttgart lecture, in The Bodhisattva Question

 

64 Comments

Filed under Bodhisattva, Buddhism, Dalai Lama

64 responses to “Guest Post: The Bodhisattva Question

  1. Meyer (2010, google WUJsASWu8s8C, p.67) describes the change in the 30-years old World Teacher Krishnamurti after the death of his brother, a characteristic of the future Bodhisattva (GA0130/19110917 and Meyer p.50).
    Steiner didn’t explicitly deny Krishnamurti being the future Bodhisattva (cf. The Story of My Life, GA028_c31).

    Steiner (1915) on the Dalai Lama:
    “… the Yellow Caps are connected with the Luciferic element, the Red Tassels more with the Ahrimanic. These traits come to expression not only in their doctrines but also in their deeds: the Luciferic element is predominant in the doctrines and deeds of the Yellow Caps, the Ahrimanic element in those of the Red Tassels.”
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA254/English/TS1939/19151031p02.html

    The Trimondi’s:
    “What we mean by the Dalai Lama’s “shadow” is the possibility of a dark, murky, and “dirty” side to both his personality and politicoreligious office in contrast to the pure and brilliant figure he cuts as the “greatest living hero of peace in our century” in the captivated awareness of millions.“ (http://www.trimondi.de/SDLE/Introduction.htm)

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    • The Gospel of Matthew, Lecture Ten:

      “Could humanity but have the good fortune (I desire to give this only as an indication) of seeing the reincarnation in our time of that Jesus ben Pandira who was inspired by the great Bodhisattva destined to be the Maitreya Buddha, he would recognize as his most important mission this teaching concerning the etheric Christ, the Christ Who would appear in etheric clouds, and he would impress on his hearers the fact that once and once only could the Christ appear in a physical body.”

      We know that Rudolf Steiner in late January of 1910 began to proclaim the imminent Second Coming of Christ in the Etheric. It began a collection of lectures on the subject, GA118, and thus this was a pivotal point in the mission of anthroposophy. We also know that for very important reasons, Rudolf Steiner in the midst of his lectures on, “The Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz”,
      GA130, gave a lecture concerning Jeshu ben Pandira on November 4, 1911, in which he comes very close to naming the present Bodhisattva as the one who heralds the reappearance of Christ in Etheric raiment. Was he attempting to say something very personal and important here?

      Is Jeshu ben Pandira the inspiration behind Matthew in the writing of the
      Gospel of Matthew? I have been pondering on how Luke was compiled by the “spirit-seers”, and John was written by an Initiate with few clairvoyant impressions, and Mark must have been clairvoyant in his interpretation of Peter’s experiences. In Matthew, it is Levi, the tax collector, who is given a special name, and possibly a special relationship to the supersensible.

      Comparing and integrating the four Gospels is a wonderful endeavor. For example, Luke chapter 4 contains something in detail that the other three only briefly refer to, and I think we can find *that* throughout these gospels. Each details a significance event, and the others comment on it from their individual standpoint. It helps in developing the total picture.

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    • Dear Ton,

      Thank you for pointing at Rudolf Steiner’s self-restraint in denying the bodhisattva-hood of Krishnamurti. However in Steve Hale’s second comment, Steve provides a link to an important lecture of Adolf Arenson in which Arenson argues with reference to Steiner that it should be excluded.

      The one sentence you quote from the introduction to the Trimondi book in my opinion clearly reveals their malicious intent: the “contrast” they describe is a contrast between two bad qualities, not between good and bad. They give no honest consideration to a possible good side. The Dalai Lama usually presents himself as a simple monk. He never cut himself “a pure and brilliant figure as the “greatest living hero of peace in our century””, nor do I in my article. The Dalai Lama humbly accepted public recognition including the Nobel Peace Prize.

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      • Steiner died in March 1925, when Krishnamurti was only 29. So, Steiner couldn’t exclude him as a future Maitreya. At age 30 (the bodhisattva-age) he finally broke with Theosophy to become a world teacher of his own. From the age of 27 onwards Krishnamurti had experienced a mystical union (wiki), comparable to Steiner’s description in Ch.22 of his autobiography (see Arenson 1930).

        The present Dalai Lama, as a simple monk, had to balance his two malicious sides (say Yellow-brilliant and Red-dark) to become a good person.

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      • Rudolf Steiner was impelled to begin the process of excluding Krishnamurti from consideration as the Bodhisattva as early as 1909, when this boy became the identified one who would herald the so-called, “Order of the Star of the East”, which was a pure fabrication of Leadbeater and Besant. Indeed, Steiner showed great restraint in never actually identifying him by name.

        Yet, this whole issue had the effect of causing Steiner to begin to talk of the Bodhisattva, and Its purpose in spiritual evolution, and would eventually see his banishment from the Theosophical Society for opposing the announcement of Krishnamurti as the new world teacher, and reincarnation of Jesus.

        Now, we know that Krishnamurti would eventually deny these claims coming out of the Theosophical Society, and this is the best proof of all, although it broke the heart of Annie Besant.

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      • Put simply: Steiner rejected the Theosophical claim of a ‘Hindu boy’ as a new Messiah, but not as the future Maitreya Buddha.

        “The Maitreya Buddha will also work out of his own inner strength, and against the stream of general opinion. He will remain unknown in his youth. And when in his thirtieth year he has sacrificed his individuality, he will appear in such a way that morality will work through his words.” (GA0130/19110919)

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      • Yet the youthful Krishnamurti became well known in his youth, didn’t he? Even if he didn’t want, or suspect it.

        “The Maitreya Buddha will also work out of his own inner strength, and against the stream of general opinion. He will remain unknown in his youth. And when in his thirtieth year he has sacrificed his individuality, he will appear in such a way that morality will work through his words.” (GA0130/19110919)

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  2. Steve Hale

    I would love to encourage this discussion along with Hans van Willenswaard of the Hague. As such, it is a wonderful presentation, and I would only warrant that it gives a kind of modern mandate for the Christ consciousness that possibly Elizabeth Vreede lacked, and Ita Wegman got by way of a kind of submission.

    As for the Buddha awareness, now that is to be expected, but we live in a world of tumult which has to be fought against, and this requires more than the 8-fold path. We must identify and fight against evil. As such, America rules the day under the guise of democracy. It is a lie, and why the world suffers.

    I suppose we get it, or don’t. Now, what has to take place next in order to achieve something means taking responsibility for what occurs.

    Steve

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    • Thanks, Steve, also for your later comment! A renewed consciousness of what the appearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth means in universal terms, understandable by experience across cultures, is what is really needed to save the Earth. The causes of why the world suffers, will be analyzed in Buddhist philosophy (according to its “fourfold truth” diagnosis) before we “fight” and with what means. One characteristic of a Bodhisattva is conveying compassion to our enemies first, which does not exclude critique or resistance.

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      • Hello Hans, and I regard it with gratitude that you speak with such kind words. Indeed, these are the issues in today’s suffering world, and yet, it can be shown that Christ has already made His appearance and moved through the Etheric body of the Earth. This has already taken place, and it began with the Event of Ascension, in which Christ departed from the physical earth, and rose in the sky and disappeared into the clouds. And thus began His evolution in the etheric envelope of the Earth for nearly 1600 years. This is how the moral ether element was formed, and passed down to the Earth.

        Since the 16th century, Christ was progressively forced out of the etheric realm of the Earth because of the advent of materialism, and wherein human souls imbued with materialism were crossing the threshold at death, and needing to slough-off the yoke of materialism in order to advance in the life after death.

        Thus, the Christ was eventually forced out of the etheric realm itself, and took His place in the Astral World, and this placement has become the foundation for His ability to be experienced in the etheric body of human beings since around 1933. It is the Christ’s appearance on the astral plane that enables the experience of Christ in the human etheric body. Ref. GA152, 18 & 20 May 1913, “Michael and the Mystery of Golgotha”.

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  3. This a very interesting post and I would be interested to know what Hans feels about Steiner inspired meditation practices, such as the First Class mantrams, compared to Buddhist practices.

    It is noticeable that the candidates for the Bodhisattva discussed by the writers mentioned in this blog post are biological males.
    Is an assumption at work that the incarnation of this significant individual can or will only be as a male? (Most Anthroposophists seem to assume that Ahriman also will incarnate as a male! )
    There are plenty of females in the last century who could be the incarnation of the Bodhisattva but I do not see any mentioned, likewise there are plenty of females who could be the incarnation of Ahriman. (What a splendid way to get lots of anthroposophists looking in the wrong direction!)
    Is it inevitable that the external, observable life of this individual must follow the pattern that Rudolf Steiner described? Maybe Steiner was offering a possible character for the life, given the previous development and aims of this being. Possible also is that personal karma and general circumstances have made it so that the characteristics Rudolf Steiner describes have not not been apparent. Maybe their work will take place out of the public eye.
    Looking at another individuality might illuminate what I am trying to express.
    If, before he knew Schroer, Steiner had been trying to characterise how this being would appear, what would he have said about the Plato/Schroer being? Probably he would have talked about the destiny of Schroer as the bringer/creator of Anthroposophy. But as Steiner tells us, Schroer, once incarnated, was not able to fulfil that task and Rudolf Steiner took it on.

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    • Tom Mellett

      Hello, Tom Hart Shea,

      I think you will be quite delighted to learn that the 19th Century incarnation of the Bodhisattva destined to become the Maitreya Buddha (approximately 25 centuries from now) was a woman!

      She was clairvoyantly perceived and duly named by the eminent American Anthroposophist, Joel A. Wendt (1940- ) who writes about the experience here.

      http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/anthro-bio.htmlhttp://ipwebdev.com/hermit/anthro-bio.html

      Making a kind of inward assumption (so as to test the logic of the idea as well as whether all the related phenomena could meet the assumption-hypothesis) that I could possibly be the future Maitreya Buddha (a thought that I suspect I never would have had, had Steiner not been forced by outer circumstances to give those lectures on this theme – see below), I inwardly asked the question of what incarnation might be in between my present incarnation and the one suggested by the Thrones as George Washington.  

      The name Clara Barton was immediately thought in me in response to my forming this question, and when I later investigated her biography I discovered that she too had this pattern of a more innocent youth (see below), and a later gifted outer world personality, broken by a period described as having a kind of mental breakdown (again, see below for what happens when the egos change).

      Of course I must embed the above quote in the greater context of Joel himself becoming aware of his Entelechy as the Bodhisattva whom Rudolf Steiner predicted, and on the same webpage you can read his impeccably logical explication of how he was able to be born in 1940 and still be the 20th century incarnation of the Bodhisattva.

      Allow me now to quote Joel about how the stunning recognition of his lofty status as the very Bodhisattva himself did not inflate his ego to the point of megalomania. Quite the contrary, this sublime spiritual recognition bathed his soul in an elegant and ethereal atmosphere of supreme humility to the point of self-abnegation, as he explains here:

      What is the truth?  If we ask the question of whether Joel Wendt is a Bodhisattva incarnation of the Future Maitreya Buddha, we have missed the point entirely.   

      Joel Wendt doesn’t exist, nor does Rudolf Steiner the great initiate.

       These are mere nouns (names) for the immortal spirit (the i-AM), which on occasion manifests rather funny caricatures of itself.

       I have no interest in finding a name for myself (although I do call myself sometimes, a: social philosopher…and occasional fool), but certainly i-AM, and I have had this biography above described.  

      In cooperation with the Breath – the Wind of the Holy Spirit in my soul, I have produced the thought content in this book [American Anthroposophy].  

      For the reader, this thought content is the matter with which to wrestle, not any name applied to me.  It is the accomplished deeds of a knowing doer, engaged in the intercourse of cosmic and human thought, that exists on these pages  – nothing else. 

      Jeremy, thank you so much for publishing this guest blog post. I shall be notifying Joel of its existence and I will invite him to elaborate further on this intriguing Bodhisattva question.

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    • Dear tomhartshea,
      Thanks for your encouragement. There is much I learn from the kind publication of this post by Jeremy and the comments as they come in. Two reactions only. I do not know anything about Karl Julius Schroer. Regarding meditation: I have to admit that I never could properly familiarize with the First Class mantrams, as I do not feel at home in meditation practices of Tibetan buddhism. The closest connection I feel from my imperfect practice of Vipassana meditation is with the first part on epistemology of ‘Philosophy of Spiritual Activity’ (the second part is what is missing in Vipassana). About the gender issue: Steiner worked closely with Marie Steiner and later with Ita Wegman and Elisabeth Vreede (among others). If we accept and appreciate a “socialized” and inclusive bodhisattva concept/reality they were boddhisattva’s in their own right. Another female bodhisattva I could mention is Rudolf Steiner’s contemporary, Bertha von Suttner, also Austrian, and the first woman who received the Nobel Peace Prize. She was famous for her book ‘Die Waffen Nieder’ and the driving force behind the First Hague Peace Conference in 1899 which resulted in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the construction of the Peace Palace in The Hague and ultimately the International Court of Justice. Steiner referred to her, they probably met in Berlin circles, but her message was too exoteric for him. The Dalai Lama said his next incarnation, if happening at all, could be a woman.

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      • I meant to say: I have to admit that I never could properly familiarize with the First Class mantrams, in the same way as I do not feel at home in meditation practices of Tibetan buddhism. Vipassana meditation, now widely known, secularized and popularized as “mindfulness” does not use mantrams, visulaizations, or even thinking, but is purely a training of awareness and becoming aware of awareness.

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    • Steiner spoke of how Schroer, the reincarnated Plato, had an incarnation as a female in the 10th century. Hroswitha of Gandersheim, who was a dramatist and poet, c. 935-1002 AD. So, herein we can ascertain the qualities that would imbue the Schorer incarnation, who loved the literary Goethe, and yet had to defer the intellectual Goethe to his student, Rudolf Steiner.

      Steiner remembers an occasion from his KR series in which he visited Schroer at his apartment when he was being analyzed by a phrenologist. According to the phrenologist examining the bumps on the head of Karl Julius Schroer he had an uncultured “theosophy bump”. Steiner obviously remembered this in order to tell us about it. Maybe it meant something.

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  4. Ottmar

    Studies

    Hans wrote: „In the theosophical context with its inclination to the East this is still understandable, but why does the exotic term “bodhisattva” remain common in the anthroposophical movement? With good reasons it can be argued that the phenomenon “bodhisattva” has been universalised and no longer belongs exclusively to the Buddhist tradition. This point of view rightly grants anthroposophical science equal – but not more than others – legitimacy to research, define and debate Bodhisattva inspiration. Universalisation is a fair legitimation, but needs to be exercised with due respect to cultural origin.“

    Thomas Meyer s book sums up much of the anthroposophical discussion on the „Bodhisattva question“., that s true. But it is also obvious that so much more was said „in the East“ about the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas which is either ignored by anthroposophists or which is simply unknown. Karl-Heinrich M. Uhlenried tried to fill this void with his book „Rudolf Steiner und die Bodhisattva-Frage“. (I cant tell why his excellent study is mostly ignored in anthro circles; maybe because his book is now published by controversial publisher.) Uhlenried explains the difference of the termini Dhyani-Bodhisattva and Manushi-Bodhisattva and he tries to link these termini to western esoteric termini. Uhlenried shows among others that in the eastern doctrine there is not only one Bodhisattva who reincarnates, the future Maitreya-Buddha, but that also the followers of the Maitreya, the Manjushri and the Samantabhadra incarnate „now“.

    Questions
    The Bodhisattva idea originally comes from the Buddhist tradition. Are there equivalents in the Hindu, Christian, Jewish or Islamic tradition?
    What are the tasks of the future Maitreya-Buddha today and in the past and future?
    What are the tasks of the future Manjushri and Samanthabhadra Buddhas?

    Ottmar

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    • Thank you for your reference to the book of Karl-Heinrich Uhlenried I did not know about, Ottmar. I do not have the deep knowledge on the pantheon of Bodhisattvas you have. Your information demonstrates the enormous complexity of the “bodhisattva world” in Buddhism in contrast with the more singular shape it has assumed in anthroposophical approaches. Other spiritual streams and religions add to the diversity. So, your question ‘What are the tasks of the future Maitreya-Buddha today and in the past and future?’ helps to focus more.

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  5. Ottmar

    Exoteric vs Esoteric

    Much of what the eastern (exoteric) traditions and doctrines say were or are esoteric doctrines in the „west“, like karma. This leads many followers of eastern tradition to believe that there is no esoteric, hidden teaching in Buddhism and Hinduism. Subba Row, a Hindu, was strictly against publishing certain secrets to westerners, this was one of the reasons why HP Blavatsky left India. And it is not by chance that „the Buddhist“ among the founders of the Theosophical Society, HS Olcott, was vehemently against HP Blavatsky s move to open the Esoteric School.

    Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism encourage the practices (of their followers, believers, members) of their respective religious activities, like prayers, meditations, pilgrimages etc. But they wont let their members free, won t let them stand on their own feet, the followers must remain within the church, the groups, follow the masters, independent of what they say or teach or claim. I understand that this is a difficult and controversial question. And I do not deny the value of these churches, groups, masters nor the benefits of their respective practices.

    So I wonder what the teachers, the real initiates or insiders of the east are ready to reveal about the Bodhisattvas and where the real secrets lie. See Subba Row, who wrote a book „Esoteric Writings“ but still wanted to keep certain things „within his own circle“.
    Ottmar

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    • There has been a special post on esoteric secrets in anthropopper. I understood that Elisabeth Vreede was deeply interested in the Baghavad Gita, but she probably did not want to be “opened” like Subba Row. She considered this a different path from anthroposophy which emphasizes scientific study and own effort, also the reason why she was reluctant to recognize the Bodhisattva of the 20st century in Rudolf Steiner.
      I think we share our struggle in anthroposophy to be truly free, with independent minds who accept to be part of other streams.

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  6. Adolf Arenson is the key figure in this assessment of the Bodhisattva Question as it relates to Rudolf Steiner. This lecture was given in Stuttgart on 30 March 1930, and then again in Dornach on 28 April 1930. The book by Meyer leaves much of the Arenson consideration out of account, and chooses instead to focus on Vreede’s rejection of the evidence, which became the official GAS position then, and now, some 93 years since the death of Rudolf Steiner.

    http://jf.bizzart.biz/ArticlesHTM/Art_SA_Steiner/Aar28430.html

    French to English translation is pretty straightforward, but it is also available in English from the Rudolf Steiner library here:

    https://rsl.scoolaid.net/bin/search/recDetailPage?sf0=1016&kw0=arenson&sortAttr=31&sortOrder=1&incRating=1&pNum=1&rid=&recRsPos=16

    Like

    • I have spent today in carefully translating the Arenson lecture into English, and it contains some very important revelations. For example, Arenson considers that Steiner is not the Bodhisattva, but rather, the herald of the Bodhisattva of the Twentieth Century, who has been inspiring him since he turned 40 years of age, c. 1901. Thus, the Bodhisattva of the 20th century was still in the spiritual world at the outset of the twentieth century, and existing in the state of “unbornness”, which facilitates a particular ability to influence those with the faculty that Rudolf Steiner was born to develop, i.e, modern exact clairvoyance.

      Yet, Arenson also devotes consideration of the period in Steiner’s life when he went to Weimar in 1890, the city of Goethe, and gained much of what his future career would entail beginning in 1900. As such, Arenson notes particularly that Steiner turned 29 years of age in 1890, when the so-called, “Office of the Bodhisattva” is established, and then over the course of the next seven years comes to several important realizations which could indicate that Steiner was being prepared for the revelations of the Bodhisattva.

      Arenson refers to chapter 22 of Steiner’s autobiography in the details of the Weimar years, c. 1890-1897. This constitutes the period from age 29 to 36 years of age, and sees Steiner’s eventual move to Berlin in 1898.

      So, what seems important here, and having translated this lecture in which Adolf Arenson goes over a great deal of the evidence for a definite relationship between Rudolf Steiner and the Bodhisattva, it seems to me that either of two possibilities exist:

      1) Steiner is the herald of the imminent reappearance of Christ as an etheric body experience, beginning in the second third of the twentieth century, c. 1933, and this is due to the inspirations of the Bodhisattva of the 20th Century, who informs Steiner because he has developed the requisite modern exact clairvoyance. — Note: this is the position that Adolf Arenson takes.

      2) Steiner is, in fact, the Bodhisattva of the Nineteenth Century himself, and wherein he duly exclaims the significance of the Christ Event and its importance because the Maitreya Bodhisattva is primarily a teacher of the Christ Impulse as it works in the world. And Rudolf Steiner qualified himself as to this function very much over the years, ref. GA118.

      This lecture of Adolf Arenson is worth presenting here, and I would ask you Jeremy how you would like it to be given? I can write it out complete (14 pages), or give it in installments of three five page entries, or send it to you as a word document that maybe you could somehow present. Anyway, it is worth consideration, and especially because T.H. Meyer in his book devotes all to Vreede’s lectures in June 1930, and nothing to Arenson’s seminal question, which was given in the first place.

      In fact, according to someone who has read this book, and likely Hans can verify this, Thomas Meyer even speculates that Elizabeth Vreede could have been the Bodhisattva of the Twentieth Century! Now, is that a stretch of imagination, or what?

      Kind regards,

      Steve

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      • Thank you, Steve. Re the Arenson document, would you be able to send it as a PDF to me?

        Best wishes,

        Jeremy

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      • Ch.22 about Steiner’s ‘profound revolution’ plays in the second half of the nineties:
        “At the end of the Weimar period of my life I had passed my thirty-sixth year. One year previously a profound revolution had already begun in my mind. With my departure from Weimar this became a decisive experience. … An attentiveness not previously present to that which appeals to sense-perception now awakened in me. ” (GA028_c22), i.e. in his consciousness soul (age 35 to 42).

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      • Steve Hale has kindly sent me an English translation of Adolf Arenson’s lecture. If anyone would like me to send them a PDF of the lecture, please email me at: JeremyEss@yahoo.co.uk

        Like

      • Arenson (1930) wrongly suggested that Steiner’s ‘profound transformation’ took place at the age of thirty: “Rudolf Steiner, who, in the 90s of the last century, went through this profound transformation of his being, to which he devotes an entire chapter in his biography [Ch.22], and who, afterwards, gradually inspired by the Bodhisattva, presented himself to the world publicly, by the Anthroposophy created by him…”.

        And Prokofieff (google 84425u8svkIC, p.73f.), following Arenson, seems to leave out the thirty year criterion to fit his Bodhisattva concept. Though he left room for another Bodhisattva inspiration, like Skythianos, the ‘Bodhisattva of the West’ (cf. GA0113/19090831).

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      • Ton, I think that we need to look at chapter 10 of Rudolf Steiner’s autobiography for the best representation of what he was experiencing in 1890, when he went to Weimar, at age 29. As such, he was filled with the idea of “sense-free thinking”, which he saw as opening the door to the spiritual realities that stand behind the external world of sense-filled illusions. This would lead to what came forth when he was 33 years of age, and I think there can be no denial that the book was designed to have a big impact.

        So, Steiner sadly found out that he had over-reached his mark with the book, and maybe the same can be said for Adolf Arenson in citing chapter 22 of the autobiography, at the end of the Weimar period, rather than chapter 10, which would be more significant in proving Steiner’s relationship to the Bodhisattva. Please let me explain this a little more in response to your latest comment concerning “Etherisation of the Blood”, but a review of this short 10th chapter of the autobiography is worth a look.

        https://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/English/APC1928/GA028_c10.html

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      • A profound, human, mental “revolution in my thirty-fifth year” (Steiner Ch.22), is not quite the same as “in the period between his thirtieth and thirty-third years, a mighty revolution occurs in his life” (in the case of the bodhisattva, GA0130/19111105), i.e. consciousness soul vs. intellectual soul.

        Compare Krishnamurti in 1928 (age 33):
        “Sir, I have said over and over again that, according to me, Krishnamurti as such no longer exists. As the river enters the sea and loses itself in the sea, so Krishnamurti has entered into that Life which is represented by some as The Christ, by others as The Buddha, by others still, as the Lord Maitreya. Hence Krishnamurti as an entity fully developed has entered into the Sea of Life and is the Teacher, because the moment you enter into that Life -which is the fulfilment of all Teachers, which is life of all the Teachers- the individual as such ceases.”
        http://jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/1927-1928-1929-early-writings/krishnamurti-early-writings-16-an-interview-in-london

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  7. Krishnamurti (1895-1986), as an independent thinker from 1925 onwards, complies with at least the first two of Steiner’s (or Arenson’s) three criteria for a Maitreya Buddha. So, did Steiner during his lifetime ever state that the world teacher Krishnamurti couldn’t be the future Maitreya? Did Arenson, Vreede, Tomberg or Meyer answer to this preceding Bodhisattva question?

    Steiner (1911) “The Maitreya Buddha will also work out of his own inner strength, and against the stream of general opinion. He will remain unknown in his youth. And when in his thirtieth year he has sacrificed his individuality, he will appear in such a way that morality will work through his words.” (GA0130/19110919)
    Cf. Krisnamurti in Amsterdam in 1981 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z6IYtIEV9w)

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  8. Thank you Steve, this is really an important link. Beautiful speech of Adolf Arenson! I am not aware of any official position of the GAS in this. If only we are willing to socialize, make universal and inclusive, our understanding of what bodhisattva’s are, we can, with distinction of magnitude and acceptance of bodhisattva’s within limitations, celebrate Rudolf Steiner, Bertha von Suttner, Krishnamurti, Mahatma Gandhi, the Daila Lama and many others, inclusive Elisabeth Vreede herself, as Bodhisattvas and see them as examples for the dedication we try to fill our own efforts with.
    Their own denial could be part of the integrity and endless intrinsic modesty defining the phenomenon.
    The point now is that Rudolf Steiner, as a Bodhisattva or not, announced the appearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth, but that is only the beginning of an enormously challenging process of realisation. Can humanity make it happen by being aware and acting upon? It seems we are in the middle of a Golgotha momentum…
    That’s why we should feel an enormous urge to come together and join forces.

    Like

    • Of course, we must join forces. Steiner conveys this very much in this lecture, in which he specifically describes how anthroposophy meets buddhism, and how they must come together and meet and respect each other. I know how anthroposophists feel about this, but I still lack the conviction from you, Hans, and even the Dalai Lama, who has never (as far as I know) acknowledged the Christ as the true world teacher.

      As such, this lecture conveys the sincerity of Rudolf Steiner’s hope. It is very important for seeing how he saw the progression from Buddha to Christ.

      https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/BudChr_index.html

      Like

      • “Christ as the true world teacher….”
        Hi, Steve, I am wondering if this phrase really conveys what you wanted to say. It seems to me that Steiner was concerned that we should understand that The Christ is not a teacher in the conventional meaning of the word, but rather more like a force which has entered human evolution. Steiner continually laid emphasis on understanding the significance of the Mystery of Golgotha. Christ gives us His very being, unites Himself with the earth and its destiny.
        The teachings and moral precepts to be found in the gospels, except for the parts which are expressly about the nature of the Christ being, can be found formulated in many different religious and philosophical traditions that pre-date Christ. It is not Christ’s teaching which is so singular but His deeds. ‘If Christ be not risen, your faith is in vain..’

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      • Hi Tom,

        I think what I mean by Christ as world teacher involves the four gospels, which were written based on the three years in which Christ walked the earth in the district of Palestine in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. I also assert, as you do, that Christ represents evolutionary power, which makes Him beyond any kind of world teacher.

        Yet, with this lecture on the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity, do we not find a touchstone in which Steiner wants to acquaint how we can all come together? In other words, how can a Buddhist today be strictly a Buddhist without acknowledging the fact of Christ?

        Hans van Willenswaard is telling us his story, as we speak, and yet I still wonder what the present Dalai Lama really knows and perceives about the Christ, or even Rudolf Steiner and his Anthroposophy.

        Maybe that is the issue. And, if so, I suspect it can be extended into all the domains of religion, atheism, materialism, and whatever else.

        Personally, I uphold the present on hope, and the future as a fact.

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  9. Oldman

    Dear All, Please have a look at this book “The Lodge of the Bodhisattvas and the Question of the 20th Century Bodhisattva” (ISBN 978-1983378119). It is recently re-edited and provides very deep review on the topic with all existing R.S. documents, and more, regarding the topic. It can be found in Amazon. I think it is good to talk and share opinions but also to be fully aware with all documents in one reference. Then you will understand why this Bodhisattva must be closely related to Christianity and also that R.S. knew not only spiritually but also physically about the person bearing the Bodhisattava, however simply did not share the name for a reason. In the 30’s, Elizabeth Vreede and later on independently Ita Wegman knew about that person too but did not share information either. Now, 100 years later, the information can be shared.

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    • Well, maybe it links very nicely with the Arenson lecture which was given in 1930. This would also give further proof that someone since 1911 was paying attention, and even closely listening and hearing Rudolf Steiner.

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  10. Midnight Rambler

    Here are a few more ideas to add to this really interesting examination of the Bodhisattva Question. Thanks so much to Hans van W for kicking it off.

    In his lecture in Berlin, October 25, 1909, (The Christ Impulse and the Development of Ego-Consciousness), RS gives his picture of the overall mission of the 12 Bodhisattvas associated with Christ.

    “Thus the picture on earth, is something like this: Christ in the middle of the earth-evolution; the Bodhisattvas as His advance-messengers and His followers, who have to bring His work closer to the minds and hearts of men.
    A number of Bodhisattvas had thus to prepare mankind, to make men ripe to receive the Christ. Now, although men were ripe enough to have Christ among them, it will be a long time before they mature sufficiently to recognise, to feel, and to will, all that Christ is. The same number of Bodhisattvas will be required to develop to maturity in man what was poured into him through Christ, as was necessary to prepare men for His coming. For there is so much in Him, that the forces and faculties of men must go on ever increasing, before they are able to understand Him. With the existing faculties of man, Christ can only be understood to a minute extent. Higher faculties will arise in man, and each new faculty will enable him to see Christ in a new light. Only when the last Bodhisattva belonging to Christ shall have completed his work, will humanity realise what Christ really is; man will then be filled with a will in which the Christ Himself will live. He will draw into man through his Thinking, Feeling, and Willing, and man will then really be the external expression of Christ on the earth”.

    If we regard these indications of RS as true, there are other important indications about how the Bodhisattvas work. One is that each Bodhisattva takes many incarnations (once every hundred years or so) to develop and refine the overall task of their missions. According to RS, the Maitreya Bodhisattva first incarnated around 600 years before Christ and will according to RS finally achieve his mission and achieve Buddhahood in around 4443 AD. This is a lot of incarnations !

    Regarding the way that the Maitreya Bodhisattva incarnates in modern times he says (Milan, September 21st, 1911):
    “In ancient times, when a great Individuality appeared and was to become a Teacher of humanity, signs indicating this showed themselves in the early youth of the child in question, in special talents and qualities of soul. There is however a different kind of development in the course of which a complete change in the personality becomes apparent at a certain point in his life. What happens is that when this human being has reached a certain age, his ego is taken out of his bodily sheaths and a different ego passes into his body. The greatest example of this is Christ Jesus Himself, of whom in his thirtieth year the Christ-Individuality had taken possession. All the incarnations of the Bodhisattva who will become the Maitreya Buddha have shown that in this sense his life will resemble that of Christ”.
    In particular, regarding the age of incarnation:
    “In none of the incarnations of the Bodhisattva is it known, either in his childhood or youth, that he will become a Bodhisattva. Whenever the Bodhisattva becomes Buddha there is evidence that at the age of 30 or 31, another individuality takes possession of his body. The Bodhisattva will never reveal himself as such in his early youth, but in his thirtieth or thirty-first year he will manifest quite different qualities, because another Being takes possession of his body. Individualities who will take possession of the personality of some human being in this way and will not incarnate as children, are, for example, individualities such as Moses, Abraham, Ezekiel.
    So too is it in our present century in the case of the Bodhisattva who later on, in three thousand years time, will become the Maitreya Buddha.”
    Of course, the danger for Anthroposophists, is that they ponder the indications in these lectures avidly, weigh the supporting evidence against his world view, and become convinced that what he says is true, sometimes forgetting that they usually lack the necessary faculties to independently verify it. This makes it tempting to disregard what is said by others. However, his clairvoyant indications to my mind are a useful starting point. But as Hans says, other points of view, particularly from the Buddhist tradition need to also be in the mix.
    Regarding identifying the Maitreya Bodhisattva, there is also a tendency for avid disciples of particular leading spiritual leaders such as Steiner, Tomberg, and Peter Deunov, to bestow on them the highest spiritual rank possible, and develop “insider- mythologies” around the identification, whether it is true or not. It is therefore quite instructive to see what the spiritual leaders say themselves.

    Charles Lawrie, in his “Last Letter From Cymru”, Starlight, Vol 14, No2, Advent 2014 refers to a statement by Walter Vegelahn which throws light on this. This is clearly a recollection by Vegelahn, many years after the event, and memory can play tricks, but it has a convincing ring:

    “Thomas Meyer in “The Bodhisattva Question” records the statement of Walter Vegelahn (1880-1959) in October 1958 to a visitor from the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, in Berlin.

    It was in Berne where Dr. Steiner spoke about the Bodhisattva. The members there were curious to know who Dr. Steiner thought him to be. They put
    their heads together and appointed the most suitable among them, Günther Wagner, to ask Dr. Steiner, who gave him the reply: “It is not I” (“Ich bin es nicht”).

    The problem for the members was that they could scarcely comprehend how directly Rudolf Steiner had spoken under the inspiration of the Bodhisattva on September 10, 1910 in Berne: “We are saying this in the formulations which we are learning to know from the inspiration of the Bodhisattva himself.” It appears that Rudolf Steiner was enabling full clarity vis-à-vis this Bodhisattva to dispel the fog of confusion arising from the expectations connected by certainTheosophical leaders with the figure of Jiddu Krishnamurti. He was enabling the Bodhisattva to make clear the way himself. Now he faced the negative consequence: that members began to identify Rudolf Steiner with the individual who would become the Bodhisattva in action. So he set out to dispel this fog of confusion. Vegelahn continues:

    At the following meeting, Dr. Steiner gave a report of all that had happened during the previous months and mentioned also the Berne lectures (at which Vegelahn was official stenographer). While doing so, he interrupted what he was saying with an aside. “I wish to add, in parenthesis, to all those who are ever ready to invent incarnations from their fantasy, that I, with my individuality, have nothing to do with Jeshu ben Pandira.”

    Another aspect to consider is that individuals, whilst not being a high individuality themselves can be deeply influenced by and inspired by them. There are numerous examples of this, for example regarding people who are inspired by Christ and act in his name, as though he was present and working through them (not I but Christ in me). This can also surely be the case with the Maitreya Bodhisattva, and maybe this is what Hans means when he refers to many people being Bodhisattvas ??.

    Furthermore, It is generally the case that such high individualities need a community of friends to prepare the ground for them and to make their ways straight, so that their mission can unfold.

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    • The lecture by Adolf Arenson will help appease these assertions by Midnight Rambler. Your efforts are noted. Yet, Arenson was their at the time of Steiner, and you weren’t. Do you note the difference? As such, the issues can be easily found, and he displays them as a current player. Today, we only reminisce with a kind of logical forbearance, but it is rather good in this case, even without the primary evidence, i.e, Arenson.

      Thus, thanks MR for posting this, and we will see its further fruits when the full scope is given. Thanks.

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      • Please allow one example from the several lectures that Arenson cites in his analysis from 1930 concerning the Bodhisattva. It likely represents the seminal indication of what Rudolf Steiner had to say about the presence of the Bodhisattva in his midst at the time, c. 1911.

        “Before Christ appeared on earth through the Mystery of Golgotha, the teaching about Him was prepared in advance. At that time, likewise, the physical Christ was proclaimed. It was primarily Jeshu ben Pandira who was the forerunner and herald, a hundred years before Christ. He also had the name Jesus, and, in contrast to Christ Jesus, he was called Jesus ben Pandira, son of Pandira. This man lived about a hundred years before our era. One does not need to be a clairvoyant in order to know this, for it is to be found in Rabbinical writings, and this fact has often been the occasion for confusing him with Christ Jesus. Jeshu ben Pandira was at first stoned and then hanged upon the beam of the cross. Jesus of Nazareth was actually crucified.

        Who was this Jeshu ben Pandira? He is a great individuality who, since the time of Buddha, that is, about 600 B.C., has been incarnated once in nearly every century in order to bring humanity forward. To understand him, we must go back to the nature of the Buddha.

        We know, of course, that Buddha lived as a prince in the Sakya family five centuries and a half before the beginning of our era. The individuality who became the Buddha at that time had not already been a Buddha. Buddha, that prince who gave to humanity the doctrine of compassion, had not been born in that age as Buddha. For Buddha does not signify an individuality; Buddha is a rank of honor. This Buddha was born as a Bodhisattva and was elevated to the Buddha in the twenty-ninth year of his life, while he sat absorbed in meditation under the Bodhi tree and brought down from the spiritual heights into the physical world the doctrine of compassion. A Bodhisattva he had previously been, that is, in his previous incarnations also; and then he became a Buddha.

        But the situation is such that the position of a Bodhisattva, that is, of a teacher of humanity in physical form, became thereby vacant for a certain period of time, and had to be filled again. As the Bodhisattva who had incarnated at that time ascended in the twenty-ninth year of his life to the Buddha, the rank of the Bodhisattva was at once transferred to another individuality. Thus we must speak of a successor of the Bodhisattva who had now risen to the rank of Buddha. The successor to the Gautama-Buddha-Bodhisattva was that individuality who incarnated a hundred years before Christ as Jeshu ben Pandira, as a herald of the. Christ in the physical body.

        He is now to be the Bodhisattva of humanity until he shall in his turn advance to the rank of Buddha after 3,000 years, reckoned from the present time. In other words, he will require exactly 5,000 years to rise from a Bodhisattva to a Buddha. He who has been incarnated nearly every century since that time, is now also already incarnated, and will be the real herald of the Christ in etheric raiment, just as he proclaimed the Christ at that time in advance as the physical Christ. And even many of us will ourselves experience the fact that, during the 1930’s, there will be persons, and more and more later in the century, who will behold the Christ in etheric raiment.

        It is in order to prepare for this that spiritual-science exists, and every one who works at the task of spiritual-science shares in making this preparation.

        Jeshu ben Pandira, Lecture 1, November 4, 1911

        Rudolf Steiner would then go on to explain the relationship between the Bodhisattva, then incarnate, and Anthroposophy, in the next lecture, on November 5, 1911, also from Leipzig, ref. GA130. This summed up what he had to say about it, although he would continue to refer to Christian Rosenkreutz in this series.

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    • I often look at comments on this blog, as elsewhere, from the standpoint of those who have a kind of agenda against the findings of spiritual science, which are manifold and multitudinous, and come from one source: Rudolf Steiner. And yet, the supposed candidates for Bodhisattva include: Mahatma Gandhi, Peter Denouv, Elizabeth Vreede, Paramahansa Yogananda, Jiddhu Krishnamurti, Valentin Tomberg,, the Dalai Lama, and maybe several others unknown to recent history.

      So, when Midnight Rambler makes this comment after asserting a kind of interest in the evidence gathered by Adolf Arenson in his essay, I tend to sit up and take notice:

      “The danger for Anthroposophists is that they ponder the indications in these lectures avidly, weigh the supporting evidence against his [Steiner’s] world view, and become convinced that what he says is true, sometimes forgetting that they usually lack the necessary faculties to independently verify it. This makes it tempting to disregard what is said by others. However, his clairvoyant indications to my mind are a useful starting point. But as Hans says, other points of view, particularly from the Buddhist tradition need to also be in the mix.”

      You don’t really know that, MR, but you assume it to be true today. In reality, it is not true today that anthro’s avidly ponder these lectures today. The reason is that since Steiner’s death 93 years ago, nearly three generations (measured in terms of 33 year intervals) have occurred, and therefore very little interest in the so-called ‘Bodhisattva Question’ really exists at this time.

      Thus, while it is true that when Hans van Willenswaard brings the subject up, and we can discuss it with a measure of propinquity, it is also true that it can bring out the kind of attitude that you express above. Tom Hart Shea has also written with a measure of this same kind of attitude recently:

      https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/guest-post-the-bodhisattva-question/#comment-5451

      So, I suppose the real point is this. Was Rudolf Steiner the Bodhisattva of the 19th century, who crossed the Rubicon of ten years into the 20th century in order to herald the reappearance of Christ in the Etheric Body in early 1910, for a beginning around 1933?

      Now, none of the other candidates ever said this, and so this would make Rudolf Steiner at least the herald of the second coming of Christ. I think it was the 10th lecture in cycle 15, “The Gospel of St. Matthew”, GA123, in which Steiner first spoke about how the Bodhisattva was also the herald of the second coming of Christ in etheric raiment.

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  11. I will be away in a social enterprise training for two weeks. What I still would like to share, before hopefully more comments come in, is the following: the question is not so much anymore about who was the messenger (probably a cluster of messengers) but what was and is the message. I started doubting; did I understand it wrongly: “the reappearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth”? While searching I came across this lecture (on the internet), which most of you must know: The purification of the Blood from the Passion of Selfhood through the Mystery of Golgotha. April 1, 1907, Berlin. Not only is the “purification from the passion of selfhood” in particular interesting for Buddhist practitioners. The lecture clearly indicates that the Earth also has physical, astral and etheric bodies. What is happening in a very gradual process is that the Earth is (re-)gaining life through deep suffering. What I saw happening in The Hague during our gathering is that a process that (more or less, of course also with a history before that) started in 1899 with the First Hague Peace Conference which prompted the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the construction of the Peace Palace, went through two World Wars (the first war prompting the Threefolding movement) culminating in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Another 50 years later in reaction to growing environmental damage done to Nature, the Earth Charter was launched in 2000 in The Hague, and a few years later the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth was adopted in Bolivia. Not only is there a growing movement in favour of attributing rights to Nature, with for example rivers given “legal personality” (India, New Zealand, Ecaudor), but a breakthrough of “personhood” of the Earth is increasingly being perceived. Could that be the “reappearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth”? And if so, how can we “receive” this personhood with a renewed “colour” (see the lecture) of personhood awakening/resurrecting in ourselves and in humanity? Isn’t that what is needed to overcome the Golgotha we/humanity inflict upon the Earth? And how can we translate that in a shareable, inclusive, universal experience of engagement and responsibility? In hands-on action and social collaboration of scale to turn the tide?
    With that we are back at the possible theme of Jeremy’s meeting at Emerson College in 2020 with focus on: “asking the Earth what it needs now from human beings”.

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    • Hans, I think you will find that while the lecture from 1 April 1907 is readily unavailable (at least in the English language), its theme was given a further impetus with the lecture from 1 October 1911, concerning “The Etherisation of the Blood”, ref. GA130. Now, herein, Rudolf Steiner describes, based on a question coming from the listening audience, what the experience of Christ in the Etheric Body will mean. He says it will be experienced as a kind of Voice coming from both within and also from without, and wherein comforting and consoling words will be spoken to the individual; words most needed for the resurrection of soul and spirit.

      I personally can attest to this having occurred in my life, c. 1980, and this is why I can state with unequivocal devotion that the salvation of the earth is owing to the repentance that involves achieving Christ Consciousness. I am sure you realize that saving the earth from its current dilemma involves human minds that have changed, and now see a kind of spiritual emergence as taking place.

      For Christ to actually reappear in the etheric body of the earth would imply that He could not avert the two world wars on earth in the 20th century, and furthermore, that He could not prevent the atom bombs that destroyed those two great cities of Japan in 1945. Nor, could He abate the poisonous radiation from falling to the earth and creating the various cancerous conditions found in our environment.

      Thus, it only seems reasonable that the reappearance of Christ in the Etheric involves an experience in the human etheric body. To repent is to change one’s mind.

      Now, let us look at Jeremy’s charter for a conference on “Against Capitalism”. It was a noble effort, and garnered support here:
      https://anthropopper.wordpress.com/2017/06/

      So, it warranted, and received the requisite support. Yet, as with all intellectual matters that serve the unrepentant mind in today’s age, it was seen as a kind of lost cause simply because it would have needed its own political party in order to advocate its purpose. And this was correctly seen as a lost cause in itself.

      Thus, this brings us to the gist of the matter. Jeremy now sees that his conference needs to invoke the question of, “asking the Earth what it needs now from human beings”. Yet, maybe, the real question concerns what human beings need to do for the protection and preservation of their Earth?

      I am reminded of something that seems important. Rudolf Steiner studied the ethnological survey of the Roman historian, Tacitus, who went to what is now called ‘Germany’ in the period from 89-93 AD. As such, his “Germania”, became an important work of study for Steiner, and this is how it was possible to see how the various early tribes, i..e, Cheruscian, Sigambrians, were very primitive in their ways, and very much faithful and non-intellectual in scope. This helped Steiner in seeing how the German Folk Soul was specifically held back for a period of time in order to receive the fruit of their full mission in the 13th century.

      And, as a result of this concentrated effort, Rudolf Steiner was able to ascertain that Tacitus reincarnated in the early 19th century as Ralph Waldo Emerson, who would found the american transcendentalist movement. Now, it is possible, as a kind of extension of this rather great revelation, and I think that Emerson College in England is named after our great founder of transcendentalism, that Emerson, the reincarnate Tacitus, had two very close associates in his life, who helped him very much. These were Thomas Carlyle, and Henry Thoreau.

      Thoreau is important because he was able to receive the influences of Emerson, as a kind of father figure, and which would help him to establish his own kind of transcendentalist initiative when he built the cabin on Walden pond, and lived for two years under the auspices of self-sufficiency. “Simplify, simply” was his famous saying, and yet, this really states the crux of the initiative of Jeremy Smith with what it means to overcome capitalism.

      Now, Thomas Carlyle was the elder of Emerson by a few years, and he lived in England. Yet, they became correspondents by letter, and this is how these two met and became conversant. Yet, any reasonable assessment of the life of Thomas Carlyle can easily find the same connections that Steiner found with Tacitus reincarnating as Emerson. Thus, it can be shown that Carlyle is the reincarnation of Pliny the Elder, who preceded Tacitus as a roman historian. He also went to Germany as a member of the roman military seeking to vanquish the early German tribes, and became fluent in the language. This arose rather naturally again when he reincarnated as Thomas Carlyle, who attained the German language easily, and without instruction.

      H. D. Thoreau can be likened to Pliny the Younger, also closely associated with Tacitus, and how this person sought for a more simple way of being. So, look at the evidence and see how the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner has always sought to expand and extend itself. He always wanted his indications to be further elaborated.

      Why else would he have created a School of Spiritual Science, with leaders, and some eleven sections since the CC of 1923?

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    • Concerning the “moral ether-atmosphere” of the earth, Steiner (GA0130/19111001) did point to Vishwakarma, the original creator, architect and divine engineer of the universe from before the advent of time in Hinduism (celebration day 17th September).

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      • He also pointed to the Agnishvatta’s, or Spirits of Fire and Light, known to ancient oriental mysticism. So, what Steiner wanted to accomplish was a kind of redemption of these beings, i.e., Vishvakarman, Ahura Mazdao, Osiris and Isis, as well as the Agnishvatta’s, in a display that would acknowledge the Bodhisattva that works in nearly every century, and saw His last attainment of Buddhahood in Siddhartha Gautama, who lived from 560 to 480 BC; a life of 80 years, and wherein in the year 531 BC, he attained to the Buddha.

        “The indications by which the Being who is to become the Maitreya Buddha can be recognised are common to all genuine Eastern mysticism and to Christian gnosis. The Maitreya Buddha who, in contrast to the Sons of Fire, will appear in a physical body as Bodhisattva, can be recognised by the fact that in the first instance his early development gives no intimation of the nature of the individuality within him. Only those possessed of understanding will recognise the presence of a Bodhisattva in such a human being between the ages of thirty and thirty-three, and not before. Something akin to a change of personality then takes place. The Maitreya Buddha will reveal his identity to humanity in the thirty-third year of his life. As Christ Jesus began His mission in His thirtieth year, so do the Bodhisattvas, who will continue to proclaim the Christ Impulse, reveal themselves — in the thirty-third year of their lives. And the Maitreya Buddha himself, as transformed Bodhisattva, speaking in powerful words of which no adequate idea can be given at the present time, will proclaim the great secrets of existence. He will speak in a language that has first to be created, for no human being to-day could formulate words such as those in which the Maitreya Buddha will address humanity. The reason why men cannot be addressed in this way at the present time is that the physical instrument for this form of speech does not yet exist. The teachings of the Enlightened One will not stream into men as teachings only, but will pour moral impulses into their souls. Words such as will then be spoken cannot yet be uttered by a physical larynx; in our time they can be present only in the spiritual worlds.”
        (GA0130/19111001)

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      • Thank you, Ton! This Monday, 17 September, Vishwakarma Puja, we received the good news that a sponsor has been found for the launching of “The Hague Principles for a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities and Earth Trusteeship” in the Peace Palace, The Hague. The date chosen for the launching is 10 December 2018 when “70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” will be commemorated. Earth Trusteeship is meant to be a building principle – in addition to Human Rights – for the architecture of a new, post-capitalist, ‘world order’ in which all global citizens are equal trustees of the Earth.

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      • Steve, a new – broad specter – act of redemption is needed now in which we bring the diversity of forces that emerged around Rudolf Steiner and his legacy into the 21st century together to save the Earth.
        Personal occurrences as you said you had in c. 1980 are to be activated in all of us who had such experiences, unique for each and common to all.

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      • The saving of Mother Earth is connected by Steiner (1908) to the recognition of the spiritual-physical form of Man. “Man is born out of mother earth.” (GA0104/19080626), and Paul (and John) “saw the ‘Son of Man’ as the spiritualized, purified form of the physical body, not only the etheric body, but the spiritual-physical form of ‘Man’, the human being, now purified and sanctified.” (GA0104a/19090509), i.e. Paul’s ’celestial body’ and ’last Adam’ (1 Cor.15).
        Later, Steiner called this purified spiritual-physical form: ’the Phantom of the physical body’ (GA0131/19111010), or ‘the human form’: “with physical senses we are perceiving in the physical world something that is spiritual” (GA026_c17).

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  12. Gauren

    Hans van Willenswaard wrote: “In my eyes the appearance of the Christ is a “possibility” that can only be realised through human awareness. If it cannot be perceived by the whole of humanity in universal terms, it will not happen. Nothing less than active universal awareness, shared by humanity as a whole, so “universal responsibility”, will be needed to make this possibility come to realisation.”
    I have just managed to read this wonderful blog today and note that Hans is currently away on a training course.
    However, at the risk of having taken this excerpt out of context and misunderstood it, I feel compelled to say I am worried by the absoluteness of this idea. Whilst it would be (from my point of view) a wonderful thing if all of humanity embraced and experience the appearance of Christ in the etheric, the content of Anthroposophy has indicated that there are human beings who have consciously chosen to oppose the Christ impulse by following opposing forces. Then there is the book of Revelations and the mention of the parting of the ways and no doubt other references. My own feeling and understanding is that the Christ Impulse is universally present since Golgotha and is slowly being taken up by each individual who chooses to do so. So instead, the question for me is, will enough individuals become consciously aware of Christ and take up His impulse to make a difference to human and earthly evolution? Apologies if this question has already been asked and addressed. Thanks & regards Gauren

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    • Rudolf Steiner made an important point of saying that beginning in the second third of the twentieth century, c. 1933, people would begin to experience the Christ in a way that can be likened to Saul-Paul’s experience on the way to Damascus to round up the renegade Christian infidels in Syria, c. 38. Thus, in definite respects, he was the first to be converted who was not a direct disciple.

      It is, indeed, important to distinguish between conversion on an individual basis, which Steiner indicates will be the occurrence over the next three thousand years, and the idea of a collective consciousness of the Christ on the part of humanity in order to effect its realization. The reason is that karma guides every life, and some are closer to achieving what will only come in a later incarnation for another.

      Thus, it is significant to highlight this quotation from Hans van Willenswaard’s essay, which I missed entirely, ref., “In my eyes the appearance of the Christ is a “possibility” that can only be realised through human awareness. If it cannot be perceived by the whole of humanity in universal terms, it will not happen. Nothing less than active universal awareness, shared by humanity as a whole, so “universal responsibility”, will be needed to make this possibility come to realisation.”

      As well, as you indicate, there is a strong presence of an oppositional-adversarial being who is against the Christ Impulse, and works very strongly in the world today. This being has garnered tremendous power from the elemental forces that rule over the external world, and has cleverly insinuated itself into all the governments of the various nations of the earth.

      So, this also becomes a consideration when the idea of a collective consciousness of Christ is needed on the part of humanity before it can be realized. Yet, it can be shown that world history has had its “messengers”, which is proof that it is individual human beings who have been inspired by certain means to stick their necks out in various ways in order to speak the truth needed for mankind to hear on the path of spiritual evolution.

      Certain of these “messengers” are the human beings who receive the incorporation of the Bodhisattva, and this bears a huge responsibility. The reason is that the human being who receives the Bodhisattva is going to say things that certain people don’t want to hear; powerful people with influence. So the human being, as candidate for receiving the Bodhisattva, has already demonstrated that they bear the karma for such an assignment.

      One of these was Jeshu ben Pandira, who led the Essene colony in Israel, one hundred years before Christ, and taught a system of the 42 generations that would lead to the Messiah. He was found out about by the Jews, and stoned to death and his corpse hung on a tree. One hundred years later, it all came to pass. First, John the Baptist, the forerunner in life before Christ, would be beheaded, and then Christ Himself would be crucified by the demand of the Jews.

      And that is why Steiner makes the special case for Jeshu ben Pandira being the Maitreya Bodhisattva 100 years before Christ; because it means so much about what would eventually take place. Consider John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, and born just six months prior. He was the one whose karma had duly placed him as the forerunner of Christ in life, and who came forth as the herald of the appearance of Christ in the Physical. Thus, was he the Bodhisattva at the time of Christ? He would acknowledge his own cousin, Jesus, as the so-called “Lamb of God”, and this was when Jesus came up to be baptized.

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    • Dear Gauren and all,
      My wife and I are back home for a few days before we continue conducting the course 19th for another five days. In the sideline I have been reading further comments with great interest and wanted to thank you for repeating that paragraph of my post. I understand that the absoluteness worries you and indeed it should be understood from the perspective of a person seeking for answers and indications; but it expresses my tentative insight pretty well.
      As I can see it, every period brings about a nucleus of Bodhisattva formation, with bright guiding stars, communities of supporting Bodhisattvas and a whirlwind of dust made up by small bodhisattvas like myself and every person of good will. So, if “the question” is: who is THE Bodhisattva, it is counter productive. And yes, then the point is, can we form a critical mass to turn the tide? Can we reach out to others by understanding our common purpose from diverse cultural perspectives and convictions to ready ourselves for the inevitable collapse of capitalism? Can we overcome differences and work together. Is civil society ready to take over leadership from governments and corporations?
      In the book “The Good Heart: His Holiness the Dalai Lama Explores the Heart of Christianity – and of Humanity” (1996) he says “In my own experience, I have found that the most effective method to overcome these conflicts [among world views] is close contact and exchange among those of various beliefs, not only at an intellectual level, but in deeper spiritual experiences.” A growing common spiritual experience that humanity binds together towards a probably painful but needed transformation is indeed Jeremy’s theme “asking the Earth what it needs now from human beings”. We human beings need to constitute and strengthen consciously the realisation that all global citizens are equal trustees of the Earth.

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      • One of the things that strikes me as important with this latest post is that it seems to be a real attempt to align two initiatives into a common cause. By referring to the so-called “Bodhisattva Question” with the initial essay, it brings up a well-worn subject that has had few looks lately. Yet, Hans, you pushed the buttons to get it going again. Along with this, of course, is your larger issue, which is dynamic, and not static, and in which continued musings about the identity of the bodhisattva entails. Indeed, anthroposophists are right here and willing to go over all the evidence again, as shown, but that was not really your point, was it?

        Your point was to say that we need to transform words into action. Of course, musing about the bodhisattva, as with the Arenson article of 1930, is essential because he really thought it could prove to be the needed paradigm-shift for a kind of revelation of who stood behind anthroposophy, and how this fact could become an action potential for the future with this revelation. Yet, with Vreede’s counter-argument, coming from the side of officialdom, Arenson’s thesis was sunk, and nothing more was ever made of it until Meyer’s book some 59 years later, c. 1989.

        Yet, out of it all, we stand today with a very interesting possibility for the future health, wealth, safety and security of the earth. It comes with the latest possible integration of the values of the world, east and west. By this, I am referring to your own initiative of mindful markets, and how it could also serve fruitful for the latest plans of Theresa May, who holds the last possible means of achieving freedom from the European Union. Her plan, which is popularly known as “the Chequers Plan”, and has just a few days to be accepted, or ‘Brexit’ will be a lost cause, concerns a single-market concept for its success.

        Now, in your viewpoint, how does this relate to your mindful markets idea? You see, this is what I perceive in you and Jeremy coming together at this time. May has just a few days in order to prove a viable plan for leaving the EU with dignity, and a future. Yet, her plan doesn’t have the needed support for approval, and this could be because it needs to hear of how “mindful markets” works from your side.

        I really thought that you, Hans, and Jeremy were coming together in Thailand there for a kind of mutual exchange over the last few days, and then I heard that Jeremy was actually in Corsica over the same period of time. Yet, it can still come together in these few days.

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    • Kathy

      Hans and Steve: Thank you for raising the two concepts that have brought together a deeper understanding of this topic for me. Thank you for remembering the Earth, like man, has more than a physical body. And that what we are doing is inflicting Golgotha on Her. And thank you for remembering that Steiner taught that we will/can experience Christ in the Etheric as a kind of voice within and without. I have experienced that voice twice (about 20 years apart). Both times were preceded by feelings of despair and an overwhelming sorrow over the suffering of plants and animals. Both times the voice said the same thing: “You are not alone”.

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  13. Gauren

    Steve thanks for pointing out the total commitment of the bodhisattvas in helping humanity and earth through their sacrifices.
    And thank you Hans I understand better through your elaboration what you mean. The notion of arriving at a critical mass through reaching out to everyone who wishes to listen and respond to the positive spiritual paths of evolution is definitely the way. I say this while still understanding that once some idea or deed is brought into the world it remains here but perhaps going through various transformations. If it is an opposing force then by bringing Christ and the Buddha stream through us to bear then transformation of opposing powers may occur.

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    • In definite respects, the Gautama Buddha and the Maitreya Bodhisattva are connected in such a way as to bring Buddhism and Christianity together as a common cause. It can be shown that the goal of each is to root out and defeat the Luciferic influence in the human astral body, which was attained when Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment and began to teach the Eight-fold Path, as well as the Ahrimanic influence in the human etheric body, which is the ongoing project of the Maitreya Bodhisattva. This has led to the point where Christ can now be experienced in the etheric body, either as a vision, or an auditory sounding, i.e, a Voice of consoling and comforting words; words that the receiving soul has been wanting and needing to hear.

      With this experience, one can emerge with a new viewpoint, and see answers and common causes all over the place. Words are the sounding board, but at some point action initiatives need to take place. Christ gave Peter the keys to the kingdom, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time, but Peter grew greatly in strength and the power of etheric healing forces. This is documented over the first twelve chapters of Acts of the Apostles. Today, this same ability exists because Christianity has become a perceptive fact from out of its primordial and mystical roots.

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      • I think what stands in our midst as the resolving factor between Buddhism and Christianity is seen with how the Eightfold Path has become the means to eradicate the lucifer influence within the astral body. I am reminded of where it says in the 23rd Psalm, “He leadest me in the paths of righteousness for Thy Name’s sake”. Buddha established a teaching whereby human freedom could overcome the luciferic influence by its own effort. Otherwise, the gods had created sickness, disease, and death as the means to eventually overthrow Lucifer from completely taking over the astral body. To freely do so seems much better than the system of sickness and death. That way, Lucifer can be seen for his fundamental purpose in bringing about human freedom, and thereby redeemed. According to Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy fundamentally involves the redemption of Lucifer to the Holy Spirit.

        The same can be seen with the Maitreya incarnations, wherein the goal is to eventually eradicate the influence of ahriman within the etheric body. Thus, the culmination of Siddhartha Gautama under the Bodhi Tree brought forth a teaching in which Lucifer is redeemed to righteous behavior, and human freedom is the cause and effect. Today, it is fully possible to see how the “paths of righteousness”, owing to Gautama’s teaching, have taken effect and been realized. The human astral body has been freed on its path to the Holy Spirit.

        Now, the Maitreya incarnations are ongoing, and this is how it becomes possible to see the present circumstances. As such, Michael becomes the epitome of Siddhartha for the current quest, which involves wielding the sword of meteoric iron.

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  14. One of the things that will prove fruitful in this discussion is how certain people close to Rudolf Steiner actually did consider him to be the Bodhisattva, and this book is one of those rare places wherein this was upheld. It was written by a close disciple who also saw him as the logical successor to Martin Luther.

    https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nnc1.cr60905026;view=1up;seq=9

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    • Ton Majoor

      ‘actually did consider him to be the Bodhisattva’. Boldt (1921) only discusses Krishnamurti as a false Messiah (see p.179).
      Boldt was a controversial figure (see e.g. ‘Rudolf Steiner in Britain’ Vol. 1).

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      • “The practice commonly adopted in professional
        circles of treating Steiner’s great work as worthless
        by the very simple process of ignoring it has not, in
        the long run, been successful. And this being so,
        Steiner himself has now become the target for both
        slander and abuse. It would seem, indeed, as if his
        opponents were determined not to understand him;
        they go even further, for, since his work by no means
        suits their reactionary ideas, they put every difficulty
        in the way of others who may be interested in it.
        Slander is, of course, an old and well-tried weapon
        resorted to in all ages. Was it not said of One yet
        Greater: “He has blasphemed God—what need
        we of further testimony?” And how many a brave
        fighter of the Middle Ages has not paid the price of
        his ” heresy ” with his life? If, then, to-day a Great
        One bears within him the Living Power of the Christ,
        and seeks to revivify our present civilization and our
        immediate future . . . what easier than to dub him a
        traitor to the German Spirit, a Hungarian Jew,
        an Indian Juggler, a Rabbi dabbling in Occultism, a
        Romish Jesuit, a Russian Bolshevist, a Bourgeois
        Capitalist?”

        Preface, From Luther to Steiner, Ernst Boldt, 4 June 1921. Munich

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      • ‘Boldt only discusses Krishnamurti as a false Messiah’, pg. 179.

        “The ancient Greek myth of Scylla and Charybdis
        gives a very apt illustration of the danger, for from the
        East we are threatened by a religio-Luciferan Scylla,
        while in the West looms the danger of an Ahrimanic-
        scientific Charybdis! Germany has for centuries past
        permitted ingress to both these powers, and hence the
        torn and divided state in which we find ourselves today,
        sure proof of the sickness assailing us. On the
        one side orthodox churches and a priesthood exercising
        their egoistical religiosity, their obtuse fanaticism, and
        on the other liberal Free Thought, coupled with
        material science. But in saying this we only point
        out the two obvious extremes, for there are innumerable
        varieties and gradations to be found in between.

        And lastly, we come to the Theosophical Movement, as
        known in Central Europe, saturated as it is in the
        Luciferan direction by the Indian and Buddhistic
        conception of the Universe, introduced from the East
        and brought into Germany by H. P. Blavatsky, only
        to be subsequently taken in hand and guided into the
        river-bed of Ahrimanic materialism by Annie Besant.
        In America this Luciferan wave has ” stiffened,” as it
        were, into Christian Science and Spiritualism—a state
        of thing inevitably due to the strong Ahrimanic
        influence prevailing in that country.

        We therefore see that Steiner has to contend with two
        opposites at the same time, would he keep the German
        Spirit and German culture uncontaminated as well as
        assert his freedom from the ” false wisdom ” of Eastern
        Theosophy. For Annie Besant’s attempts to foist the
        Indian youth, Alcyone Krishnamurti upon us, under
        the pretext that he was a reincarnation of the Christ,
        and the Coming World Teacher, was but a fiction due to
        an Oriental-American—or, in other words, a Luciferan-
        Ahrimanic, or, again, religio-materialistic error, and
        one to which the German Spirit, within which the
        Living Christ-power now functions, had to be strenuously
        opposed.”
        From Luther to Steiner, pgs. 178-179.

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      • Ton Majoor

        In fact, Boldt didn’t exclude the possibility that Krishnamurti really was ‘the Coming World Teacher’ in the sense of the future Maitreya Buddha, the Bringer of the moral Good.

        To Steiner Buddhism and Greek thinking were opposite spiritual currents. “Thus we see how these two spiritual currents are polarically opposed: the Greek current, which set the highest value on the external form of the physical body as the external form of the Ego, and Buddhism, which requires that the external form of the physical body, with all craving after existence, shall be overcome as soon as possible, so that in its theory it has completely lost the Ego.” GA0131/19111009

        Our physical body is only visible because it incorporates a mineral body (i.e the Fall of Man in Genesis). Actually, the invisible imperishable human form is a threefold imagination (cf. a reversed plant to Plato and Aristotle). The Buddhist doctrine of An-atta (non-Self) is its opposite idea.

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  15. Whether Rudolf Steiner was, or was not the Bodhisattva is really not the issue here in this post, in which Jeremy has given over to Hans van Willenswaard’s initial concern about the so-called “Bodhisattva Question.” This, of course, was a pretext to Han’s much larger issue of spiritual community, in which Jeremy has reasonably seen that a more amicable settlement is one not between political parties, but rather one in which the earth’s own consciousness seeks to reach out to human beings to wake up. This, in itself, is a very good argument for resolving what ails the world, and yet, the political forum previously discussed when the issue of overcoming capitalism in relation to Brexit still remains a viable entity today.

    The reason can be traced to the fact that Rudolf Steiner developed a three-fold plan in which all elements that combine to develop a harmonious social system in which the cultural life, economics, and equal justice would prevail. And, he did this amongst the travail of the first world war. Yet, as we know, nobody listened to its clarion call. So, even today, nobody puts out a threefold party system based on Steiner, and this certainly could have come out of the Brexit initiative of June 2016, when the special referendum of David Cameron indicated that a narrow margin wanted out of the European Union.

    So, you see, this narrow margin is much like the lukewarm spirit that is moving toward the future. Now, one of the things that I proposed when the initiative to rehabilitate Ita Wegman and Elisabeth Vreede this year from the travails of the purge of 1935, was to also look at how Carl Unger had met his death on January 4, 1929.

    You see, Carl Unger had gotten fed up with what was going on in the GAS after the death of RS, and yet he was willing to make every effort to keep the true initiative alive for about four years. Then, he realized that if he didn’t make an effort to bring anthroposophy back into the public domain with lecture activity, that it would lapse into the hands of the old legacy system. So, he resigned as general secretary of the Stuttgart branch at the end of 1928, and went to Nuremberg to give a lecture that was designed to start a new public lecture series. The lecture was, “What is Anthroposophy”.
    https://www.rsarchive.org/RelAuthors/UngerCarl/anthroposophy.php

    Then, even before starting this lecture, he was murdered. He didn’t even get to give it. Now, speculation says that he was attempting to start a Threefold party when the National Socialist party was on the verge of gaining seats on the Reichstadt Parliament, which would occur in 1930.

    So, by eliminating Carl Unger as the problem in 1929, the Reichstag became a fact by 1933. The threat of a threefold party had been eliminated, and national socialism in Germany became a fact.

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  16. Kathy

    I wonder?..we are conceptualizing the bodhisattva mostly as serving Man’s evolution. What about those who dedicate their lives to the Earth and its creatures? J. Cousteau? Diane Fosse?…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Kathy. One could add Jane Goodall, Rachel Carson, Petra Kelly, Cicely Saunders, Simone Weil and many other names of women who have devoted their lives to the well being of the earth, its creatures and peoples.
      I notice that it is still only men’s names that crop up in this thread as possible Bodhisattvas.

      It seems to me that in this discussion there is a rigidified understanding and interpretation of Steiner’s indications as to the pattern of development and working of this Bodhisattva in the 20th and 21st centuries.
      I often question the accuracy with which statements made by Steiner were reported, recorded, transmitted and interpreted. In this case I am not clear about the provenance of the statements attributed to Steiner in Hans’s original post, viz.
      “- Shows transition to exceptional leadership around the age of 30 years
      -Announces the appearance of the Christ in the etheric body of the Earth.”

      I don’t feel the need to restrict my imagination of the recent lives of this Bodhisattva being to a life as some kind of spiritual teacher.
      With 600 lives to go before achieving Buddhahood maybe in ONE of those lives this being WILL BE a spiritual teacher, with the specific gift of healing speech which Steiner mentions.
      But there is plenty of opportunity to appear in different races, different genders, different sexual orientations, with different aims and objectives; and plenty of time also for the 30th year dynamic, which Steiner mentions, to appear. I don’t understand Steiner to mean this 30th year dynamic ALWAYS appears as a characteristic of this being’s lives. That would be weird.

      I can imagine the specific gifts of this being expressed through the dynamic oratory of Petra Kelly whom, it could be argued, was more effective in bringing to birth the Green Movement in Germany than any other individual. From Germany it has radiated across the world.
      Similarly I can imagine this gift of speech expressed in the clear scientific reasoning and deep compassion of Rachel Carson, which changed forever the way in which a significant portion of the educated people of the world respond to the effects of using poisonous chemicals in farming.
      In the writings of Simone Weil one can experience a quite special lucidity at work in the expression of a truly modern christian sensibility. In the late 1930’s and until she died in 1943 she was writing in private letters about her experience of the presence of the Christ in the etheric realm. (though she did not use this word ‘etheric’.)

      Karl Popper famously said that no scientific predictor could predict the future state of its own knowledge.
      So Steiner, if he was practicing science and not mystical revelation, could not say with certainty how specific aims of the divine world would be realised, though he could describe the intentions of the Gods.
      I believe that Steiner, looking into the future, could perceive spiritual trends and tendencies, the aims and objectives of the Gods. (Foundation Stone Meditation 3rd verse).
      But these aims may not be fulfilled in the way humans expect, the objectives may not be realised because of the way in which things turn out. The aims may be fulfilled in other ways than seers have predicted.

      Like

      • J.K.

        ‘…different genders, different sexual orientations…’ –
        Not meaning to misattribute the meaning or intention here with a lot of the current madness that seems to have come to the fore in the whole area of sexuality and ‘gender identity’, but the following I think deserves some attention with regard to these subjects:

        ”…. this much can certainly be said: The effect in the evolution of humanity would be that certain instincts connected with the sexual life would arise in a pernicious form instead of wholesomely, in clear waking consciousness. These instincts would not be mere aberrations but would pass over into and configure the social life, would above all prevent men — through what would then enter their blood as the effect of the sexual life — from unfolding brotherhood in any form whatever on the earth, and would rather induce them to rebel against it. This would be a matter of instinct.

        So the crucial point lies ahead when either the path to the right can be taken — but that demands wakefulness — or the path to the left, which permits of sleep. But in that case instincts come on the scene — instincts of a fearful kind.

        And what do you suppose the scientific experts will say when such instincts come into evidence? They will say that it is a natural and inevitable development in the evolution of humanity. Light cannot be shed on such matters by natural science, for whether men become angels or devils would be equally capable of explanation by scientific reasoning. Science will say the same in both cases: the later is the outcome of the earlier … so grand and wise is the interpretation of nature in terms of causality! Natural science will be totally blind to the event of which I have told you, for if men become half devils through their sexual instincts, science will as a matter of course regard this as a natural necessity.”

        https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19181009p01.html

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    • It is only by way of Man’s evolution that the Earth can be saved. That is why conceptualizing the Bodhisattva is equal to the process of achieving higher consciousness. What is the Earth begging for except that a discerning humanity reach out in a conscious awareness that we treat nature and all its beings with due respect for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”?

      Yet, and I want to give particular note to a lecture that Rudolf Steiner gave when he considered it imperative that the workings of the elemental spirits be made known,; our Earth is in the midst of a destructive process, and this destructive process became very prominent in the 20th century. Certain powers of destruction were made available to humanity with the advent of the 20th century, and this has seen the loss of some 187 million lives with the wars experienced in the last century, which is just 18 years past.

      https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA177/English/RSP1993/19171006p01.html

      So, today, with the advent of the third millennium, it is good to conceptualize where we are at in relation to this rather devastating lecture by Rudolf Steiner in 1917, when the United States entered WWI on the side of the allied nations. This assured who the victor would be, and yet the elementary forces of destruction would only compound over the years in order to yield the biggest threat of all, which was nuclear destruction based on the atom bombs, and Steiner had previously predicted this outcome in the lecture from October 1, 1911, on “Etherisation of the Blood”.

      Thus, everything has happened according to plan, and yet we live today with the remembrance of people like Jacques Cousteau and Diane Fosse, who were people of the kind of conscience which the science of the spirit advocates. Many more could be added. “Treat me nice and I will love you forever” becomes a clarion call for both nature and humanity, and all the beings in between.

      What the Science of the Spirit advocates today is that the former justification by Faith, owing to Saul who became Paul, and upheld by Martin Luther in the 16th century as a kind of complete reproduction, now becomes Knowledge, which easily sees faith on belief, according to the Gospels, and now sees the science, or gnosis, which is what it all means. Thank Rudolf Steiner for making the transition from faith to knowledge known in some nearly 400 volumes of spiritual science.

      The issue is humanity today, and whether it cares about anything except the technology which activates its life on the path of destruction. I see it everyday, and yet hope for these conversations from you, Kathy, who listens in. I personally think that Jeremy’s blog still has the potential to reach many lives that are oriented to spiritual science.

      Like

  17. Kathy

    Thanks, Tomhartshae: I think of the Bodhisattva as more than a “spiritual” teacher. As I understand it, Mahayana Buddhism is regarded as the “great wheel” which lifts all/many into enlightenment…and the Bodhisattva is one who can fully enter the Divine and become a Buddha, but postpones it for the sake of helping all mankind ascend. That is, It continues on in this world of suffering for the sake of others – (already It’s function sounds something like a woman, doesn’t it?) Seriously, though, I think empathy, the capacity to help bear each other’s suffering, is a key part of the Bodhisattva’s (and all of our) function. Also, I remember Steiner saying that if mankind as a whole (except for the few who learn through esoteric training) does not develop the natural faculty for seeing into the Etheric, this would be a tragedy for the whole of mankind and its future. So many of those you identified have face those tragedies in a variety of forms.
    And,Steve, I, also, feel despair in seeing what is happening all around us. The great temptation is to think this great wheel’s never going to get off the ground. But here we are – still doing the dance! Going from Faith to Knowledge, as you described them, is part of the dance – but the challenge, now, is moving from Knowledge to Experience. That is: Feeling, to Thinking to Willing.

    Liked by 1 person

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