Gelugpas, Tantra, & Theosophy

“Since the reform produced by Tsong-ka-pa,
many abuses have again crept into the theocracy of the land.”
(H. P. Blavatsky, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 185, Entry for “Lama”)

~ * ~


Students of the original teachings of Theosophy – i.e. those of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge – are aware that Tsong Kha-pa, the founder of the Gelugpa school or sect of Tibetan Buddhism is held in extremely high regard. The article The Great Tsong Kha-pa provides the majority of the Theosophical statements made about him and thus shows why this is.

To briefly summarise: his life (1357-1419) was in some way a reincarnation of Gautama Buddha himself, who was reborn in Tibet in order to try to rescue his own religion (i.e. Buddhism) from the many degradations into which it had fallen in that land. Part of this work involved, as HPB expresses it, “[putting] a forcible stop thereto by a timely revolution and the exile of 40,000 sham monks and Lamas from the country.” (“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 305, Entry for “Son-kha-pa”)

In 1409 the Gelugpas were officially established, whose use of yellow hats rather than red distinguishes them visually from the Lamas and monks of the other schools, whilst also containing significant spiritual symbolism.

Alongside the outer establishment of the Gelugpas, it is said that he was also founder “of the mystic Brotherhood connected with its chiefs” and “the secret School near Tji-gad-je [i.e. Shigatse], attached to the private retreat of the Teshu Lama”; “Teshu” and “Tashi” being alternative and in fact very rarely used names for the Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama (whose traditional seat was at the

H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge, co-founders of the modern Theosophical Movement.

Potala palace in Lhasa) and the Panchen Lama (whose traditional seat was Tashilhumpo Monastery in Shigatse), both of which are reincarnation lineages, are historically the two most prominent Gelugpa figureheads, although the official “spiritual leader” of the Gelugpas is nominally the Ganden Tripa, an appointed office.

The Gelugpas (literally “virtuous ones” or “models of virtue”) were marked by a number of features that made them different from the other and older forms of Tibetan Buddhism, such as: very strong emphasis on philosophical study, cultivation of the intellect, and development of logic with regard to metaphysics, strict vegetarianism required for all the Gelugpa Lamas and monks, even though a purely vegetarian diet was hard to come by in Tibet’s difficult and icy climate, strict abstinence from alcohol and also celibacy required for the Lamas and monks, and a very strong emphasis on the personal purity, ethics and monastic discipline that Buddha himself had inculcated for his monks and Arhats.

It is also held in Theosophy that it was none other than Tsong Kha-pa who instituted the Masters’ endeavours to further enlighten the world during the closing quarter of each century. HPB, in her “Tsong-Kha-Pa – Lohans in China” article says, “Among the commandments of Tsong-Kha-pa there is one that enjoins the Rahats (Arhats) to make an attempt to enlighten the world, including the “white barbarians,” every century, at a certain specified period of the cycle.” The modern Theosophical Movement is thus seen as an expression of the work and impulse generated by this great being. It is indicated in a few places that the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood of Masters holds Tsong Kha-pa in special reverence.

And also, it is assumed by Theosophists, Tsong Kha-pa must have eliminated – at least for the Gelugpas, the Order which he himself had founded – sexual tantric practices and other very questionable and dark things which pervaded the older forms of Tibetan Buddhism. Sexual tantra, sexual magic, sexual yoga, etc., is clearly considered in Theosophy to be black magic – in fact the very worst form of it – and antithetical to the real esoteric Path towards enlightenment, adeptship, and Bodhisattvahood as taught in and by that Great Brotherhood of “Masters of Wisdom” who were the Teachers and Initiators of HPB and the real Inspirers behind the Theosophical Movement.

It is on this point that we, as students of Theosophy, are most likely to come undone with regard to Tsong Kha-pa and matters of Tibetan Buddhism, for it is nowadays a widely known and commonplace fact – and one which cannot be denied, as some past Theosophists have naively attempted to do, in online forums and so forth – that sexual tantra and other related practices have been a core part of Gelugpa teachings for hundreds of years, with most Gelugpas – the leading Lamas included – saying that Tsong Kha-pa himself taught and emphasised the importance of sexual tantra.

As their basis they point to the published writings of Tsong Kha-pa and his closest disciples which do, in plain and unambiguous language, exalt and recommend these things. Admittedly those texts recommend them only for very advanced Lamas, who have already cultivated the Bodhisattva Ideal to a high level and received the relevant “empowerments” from their Lama Gurus, but this does not make it any the less alarming or confusing for those Theosophical students who have understandably assumed that just the opposite was the case.

Monks of the Gelugpa school/sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Over the years this puzzle has led different people to reach different conclusions, some of which can readily be found in old Theosophical forum discussions online, such as: (1) HPB had no real knowledge about the Gelugpas or Tsong Kha-pa and thus misled her readers, (2) HPB knew well and supported the sexual tantra teachings of the Gelugpas but felt it wasn’t yet the suitable time to make them publicly known, (3) HPB and the Masters were affiliated with a secret inner undercurrent of the Gelugpas which had not involved itself with such things and assiduously kept itself free from any black magic.

Which, if any, of these explanations is the right one? Virtually every Gelugpa today would assert that it is either (1) or (2) especially as almost the whole philosophical basis of Gelugpa teachings is quite different from and seemingly contrary to that of Theosophy, the former being Madhyamika in their outlook and perceptions and the latter being Yogacharya-esque. But this article is written primarily for students of Theosophy and before any conclusion can be intelligently drawn (i.e. rather than putting our heads in the sand and just saying “Of course HPB was right; all evidence to the contrary has to be false and we don’t want to even know about it”) there are some things we need to be aware of . . .


Thubten Jigme Norbu (1922-2008) was the eldest brother of the present (14th) Dalai Lama. Before leaving Tibet he served as the Chief Abbot of the Monastery of Kumbum, built near the birthplace of Tsong Kha-pa, and mentioned several times in HPB’s writings. In 1968 Simon and Schuster published a book he had written with Colin M. Turnbull titled “Tibet: An Account of the History, The Religion & The People of Tibet.”

Described as a “valuable and authoritative” work it contains some information that is helpful for us, such as:

* In the 8th century A.D. the Emperor of Tibet invited the Indian Buddhist teacher Santarakshita to his country, to convert it to Buddhism. It was at that time predominantly of the Bhon or Bon religion, the indigenous religion of Tibet, and which is viewed by many people – not only HPB – as a dark and largely demonic religion. The famous 20th century German Buddhist traveller, Anagarika Govinda, described his unintended visit to a Bhon monastery and remarked how it is the only religion to have never produced anything of beauty or light for the world.

* Santarakshita’s efforts in Tibet were apparently hindered by dark forces and demons, at which point another Indian Buddhist, who was also known as a tantric sorcerer, namely Padmasambhava, was invited to Tibet to conquer and overthrow these hindrances through his great powers for which he was well known. He went and Buddhism was established, albeit a very compromised and distorted Buddhism, which in some respects was little different from the existing Bhon, which continued to exist alongside it. Padmasambhava reportedly believed in the fundamental tantric principle that one should not remove or eliminate negative forces but rather make use of them for one’s own progress and enlightenment. L. Austine Waddell in his book “The Buddhism of Tibet” relates how Padmasambhava “guaranteed . . . the chief devils of the land . . . that in return for [their] services they would be duly worshiped and fed.”

* There was a prominent 10th century Indian Buddhist teacher

Old artwork of Atisha which originates in a Tibetan Kadampa monastery.

named Atisha who, amongst other things, gave the Lamrim (Stages of the Path to Enlightenment) teaching and founded what was known as the Kadampa Tradition. Around 230 years after Padmasambhava had left Tibet, Atisha went there and stayed there for the remainder of his life.

* Norbu writes: “On arrival at Tholing, the monastic center of Western Tibet [Note: This Monastery of Tholing, where Atisha established the Kadampa school or sect, was where the Master K.H. happened to be visiting at the time that he sent his first “Mahatma Letter” to A. P. Sinnett; HPB tells Sinnett this on p. 11 of “The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett” and adds that in the 1880s, by which time it had become a Gelugpa monastery, there were “chelas of the first degree” based there; if one reads letters from her and Damodar, it is seen that a chela of the first degree is a chela of the initial and lowest stage.], Atisha saw the terrible state of degeneration that had come about through a misunderstanding of the tantras, but he refused to give in to those who counseled that they should be abolished. He set about teaching the tantras as only a philosopher of his stature could, elevating them to the highest spiritual level, removing them from any but symbolic connection with physical action. He himself, however, advised that only two of the four tantric initiations should generally be considered since the other two could mislead the aspirant. . . . At the same time that he supported the tantras, however, Atisha also taught the pure Theg Chen [i.e. Mind Training] doctrine, free of all tantric elements. One of his greatest contributions to Tibetan Buddhist literature is a discourse in pure Theg Chen tradition upon the different goals that man may set for himself and their relative value. . . . Here he clearly said that the tantras should only be followed by those who had passed through the previous stages of ethical (Theg Men) and philosophical reflection (Theg Chen), and that the actual practice of tantra was a purely spiritual affair, in no way calling for a female counterpart or the use of intoxicants, and in no way permissible for the selfish goal of self-advancement.”

* By the time Atisha died, a certain degree of reform had occurred

Tholing Monastery, destroyed by the Chinese after their invasion of Tibet.

within Tibetan Buddhism. Around 350 years later, further reform, this time by Tsong Kha-pa, would result in the establishment of the New Kadampa Tradition, this being the original name by which the Gelugpas were known.

* However, continues Norbu, two of Atisha’s disciples, “finding the severe discipline not to their taste and wishing to reintroduce at least some of the old familiar deities [i.e. those of the Bhons and which had been retained in Padmasambhava’s version of Buddhism], founded the Kagyupa and Sakyapa sects. Those who had not been convinced at all by the teachings of Atisha and followed the old belief [i.e. Padmasambhava’s system, which until Atisha had been the only form of Buddhism in Tibet] became known as the Nyingmapa, the Old Sect. The Bon beliefs and practices found a ready home there, . . . this Old Sect was weakened by the number and quality of all those who had followed Atisha’s teachings. The Nyingmapa strengthened their position from time to time by “discovering” still further scriptures, or Terma, hidden in remote places, allegedly writings of [Padmasambhava]. In this way they reintroduced, as Buddhism, many old Bon rites, and the Bon of today consider themselves closer to the Nyingmapa than to any other Buddhist sect.”

* One of those renegade disciples of Atisha was Marpa, who felt that the physical and sexual aspects of tantra were important and necessary, and who proceeded to make visits to India where he studied under various Tantric masters such as Naropa. Marpa and his very famous and celebrated disciple Milarepa became essentially the founders of the Kagyupa school or sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Even that turned out to not be sufficiently carnal for some and finding its “asceticism too much, and moving back toward the old Nyingmapa sect they founded subdivisions of the Kagyupa,” the three main ones which Norbu names being the Karma Kagyu, Drikung Kagyu, and Drukpa Kagyu.

* When Tsong Kha-pa founded the Gelugpa (or New Kadampas as they were first called) in the early 15th century, he introduced a series of vows which Norbu explains were “taken by monks as they pass from one grade to another, each grade demanding a higher level of renunciation.” The “four main vows” were “to refrain from killing, stealing, having sexual intercourse, and lying,” all of which acts, incidentally, are sanctioned in various forms of Tibetan Buddhist tantra. He did not, however, endeavour to wipe out every last trace and vestige of the tantric influences, as he reportedly felt that this would drastically limit his audience and thus the amount of people who could learn and benefit from him and his work. Therefore, says Norbu, “he took the old Gods and demons, images and paintings of which filled the temples and monasteries of the day and nearly all of which had non-Buddhist origins, and he taught the symbolic meaning of each. . . . the Tantric symbols and practices

Old Gelugpa artwork of Palden Lhamo, viewed as a divine protector of the Gelugpa tradition and of Tibet.

were transmuted for use simply as symbols “with a view to right understanding” on higher planes of mentation. In this way the symbol of sexual union was emphatically declared to be a symbol of the union of knowledge and activity, leading to the right application of knowledge, or power. It in no way licensed sexual activity as a practice leading to spiritual advancement, as some of the old sects now taught. . . . The use of liquor and narcotics was equally forbidden to all Gelukpa, and once again Tsong Khapa saw that it was best to stress the symbolic meaning of intoxication and of meat eating – another practice which some old sects said had spiritual power. To simply deny them . . . would only achieve a limited end within his own following. By offering a symbolic interpretation he hoped to be able to slowly introduce reform into the other sects.”


What exactly is Tantra anyway? The Sanskrit word literally means “continuum,” which doesn’t say much.

The simplest way to define it would be that it is a particularly esoteric approach to spiritual advancement and enlightenment and is characterised by the use of practical occultism, including detailed knowledge and practical usage of various subtle forces and energies within the human body, which are viewed as correspondences and derivations of those same forces and energies within the Cosmos. It generally places particular emphasis on the Divine Feminine Principle/Energy within the Cosmos, often termed “Shakti” in Hinduism.

In the opinion of historians and academics, Tantra originated in Hinduism and later spread, as we saw above, into Tibetan Buddhism. In Hinduism it was historically looked upon with distaste and even disgust, due to the nature of some of the main practices, and accordingly was never counted amongst the “Shad-Darshanas” or “Six Schools” of Hindu philosophy. In Tibetan Buddhism it was prominent and revered, right from Padmasambhava’s time through to the present day. There are numerous different forms, systems, and lineages, of Tantra, in both Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, a number of different Tantric systems are practised and taught in each of the schools/sects.

Theosophists are mistaken if they believe or say that all Tantra is black magic.

This was not the view of HPB, who, in an editorial footnote to an article titled “The Tantras” (“Tantras” being the term for scriptures which deal specifically with Tantra), said, “the meaning in the real old Tantras remaining a dead letter to the uninitiated Hindus, very few can appreciate their worth. Some of the “White” Tantras, especially the one treated upon in the present article [i.e. this was the “Mahanirvana Tantra”], contain extremely important information for Occultists.”

“The Theosophical Glossary,” the last book HPB was working on when she passed away in 1891. It was published the following year.

Her entry for “Tantrika” on p. 319 of “The Theosophical Glossary” says that there are “right-hand” and “left-hand” followers of Tantra, by which she says she means “white” and “black” magicians. “The worship of the latter is most licentious and immoral.” The entry for “Tantra” itself says with italicised emphasis that sexual Tantra is “the worst form of black magic or sorcery.” This is made plain, clear, and unambiguous: so-called “sex magic” is black magic. That doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful; it no doubt is or can be, but it involves occult misuse or rather abuse of the sacred and holy sexual forces and energies, and can only wreak havoc and destruction – predominantly on oneself – in the long run.

HPB, reviewing a book titled “Qabbalah,” stated:

“The Tantras, as they now stand, are the embodiment of ceremonial black magic of the darkest dye. A “Tantrika,” he who practices the Tantras, in their dead letter, is synonymous with “Sorcerer” in the phraseology of the Hindus. Blood – human and animal – corpses and ghosts have the most prominent place in the paraphernalia used for the practical necromancy and rites of Tantrika worship. But it is quite true, that those Kabalists who dabble in the ceremonial magic as described and taught by Éliphas Lévi, are as full blown Tantrikas as those of Bengal.”

Our article Theosophy Warns Against Ceremonial Magic shows how the emphasis in some Theosophical organisations and groups on the practice and supposed importance of ceremonial magic was derived primarily from the writings of C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant and then perpetuated by Alice Bailey and does not have any origins, basis, or support, in the original Theosophical teachings but instead just the opposite.

White Tantra apparently has few followers and adherents nowadays and the term “Tantrika” has become associated solely with the Black Tantra. So much so that the Master K.H. wrote to A. O. Hume:

“We are held and described by some persons as no better than refined or ‘cultured tantrikas’? . . . the easy way with which you notify us of the comparison made, makes me feel confident of the fact that you know little, if anything, about the professors of that sect; otherwise, you would have hardly, as a gentleman, given room to such a simile in your letter. One more word will suffice. The ‘tantrikas’ – at least the modern sect, for over 400 years – observe rites and ceremonies, the fitting description of which will never be attempted by the pen of one of our Brotherhood.”

The Mahanirvana Tantra scripture of Hinduism, referred to above by

Mohini, for a time a chela of Mahatma K.H. Other and more successful Indian chelas of this Master included Damodar K. Mavalankar and Bhavani Shankar.

HPB as “containing extremely important information for Occultists,” was quoted from by Mohini M. Chatterjee (an Indian colleague of HPB and who was also for a time a direct chela or disciple of the Master K.H.) in his article “Morality and Pantheism” which is today published in the book “Five Years of Theosophy.” On p. 218 of that book we find this:

“The Mahanirvan Tantra says: . . . “For one, walking beyond the three gunasSatva (feeling of gratification), Rajas (passional activity) and Tamas (inertness) – what injunction or what restriction is there?” . . . This does not mean that a Mahatma can or will ever neglect the laws of morality, but that he, having unified his individual nature with Great Nature herself, is constitutionally incapable of violating any one of the laws of nature, and no man can constitute himself a judge of the conduct of the Great one without knowing the laws of all the planes of Nature’s activity. As honest men are honest without the least consideration of the criminal law, so a Mahatma is moral without reference to the laws of morality.”

It is easy to see from Mohini’s explanation that such Tantra statements as the one he quotes do not necessarily have anything originally or inherently bad or wrong or dark about them but on the contrary make clear sense in the light of the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy which we call Theosophy. But it is also easy to see how such texts and statements, falling into wrong and unsuited hands, could be misunderstood and misinterpreted – whether deliberately or otherwise – and then made the foundation and basis of a completely immoral mode of life and conduct, one which potentially knows “no injunction or restriction” whatsoever.

And, sad to say, this has been exactly the case in both Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist Tantra.

Masses of Tibetan Buddhist monks and Lamas, from the time of Padmasambhava until the present day, have – whilst verbally honouring and revering Buddha and his ethical teachings – practised drug taking, drunkenness, excessive meat eating, theft, promiscuous sex, orgies, blood drinking, animal sacrifice, and even rape, paedophilia, murder, and cannibalism, all in the name of “enlightenment” and “Buddhahood” and all whilst attempting to channel and direct the associated energies towards the goal of reaching a high spiritual state, ostensibly so as to become a powerful Bodhisattva equipped with the means to help humanity to the utmost, the idea being that because non-duality is the real condition of things, everything without exception should be made use of and seen as divine, without categorising it as “good” or “bad.” Buddha, they say, recognises neither purity nor impurity.

The motive may, in some cases, be ultimately a good and noble one, but the means are black magic pure and simple, and accordingly the outcome can only be – if followed to the extreme and utmost of those things just mentioned – possession and manipulation by dark forces and entities and eventually the loss and death of the soul. Bearing in mind the Master’s words to Hume, we will not go into any detail about the things listed above but suffice it to say that anyone doubting the accuracy of the statement can do their own research and will thus confirm for themselves that all of this is indeed part of Tibetan Buddhism and not only a part but in fact seen as the highest part.

Tibetan Buddhist teaching consists of two aspects or stages, Sutra and Tantra. The Sutra stage is essentially all about the practitioner attaining self-purification, self-mastery, and cultivation of Bodhichitta (the wish to live solely to benefit mankind) and the Paramitas (six great virtues of Giving, Moral Discipline, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom, which must be brought to perfection in one’s life), which constitute the treading of the Bodhisattva Path.

To aspire to reach Nirvana in order to never have to reincarnate again and to leave this world and its humanity behind and enter supreme bliss and liberation for one’s own sake is the aim of Theravada Buddhism (which Theosophical literature often calls “Southern Buddhism”) but it is not that of Mahayana Buddhism (sometimes called “Northern Buddhism”) and Tibetan Buddhism is a form of Mahayana Buddhism, which holds the Bodhisattva Ideal – enlightenment for the sake of all living beings and renunciation of one’s own Nirvana – as the right thing to aim for. All of Tibetan Buddhist practice revolves around this.

In Tibetan Buddhism, when one has reached to an advanced stage in the Sutrayana one can, if they so wish, enter upon the Tantrayana. This is also called Mantrayana, “Secret Mantra,” and, most often, Vajrayana, which means “Diamond Way” or “Diamond Path.” Tibetan Buddhism is commonly called “Vajrayana Buddhism” because of it being so characterised by the Tantric path. The term “Esoteric Buddhism” is commonly taken to be just a synonym for Vajrayana Buddhism. It is generally held in Tibetan Buddhism that although not everyone does achieve enlightenment in just one lifetime of practising Vajrayana, it is possible to do so, i.e. it is touted as being the means to achieve full enlightenment extremely quickly, if one gives one’s all to it.

The essence of the approach, techniques, and practice is summarised in these few quotes (there are many hundreds or even thousands more, saying the same thing) which also enable us to see why it unfortunately holds such appeal for many people:

* “Do not suppress your feelings, choose whatever you will, and do whatever you desire, for in this way you please the Goddess. No one succeeds in attaining perfection by employing difficult and vexing operations; but perfection can be gained by satisfying all one’s desires.” (from the Guhyasamaja Tantra)

* “A wise man should remove the filth of his mind by filth; one must rise by that through which one falls.” (from the Hevajra Tantra)

* “I am void, the world is void, all three worlds are void; therefore neither sin nor virtue exist.” (from Tilopa, 11th century Indian Tantrika revered in Tibetan Buddhism)

“The esoteric school teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats is such a Nirmanakaya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none known.” (HPB, “The Voice of the Silence” p. 97)

The basis for including such things as part of Buddhism is derived from the Mahayana concept of Gautama Buddha having made “three turnings of the wheel of Dharma” during his life. It was the Yogacharya School of Indian Mahayana Buddhism, founded by Aryasangha, which first presented the concept of the “three turnings.” The first turning of Buddha’s Dharma Wheel was when he gave those teachings which are now known as Theravada Buddhism. The second was when he gave out the teachings about the Bodhisattva Path and related concepts; these subsequently formed the essence of all Mahayana Buddhism.

The Yogacharyas said that the third turning was when Buddha gave out the teachings – sadly little known today – which affirm and explain that in spite of what he said during the “first turning” there is actually an Eternal Self within everyone, which is the Atman, the essential Buddha-Nature of all, and this is one and the same as the Absolute Primordial Wisdom (Adi-Buddhi) which is the Source, Cause, and underlying Essence of all manifestation and which is not an “empty emptiness” as the Madhyamikas say but rather an Infinite Fullness which is “empty” or “void” of anything conditioned or relative. These principles were expressed in the Yogacharya and Tathagatagarbha (literally “Buddha Nature”) sutras, some of which were called Tantras, such as Aryasangha’s Uttara Tantra (one of the “Five Books of Maitreya”) but contained not the faintest hint of black tantra.

Tibetan Buddhism, on the other hand, says that the third turning was not this but was the Vajrayana teachings with all their tantric details, the sexual ones included. Most Tibetan Buddhist Lamas believe that it was through what Theosophy calls “black tantra” – but which they see as just tantra – that Gautama Buddha reached his highest enlightenment. And, they say, he taught these things to his disciples and initiated some of them into it. Tibetan Buddhist monks, growing up in Vajrayana-fuelled environments, are told that these tantric teachings are Buddha’s teachings, his highest teachings in fact, and having trust in their teachers they believe it, accept it, and pass it on to the next generations.


T. Subba Row was an initiated Hindu disciple of the Master M. and a colleague of HPB in India. He has shed some important light for us on these subjects:

“The Tantras and Agamas . . . were originally cultivated and developed by the Atlanteans. In course of time their doctrines and ritual gradually crept into the Brahmanical doctrine, as the Dugpa doctrines crept into Tibetan Buddhism before the time of Tsong-kha-pa. And just as the last named adept undertook to weed out these doctrines from the Tibetan religion, Shankaracharya attempted to purify the Brahmanical faith.” (“The Constitution of the Microcosm” article)

T. Subba Row, 1856-1890

“When a man begins to deal with magical evocations, very powerful elementals come, and they are not easily frightened away. . . . there are all the powerful elemental gods and goddesses worshipped by the Atlanteans, and these still exist. They are most ferocious things, but they cannot be evoked easily. It is fortunate for us that they do not interfere more than they do.” (“Esoteric Teachings”)

Anyone who has carefully studied “The Secret Doctrine” will probably not be surprised to learn that black tantra is largely a continuation of some of the old Atlantean forms of black magic. Powerful secrets, whether of black magic or white magic, never die. There are always some who work to ensure their preservation, continuation, and ongoing transmission. The teachings of Theosophy – pure, good, safe, and aimed at humanity’s evolution and enlightenment – are carried over from Atlantean and even Lemurian times, so it is no wonder that Theosophy’s antithesis would be also.

Theosophy teaches that the Tibetans (and all the non-Indian Oriental races) are the modern day descendants from the seventh and last sub-race of the fourth, i.e. Atlantean, root-race. It thus stands to reason that they may have a greater intrinsic propensity and inclination towards old Atlantean tantric practices than other races, nationalities, and cultures might have.


In some of his bestselling books, the current Dalai Lama has said:

“A practitioner who has firm compassion and wisdom can make use of sexual intercourse in the spiritual path as a technique for strongly focusing consciousness and manifesting the fundamental innate mind of clear light. Its purpose is to actualize and prolong the deeper levels of mind in order to put their power to use in strengthening the realization of emptiness. . . .  How does sexual intercourse help in the path? Since the potential of grosser levels of mind is very limited, but the deeper, more subtle levels are much more powerful, developed practitioners need to access these subtler levels of mind. . . . Due to this, sex is utilized. Through special techniques of concentration during orgasm competent practitioners can prolong very deep, subtle, and powerful states and put them to use to realize emptiness. However, if you engage in sexual intercourse within an ordinary mental context, there is no benefit.

“The father of the late Serkong Rinpochay was both a great scholar and an accomplished practitioner. He was from Ganden Monastery [i.e. a Gelugpa Monastery founded by Tsong Kha-pa himself] . . . but his main lama, Trin Ngawang Norbu, was in Drepung Monastery west of Lhasa. So, Serkong Rinpochay’s father used to stay in Lhasa and every day early in the morning made the long trek to Drepung . . . One night, Serkong’s father met a girl and lost his vows [i.e. he broke the vow of celibacy required of Gelugpa monks during the Sutrayana stage]. Regretting this very much, the next morning he tearfully went to Drepung, but . . . the Teacher, Trin Ngawang Norbu,

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

said, “You have relapsed, but that is right. Now you should practice tantra with a consort.” That in itself was unusual, but, even more extraordinary was that after the consort’s death the mantra of the goddess Vajrayogini was manifest right in her skull bone. . . .

“During this period the Thirteenth Dalai Lama conducted an investigation into which lamas were authentic and expelled quite a number of them, but he made an exception for . . . Serkong Rinpochay’s father . . . In this way he officially recognized their extraordinary ability and special right to use a consort in the practice of Tantra.” (“Mind of Clear Light: And Living a Better Life” p. 176-179)

“Vajradhara appears in just the way that the trainee should meditate when using afflictive emotions such as lust or hatred in the process of the path. To corral such powerful emotions into the spiritual path trainees cannot be imagining that they have the peaceful body of Shakyamuni Buddha. Deity yoga is required. . . . The same is true for sexual yoga; trainees who are capable of using the bliss arising from the desire involved in gazing, smiling, holding hands, or union must perform the appropriate deity yoga; they could not be imagining themselves as Shakyamuni, a monk. For Buddhists, sexual intercourse can be used in the spiritual path because it causes a strong focusing of consciousness if the practitioner has firm compassion and wisdom. Its purpose is to manifest and prolong the deeper levels of mind, in order to put their power to use in strengthening the realization of emptiness. Otherwise, mere intercourse has nothing to do with spiritual cultivation. When a person has achieved a high level of practice in motivation and wisdom, even the joining of the two sex organs, or so-called intercourse, does not detract from the maintenance of that person’s pure behavior. Yogis who have achieved a high level of the path and are fully qualified can engage in sexual activity, and a monastic with this ability can maintain all the precepts. One Tibetan yogi-adept, when criticized by another, said that he ate meat and drank beer as offerings to the mandala deity.” (“How To Practise: The Way to a Meaningful Life”)

We are aware that some Theosophists may feel it inappropriate that we have quoted all these specific things from the Dalai Lama. This is understandable but the reason for doing so is because it has been proven over the past few decades that the vast majority of Theosophists refuse to believe it when informed that the Dalai Lama himself – the most prominent figurehead and best known representative of Tsong Kha-pa’s Gelugpas – endorses and promotes sexual tantra. But if they would not remain in blissful ignorance, they need to know what the facts are and, since many will not believe it without seeing the undeniable evidence for themselves, this is why we have provided it.

It may be asked whether the Dalai Lama is an exception to the rule in endorsing such things. The answer is no. Referring back to the quotes from the Dalai Lama’s brother in an earlier section, it was said that Tsong Kha-pa taught a purified Tantra, entirely free from all sexual and impure elements. Indeed, the way in which he united the Sutra and Tantra systems for the Gelugpa tradition was considered one of his greatest achievements.

We mentioned how Atisha taught Lamrim, “Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.” Tsong Kha-pa’s most well known work is titled Lamrim Chenmo or “Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment” and is based very much on that. He also wrote a book called Ngagrim Chenmo which means “Great Treatise on the Stages of the Tantric Path” or “The Great Exposition of Tantra.”

HPB speaks positively of the Lamrim Chenmo in several places and

The 3 volumes of Tsong Kha-pa’s “Lamrim Chenmo” are published by Shambhala Publications, who call it “one of the brightest jewels in the world’s treasury of sacred literature.”

in a footnote to her article “Practical Occultism” she says “Lamrin is a work of practical instructions, by Tson-kha-pa, in two portions, one for ecclesiastical and exoteric purposes, the other for esoteric use.” It would seem that the “portion . . . for esoteric use” is referring to the Ngagrim Chenmo, at least in its original form, the way in which he wrote it, not the way in which it publicly and popularly exists today.

Now, one can safely assume, not only from the writings of HPB but also from those of the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, that the Tantric system that Tsong Kha-pa instituted for suitably initiated Gelugpas was free from sexual elements and all aspects of black magic. But anyone who researches into what is known of today as the Gelugpa version of Vajrayana – based on the Guhyasamaja Tantra (remember the alarming quote from it earlier on), the Chakrasamvara Tantra or Heruka Tantra, the Yamantaka Tantra, and the Kalachakra Tantra – will find as some of its core elements:

* The “Deity Yoga” described by the Dalai Lama, in which one cultivates “divine pride” whilst intensely visualising oneself as being none other than one of the various tantric deities, sometimes focusing on the apparently negative qualities and characteristics of these deities, such as lust, anger, hate, greed, and so forth.

* Dakinis, described as “female Tantric Buddhas” who are shown as the sexual consorts of the male Tantric deities. The one most revered in Gelugpa practice is Vajrayogini, portrayed as a nude sixteen-year-old girl, coloured red, who is said to be the essence of “great passion.” Vajrayogini is the consort of Heruka Buddha, and both are accorded utmost reverence by all Gelugpa Lamas. Various practices, including mantras, visualisations, meditations, etc., are used to connect with the power of Vajrayogini and other Dakinis.

Considering the tremendous emphasis and import attached to Dakinis in all Tibetan Buddhism, Gelugpa included, it is essential to know how these apparently seductive and ferocious otherworldly female entities are defined and explained by HPB and the Mahatmas:

Dakini (Sk.). Female demons, vampires and blood-drinkers (asra-pas). In the Puranas they attend upon the goddess Kali and feed on human flesh. A species of evil “Elementals”.” (“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 95, Entry for “Dakini”)

“But with the Fourth Race we reach the purely human period. Those who were hitherto semi-divine Beings, self-imprisoned in bodies which were human only in appearance, became physiologically changed and took unto themselves wives who were entirely human and fair to look at, but in whom lower, more material, though sidereal, beings had incarnated. These beings in female forms (Lilith is the prototype of these in the Jewish traditions) are called in the esoteric accounts “Khado” (Dakini, in Sanskrit). Allegorical legends call the chief of these Liliths, Sangye Khado (Buddha Dakini, in Sanskrit); all are credited with the art of “walking in the air,” and the greatest kindness to mortals; but no mind – only animal instinct.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 285)

This was part of HPB’s commentary on Stanza 10 (given the title “The History of the Fourth Race”) on human evolution or Anthropogenesis, which she translated from the Book of Dzyan as saying in part: “THEN THE THIRD AND FOURTH (races) BECAME TALL WITH PRIDE. WE ARE THE KINGS, WE ARE THE GODS. THEY TOOK WIVES FAIR TO LOOK AT. WIVES FROM THE “MINDLESS,” THE NARROW-HEADED. THEY BRED MONSTERS, WICKED DEMONS, MALE AND FEMALE. ALSO KHADO (Dakini) WITH LITTLE MINDS. THEY BUILT TEMPLES FOR HUMAN BODY. MALE AND FEMALE THEY WORSHIPPED. THEN THE THIRD EYE ACTED NO LONGER.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 271)

Thus a further link is made apparent between Atlantean misdemeanours and the black tantra of Tibetan Buddhism.

* Mahamudra and Karmamudra. These are translated as “Great Seal” and “Action Seal” respectively. Whilst it may initially appear that the Gelugpa form of Mahamudra has nothing sexual about it, it is nonetheless maintained in their texts and treatises that Mahamudra remains ultimately incomplete without Karmamudra, which is the sexual practice, performed with a tantric consort. This can be visualised rather than bodily performed but they generally hold the physical act itself to be the highest and best. A text attributed to the very first Dalai Lama defines Karmamudra as “the practice performed with a maiden possessing the physical attributes of a woman, such as beautiful hair and so forth, with whom one has a strong karmic link.”

For the purposes of Karmamudra, the consort is viewed and treated by the Lama as a Dakini or sometimes as Vajrayogini herself.

We will not go into this further, other than to say that Gelugpa Tantric scriptures and texts, the Kalachakra Tantra included, go into some detail about what sort of woman is best for the role, in terms of appearance, age (historically – but hopefully not today – teenage girls were generally preferred), mannerisms etc., whilst advising the Lama to become learned in the erotic arts of the Indian Kama Sutra and to require the poor woman or girl selected as consort to keep it a secret and never breathe a word about it to others. The tragic fate prescribed for those who broke such secrecy or who were no longer deemed sufficiently attractive or useful can easily be found by those inclined to research it but one is probably better off not knowing.

As has probably become apparent by now, those told that they can reach enlightenment through Vajrayana are men, not women. It is fairly well known that in Tibetan Buddhism the view is that only men can achieve enlightenment, due to the fact that physiologically speaking it is only the man who has the means by which to perform the “active” role in sexual tantra. The woman is told that she should feel honoured to be approached and chosen by the male Lama as his tantric consort and women are taught that they should hope or pray to be reincarnated as men so that they too can reach to the “highest levels” of enlightenment.

“The secret path without a consort will not grant perfection to beings,” says the Gelugpas’ Chakrasamvara Tantra, also known as the Heruka Tantra.

The treatment of women in Tantric Buddhism is very often abusive and criminal and indeed an ever-increasing number of accounts, reports, testimonies, and exposés are surfacing on the internet and sometimes even in leading newspapers and mainstream magazines from Western women who have escaped the darkness of what they typically describe as “sexual slavery” at the hands of high profile Tibetan Buddhist Lamas. Perhaps even more tragic is that in Eastern lands such women have less opportunities to escape and speak out about that world.


Old artwork of Tsong Kha-pa, called also by his followers “Je Rimpoche” and “Lobsang Drakpa”

Theosophy and even the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother would answer this question by saying “Definitely not!” But what is perturbing is that the vast majority of Gelugpas say that actually he did. Of course they do not call it “black tantra” but numerous teachings and practices attributed to Tsong Kha-pa are what Theosophy would refer to by this epithet.

We will not quote any of the statements attributed to Tsong Kha-pa in which he is seen to endorse such things but the following is from p. 146 of the well researched and thoroughly referenced book “Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism” by Miranda Shaw:

“Following the orthodox views of Tsongkhapa, the founder of their sect, dGe-lugs-pas generally acknowledge the indispensability of the yoga of union to the achievement of Buddhahood. Modern dGe-lugs exponents who maintain its necessity include Lama Yeshe, who explains the role of this practice in self-transformation: “There is a certain point in the mastery of the completion stage when physically embracing a consort is necessary for bringing all the pervading energy winds into the central channel, a prerequisite for opening the heart centre completely and experiencing the profoundest level of clear light.” The dGe-lugs scholar Geshe Kelsang Gyatso similarly holds that practice with a human partner is necessary for attaining enlightenment during the present lifetime. Gyatso therefore maintains that practice with a human partner, or karmamudra, is intended for a more highly qualified person, while practice with an imagined partner, or jnanamudra, is intended for those who are less qualified. Tsongkhapa’s own life epitomizes his sect’s most deeply held views on this subject. dGe-lugs-pas believe that Tsongkhapa, qualified for enlightenment though he was, postponed full enlightenment during his lifetime in order to maintain his monastic vows and thus set a good example for his followers and lay the groundwork of his monastic reform. Thus, Tsongkhapa deferred complete enlightenment until he could unite with a partner in the realm of visionary experience that arises after the death of the physical body.”

It is apparent that at some point along the way, perhaps even very soon after Tsong Kha-pa’s departure from this life, some of those black tantra teachings which he had attempted to excise from Tibetan Buddhism became inserted into the teachings, practices, and treatises, of the Order, school, or sect, which he himself had founded, and even into his own writings or at least writings that proceeded to bear his name.

If some may dismiss this as a nonsensical theory and highly implausible, we would in turn ask why they think so. Has not the fate of corruption, distortion, and alteration, befallen the work and teachings of just about every great spiritual reformer and teacher known to history?

If even within two years after the passing of H. P. Blavatsky, her own published writings were being subjected to a myriad of deletions, revisions, insertions, alterations, and so forth, at the hands of people who at one time had been her devoted students such as Annie Besant and G. R. S. Mead – and this is a fact of history – then why should something similar be so unlikely in the case of the departed Tsong Kha-pa?

Even today, “The Theosophical Society – Adyar” publishes a small book titled “Practical Occultism” which presents itself as a compilation of articles from HPB, whereas the article which comprises the major part of the book is known to have not been written by her and to have never been attributed to her before this publication. Promoting and recommending various types of petitionary prayer, including praying for the Masters to forgive one’s sins – things which the real HPB categorically disbelieved in and taught against, such as in “The Key to Theosophy” – it is apparent why the Adyar Theosophists who first published the book in 1948 may have felt it would serve as useful support for the particularly Christianised ideas and practices which had taken root in that organisation under the influence of Besant and Leadbeater and their immediate successors.

The occurrence of religious/spiritual forgeries and deliberate misattributions is thus a fact of life and it is also known that some of the Hindu tantric scriptures and instructions are attributed to a variety of great Teachers and Gurus from Hindu history whereas the likelihood of such individuals having authored such works is in many cases so unlikely – chronologically, besides anything else – as to be absurd. But great and revered names give a sense of spiritual authority and legitimacy when attached to certain teachings.

Considering that much of Tsong Kha-pa’s “Yellow Hat” reform work was essentially in opposition to the “Red Hats,” i.e. the older forms of Tibetan Buddhism and also the Bhon, would it not seem likely that the black tantra aspects were first introduced into Gelugpa-ism with deliberate nefarious intent by “Dugpa” (black magician) Red Hat Lamas wanting to put a stop to “the followers of Tsong Kha-pa” from becoming the extremely potent and good pure force that they could otherwise have been, not only for Tibet but even for humanity? “Drag them down to our level and they will pose no further threat,” may have been the attitude.

If this was indeed the case, we have already seen ample evidence of how well they succeeded.


As was said at the start of this article, “The Dalai Lama (whose traditional seat was at the Potala palace in Lhasa) and the Panchen Lama (whose traditional seat was Tashilhumpo Monastery in Shigatse), both of which are reincarnation lineages, are historically the two most prominent Gelugpa figureheads.”

Theosophy mentions both the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

numerous times.

However, it is apparent and very significant that although amongst Gelugpas at large it is the Dalai Lama who is seen as the more important and spiritually more authoritative of the two, the Theosophical view is essentially the opposite. Let us see:

“Panchen Rimboche (Tib.). Lit., “the great Ocean, or Teacher of Wisdom”. The title of the Teshu Lama at Tchigadze ; an incarnation of Amitabha the celestial “father” of Chenresi, which means to say that he is an Avatar of Tson-kha-pa (See “Sonkhapa”). De jure the Teshu Lama is second after the Dalaï Lama; de facto, he is higher, since it is Dharma Richen, the successor of Tson-kha-pa at the golden monastery founded by the latter Reformer and established by the Gelukpa sect (yellow caps), who created the Dalaï Lamas at Llhassa, and was the first of the dynasty of the “Panchen Rimboche”. While the former (Dalaï Lamas) are addressed as “Jewel of Majesty”, the latter enjoy a far higher title, namely “Jewel of Wisdom”, as they are high Initiates.” (HPB, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 247, bold added for emphasis)

Tashilhumpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet.

Notice the implication that the Panchen Lama – often also called the Tashi Lama and Teshu Lama in Theosophical literature – is a reincarnating Avatar of Tsong Kha-pa himself and also the last sentence, which seems to be insinuating whilst the Panchen Lamas are “high Initiates” the Dalai Lamas are not so. Here are some more references from HPB:

“As a supplement to the Commentaries [i.e. secret texts, on some of which “The Secret Doctrine” is based] there are many secret folios on the lives of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and among these there is one on Prince Gautama and another on His reincarnation in Tsong-Kha-pa. This great Tibetan Reformer of the fourteenth century, said to be a direct incarnation of Amita-Buddha, is the founder of the secret School near Shigatse, attached to the private retreat of the Teshu-Lama [i.e. Panchen Lama].” (“What The “Book of Dzyan” and The Lamaseries of Tsong-Kha-Pa Say” article, posthumously published)

“These [secret books etc.], it appears, are kept secret and apart, in the charge of the Teshu-Lama [i.e. Panchen Lama] of Shigatse.” (“The Secret Books of “Lam-Rim” and Dzyan” article, posthumously published)

“While the Taley-Lama [i.e. Dalai Lama] is only Gyalpo Rimpoche, or “gem of kingly majesty,” the Tashi-Lama [i.e. Panchen Lama] of Shigatse is Panchhen Rimpoche or the Gem of Wisdom and Learning.” (“Reincarnation in Tibet” article)

“All I was allowed to say was — the truth: There is beyond the Himalayas a nucleus of Adepts, of various nationalities; and the Teschu Lama [i.e. Panchen Lama] knows them, and they act together, and some of them are with him and yet remain unknown in their true character even to the average lamas – who are ignorant fools mostly. My Master and K.H. and several others I know personally are there, coming and going, and they are all in communication with Adepts in Egypt and Syria, and even Europe.” (Letter from HPB to Franz Hartmann, first published by William Q. Judge in “The Path” magazine, March 1896, reproduced by Sylvia Cranston on p. 83 of the biography “HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky”)

It is important to observe how it is the Panchen Lama, not the Dalai Lama, who is named in these statements of esoteric significance relating to the Brotherhood of Mahatmas and Adepts. There is even a little known “Mahatma Letter” from the Panchen Lama of HPB’s time, which has been published in the “Miscellaneous Letters” section, p. 363, of the book “The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett.” It says simply:



“Ban Cheng Rin Po Che. [i.e. a phonetic spelling of Panchen Rinpoche]

“The most sublime high spiritual chief for the manifestations.”

In Tibet, the Panchen Lamas were always regarded as the guardians and teachers of important secret knowledge regarding Shambhala (a subject of great importance in Theosophy; see the article The Great Sacrifice & The Mystery-Land of Shambhala) and the real Kalachakra Tantra system.

In 1927, Alice Leighton Cleather (an English Theosophist who had

Alice Leighton Cleather (1846-1938) and Basil Crump (1866-1945)

been one of the twelve specially chosen members of HPB’s esoteric “Inner Group” and who later went on to be the first British woman formally admitted into the Gelugpa Order) and her friend and colleague Basil Crump published a special edition of “The Voice of the Silence” (the last book published by H. P. Blavatsky and which she said was translated from a still secret esoteric Yogacharya Buddhist text known as the Book of the Golden Precepts) and they did so at the specific request of Thubten Choekyi Nyima, who was the Panchen Lama at that time. He had been born in 1883 and was thus a child of eight years old when HPB had passed away.

In the Editorial Foreword, Cleather wrote:

“The present reprint has been undertaken largely because the original edition has been out of print for many years, while those issued since H.P.B.’s death in 1891 contain errors and even, in some cases, deliberate alterations and omissions. . . . Reaching Peking in December, 1925, after studying for seven years in India, we were privileged to come into close touch with H. H. the Tashi Lama, who had left Tibet in 1924 on a special mission to China and Mongolia. As members of his Order, part of the work we undertook at his request for Buddhism was the present reprint, as the only true exposition in English of the Heart Doctrine of the Mahayana and its noble ideal of self-sacrifice for humanity. . . . All the Tibetan terms and references have been checked with the assistance of the members of the Tashi Lama’s suite, and our Chinese friends have also given us every assistance; It is with very great satisfaction that we publish this edition under the auspices of the Peking Buddhist Research Society, who recognise in it the highest and most sacred teachings of their own “contemplative” schools. It was not until we came in contact with Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists that we obtained this striking confirmation of the truth and value of H. P. Blavatsky’s work.”

Thubten Choekyi Nyima, the 9th Panchen Lama, in a photo featured in the 1927 edition of “The Voice of the Silence” and Cleather and Crump’s “Buddhism: The Science of Life.”

The Panchen Lama wrote with his own hand a special Tibetan dedication for this edition of “The Voice of the Silence” and it was reproduced at the start of the book with the title “THE PATH OF LIBERATION.” Cleather explained in the Appendix that an English rendering of the words would be “ALL BEINGS DESIRE LIBERATION FROM MISERY. SEEK, THEREFORE, FOR THE CAUSES OF MISERY AND EXPUNGE THEM. BY ENTERING ON THE PATH LIBERATION FROM MISERY IS ATTAINED. EXHORT, THEN, ALL BEINGS TO ENTER THE PATH.”

Also included was a foreword from B. T. Chang, Chinese secretary of the Panchen Lama, who amongst other things remarked:

“Since its translation into English from the Tibetan by Madame H. P. Blavatsky, in 1889, this little book, the gem of Buddhist teachings, has enjoyed a wide circulation among Europeans and Americans interested in Buddhism. There is, therefore, little need for me to recommend it to foreign readers, except to point out that what is embodied in it comprises a part of the teachings of the Esoteric School. . . . Madame Blavatsky had a profound knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, and the doctrines she promulgated were those of many great teachers. This book is like a call to men to forsake desire, dispel every evil thought, and enter the true Path. . . . It has been suggested to me that, for the benefit of the Chinese Buddhists, this work should be translated into Chinese. I quite agree with this idea, but pressure of work has hitherto prevented me from writing more than these few lines. Although they form an inadequate recognition of the merit of the book, I offer them because of my great reverence for its teachings; and I hope to be able to undertake the translation at some future time.” (bold added for emphasis)

Incidentally, the present Dalai Lama wrote a foreword for a 1989 centenary edition of “The Voice of the Silence” that was published by the late Raghavan Iyer of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, California, USA. In this, the Dalai Lama stated:

“I have had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts with Theosophists from various parts of the world on many occasions. I have much admiration for their spiritual pursuits. . . . I am therefore happy to have this long association with the Theosophists and to learn about the Centenary Edition: THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE which is being brought out this year. I believe that this book has strongly influenced many sincere seekers and aspirants to the wisdom and compassion of the Bodhisattva Path.”

With regard to the distinction between Panchen Lamas and Dalai Lamas, T. Subba Row proves most informative again when he discloses the following information, which is of central importance when reading the next sections:

“The Himalayan Brotherhood has Buddha for its highest Chohan and Avalokitesvara for its patron. It wanted to have two men overshadowed by these two: in one they succeeded, because a portion of Buddha overshadows the Tashi-Lama [i.e. Panchen Lama]. The Dalai Lama is supposed to be overshadowed by Avalokitesvara, but really is not so.” (“T. Subba Row Collected Writings” Vol. 2, p. 422, bold added for emphasis)


Alice Leighton Cleather may not have been aware of the real reason why the 9th Panchen Lama “had left Tibet in 1924,” spending much of his time since then in neighbouring China. Nowadays those reasons are well known to historians and are openly talked about by Gelugpas.

The relationship between the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas has not always been a good one. In fact, over the past centuries, it has quite often resulted in disputes, conflicts, and even direct opposition.

If it is true, as Theosophy maintains, that the Panchen Lamas are high Initiates, perhaps even incarnations in some sense of Tsong Kha-pa, and closely connected with the Masters of Wisdom, and that the Dalai Lamas are not such high Initiates and are not even genuinely overshadowed by Avalokiteshvara, as is popularly claimed for them, then it is not difficult to see how and why such conflicts could arise and why they were usually instigated by the Dalai Lamas. In fact, the Panchen Lama and his followers have at times seemed almost like a distinct “stream” within the Gelugpa school to the Dalai Lama and his followers.

In 1924, the 13th Dalai Lama (predecessor to the present one)

Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama.

created a Tibetan Army and in order to pay for it raised the taxes payable by the Panchen Lama and Tashilhunpo to an absurdly high amount. It was thought that this may have been the Dalai Lama’s attempt at “punishing” the Panchen Lama for being on quite friendly terms with China, which at that time was not yet Communist, nor under the control of Mao Zedong.

The Panchen Lama refused to give in to the fiscal demands and wrote letters of complaint. In response, the Dalai Lama had three of the Panchen Lama’s ministers locked up in the dungeon at the Potala (the Dalai Lama’s monastic palace) in Lhasa and prohibited any Tashilhunpo monks from having any roles or positions in the Tibetan government, which some of them previously had done. Threats were made towards the Panchen Lama himself and rather than risk being imprisoned he decided to leave Tibet and take up residence for a time in Mongolia.

Whilst he was in Mongolia, the Chinese president Cao Kun arranged for him to be invited to Beijing. He ended up holding a position in China’s Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, in which he worked on plans towards improving life and conditions in Tibet. Contrary to popular Western ideas, Tibet was by no means a spiritual paradise or a holy land of peace, joy, and compassion. Abuses and corruption were rife and life for the average Tibetan was an extremely arduous one. The Panchen Lama apparently wished to implement changes that could help to rectify this.

In a position to bridge Buddhism and politics, he apparently made numerous speeches in China which managed to express support for the government’s agenda (which involved increasing control over Tibet, the independence and total freedom of which the Panchen Lama had probably realised was already Karmically fated to be coming to an end) whilst at the same time gently chastising and reprimanding them for areas in which he felt they were out of line or overstepping the mark.

The 13th Dalai Lama passed away in 1933 and after this the Panchen Lama decided it was now safe and suitable to return to Tibet. The Chinese government saw this as their opportunity to take control over Tibet, by saying they would send an escort of 500 armed Chinese soldiers to travel back to Tibet with the Panchen Lama. By the time the Panchen Lama reached Jyekundo in the Tibetan province of Kham, negotiations between his team, the Dalai Lama’s government in Lhasa, and the Chinese authorities, reached an impasse and so he stayed in Jyekundo for a while.

To cut a long story short, it was during that time and while based in that area, that the Panchen Lama began to investigate reports that were reaching him of unusual children born in that region. One of these was identified by him as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and this boy was agreed upon by both the Panchen Lama and the Lhasa Lamaic authorities to be the 14th Dalai Lama. Traditionally, mutual recognition and agreement had to exist between “Lhasa” and “Shigatse” over who was the genuine new reincarnation of both the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas.

Shortly afterwards, the Panchen Lama himself passed away. Two

Choekyi Gyaltsen, the 10th Panchen Lama.

simultaneous searches for the 10th Panchen Lama resulted in two competing candidates and strong disagreement between the Lhasa and Shigatse officials. The Chinese government got involved and declared their support for the boy favoured by the associates of the late 9th Panchen Lama. It was this boy who ended up being enthroned as Choekyi Gyaltsen, the 10th Panchen Lama, and this time there was no mutual recognition, since the associates of the Dalai Lama (late and new) did not agree. Does this mean the 10th Panchen Lama was not necessarily the genuine incarnation? It would be hard to say categorically but his life was certainly a difficult and troubled one and perhaps evidence suggests that he was not Thubten Choekyi Nyima (the 9th Panchen Lama) returned.

Whatever the case may be, the 10th Panchen Lama played into the hands of Communist China once Mao Zedong had assumed control of that country. The Panchen Lama declared that Tibet should surrender to the People’s Republic of China, something which the Dalai Lama was unwilling to do. When the Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India in 1959, never to return to his homeland, the Panchen Lama expressed his intention to remain in Tibet in order to help and support the masses of Tibetan people who, unlike the Dalai Lama, had next to no chance of escaping the now Chinese-controlled country.

By 1962, the Panchen Lama had realised in no uncertain terms that China was a cruel and brutal oppressor of the Tibetan people, culture, customs, and religion. He openly expressed this and in 1964 was declared by the Chinese government to be “an enemy of the Tibetan people” whereupon he was imprisoned for approximately thirteen years and then placed under house arrest in Beijing for a subsequent five years. In 1982 he was released, China saying that he had been successfully “politically rehabilitated.” He gave up his vows of an ordained monk and Lama, found a Chinese wife, and settled into married life, with them having a daughter together. He proceeded to rise to important positions in the Chinese government. In 1989 he died suddenly at the age of 51, shortly after making a speech in which he again criticised the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” in Tibet. It was suspected by many that he had been murdered in some way.

The 11th and current Panchen Lama was identified in 1995 by the

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama; missing since May 1995 when abducted by the Chinese government.

Dalai Lama as being Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, born in 1989. This boy was abducted by the Chinese in that same year, 1995, and has not been seen or heard from since. Human rights organisations have termed him “the youngest political prisoner in the world” and China has repeatedly refused to provide evidence that he is alive and well, as they claim him to be. They have, however, produced their own choice of Panchen Lama – despite being declared atheists who reject such notions as reincarnation – and this is Gyaincain Norbu, born in 1990, who travels the world talking about how wonderful the Chinese government is. Some Gelugpas, mainly those who due to various reasons have lost confidence in the Dalai Lama, do accept Gyaincain Norbu as being the legitimate one, which is of course extremely unlikely. But who can say whether even Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was the legitimate one? To one looking on from outside, this whole situation appears a particularly confusing spectacle although that is perhaps not to be wondered at in this age of Kali Yuga.

After all the positive things we have said about the occult significance and role of the Panchen Lama, i.e. of the true Panchen Lama, whoever and wherever he may be in today’s world, if indeed he is in it at all, it may justifiably be enquired as to whether the Panchen Lamas themselves have ever taught and promoted black tantra, seeing as it has been, as we have shown, a central feature of Gelugpa practice for centuries.

There is certainly evidence which suggests that they have. There are well known quotes from the 1st and 4th Panchen Lamas in particular which directly promote and recommend sexual tantra and the use of consorts, etc.

To a Theosophist though it would seem very unlikely that they would have done so. We are not experts in the matter and we acknowledge that Tibetan Buddhism is a vast and complex world but we reserve the right to disbelieve it, unless indisputable physical evidence can be produced proving that the Panchen Lamas themselves truly did write such things and indicated them in a literal and physiological sense. Just as we ought to decline to believe that HPB taught anything untheosophical without having hard proof of it, the same holds true for these reported incarnations of Tsong Kha-pa.

What we do know is that there is no evidence available of any black tantra teachings coming from any of the Panchen Lamas during HPB’s lifetime, namely Palden Tenpai Nyima (the 7th), Tenpai Wangchuk (the 8th), and Thubten Choekyi Nyimi (the 9th). As for the 10th, he had little opportunity to do much teaching at all during his turbulent life.

An interesting thing is that the 12th Dalai Lama experienced a vivid vision of Padmasambhava (let us remember what was said about him earlier in this article) who warned him that unless he were to practice Karmamudra (sexual tantra with a consort) he would soon die. The Dalai Lama viewed this, quite rightly, as an unsavoury threat from a less than savoury being, rather than as a piece of helpful advice, and rejected the direction. He did nonetheless die suddenly shortly afterwards. This is related in the official biography of the 13th Dalai Lama.

Whether partly due to this or something else, the 13th Dalai Lama as well as the present 14th one sought instruction and initiation into Dzogchen, Padmasambhava’s tantric system, practised by the Nyingmapas and also quite favoured by the Bhons. The present Dalai Lama is considered a “Dzogchen Master” and has written books about it, taught it, and given tantric “empowerments” into the Dzogchen system. Some Gelugpas have looked upon this development with concern.


Considering that the term “Dugpa” appears quite frequently in Theosophical literature, it is only reasonable to ask what is actually meant by it.

The term tends to be used in Theosophy as a generic term for all black magicians and especially those who have become adepts of the Dark Brotherhood or “Black Lodge.” In this sense, a Dugpa can be anyone from any religious background, nationality, and race, and certainly amongst the Jesuits – the “Society of Jesus” within the Roman Catholic Church – there are numerous Dugpas; the article Theosophy, The Jesuits, & The Roman Catholic Church goes into this.

But HPB and the Masters tend to use the term most specifically when speaking of followers and adepts of black magic practices in

Gelugpa Lamas in Ladakh, a region of the Trans-Himalayan area, once known as “Little Tibet” but technically within the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Tibet, the Trans-Himalayan region (once known as “Little Tibet”), and nearby countries such as Bhutan and Sikkim. The ending “-pa” in a Tibetan name or word means “man” or “person.” As “Dug” is the Tibetan word for “poison” and “harmful,” it is understandable why such individuals would be termed “Dugpa”!

The Eastern Dugpas are often called “Red Hats” and “Red Caps” as synonyms. As said earlier, when Tsong Kha-pa established the Gelugpas and their yellow hats and caps, he made visually clear the great distinction existing between his group and the older and already established branches of Tibetan Buddhism, namely the Nyingmapas, Kagyupas, and Sakyapas, all of which used and still use red hats. The Bhons also use red hats. Whilst, potentially, black magicians belonging to any of those four sects could be called Dugpas, it is the Nyingmapas and the Bhons who are specifically identified and named as such in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.

In footnotes on p. 90 of the original 1889 edition of “The Voice of the Silence” she says:

“The Bhons or Dugpas, the sect of the “Red Caps,” are regarded as the most versed in sorcery. They inhabit Western and little Tibet and Bhutan. They are all Tantrikas. . . . The Bhons or Dugpas . . . appropriated the symbol [i.e. of the Vajra or Dorje] [and] misuse it for purposes of Black Magic. With the “Yellow Caps,” or Gelugpas, it

The Dorje or Vajra. “Literally, “diamond club” or sceptre. In mystical Buddhism, the magic sceptre of Priest-Initiates, exorcists and adepts – the symbol of the possession of Siddhis or superhuman powers. The possessors of this wand are called Vajrapani.” (HPB, “Theosophical Glossary” p. 359)

is a symbol of power, as the Cross is with the Christians, while it is in no way more “superstitious.” With the Dugpas, it is like the double triangle reversed, the sign of sorcery.”

“The Bhon religion,” says HPB in “Reincarnations in Tibet,” is “a degenerated remnant of the Chaldean mysteries of old, now a religion entirely based upon necromancy, sorcery and sooth-saying. The introduction of Buddha’s name in it means nothing.”

After Tibet became officially Buddhist, the Bhons introduced some Buddhist paraphernalia and statues into their temples and monasteries but almost always with notable distortions and reversals, one example being that Buddhist statues of Gautama Buddha have his right hand touching the earth, whilst in Bhon statues he is touching the earth with his left hand…and any Theosophist knows what is symbolically meant by “left hand”; it is black magic.

In an article simply titled “Editorial Appendix” she remarks that “the Bhon religion, their sect is a pre- and anti-Buddhistic one.” In the same article, when speaking of the “Red Hat” Buddhists, she declares that “these have opposed the reform of Tzong-ka-pa from the first and have always adhered to old Buddhism so greatly mixed up now with the practices of the Bhons. Were our Orientalists to know more of them, and compare the ancient Babylonian Bel or Baal worship with the rites of the Bhons, they would find an undeniable connection between the two.”

In the “Reincarnations in Tibet” article she sheds further light on usages of the “Dugpa” term by saying that “The “Dug-pa or Red Caps” belong to the old Nyang-na-pa [i.e. a phonetic spelling version of Nyingmapa] sect, who resisted the religious reform introduced by Tsong-kha-pa between the latter part of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries.”

Padmasambhava, the Indian Tantrika revered by the Nyingmapas as their founder and who they call “Guru Rimpoche,” is never mentioned or named once by HPB herself.

The only time his name appears in her writings is on p. 599 of the first volume of “Isis Unveiled” when she is quoting the famed Marco Polo who wrote, “The people of Pashai are great adepts in sorceries and the diabolic arts” and then Polo’s translator Colonel Yule who had added, “This Pashai, or Udyana, was the native country of Padma Sambhava, one of the chief apostles of Lamaism, i.e., of Thibetan Buddhism, and a great master of enchantments.” So the one mention she affords him is not a positive one. Even when speaking of how Tibet became converted to Buddhism, she deliberately avoids even mentioning his name, which itself should tell us something. Some students of Theosophy have speculated that she did so with the hope that it would prevent or at least delay her readers from coming into contact with the influence and teachings of this being.

The Dugpas and Gelugpas are fighting, wrote the Master M. to A. P. Sinnett in the 1880s. And now, in 2018, some of the evidence of the results of that fight can be seen.

It would be out of place here to launch into detailed explanations of all the intricacies of what has happened to and through the Dalai Lama since the 1970s but a few key points will capture the essence of it . . .

The Dalai Lama, as well as having become initiated into the Dzogchen tantric system of Nyingmapa and becoming a “Dzogchen Master” (as did his predecessor), now works closely alongside the heads of the Nyingmapa sect and frequently speaks in praise of Padmasambhava, encouraging all Tibetan Buddhists, including Gelugpas – who traditionally study and follow only Tsong Kha-pa’s system – to incorporate Padmasambhava’s teachings into their spiritual practice.

In April 2017 he performed a public “empowerment” for those who had come to see him, saying that “the empowerment and practice focuses on invoking Guru Padmasambhava who has a special commitment of care for the Tibetan people” and drew attention to an invocation he had written to Padmasambhava in 1980: “In particular, when King Trisong Detsen and his son, the prince, urged you to care for the land of Tibet with your compassion, you gave them your word, your unfailing pledge, that you would always work for our benefit, and so now we call upon you: care for us in your compassion.” It was reported on the Dalai Lama’s website that “His Holiness recommended that the audience recite the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche [i.e. Padmasambhava] and the Vajra Guru mantra while he conducted his preparations for the empowerment.”

In 1977, the Bhon leaders sent representatives to Dharamsala, India, to initiate talks with the Dalai Lama. The following year, he announced that Bhon is a legitimate school of Buddhism and should be honoured as such by all Tibetans and the world at large.

14th Dalai Lama in Bhon hat and holding Bhon version of the Vajra/Dorje.

In 2007 he participated in a Bhon ceremony in which he replaced his Gelugpa yellow hat with the Bhon ritual hat and held in his hand the Bhon version of the Dorje or Vajra which was referred to above in the “Voice of the Silence” quote where HPB speaks of this very item as “the sign of sorcery.” He then received “tenshug” (long life prayers) from leading Bhon monks, who expressed their gratitude for his seal of approval.

Quite a number of Gelugpas found this a shocking and troubling development and pointed to quotes from the prominent 20th century Gelugpa Lama Pabongkha or Pabongkhapa who had said “Bon is not a refuge for Buddhists; it is not worthy of being a refuge, it is vital that you should know the sources of the Bon religion” and also from the ancient Kagyupa Yogi Milarepa who had stated that “The source of Bon is perverted Dharma. A creation of powerful elementals, it does not take one to the ultimate path.”

Statements such as that just quoted from Pabongkha, who is traditionally held in high regard by Gelugpas, are nowadays considered by the Dalai Lama to be sectarian, separative, and divisive.

Pabongkha had been particularly opposed to the Rimé Movement, which was begun in the first half of the 20th century by the “Red Hat” sects in opposition to the Gelugpas and as a means of uniting Nyingmapas, Kagyupas, and Sakyapas, together (within certain limits), with some Bhons included later on, to counteract the influence and authority possessed in Tibet by the Gelugpa tradition.

Whilst some aspects of Rimé are not bad, their main public message was that no Tibetan Buddhist group ought to say that their version of Tibetan Buddhism is any better or purer or truer or more authoritative than any other version of Tibetan Buddhism and that all groups ought to study respectfully the teachings of all other groups, affording them equal value.

There are many close similarities between Rimé and the ITC or “International Theosophy Conferences,” which promote the same idea with regard to the numerous different and contrary versions of “Theosophy” that exist. Just as ITC leaders have publicly criticised the United Lodge of Theosophists for its insistence on sticking with only the original Theosophical teachings of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge and its assertions that the writings and claims of later teachers such as C. W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, and Alice Bailey are not genuine Theosophy, so Rimé criticised and challenged the Gelugpas for their insistence on sticking purely with Tsong Kha-pa’s teachings and system. The Gelugpas, they felt, were hindering the unity of Tibetan Buddhism by not sufficiently respecting and promoting the other systems and teachings. The Gelugpas declined to join and participate with the Rimé Movement and thus the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas did not become formally involved with it.

Pabongkha felt that Rimé posed a serious threat to the integrity of Tsong Kha-pa’s work and in response began to increasingly oppose

Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo, also spelt Pabongka, Phabongka, and Pabongkhapa, 1878-1941.

the “Red Hats,” particularly the Nyingmapas, whose teachings he deemed “mistaken and deceptive.” Admittedly he did go too far, in that his zealous supporters ended up smashing statues and other artefacts of Padmasambhava and attempting to forcibly convert Nyingmapa monasteries to the Gelugpa school. Pabongkha was a contemporary of the 13th Dalai Lama and it so happened that the latter ended up becoming increasingly positive about Rimé and the present Dalai Lama, the 14th, has become even more positive than his predecessor and is a vocal and active supporter of it.

In the 1970s he issued a statement that “the teachings of these schools can be used without any contradiction whether one practices the way of the Sutra or that of the Tantra, or with both together. Though there are many schools of Buddhist thought in Tibet, the differences between them are only superficial, and there is no schism within the system as is to be found in Christianity.” One might ask why, if this is true, Tsong Kha-pa even bothered to establish the Gelugpas in the first place. But it is true, as we have shown, that the Gelugpas too have become proponents and practitioners of black tantra and in this respect the original inherent differences have indeed become sadly blurred. However, in Waddell’s book “The Buddhism of Tibet,” which we quoted from earlier, it is shown that as recently as the first part of the 20th century the Panchen Lamas would never permit any “Red Hat” Lamas, not even the highest and most respected, to stay overnight at Tashilhumpo Monastery.

An open and unequivocal friend, supporter, and even promoter of such high profile Lamas as the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987), the best known Nyingmapa/Kagyupa Lama in the Western world of the 20th century, who made little secret of his alcoholism, drug taking, serial womanising, and abusive behaviour, and who eventually died of AIDS, and of Sogyal Rinpoche, Nyingmapa author of the bestselling “Tibetan Book of Living and Dying,” who has recently been the subject of major mainstream news articles about his many abusive actions towards women and others and who has just lately had serious legal steps taken against him, the Dalai Lama habitually refrains from even remotely criticising or warning people against becoming involved with Lamas and organisations that are proven to be abusive and to pose a threat to people and to women in particular; and of these dangerous Lamas and organisations there is an ever growing number and accordingly an ever growing number of websites by victims with the courage to speak out against them.

All the female victims tend to report how the Lamas threatened them with eternities of suffering in “Vajra Hell” if they were to ever tell anyone of the treatment they had experienced at their hands.

The Dalai Lama, described with justifiable anger by many of these women as “enabling” and “covering up” what is going on may be doing so partly because such behaviour as that of these Lamas is well within the long established norm of Vajrayana Buddhism and even described therein as “Crazy Wisdom.”

A reader commenting on a recent article about Sogyal Rinpoche in the leading British newspaper “The Telegraph” wrote that “No child or indeed adult is safe in Tibetan Buddhism, there is a long history of abuse and there is no transparency or accountability, it is a feudal anti-democratic theocracy which has nothing to do with Buddhism.” And this is, unfortunately, only mildly an exaggeration.

The 1968 book “Tibet: An Account of the History, The Religion & The People of Tibet” by the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother Thubten Jigme Norbu, which proved so helpful in the writing of this article, was not approved by the Dalai Lama to be reprinted after its edition of 1982, which in light of all the above is perhaps not surprising. It stands, in spite of no longer being published, as an extremely important testament to the reliability of the claims and position of Theosophy with regard to Tsong Kha-pa being a teacher and inculcator of pure Occultism of the white variety.

It is sincerely hoped that this section of the article has not come across as an “attack” on the Dalai Lama.

We have stated facts, which anyone can verify for themselves, but we are equally aware that the Dalai Lama’s motives and reasons for certain things may well be good and sincere ones at heart and that the tremendous pressure of trying to hold together a nation-in-exile could potentially lead to the conclusion that religious compromise is a price worth paying for this. He has undoubtedly done a huge amount of good for a huge amount of people and generally seems quite likeable and good natured in character. We have nothing against him as a person.

But facts, both mundane and esoteric, must be known to students of Theosophy, especially when some of the latter actively promote and praise the Dalai Lama or even declare him to be a conscious agent and representative of the Masters of Wisdom when he is quite patently nothing of the sort. Some well known Theosophists have expressed the view that the Masters chose the spreading of Tibetan Buddhism in the West as Their work for the 1975-2000 cycle. In light of all the above, how can this position possibly be defended?


“The field of exoteric and official Buddhism of the Churches of both North and South, those of Tibet and Ceylon, is covered once more with parasitic weeds.”

HPB wrote those words in 1887, in an article titled “Misconceptions,” and how right she was. At the start of “The Secret Doctrine” she stated:

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, 1831-1891

“How the pristine purity of these grand revelations was dealt with may be seen in studying some of the so-called “esoteric” Buddhist schools of antiquity in their modern garb, not only in China and other Buddhist countries in general, but even in not a few schools in Thibet, left to the care of uninitiated Lamas and Mongolian innovators.” (from the Introductory in Vol. 1, p. xxi)

In “Reincarnations in Tibet” she says:

“The popular Lamaism, when compared with the real esoteric, or Arahat [i.e. Arhat] Buddhism of Tibet, offers a contrast as great as the snow trodden along a road in the valley, to the pure and undefiled mass which glitters on the top of a high mountain peak. . . . As Father Desideri has it in one of his very few correct remarks about the lamas of Tibet, “though many may know how to read their mysterious books, not one can explain them” – an observation by-the-bye, which might be applied with as much justice to the Christian as to the Tibetan clergy.”

We saw earlier her comment that most – although certainly not all – of the Gelugpa Lamas are “ignorant fools” and even seeing and interacting with the Masters would not realise or recognise who and what they actually are.

As said by HPB, there is a real Esoteric Buddhism. Theosophy repeatedly maintains that Gautama Buddha did have an esoteric teaching and that his esoteric system is today preserved in its original purity, in secrecy – for now at least – by a particular Trans-Himalayan esoteric School or Brotherhood. Those spoken of as “The Masters” most directly involved with HPB and the founding of the modern Theosophical Movement are described as being initiated Adepts of that School.

They refer to Themselves as Buddhists and HPB too described herself as a Buddhist.

But despite the Buddhism of HPB and her Teachers, They were careful to maintain that the teachings they were presenting to the world under the name of “Theosophy” belong not to any particular religion or philosophy, Buddhism included, but are a partial presentation of the one Esoteric Teaching or “Secret Doctrine” which underlies all the world’s religions and which also transcends and pre-dates them all. The motto of the Movement is “There is no Religion higher than Truth.”

The real Esoteric Buddhism is not any of the various publicly known systems which call themselves or are regarded as “Esoteric Buddhism” and that includes Tibetan Buddhism’s Vajrayana system.

In the view of the Trans-Himalayan Occultists, the real Esoteric Buddhism is the most perfect expression of that one Esoteric Teaching but it is made clear that it was not Their intention to turn Theosophists or the world at large into followers or adherents of the religion of Buddhism.

We mentioned earlier that the Yogacharya (also written “Yogachara” and “Yogācāra”) School of Mahayana Buddhism is now defunct. Scholars and academics trace the Yogacharya School back to Aryasangha, an Indian Mahayana Buddhist Master who they say lived around 1,500 years ago, and also his half-brother Vasubandhu. In “The Theosophical Glossary” entries for “Aryasangha” (p. 32) and “Yogacharya” (p. 381) however, HPB says that there were two Aryasanghas; the one who lived 1,500 years ago she calls “the pseudo-Aryasangha,” who tried to pass himself off as being the original one, who had lived 1,000 years before and who had been an Arhat and a direct disciple of Gautama Buddha. She says that there are thus two Yogacharya schools.

The real Yogacharya school has always been entirely secret and esoteric and was founded by the original Aryasangha to perpetuate the actual esoteric teachings and secret philosophy of Buddha himself, which he had taught solely to a select group of his Arhats.

The reader may recall that sometimes the Masters and their

Painting which is said to be of Aryasangha, also often just called Asanga.

Teaching are referred to in the original Theosophical literature as “the Arhat Esoteric School” and “the Arhat Esoteric Philosophy.” In this context the term “Arhat” is a synonym for an Adept-Bodhisattva, quite different from its usage in standard Buddhist terminology, whether Mahayana or Theravada.

Owing to persecution from the Hindu Brahmins, this school eventually moved its base to the Trans-Himalayan region, writes HPB in “A Few More Misconceptions Corrected.” Then, she says, “the Yogacharya of Aryasanga was merged into the oldest Lodge. For it is there from time immemorial that has lain concealed the final hope and light of the world, the salvation of mankind.”

The later Yogacharya school of approx. 5th century A.D. is the only one which is known of by the world at large. The existence of an earlier Yogacharya school would be denied by all because there’s no discernible evidence available of its existence or its teachings. But why would there be and how could there be, if it’s entirely esoteric and if its teachings and practices are imparted to disciples only under a severe pledge of secrecy and after a lengthy period of testing and probation?

“The early Yogacharya school of pure Buddhism . . . is neither northern nor southern [i.e. neither Mahayana nor Theravada], but absolutely esoteric. . . . none of the genuine Yogacharya books (the Narjol chodpa) have ever been made public or marketable.”

To some, this statement from “The Theosophical Glossary” proves a source of frustration. “Surely after 2,500 years or so there would be some definite solid evidence available to the world of the existence of this supposed Esoteric Yogacharya School,” they say. Not so. This is not how genuine Esoteric Schools work. Even if every Buddhist in the whole of Tibet and India were, hypothetically speaking, to say that they have never heard of such a School of Buddhism, this would mean nothing, for “Esoteric Schools would cease to be worthy of their name were their literature and doctrines to become the property of even their profane co-religionists – still less of the Western public. This is simple common-sense and logic.” (HPB, “A Few More Misconceptions Corrected”)

This latter point is often overlooked by critics who point out that in books such as “The Secret Doctrine” there are some teachings and concepts attributed to esoteric Buddhist sources but which do not match up with any known form of Buddhism. This is only to be expected, if they are from a truly esoteric source.

Dr G. P. Malalasekera, founding president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, wrote in the entry for “Blavatsky” in his “Encyclopedia of Buddhism”: “Her familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism as well as with esoteric Buddhist practices seems to be beyond doubt.”

The world renowned Buddhist scholar D. T. Suzuki said of “The Voice of the Silence,” “Here is the real Mahayana Buddhism.” And we saw how the Panchen Lama appreciated and endorsed that book and how his secretary affirmed “that what is embodied in it comprises a part of the teachings of the Esoteric School. . . . Madame Blavatsky had a profound knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, and the doctrines she promulgated were those of many great teachers.”

HPB writes that the later Yogacharya school has some similarities in its teachings with the original one but they are mixed up with various sorts of erroneous notions and false practices. Although a few aspects of Yogacharya thought exist in some parts of Tibetan Buddhism today in diluted form, it’s now extinct and defunct in terms of being a living and active school of philosophy, like the extinct Sankhya philosophy in Hinduism.

“The Voice of The Silence” original 1889 edition, republished in photographic facsimile form in 2017 by the United Lodge of Theosophists in London, UK and New York, USA.

She states in the preface to “The Voice of the Silence” that The Book of the Golden Precepts, from which it comes, is a Yogacharya text, which would explain, amongst other things, why it uses the exclusively Yogacharya term “Alaya” and affirms various levels of Self within the human being including a higher, eternal, divine SELF. In her article “Old Philosophers and Modern Critics” she expressly states that the Stanzas of Dzyan – on which “The Secret Doctrine” is based – belong to “the Esoteric Yogacharyas.” The phrase “Occult students of the Aryasanga School” is also used in “The Secret Doctrine” and one can find much praise and numerous glowing references to Aryasangha and the Yogacharyas throughout her writings, particularly “The Theosophical Glossary” which makes some statements which imply the highest esoteric knowledge and powers as belonging to the Initiates of the Yogacharya School. This must mean the secret esoteric Yogacharya School of the original Aryasangha, since there is no other extant Yogacharya school.

“Chagpa-Thog-med is the Tibetan name of Aryasanga, the founder of the Yogacharya or Naljorchodpa School. This Sage and Initiate is said [i.e. in Mahayana Buddhist tradition] to have been taught “Wisdom” by Maitreya Buddha Himself, the Buddha of the Sixth Race [i.e. the Root Race or “world-epoch” which in many thousands of years from now will follow our present one], at Tushita (a celestial region presided over by Him), and as having received from Him the five books of Champai-chos-nga [i.e. the “Five Books of Maitreya” as they are better known, one of the best known of which is the Uttara Tantra also called Ratnagotravibhaga; another one, the Mahayana Sutralamkara, is quoted from within the Book of the Golden Precepts, as seen on p. 70 of “The Voice of the Silence,” meanwhile HPB tells Sinnett on p. 195 of her letters to him that she has translated from the Secret Book of Dzyan and the Secret Book of Maitreya Buddha when writing “The Secret Doctrine”]. The Secret Doctrine teaches, however, that he came from Dejung, or Shambhala, called the “source of happiness” (“wisdom-acquired”) and declared by some Orientalists to be a “fabulous” place.” (HPB, “The “Doctrine of the Eye” & The “Doctrine of the Heart”” article)

What of the Kalachakra system and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, which are said to be closely linked with the mysterious land of Shambhala and which are so increasingly heard of and referred to nowadays due to the Dalai Lama’s regular holding of mass public Kalachakra “initiations” which can be attended and participated in – unlike true initiations – by anyone who so wishes?

As was mentioned earlier, the publicly known Kalachakra Tantra system includes elements of black tantra, sexual included. But the real Kalachakra system and teachings are closely connected with the Masters and Initiates of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood and Esoteric School and vice versa. They were also historically considered the speciality of the Panchen Lama of Tashilhumpo Monastery, Shigatse.

In “The Mystery of Buddha,” which was initially intended to be published as part of “The Secret Doctrine,” HPB specifically states and explains that “What is given here is taken from the secret portions of Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra, in Sanskrit, or the “Wheel of Time,” or duration).”

Again, in “A Few More Misconceptions Corrected,” she talks about the Kalachakra, called “Dus Kyi Khorlo” in Tibetan, saying:

“. . . the “Dus-kyi Khorlo,” or Tibetan Mysticism. A system as old as man, known in India and practised before Europe had become a continent, “was first known,” we are told [i.e. by the Orientalists and academics], only nine or ten centuries ago. The text of its books in its present form may have “originated” even later, for there are numerous such texts that have been tampered with by sects to suit the fancies of each. But who has read the original book on Dus-Kyi Khorlo, re-written by Tsong-Kha-pa, with his Commentaries? . . . this grand Reformer burnt every book on Sorcery on which he could lay his hands in 1387 . . . he has left a whole library of his own works – not a tenth part of which has ever been made known.”

Saying that the Kalachakra is “a system as old as man” seems equivalent to saying that the real Gupta Vidya or Secret Doctrine is the real Kalachakra.

And in “The Voice of the Silence,” in the section titled “The Two Paths” (p. 29, original 1889 edition), the question is asked: “Wouldst thou become a Yogi of “Time’s Circle?””

“Time’s Circle,” “Circle of Time,” “Wheel of Time”; these are merely

A Kalachakra Mandala, containing complex and intricate esoteric symbolism.

English translations of the Sanskrit word “Kalachakra.” The spiritual aspirant who follows the Path presented in “The Voice of the Silence” is thus on his or her way to becoming a true Kalachakra Yogi.

And interestingly enough, researchers have found quite conclusive evidence that the Secret Book of Dzyan (whose archaic stanzas on Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis form the basis of HPB’s master work “The Secret Doctrine”) is most likely the Mula Kalachakra Tantra, also called the Kalachakra Mulatantra, which is the purely esoteric and now lost (i.e. “lost” to all except the suitably initiated) original basis of the publicly known Kalachakra teachings. This should not come as a surprise, seeing as HPB herself specifically states “What is given here is taken from the secret portions of Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra).”

The publicly known Kalachakra teachings say that the current degeneration in the world will continue until a future Kalki King, who will be named Rudra (one of the names of Shiva in Hinduism) and in some way an incarnation of the Panchen Lama, will “appear to humans all over the world” and “defeat the barbarians” whilst “establishing a worldwide Golden Age.” In some respects this echoes quite closely a prophecy asserted by HPB in her articles “Tibetan Teachings” and “Tsong-Kha-Pa – Lohans in China”:

“It is said that up to the time when Pan-chhen-rin-po-chhe [i.e. Panchen Rimpoche] (the Great Jewel of Wisdom) condescends to be reborn in the land of the P’helings (Westerners), and appearing as the Spiritual Conqueror (Chom-den-da), destroys the errors and ignorance of the age, it will be of little use to try to uproot the misconceptions of P’heling-pa (Europe): her sons will listen to no one.”

Read “The Voice of the Silence,” read “The Secret Doctrine” and its “Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan,” read “The Great Master’s Letter” from the Maha Chohan, the venerable Tibetan chief or head of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood, read the remarkable and far too neglected article “Sakya Muni’s Place in History” in the book “Five Years of Theosophy” (this article is, in effect, a lesson in the secrets of Indian, Tibetan, Sri Lankan, and Buddhist history, courtesy of the Adept-Initiates of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood; it is generally attributed to HPB yet is unsigned and its contents and style would suggest that it may well have been written or dictated by one of the Adepts; in its 24 pages it contains no less than thirteen different terms of praise and glorification for Gautama Buddha and is thus far more overtly and unmistakably Buddhist than any of the writings attributed directly to herself), read these and other articles and writings from H. P. Blavatsky and the Masters and you will catch unmistakable glimpses into a vast and intricate system of Esoteric Buddhism whose very existence, let alone doctrine and practice, remains unknown to the world. And this is how it must be for the time being. In the article “Reincarnations of Buddha” HPB speaks of “the “direct followers” of Gautama the Buddha” and, quoting from some unknown and doubtless private source, says that they are “those who are to be denied by His Church for the next cycle.”

There hopefully are still at least a few real Initiates of the Masters’ School amongst the ranks of the Gelugpa monks and Lamas. But as we have hopefully demonstrated over the course of this long article, those earnest souls who are sincerely seeking the real Esoteric Buddhism of Buddha himself are not likely to find it by searching within the often dark and confusing folds of Tibetan Buddhism. If they try, they may find themselves led very far away from what they are searching for. They will find it, albeit inevitably only a part of it, in the teachings of Theosophy and in particular the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.

There is a letter well known amongst Theosophists, sometimes called “the Prayag Letter,” dictated telepathically from a distance to HPB by her Guru, the Master known by the initial M., and which is addressed to some orthodox Hindu Brahmin Theosophists who wanted to know why the Masters seemed unwilling to come into direct communication with them. It was later published by William Judge in an article titled “A Mahatma’s Message To Some Brahmans” and says in part:

“What have we, the disciples of the Arhats of Esoteric Buddhism and of Sang-gyas [i.e. the Tibetan name for Buddha], to do with the Shasters and orthodox Brahmanism? There are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis, or Sadhus leading the most pure lives and yet being, as they are, on the path of error, never having had an opportunity to meet, see, or even hear of us. Their forefathers have driven the followers of the only true philosophy upon earth away from India, and now it is not for the latter to come to them, but for them to come to us, if they want us.”

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6 thoughts on “Gelugpas, Tantra, & Theosophy

  1. Matiana, what stuns me is that even though Nicheren implied that the six, and he said five, paramitas were no longer necessary to follow because of his uncovering of the 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, he himself lived his life exactly according to the laws of the Masfers. What he stated was that the fusion of the original infinite Law and the Buddha of Kuan Ganjo was only the universal principle of Buddhi. Has any other exoteric Buddhist religion besides Theosophy ever avered this principle. Clearly though, this was an effort to bring in the masses, some who will eventually understand that his Buddhism was a stepping stone to a higher truth. What say ye? Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo. And thank you so much for providing
    This platform.

    1. I did not intend to imply that Theosophy was exoteric. Quite the opposite. Sorry. Only to say that Theosophy was the Way.

      1. I have to say this. Nicheren Shoshu clearly states, ‘Never pray for money or material wealth’. There are other sects that do promote themselves on material gains but they are decieveing their followers.

        1. Hello Greg, isn’t Nichiren Buddhism famous – or even infamous – though precisely for promoting the idea of chanting mantras etc. in order to attract and receive material wealth and financial success? I’ve personally known Nichiren Buddhists in the UK and that is exactly what their focus is and they’ve shown me their organisation’s official material which also refers to the same thing. I know another person who attended meetings at a Nichiren centre in London and that was the focus of their practice there also. Or are you saying that the popular and now widespread version of Nichiren Buddhism is not the real thing but rather a corruption of it? I can accept that as a plausible notion, seeing as Theosophy and many other things have become distorted and the distortions have ended up more popular, widespread, and better known, than the original and authentic one.

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