“In the esoteric, and even exoteric Buddhism of the North, Adi Buddha (Chogi dangpoi sangye), the One unknown, without beginning or end, identical with Parabrahm and Ain-Soph, emits a bright ray from its darkness. This is the Logos (the first), or Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha (also called Dorjechang). As the Lord of all Mysteries he cannot manifest, but sends into the world of manifestation his heart – the “diamond heart,” Vajrasattva (Dorjesempa). This is the second logos of creation, from whom emanate the seven (in the exoteric blind the five) Dhyani Buddhas, called the Anupadaka, “the parentless”.” – H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1 p.571
“The eternity of the Kosmos … is but the periodic and objective manifestation of absolute eternity itself, of the forever unknown principle called Parabrahman, Adi-Buddha, the “One and Eternal Wisdom”.” – H.P. Blavatsky, Misconceptions (Article)
Although there is no actual “God” in Buddhism, there is mention in certain schools of Tibetan Buddhism – and especially in the esoteric teachings of the Masters of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood – of Adi-Buddha or Adi-Buddhi, Avalokiteshvara, and the Dhyani Buddhas. As HPB states in the Introduction to The Secret Doctrine, “In etymology Adi, and Adhi Budha, the one (or the First) and “Supreme Wisdom” is a term used by Aryasanga in his Secret treatises, and now by all the mystic Northern Buddhists. It is a Sanskrit term, and an appellation given by the earliest Aryans to the Unknown deity.”
It is the secret, esoteric Yogacharya school of Buddhism – rather than the exoteric and publicly known Yogacharya – founded by Aryasangha, with which the Masters and HPB are intimately connected. This fact is made abundantly clear throughout HPB’s “Theosophical Glossary” as well as in telling references and remarks found in various places in “The Secret Doctrine.” For more information in this regard, please see the articles Buddha Nature, Self and Non-Self in Buddhism and Theosophy and Maitreya in the Light of Real Theosophy.
The term “Adi” can be taken to mean “First,” “Primordial,” and “Supreme” and Adi-Buddha or Adi-Buddhi is simply the Buddhist term for what Hinduism calls Parabrahm or Brahman and what the Kabbalah calls Ein-Soph, “Ein-Soph” literally meaning “The Endless Boundless No-Thing,” that which does not exist, which is not a Being, but rather is Be-ness…Absolute Infinite EXISTENCE Itself.
Adi-Buddha is the Causeless Cause and the Rootless Root, the No-Thing which is everything. It cannot even be described as Spirit because both spirit and matter originate from this great undefinable, this great indescribable. Since It is the Absolute and the Infinite, It is entirely impersonal and without qualities, characteristics, attributes, form, appearance, consciousness or unconsciousness, of any kind. It just simply IS.
Adi-Buddha – “The First and Supreme Buddha…the Eternal Light…Supreme Wisdom” – does not think, for It is Absolute Thought; Adi-Buddha is not omnipresent, for It is Omnipresence Itself; Adi-Buddha is not omniscient, for It is Omniscience Itself; Adi-Buddha is not omnipotent, for It is Omnipotence Itself. The universe and everything in it is not made by Adi-Buddha – it unfolds and emanates out of this Absolute, Infinite, Divine Existence Itself.
Perhaps HPB summed it up best when she said, “We believe in a Universal Divine Principle, the root of ALL, from which all proceeds, and within which all shall be absorbed at the end of the great cycle of Being.”
The Nirvana that Buddhism speaks so much about IS Adi-Buddha, Parabrahm – whatever name we may wish to give It. To enter into Nirvana means to be reabsorbed into this and to be literally reunited with It, in both consciousness and fact.
During periods of Manvantara or cyclic manifestation, such as this one we are all presently a part of, and in order to bring these about, Adi-Buddha reflects and radiates part of Its infinite self as Avalokiteshvara. HPB writes that Avalokiteshvara is “ “made in the image and likeness” of Adi-Buddha, Parabrahman … Parabrahman or Adi-Buddha is eternally manifesting itself as Avalokiteshvara.”
Avalokiteshvara is again not a Being or any type of “Divine Person” but is what Theosophical terminology calls the Universal Logos, the Central Spiritual Sun, which is the all-ensouling Light and Life of the Universe.
Adi-Buddha and Avalokiteshvara are identical with Parabrahman and Narayana, to give one example from Hinduism. The Buddhist Logos is identical with the Hindu Logos; although different names are used, it is the same system and the same Truth and this should hardly be surprising seeing as Buddhism was born out of Hinduism (the world’s oldest religion) and that some aspects of Buddhist philosophy can be more clearly and accurately understood when we understand the basics of Hindu philosophy.
Avalokiteshvara has two aspects, a Higher Self and a Lower Self, a masculine aspect and a feminine aspect. These correspond to Purusha and Prakriti in Hindu terminology, the Universal Spiritual Principle and the Universal Material Principle.
In Chinese terminology these two aspects are called Kwan-Shi-Yin and Kwan Yin, respectively described in Theosophy as the First and the Second Logos. Many people are familiar with the name Kwan Yin because “in China, the Buddhist ritualists have degraded its meaning by anthropomorphizing it into a Goddess of the same name, with one thousand hands and eyes, and they call it Kwan-shai-yin Bodhisat” (H.P. Blavatsky, An Unpublished Discourse of Buddha).
In her article titled Tibetan Teachings, HPB writes, “Kwan-yin … this divine power was finally anthropomorphized by the Chinese Buddhist ritualists into a distinct double-sexed deity with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes, and called Kwan-shai-yin Bodhisatwa, the Voice-Deity, but in reality meaning the voice of the ever-present latent divine consciousness in man; the voice of his real Self, which can be fully evoked and heard only through great moral purity.”
In the Esoteric Buddhism taught and practiced by the Master K.H., the Master M., their “Great Chief” the Maha Chohan, and many others, as also in the teachings of Theosophy, there is no place for anthropomorphic deities and it is repeatedly stated that anthropomorphisation is degradation of the Spiritual and Divine. The direst consequences have followed from the personalisation and anthropomorphisation of divine principles and forces and the history of religion is an undeniable and tragic testament to that. Nothing of any enduring worth or value is ever achieved or accomplished by doing do.
In the terminology of Tibetan Buddhism, these two impersonal aspects, the Higher and Lower Self of the Universal Logos Avalokiteshvara, are called Vajradhara and Vajrasattva. Avalokiteshvara is also referred to as Chenrezig in Tibetan Buddhism and His Holiness the Dalai Lama is considered to be a manifestation on earth of Avalokiteshvara/Chenrezig. It is from Vajrasattva that the Dhyani Buddhas emanate and collectively they comprise the Third Logos called in Theosophy the “Manifested Logos.”
According to the exoteric understanding of Tibetan Buddhism there are Five Dhyani Buddhas who are the celestial Buddhas of whom the human Buddhas are the manifestations in the world of form and matter. Esoterically, however, there are Seven Dhyani Buddhas. The number is given exoterically as five because only five have so far manifested, since we are still in the fifth Root Race (the Aryan or Indo-Caucasian Root Race or “Epoch”) and the sixth and seventh are to manifest themselves in the sixth and seventh Root Races respectively.
The word “Dhyani” comes from “Dhyana,” meaning mystical meditation and the Seven Dhyanis are described as “Buddhas of Contemplation” and “celestial Meditation Buddhas.” They are all Anupadaka (parentless), i.e. self-born of divine essence, and are the “glorious counterparts in the mystic world” of every earthly mortal Buddha. The Seven Dhyanis are described as the seven sublime Lords, the seven Guardian Spirits, appointed to govern the Earth in this Fourth Round.
In Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, we read that “Exoterically they are five in number, whereas in the esoteric schools they are seven, and not single entities but Hierarchies. … the exoteric and occult significations of the Dhyani-Buddhas are entirely different.”
These Seven Hierarchies of divine spiritual beings are what we also call the Seven Rays and each of the Seven Hierarchies corresponds to one of the Seven Rounds of our planet’s evolutionary cycle, from the lowest (the first) to the highest (the seventh). The seven Dhyani Buddhas of Buddhism are the same in actuality as the seven Kumaras of Hinduism, the seven Archangels of Christianity, and the seven Elohim of Judaism. As we said earlier, different names are used but it is ultimately the same system and the same Truth.
The Rig Veda, which is the most revered of Hindu scriptures and the most ancient book known to man, famously states: “Ekam Sat Viprāha Bahudhā Vadanti” which means “Truth is One, though the Sages call it by many names.” Theosophy is that esoteric Teaching which underlies all the world’s religions and which alone has the potential and capabilities of bringing about true religious tolerance, acceptance, appreciation, and universality.
SEVEN DHYANI BUDDHAS
Amitabha (meaning “Infinite Light”) was and is the specific Dhyani Buddha – the divine prototype and “overshadowing inner God” if you like – of Siddhartha Gautama, the one who we today call the Buddha and the founder of that great system of spiritual thought and practice called Buddhism.
But Buddhism teaches that Gautama is not the one and only Buddha. He is the Fourth Buddha and the Buddha of the Fifth Root Race. The preceding Buddha was Kashyapa, who was the Third Buddha and the Buddha of the Fourth Root Race, which was the Atlantean Root Race. It is taught that Gautama, when in a previous incarnation as Prabhapala during the days of Atlantis, was a disciple of Kashyapa Buddha. Kashyapa was the manifestation of the Dhyani Buddha known in the exoteric system as Ratnasambhava.
The next Buddha will be Maitreya, the Fifth Buddha and Buddha of the sixth Root Race, whose Dhyani Buddha is said to be Amoghasiddhi. Maitreya is due to appear during the sixth Root Race at the end of the Kali Yuga.
But this will not be anytime soon and in reality the “Coming of Maitreya Buddha” is something quite different from what many people expect, the ever-increasing amount of fantastical and deluded claims made by the followers of Pseudo-Theosophy and by many in the New Age movement notwithstanding. Maitreya’s successor will be Dharmaprabhasa, the Buddha of the seventh Root Race, an incredibly long time from now.
As for the Lord Gautama Buddha, H.P. Blavatsky once wrote – “it is maintained that this Adept of Adepts lives to this day in his spiritual entity as a mysterious, unseen, yet overpowering presence among the Brotherhood of Shamballa, beyond, far beyond, the snowy-capped Himalayas.”
~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~
SOME RELATED ARTICLES: Buddha Nature, Maitreya in the Light of Real Theosophy, Understanding the Logos, The Three Logoi, The Seven Rays, The Two Paths, Belief in God is Superstition, Chains, Globes, Rounds and Root Races, Misconceptions about Buddhism, The Great Tsong Kha-pa, The Letter from the Maha Chohan, The Secret Book of Dzyan, Desire: The Cause of All Suffering, “The Voice of the Silence” – An Authentic Buddhist Text and Is Theosophy Hinduism, Buddhism, or Something Else?
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“As to his being one of the true and undeniable SAVIOURS of the World, suffice it to say that the most rabid orthodox missionary, unless he is hopelessly insane, or has not the least regard even for historical truth, cannot find one smallest accusation against the life and personal character of Gautama, the “Buddha.” Without any claim to divinity, allowing his followers to fall into atheism, rather than into the degrading superstition of deva or idol-worship, his walk in life is from the beginning to the end, holy and divine. During the 45 years of his mission it is blameless and pure as that of a god – or as the latter should be. He is a perfect example of a divine, godly man.
“He reached Buddhaship – i.e. complete enlightenment – entirely by his own merit and owing to his own individual exertions, no god being supposed to have any personal merit in the exercise of goodness and holiness. Esoteric teachings claim that he renounced Nirvana and gave up the Dharmakaya vesture to remain a “Buddha of compassion” within the reach of the miseries of this world. And the religious philosophy he left to it has produced for over 2,000 years generations of good and unselfish men.
“His is the only absolutely bloodless religion among all the existing religions: tolerant and liberal, teaching universal compassion and charity, love and self-sacrifice, poverty and contentment with one’s lot, whatever it may be. No persecutions, and enforcement of faith by fire and sword, have ever disgraced it. No thunder-and-lightning-vomiting god has interfered with its chaste commandments; and if the simple, humane and philosophical code of daily life left to us by the greatest Man-Reformer ever known, should ever come to be adopted by mankind at large, then indeed an era of bliss and peace would dawn on Humanity.”