[The “Infinite Perception” of Japanese Esotericism]
by C. PFOUNDES — (OMOIE)
reprinted from “Theosophical Siftings” Volume 1
An intellectual germ exists in each and every unit of the human race, that is altogether distinct from and superior to the instinctive intelligence which mankind possesses, but in a greater degree, in common with other beings, the sentient above all others.
The possibilities of development of certain mental potentialities are far beyond that which is conceived of them generally; for it is necessary to have reached a higher standard than is commonly attained in order to comprehend the subtle, and to the unenlightened, mysterious power of fuller developments of certain of the senses, of thought, of reason, of will, and of the faculties of intuitive omniscient perceptiveness.
The evolution of ascending and progressive intellects may be observed in all time, from the lowest animal — more than brutish — to the highest ideal types. It is observable now and here amongst us, quite as distinctly evidenced, as in the most uncivilized and savage peoples. This is a fact; and we must accept it, however much we would wish it otherwise; but amongst occidentals, claiming high civilization, religious influences, and refining entourage, it is certainly deplorable that this is an undeniable fact.
Causes are ever producing their effects in the psychic universe, as in the physical, and as the wound must be probed to measure its depth, so must the entirely artificial structure of our society, our education, our life, be entered upon, in order to discover that which vitiates in it natural tendencies of an elevating character.
Trammelled by the narrow sectarianism that is conformed to, outwardly at least, by those who have not the moral courage of their opinions, and who do not shake off the fetters that enchain their actions, language, aye, and even thoughts, no progress is possible; but a consideration of other than the accepted orthodoxy widens the mental vision and leads to broader, nobler, purer motives.
Ancient philosophy had not the somewhat doubtful advantage of the modern cheap printing press which is so busily employed now-a-days for the production of reading-matter for an omnivorous reading public. But, nevertheless, with all our opportunities, our modern leaders of thought appear far below the standard of proficiency of the olden-time teachers of the higher ethics; whilst those who ought to be the pupils are wallowing in a fathomless quagmire amidst intense darkness, where the ignis fatuus of untried fallacious theory glimmers and flits but to mislead.
Severe mental discipline can alone enable the truth-seeker, the yearner for the real light, to follow the one sole path that must be traversed. The intellectual individuality must first learn to look inwardly, and, knowing itself, estimate its own ignorance, and with cautious judgment seek knowledge.
Soaring above the merely sensuous, shaking off the bondage of the grosser instincts and merely selfish material reasoning, the development is expansive and ascending, like the view of one who climbs a high mountain, and at every upward step sees the prospect beneath expand.
Passing through the stages of scientific teaching of modern times, we learn minor details, unkown of yore, it is true; but the great principles still remain absolutely unchanged. The merely mechanical sciences, chemistry, geology, and other branches give us details; of matter we have a little more knowledge, but of LIFE we have learned absolutely nothing, while of psychology we know less than the ancients.
Will it therefore not well repay the true sincere student to hearken to the wisdom of old ? The attainment of Transcendent Intuitiveness is not utterly beyond the capability of some, though to many so high an ideal may be hopeless.
From the Amitabah (Sutra) we learn that there are five faculties of intellectual power.
The educated person may advantageously acquire a high development of the intuitive perception of law and order in things; of right and justice; become enabled to weigh evidence, judge aright between conflicting testimony on any question, holding the balance evenly. The intelligence of such a one will perceive much that those untrained will fail to discriminate, and that which the entirely ignorant cannot even be conscious of [Page 11] Ethics, the Civil and Criminal Code, the numerous branches of Science, Literature and Art will be all the more readily mastered. It will not be a mere absorption of a vast mass of undigested material, of facts and of figures, but an ever-ready capacity for bringing before the mental vision just that which bears most vitally on the issues being considered.
With a solid foundation of this primary order, further development in the higher direction of single-minded benevolence is a necessary sequence; and discernment in regard to philosophical and universal philanthropical subjects is facilitated to an abnormal extent. Self-control and abnegation, the very highest form of magnanimity, are necessary factors in this stage of development.
The intensification of the senses, of vision, hearing and so forth, is a natural consequent effect, caused by this higher development, and is a necessary though minor auxiliary. The power of the visual organs, for instance, becomes less dependent upon the solar and stellar light, or the reflected planetary and lunar rays, or on artificial light. Even in the absence of light the capability of seeing distinctly is not confined to certain species of the animal world, and the more perfect human being is not the sole monopolist of specific powers. The far ranging vision of the eagle, the sleeplessness of the fish, for example, can be developed by man.
To the animal, as to the savage man, the caligraphic art, even the pictorial art, conveys no meaning, and so it is with the undeveloped intellect as compared with the highly cultivated mind.
It may be doubted by some that it is possible so to educate the inner consciousness and the perceptive faculties; but if it is calmly viewed and considered, it must be admitted that in the light of recent progress in the knowledge of the laws of magnetism, electricity, light, etc., and of the practical application of hitherto unknown and still unseen forces, there is much yet behind for us to investigate. The power of the human mind has not yet been exhaustively examined, and the inquirers, thoroughly competent, are as yet but few.
In an ancient Buddhist dissertation on the "Higher Faculties of Mental Vision" (Gu-sha Ron), the distinction is made between the instinctive or merely animal, and the cultivated or purely human intellectual faculties.
cultivated intuition may be naturally more or less developed,
but it will be in the ratio of the sincerity and earnestness
of the individual that success will accrue to efforts,
which must be strenuous and persistent, for strengthening
it. Whether the direction be towards the exercise of the
power gained for the sake of displaying the abnormal power
acquired, or whether it be absorbed in the supreme efforts
to attain complete abstraction and entire tranquilization
of the mental, one and the same course of purity of life
and of ideas, of action and of meditation, are equal and
The initial stages may require seclusion, removal from the maddening thronging crowd of gregarious humanity; our ascetic probationary period may be, according to the individual and the stage of advancement already reached, for a more or less prolonged period, a necessity.
The simplest and least defiled of nutriment, in the most moderate quantities, the pure and invigorating air of healthy mountainous regions, all contribute, indeed are potent factors, in the ordeal — for such truly it is.
The whole material being becomes renewed, absolutely changed, in the course of time.
It will then be quite possible, and comparatively easy, to perceive that which, to ordinary mortals, is unseen and unknown; to do things; to cause that to happen which, to the ignorant, is utterly incomprehensible beyond belief, perhaps.
The spiritual system is equally purified and expanded, and that which is beyond all ordinary mortal comprehension is clearly made plain — psychical facts become vivid realizations, and that which to the uninstructed, the untrained, would partake of the supernatural, becomes simplified and of practical utility.
The more selfish personal phase of individual abstraction and absorption of the intellectual active forces in tranquility of mind demands even a more severe regimen — a more trying probationary period; but its practical utility is of a somewhat questionable character, viewed from the higher standpoint. Periodical mental rest of this latter character is in certain cases probably desirable, and doubtless, in some instances, imperative, for other than merely disciplinary reasons.
Disturbing influences are constantly active, and unceasing watchfulness is essential to guard against falling below the standard reached, especially if further and higher ideals are to be attained. The mind of ordinary mortals is subject to so many disturbing influences, and is so very impressionable, like the surface of the waters, easily ruffled by the passing zephyr, or tossed into anger by the storm.
It is pointed out, as a method of reaching this higher state of tranquil abstraction, that the concentration of the faculties, mental and physical, by the inhalation and exhalation, the movement of the lungs, is a ready method of facilitating the attainment of the outward semblance at least of this state. The refulgence of the manifestation of supreme tranquilization when then perceived spreads a flood of enlightenment like a nimbus around, and, permeating the consciousness, the mental storms are superseded by a calm unspeakably sublime.
From this state may be developed the permanent tendency to mental and physical inactivity.
phase of development that may result is that in which
all desires of a worldly or human character are for
ever surpressed and eventually totally dispelled. [Page
The ultimate step beyond these states is that of Resplendent Reciprocity, wherein true enlightment of the exalted individuality and intellect become manifest to the man and in a greater degree to all who are in intercourse on the same elevated plane. The germ of the higher mental vision is now firmly implanted and growing, if in worthy and suitably nourished soil, into the widespread umbrageous giant of the intellectual universe, surrounded by a halo of intensest intellectual brilliancy of unlimited penetrative force — ever enduring — most refreshing — of the purest.
The possession of this sublime degree includes certain great faculties.
The formation of unerring conclusions deduced from what is presented to our senses.
The power of deducing from ascertained circumstances facts existing, though not presented to the material senses.
The capacity for clearly comprehending and accurately estimating that which to those on the lower plain of intelligence appears impossible.
The mental vision sees over, through, and around material obstacles; distances ever so vast are bridged, and the ordinary intelligence is absolutely of the merest insignificance in comparison; inconceivable as all this may appear to ordinary mortals in their present unenlightened grossly selfish, utterly sordid, narrow-minded state of existence.
These are the most important attributes to this Infinite Permeating Faculty: —
Abhidjna. — The perception of all to the uttermost extremes.
The distinction between, and the sub-division of all things, even up to the infinite.
The perception of all, great or minute, microscopic or minute intellectually.
And above all, infinite perception, the intuitive faculty that seizes and comprehends even that which is not only invisible, but beyond the mental capacity to grasp.
Divyas Rota. — The all-hearing infinite faculty. No sound too far off, minute, or complex to be unheard.
Paralchitta djnana. — Intuitively reading the thoughts of all men — in all time — everywhere.
Purvani rashanu. Smriti djana. — Infinite knowledge of all history, the minutest events even of the past — of mankind, of the world.
Unlimited knowledge of all things, existent and non-existent; and unbounded power of transmutation and transformation.
That which it has not been adjudged wise to bestow upon all, is thus to be acquired by the worthy, who earn a claim to be thus more highly endowed now and in all time.
By the right use of the powers thus attained to, by their just application to the service of humanity, the adept returns the gift, and in every re-incarnation [Page 14] contributes to the inward, upward, tendencies for good of the race.
It is for no purely personal end that this omniscience, this superhuman power, can be attained. The very existence of the less pure motive would be destruction thereto: and that the higher ideal may exist, for all to aspire to, it is given us to have this ray of light vouchsafed us.
The grosser sensual and utterly selfish ideal of working for salvation, that the now is but the probationary stage to the then — material, useless, objectless hereafter, may be compared, with the greatest advantage, to the far higher ideal of a constant self-denying and long-enduring existence.
To those who can read the involved truths herein shadowed forth, wondrous fields and pastures new of thought are opened up. Those who cannot so perceive, it were vain to address.
Contemplate the within; ponder on the infinity of nature; strive to meditate so deeply as to solve the problem. To the worthy it will be given to perceive.
LONDON, May 7th, 1888
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