(In this repsonse, I also hope to address 333's questions of
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, "L. Deerfield"
> Compassion and charity are NOT the same thing.
The problem with "altruism" (read:charity) is that it assumes
"self-sacrifice" is, in and of itself, a virtue. That one is supposed
to suffer or diminish oneself in order to bring goodness to all
But doesn't compassion for ALL BEINGS by necessity include
YOURSELF? You are one of the "all Beings", aren't you? If you
invoke suffering on yourself to lessen the suffering of someone
else, isn't that a merely zero-sum game?
"[Tibetan] Buddhists had done a great deal of work on this
question. They had asked themselves, if suffering is what we are
trying to eliminate, how does adding to my own suffering benefit
other beings? They noted that if you are harming yourself, your
ability to do further good for others is diminished to the measure
of that harm. Further, if one is dedicating one's actions to the
benefit of all beings, the one doing the act is of the class of "all
beings" and should also benefit from the act.
"In the practice of the Buddhadharma, this thought becomes a
positive force. It was noted that the very thought of spiritual
advancement was selfish: working to be liberated from suffering
and to attain to enlightenment is the most self-centered thought
possible as that benefit would only impact that self and have no
benefit to others. In fact, complete Parinirvana would remove
the successful practitioner from ever being able to help anyone
again. As this contradicts the compassionate nature of the
Buddhadharma, they realized they had a problem to solve with
two halves. The first is that the practitioner should also receive
the benefit of the action. The second is even more of an
impediment: the act of aspiring to spiritual advancement for
one's sole benefit prevented the attainment of the highest states
of enlightenment due to the centripetal [self-centered] influence
previously noted. However, by setting the attitude of striving to
attain, not merely for one's own benefit, but for the benefit of all,
NOT excluding the self, and dedicating any attainment achieved
likewise to the benefit of all, it would actually enhance the
practice and enable the most supreme achievements." -- Frater
IO, "On the General Guidance and Purification of the Soul,
> It may be compassionate to treat someone harshly, because it
> serves them better. In fact, charity is hardly ever good for
> someone. People value more those things which are not given
> but earned... certainly as a one-time act in a crisis charity may
> have a place. I recently was trying to resolve "Compassion is
> the vice of kings" with "veil not your vices in virtuous words:
> these vices are my service", and proposed that Thelemic
> compassion would best be seen as equivalent to the "law of
> the strong". Only by dealing with others in a manner which
> expects them to be strong and does not hesitate if they
> should fall instead, do we find each other's strengths.
A whole lot of Liber AL makes more sense when viewed from the
perspective of Vajrayana Buddhism.
Ra-Hoor-Khuit is a perfect parallel to the Tibetan's "Buddhas of
Wrathful Compassion." In fact, He's a lightweight compared to
some of those monsters. People who think Ch. III of Liber AL is
harsh should read the Bardos sometime. But nobody ever
accuses the Dali Lama of following a hard, cruel religion.
The greater a Tibetan deity's ability to feel and - with boddichitta
(active compassion) - alleviate the pain and suffering of all living
beings, the stronger and more terrible it's power to crush
enemies on the path towards human enlightenment.
"The legend of the Bodhisattva Manjushrî illustrates the dual
nature of these powers: driven by profound compassion for the
agonising existence of human beings in the hells, he sought out
Yama, the god of death. By taking on and potentiating the
terrifying characteristics of his opponent, he became
Vajrabhairava and finally overcame the ruler of death. For this
reason, Vajrabhairava is represented with a head of a buffalo,
resembling that of Yama. The observer sees Vajrabhairava's
extensive, reverence-inducing power in his 34 arms and 16 legs.
His wide open, bloodshot eyes reveal his exalted spiritual state.
His open jaws with their sharp incisors, his flame-red hair and
claw-tipped fingers emphasise his destructive strength. In his
hands, he holds seemingly murderous weapons and trophies of
his triumph. His head is crowned with a hideous diadem of
skulls. Triumphantly, he stands above all enemies of
enlightenment, whether they be gods, humans or animals." --
Gerd-Wolfgang Essen, Gods of the Himalayas
"The wrathful deities ... enact the enourmous power of cosmic
rage, a primal anger without hatred, which cuts through doubts,
confusions, and all the turbulence of this increasingly dark age.
Their mouths are open, fangs bared in a primordial scream so
ferocious it is like an electric shock. But in the huge round orbs
of their eyes there is stillness, the small quiet space of
compassion. They are black and wear bone ornaments and tiger
or leopard skins, treading on the corpse of ego. In their hands
they hold cutting objects - the drigu or curved knife, the phurba, or
three sided dagger, and the katvanga or trident with impaled
skulls. Because we have more negative than positive energy,
these wrathful forms are a truer representation of the Buddha for
--Norma Levine, Blessing Power of the Buddhas
Now, here's the kind of thing in Liber AL that gets the novice
Thelemites in trouble:
"Compassion is the vice of kings; stamp down the wretched &
the weak: this is the law of the strong; this is our law and the joy
of the world."
Many (in my opinion) misguided persons take this as a teaching
of "social Darwinism". It has nothing to do with social structures
-- Liber AL is not a sociology text.
IMO, this kind of thinking is an old aeon leftover, so ingrained it's
become reflexive; one is supposed to EMULATE the deity being
revered (as in "What would Jesus do?" and it's ilk.) A human isn't
expected to emulate the behavior and thinking of Ra-Hoor-Khuit,
except perhaps in limited cases of direct invocation for magickal
purposes. The old Pagans understood this distinction. It wasn't
until the Pauline innovation of "god-in-man" rose to prominence
did emulation of the "god" (ie. "Christian = "Christ-like") become
the normative ideal.
The primary problem is that anyone who has not the
Understanding of an Adept has no business even trying to put
this wisdom into practice. An Adept (of Buddha-tantra or of
Magick) can internalize the deity's anger and turn it against
him or herself to combat basic inner evil. Representations of
wrathful deities are visual metaphors of mental conditions such
as anger, ignorance, avarice and intolerance that impede the
path to enlightenment and liberation.
Compassion is a vice, but only for an Adept (King) possessed of
Thelemic Love (under Will, or Boddhichitta, "active
compassion"), for compassion arises from perception of
suffering, and it becomes depressing and leads to the
melancholy that only an Adept can experience. To stamp down
the wretched and the weak, the Adept takes concrete action to
eliminate the sources of suffering; even if it comes from a fellow
being, for sometimes to destroy a fellow being is an act of
supreme compassion (which is what Wrathful Buddhas/Gods
are for.) Then the wretched and weak are either destroyed if that
is the Cosmic Will, or they are freed from their suffering by the
elimination of it's causes, rendering them no longer the
wretched and weak. Magi (the "strong") have no choice but to
obey this law, this Cosmic Will, for with their power comes their
inescapable responsibility. With this Will (Law) accomplished,
they share the joy experienced by all the beings when freed from
their suffering, and then finally, together we all manifest the
equal enlightenment (joy) of the whole world.
This is paralleled in Vajrayana by what are called The Four
Immeasurables, roughly translated as: loving/kindness,
compassion-in-action, joy-in-their-joy, and equanimity. Each one
leads to the next, balancing it, and then cycles again endlessly.
> Someone pointed out the following to me, which confirms this
> "The weak, the timid, the imperfect, the cowardly, the poor, the
> tearful --- these are mine enemies, and I am come to destroy
> them. This also is compassion: an end to the sickness of
> earth. A rooting out of the weeds: a watering of the flowers."
In fact, a lot of the stuff in Liber AL that set Crowley spinning
and bamboozled HIM all his life makes perfect sense from the
perspective of the Tibetan Buddhists.
"Remember that all existence is pure joy, that all the sorrows are
but as shadows; they pass & are done, but there is that which
remains." - Liber AL
"All existence is Pure and Present, and has always been so. To
this realization I commit myself, Pure and eternal Presence." -
-- Fr. A.o.C.
"How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have
some hope of making progress." -- Niels Bohr