Tibet

Tibet has been associated throughout history with magic and mystery. The land beyond the Himalayas was a natural fortress, a place of ancient knowledge and spiritual practice. In the 19th century a curious Russian writer and teacher called Helena Petrovna Blavatsky visited Tibet (no easy task in those days) and managed to gain entry to some of the ancient spiritual schools that were still there. After her travels, Blavatsky (or H.P.B., as she is often referred to) spent the rest of her life disseminating the profound ideas she had discovered, making many of them generally available to Western audiences for the first time.
This part of the course will provide some interesting facts about the life of H.P.B. and the ideas that she discovered during her time in Tibet. We will study in particular the ‘Voice of the Silence’ – a book she compiled and translated from Tibetan sources.

16-week course topics:

KEY IDEAS

The Voice of the Silence

The Voice of the Silence is the last book to have been published by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. It is written in a very poetic and evocative language, and is a profoundly spiritual text. It tries to help us connect with our own ‘inner voice’ and describes the different stages on the journey to developing wisdom. It also highlights the important values of compassion and concentration that were considered essential learning for students of a spiritual in this Tibetan tradition.

Life of H.P. Blavatsky

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is quite a remarkable figure in the history of Western spiritual thought. Her extraordinary life continues to radiate a subtle influence on modern attitudes towards philosophy, spirituality and science. Through her efforts of travelling, writing and publishing, H.P.B. was a pioneer in opening up the doors of Western thinking to the profound teachings of the East. Today we are most probably familiar with practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness, or ideas such as the ‘interconnectedness of all things’. It is interesting to discover the roots of these now familiar ideas and practices and the difficulties the pioneers encountered when they introduced them to the West.

Concentration (DhÄrana) & its practice

Dharana is a Sanskrit term that describes a state in which the mind is fixed unflinchingly on an object of meditation. The Tibetan understanding of concentration goes beyond the ability to pay attention, rather its aim is to eliminate all obstacles and to come into contact with the essence of an object or idea. Concentration practised in this way can become a key to inspiration and understanding, because by making contact with the essence of something we can truly understand its meaning. This important skill can also help us in today’s fast paced world, as without concentration we will realise that it is almost impossible to achieve anything!