The following pages are derived from "The Book of the Golden
Precepts," one of the works put into the hands of mystic students
in the East. The knowledge of them is obligatory in that school,
the teachings of which are accepted by many Theosophists.
Therefore, . . ., the work of translating has been relatively an
easy task. It is well known that, in India, the methods of psychic
development differ with the Gurus (teachers or masters), not only
because of their belonging to different schools of philosophy, of
which there are six, but because every Guru has his own system,
which he generally keeps very secret. But beyond the Himalayas the
method in the Esoteric Schools does not differ, unless the Guru is
simply a Lama, but little more learned than those he teaches. The
work from which from which this book is translated] forms part of
the same series as that from which the "Stanzas" of the Book of
Dzyan were taken, on which The Secret Doctrine is based. Together
with the great mystic work called Paramartha, which, the legend of
Nagarjuna tells us, was delivered to the great Arhat by the Nagas
or "Serpents" (in truth a name given to the ancient Initiates), the
Book of the Golden Precepts claims the same origin. Yet its maxims
and ideas, however noble and original, are often found under
different forms in Sanskrit works, such as the Dnyaneshvari, that
superb mystic treatise in which Krishna describes to Arjuna in
glowing colors the condition of a fully illumined Yogi; and again
in certain Upanishads. This is but natural, since most, if not all,
of the greatest Arhats, the first followers of Gautama Buddha were
Hindus and Aryans, not Mongolians, especially those who emigrated
into Tibet. The works left by Aryasanga alone are very numerous.
The original Precepts are engraved on thin oblongs (squares);
copies very often on discs. These discs, or plates, are generally
preserved on the altars of the temples attached to centres where
the so-called "contemplative" or Mahayana (Yogacharya) schools are
established. They are written variously, sometimes in Tibetan but
mostly in ideographs. The sacerdotal language (Senzar), besides an
alphabet of its own, may be rendered in several modes of writing in
cypher characters, which partake more of the nature of ideographs
than of syllables.
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