Sacred places of Initiation are mentioned in Isis Unveiled and many other passages in theosophical writings.  While the altruistic function of these Initiation temples is made clear, what span of wisdom, power and virtue was fixed in their minds is known only to Initiates.  The function is described as a mastery of life and wisdom:

“A mastery gained through the unfolding in the individual of the spiritual and intellectual powers and faculties which are innate and native to all men, but which require ‘evolving’ or bringing forth or unfolding, partly by self-induced efforts in training, and partly by teaching given in the initiation chambers.” [i]

“The ‘Towers,’ which are found throughout the East in Asia, were connected with the Mystery-Initiations… The candidates for Initiation were placed in them for three days and three nights, wherever there was no temple with a subterranean crypt close at hand. These round towers were built for no other purposes… The pureia of the Greeks, the nuraghes of Sardinia, the teocalli of Mexico, etc., were all, in the beginning, of the same character as the ‘Round Towers’ of Ireland. They were sacred places of Initiation.” [ii]

“For countless generations hath the adept builded a fane of imperishable rocks, a giant’s Tower of Infinite Thought, wherein the Titan dwelt, and will yet, if need be, dwell alone, emerging from it but at the end of every cycle, to invite the elect of mankind to cooperate with him and help in his turn enlighten superstitious man.” [iii]

This quotation gives one general hint, that an Adept’s thoughts are boundless, both in number and in depth.  Their motive and function is to enlighten humanity, like that of the Bodhisattva Titan Prometheus.  Here is testimony that KH and other Brothers in Tibet still used one specific tower when they were ready for their Initiation:

“At a stone’s throw from the old Lamasery stands the old tower, within whose bosom have gestated generations of Bodhisattvas.” [iv]

In addition to mental and physical Initiation towers or temples, there are also astral Initiation places.  Here is an astral temple Damodar Mavalankar wrote about in a letter to William Q Judge:

“After walking a considerable distance through this subterraneous passage we came into an open plain in Ladakh. There is a large massive building thousands of years old. In front of it is a huge Egyptian Tau. The building rests on 7 big pillars in the form of pyramids. The entrance gate has a large triangular arch…  This is the Chief Central Place where all those of our Section who are found deserving of Initiation into Mysteries have to go for their final ceremony and stay there the requisite period. I went up with my Guru to the Great Hall. The grandeur and serenity of the place is enough to strike any one with awe. The beauty of the Altar which is in the centre and at which every candidate has to take his vows at the time of his Initiation is sure to dazzle the most brilliant eyes. The splendour of the CHIEF’S Throne is uncomparable. Everything is on a geometrical principle & containing various symbols which are explained only to the Initiate.” [v]

WQ Judge recalls a past life story.  An Adept speaks:

“This is an old tower used by the immediate descendants of the white Magicians who settled on Ireland when England’s Isle had not arisen from the sea. When the great Masters had to go away, strict injunctions were left that no fires on these towers were to go out, and the warning was also given that, if the duties of life were neglected, if charity, duty, and virtue were forgotten, the power to keep these fires alive would gradually disappear. The decadence of the virtues would coincide with the failure of the fires, and this, the last tower, guarded by an old and a young man, would be the last to fail, and that even it could save the rest, if its watchers were faithful.” [vi]

In the Mahayana tradition there is a much revered section of the Avatamsaka Sutra [vii] that gives details, some symbolic, some occult, about the Infinite Thought Tower that a Bodhisattva would experience.  In this case, inspired by bodhicitta motivation, the aspirant is the youth Sudhana. [viii]  He seeks a bodhisattva guru to guide him further on his path.  Each of his many gurus teach Sudhana what liberation state they knew and then suggest another place and guru to serve.  One thing he learned, as the reader of this sutra will also understand, is how and with what elements, a Tower of profound and noble ideas is built by an aspirant to Initiation.

“Then the youth and maiden [ix] told Sudhana of their own liberation and said to him, ‘Go south, to a place called Seashore. There is a garden called Great Adornment, wherein there is a great Tower called Vairocana’s [x] Treasury of Adornments.

That Jeweled Tower is born from the bodhisattva’s matured roots of goodness. It is born from the bodhisattva’s power of mindfulness, his power of vows, his power of self-mastery and his power of mystic knowledge. It is born from the bodhisattva’s good skillful means. It is born from the blessings, virtue and wisdom of the bodhisattva.

The bodhisattva who abides in this inconceivable liberation, out of a mind of great compassion, makes appear such an adorned state of power and liberation for all living beings.  Maitreya[xi] Bodhisattva Mahasattva dwells securely within it.’ ”

Master Hsuan Hua[xii] explains a little :

“The country where Maitreya Bodhisattva dwells is called Seashore.  The ‘sea’ is the wisdom sea of the Bodhisattva undergoing one more birth [before buddhahood].  The Garden is called ‘Great Adornment’ because with the causes perfected, the ten thousand practices adorn the fruition.  The Great Jeweled Tower is named Vairocana’s Treasury of Adornment.  It is a symbol of the Dharma Realm, and therefore it is vast, infinite and adorned.  Vairocana is the Dharmakaya Buddha.  The Great Jeweled Tower is the Adorned Treasury of the Dharmakaya Buddha.” [xiii]

Long before anyone aspires toward such a Jeweled Tower, much less reaches it, a path of many virtues must be trod in daily life.  There is one virtue that is not usually among those most valued. Gratitude has a subtle power of goodness that blesses one who knows it.  Ingratitude is common and a curse to many.  Master KH mentions several times that “ingratitude is not among our vices.” HP Blavatsky points out that “ingratitude is a crime in Occultism.” [xiv] 

“Duty is that which is due to Humanity,… especially that which we owe to all those who are poorer and more helpless than we are ourselves. This is a debt which, if left unpaid during life, leaves us spiritually insolvent and moral bankrupts in our next incarnation. Theosophy is the quintessence of duty.” [xv]

Our sacred duty is to repay the help and support we have received, over many lives, from the Buddhas, Masters, Gods, parents and the rest of humanity. This divine duty will move us to tap our own bubbling spring of virtues. These will flow forth from our “fountainhead of utter wisdom,” as G. de Purucker called it.  A grateful person is rare, as Buddha taught:

“These two kinds of persons are rare in the world. What two? One who takes the initiative in helping others and one who is grateful and thankful. These two kinds of persons are rare in the world.

“What is the plane of the bad person?” A bad person is ungrateful and unthankful. For ingratitude and unthankfulness are extolled by the bad. Ingratitude and unthankfulness belong entirely to the plane of the bad person.

“And what is the plane of the good person?” A good person is grateful and thankful. For gratitude and thankfulness are extolled by the good. Gratitude and thankfulness belong entirely to the plane of the good person.” [xvi]

Gratitude to the Guru is obligatory among aspirants and disciples.  As the Book of Discipline says:

“To the earnest Disciple his Teacher takes the place of Father and Mother. For, whereas they give him his body and its faculties, its life and casual form, the Teacher shows him how to develop the inner faculties to the acquisition of the Eternal Wisdom.” [xvii]

There is a long section in this part of the sutra in praise of the essential spiritual friend or guru.  Here is one verse:

“The good and wise advisor is like a kindly mother that gives birth to the lineage of the Buddha. He is like a kindly father that bestows vast benefit.  He is like a nursemaid that guards one and does not allow one to engage in what is evil.”

Of the many verses giving the proper attitude of the disciple toward the guru, here are a couple.

“You should think of yourself as afflicted by a disease and think of the good and wise advisor as the king of physicians. You should think of the Dharma that he proclaims as fine medicine, and think of the practice one cultivates as ridding one of disease.

You should also think of yourself as one who is traveling far, and conceive of the good guru as a guiding Master. Also think of the Dharma that he proclaims as the right path.  Also think of the practice one cultivates as that which will reach the distant goal.”

Sudhana, his heart overflowing with gratitude and reverence for all the bodhisattvas have taught him before, bows low before the Jeweled Tower, the realm where Maitreya and his bodhisattva disciples dwell.  Powerful blessings of goodness sweep over him, and he arises refreshed and inspired.  Then, keeping his mind focused on the Jeweled Tower, he begins to circle it clockwise many times.  As he walks around the Jeweled Tower, he concentrates on all the beneficent qualities and powers of the Great Ones who live there.  He finally stops at the entrance and prays that Maitreya would arrive and open the doorway for him.

Off in the distance he sees Maitreya approaching with a vast retinue of human and non-human beings.  When Maitreya Mahasattva came closer, joyful Sudhana prostrates himself fully.  Maitreya then praises Sudhana to all the assembly as an ideal bodhisattva.  The Bodhisattva Mahasattva also teaches all gathered there on the heart of the Mahayana path – Bodhicitta.[xviii]

Sudhana asks Maitreya to open the Jeweled Tower for him, Maitreya snaps his fingers three times and the door opens.  Sudhana enters the Jeweled Tower samādhi and the door closes behind him.  Sudhana first notices that the Jeweled Tower is vast like boundless space.  He sees countless towers, each of which reveals a past life of Maitreya Bodhisattva teaching all sorts of beings on all aspects of Buddha’s Dharma.  Other towers display his many powers, wisdom and great compassion.  This part of the Avatamsaka Sutra uses jeweled pillars or towers of light to correspond with what sÅ«trātman means:

“Sūtrātman, the luminous thread of immortal impersonal Monadship, on which our earthly lives or evanescent Egos are strung as so many beads.” [xix]

Many more Jeweled Towers reveal similar aspects and teachings regarding other great bodhisattvas.  In samādhi Sudhana sees each object and hears each teaching within the Jeweled Towers.  He also sees many fantastic images of magnificent vistas radiating from each of the Jeweled Towers. With the power of firm mindfulness, and purity of vision, Sudhana sees, hears and knows these endless marvelous panoramas.

At this point Maitreya snaps his fingers, brings Sudhana out of his samādhi state and tells him:

“Good man, you have been dwelling in bodhisattvas’ inconceivable self-mastery. You enjoyed the bliss of all bodhisattvas’ samādhis. You have become able to see what is sustained by the spiritual power of the bodhisattvas and what flows forth from their aids accumulated on the path.  Such are the marvelous temples and towers which their vows and wisdom caused to appear. Thus it is that you observed the practices of the bodhisattvas, and heard the Dharma of the bodhisattvas. You know the virtues of the bodhisattvas, and now fully understand the vows of the Tathāgata.”

Sudhana agrees and says:

“This is all due to the awesome spiritual power of the Guru who supports and remembers me.”

The Secret Doctrine mentions the Unity of infinite gradations of thought.[xx]  So it would seem the Occult Brotherhood’s Towers are built of infinite gradations of selfless thoughts.  As Master KH said in Mahatma Letter 15 (8): 

“The only true and holy [feeling,] the only unselfish and Eternal one — [is] Love, an Immense Love for humanity — as a Whole! For it is ‘Humanity’ which is the great Orphan, the only disinherited one upon this earth, my friend. And it is the duty of every man who is capable of an unselfish impulse to do something, however little, for its welfare. Poor, poor humanity!”

Thus, those theosophists who aspire to become co-workers with the Brothers and Amitabha Buddha [xxi] must never stop building their own towers of boundless good thoughts, words and deeds.

i G de Purucker’s Esoteric Tradition I:45.

ii Blavatsky Collected Writings XIV:281-2.

iii Mahatma Letters, 18 chronological.

iv Mahatma Letters, 29.

v Damodar and the Pioneers of the Theosophical Movement, p. 61.

vi Echoes of the Orient I:543

vii Near the end of Master Shikshananda’s translation of chapter 39, which is also known as GandavyÅ«ha SÅ«tra.

viii Good Wealth.

ix Maiden, Possessing Virtue; youth, Born of Virtue.

x All Pervading.

xi Kindly One, a tenth stage bodhisattva who will be the next Buddha.

xii Died in 1995; more biography at –

xiii Flower Adornment Sutra, ch. 39, part VIII, pp 1-2.

xiv Collected Writings XII:593.

xv Key to Theosophy 229

xvi Anguttara Nikaya, translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi, pp. 153, 177.

xvii Collected Writings XII:590.

xviii  â€œThought of enlightenment;” the intention to reach Buddha’s perfect Bodhi in order to free all beings from suffering.

xix Secret Doctrine II:513.

xx Secret Doctrine I:627-29.

xxi Voice of the Silence, Fragment three.