Three classes of Buddhas

From Anthroposophy

This topic is part of the broader topic of the Spiritual guidance of mankind.

At each evolutionary stage there are various cohorts at different stages of development. This was and is also the case in the epochs such as the Lemurian epoch upto the Current Postatlantean epoch. Advanced spirits that reached their normal development already on Old Sun or Old Moon (called sun or moon pitris) developed to varying degrees and incarnate upto now in human bodies. (see 1904-11-01-GA089 quote on Man in the Lemurian epoch)

Through the epochs, the leaders of Mankind consist of cohorts of advanced beings that are ahead of those developments are directly connected with a being from the third hierarchy at the levels of the higher bodily principles (see Man's higher triad, and Schema FMC00.312A), so they are 'ensouled' and receive direct inspiration from such higher being: an angel, archangel or archai.

Such beings are called, by Eastern names, respectively: a Buddha, a Bodhisattva, or a Dhyani-Buddha.

The White Lodge groups these beings and coordinates their work on the plan for the development of mankind, see Occult atom.

The most well known example of 'divine guidance' are the Egyptian pharaos that were called (representatives of the) 'gods', as a higher being was ensouled in them. However this is just one example of the broader pattern of various classes of higher beings ensouling in Man to provide guidance to the human population.


  • in the Lemurian epoch
    • the first teachers that provided guidance to humanity were Luciferic beings from Venus and Mercury, whereby they just used external human forms on Earth which in fact was a kind of outward illusion (1908-08-11-GA105)
    • Luciferic beings: Though some beings fell behind in their angel development stage on Old Moon, they were still greatly superior to humans and acted as teachers, guides and masters of humanity by incarnating in human bodies and becoming founders of races, religions, cultural centers (eg see below under aspect 'specific names', and more on Spiritual guidance of mankind)
    • these divine messengers are also called arhats (1904-09-06-GA091 and Further reading section below)
  • in the first part of the Atlantean epoch
    • it was quite common for highly evolved men to vacate their soul and spirit bodily principles (and withdrew into the spiritual world to take on another body), leaving the physical, etheric and astral bodies. Highly spiritual beings then descended into such pure bodies and acted as great teachers in the Atlantean schools of initiation (1908-08-11-GA105)
    • H. P. Blavatsky refers to 'Barhishads' who entered into ordinary human bodies and so for a time became part of the race.
  • Related - on the leadership and spiritual guidance of mankind
  • specific names
    • ancient Greece: Orpheus, Theseus, Cadmus (or Kadmos), Cecrops (or Kekrops), Pelops
      • Orpheus who came to Greece, Theseus, Kadmos .. are mentioned as adepts part of the migrations who came to Greece in the third cultural age, seeding of the fourth cultural age (Migrations#1904-09-08-GA091, see also Schema FMC00.453A on that page)
      • "Cecrops, Theseus and Cadmus .. [where human bodies] in whom were incarnated Luciferic spirits who had fallen behind [in evolution] during the Old Moon evolution" (1911-08-22-GA129)
      • "all the teachers of the nations — Kadmos, Kekrops, Pelops, Theseus, and so on — bore an angelic being in the innermost depths of their soul" (1911-06-07-GA015)
      • info from wikipedia: Theseus appears in myths as the founder-hero of Athens. Cadmus was the legendary Phoenician founder of Thebes. Cecrops was the first king of Athens. Pelops was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus region and venerated at Olympia, where his cult developed into the founding myth of the Olympic Games as an expression of unity.



  • Maiytreya-Buddha is a sanskrit term referring to the bringer of universal love, or the Buddha of right-mindedness (1910-02-27-GA118). Rudolf Steiner describes the future Maiytreya-Buddha:
    • He incarnates every century (similar to what Rudolf Steiner states about Master Jesus and Christian Rosenkreutz, and what Daskalos mentioned about his incarnations), and is therefore always with humanity.
    • One of his historical incarnations as Bodhisattva was as an Essene teacher Jeshu ben Pandira preparing the Mystery of Golgotha around 100BC. (1911-10-01-GA130)
    • He is the true herald of Christ in the Etheric (1911-08-18-GA129), and was also incarnated in the 20th century ("was born at the beginning of this century, and if we live another fifteen years, we shall notice his activity (R. Steiner in conversation with F. Rittelmeyer, Aug 1921) This gave rise to much speculation who this 'Bodhisattva of the 20th century' was, see Bodhisattva#The Bodhisattva question.
    • He will come in the next sixth cultural age and will rise to Buddha-hood five thousand years after Gautama Buddha who did so around 600BC. See Schema FMC00.052 on Sixth cultural age. He will enlighten humanity about the MoG in the moral age of Man in such a way that "his words will flow directly to men's hearts, in their souls .. nothing like words of today .. [but] .. to an extent far greater than it is possible to conceive today - a magical moral force carrying to hearts and souls a full conviction of the eternal, deeply significant brotherhood of intellect and morality." (1911-12-03-GA130)
    • more on the topic page: Bodhisattva


  • ."a personality who outwardly resembles a Man of our Postatlantean times, but who really is the bearer of an archai, who is ensouled by that spirit down to his physical body, is called Dhyani-Buddha. Dhyani-Buddha is a generic name for human individualities in whom Archai are active even as far as their physical body." (1909-04-16-GA110)
  • "those which threw the spark of budhi into the human being .. are the ones which are called the Buddhas in a higher sense, or Christos in Christian terms. They are the fourth dhyani, the budhi dhyani .. real gods .. and live on higher plane" (1904-11-01-GA089). They throw the spark of buddhi into the solar pitris or bodhisattvas.
  • Helena Blavatsky (see quotes below) also states a seven-fold hierarchy to position Dhyani-Buddhas in the chain of creation, see Discussion Note 2 below; Three classes of Buddhas#Note 2 - Model of creation and positioning Dhyani-Buddhas.
  • are also a very important concept and term Buddhism
    • Dhyani-Buddha is a Sanskrit term that also exists in Buddhism (Tibetan, Vajrayana) where there are typically five Dhyani-Buddhas seen as emanations and representations of the five qualities of the Adi-Buddha. The Five Dhyani Buddhas have been given diverse attributes and are used in various ways, below a short base description (much more can be found). They are typically shown sitting in the lotus pose and oriented in the four cardinal directions with one in the center, also in a certain colour and symbol and linked to the five elements (fire, air, water, earth, akasha)
      • Vairochana or Vairocana (in white, center as principle mediating deity) - symbolises the element of 'rupa', or shape or form.
      • Amoghsiddhi or Amgohasiddhi or Amoghasiddhi (green, north) - sitting in a meditating pose and showing a gesture of fearlessness, holding a double thunderbolt (vajra) to eradicate fear, envy, and jealousy .. and delivers courage and wisdom.
      • Ratnasambhava (gold/yellow, south) - bestowing blessings (Varada mudra) in one hand, providing enrichment, pride, joy, and calmness
      • Amitabha (red, west) - sits in a mediation pose with both hands laid upon his lap, represents the wisdom of observation.
      • Akhshobhya (blue, east) - represents water, with symbol a thunderbolt (vajra), provides wisdom and knowledge to the mortal, create humility, and reduce aggression.
    • On Schema FMC00.526 the sixth one shown below under the five 'usual' (see FMC00.526A for comparison) is stated to be Samantabhadra, a great bodhisattva in Buddhism associated with practice and meditation. Regarding the 'current' five Dhyani Buddhas, from the statements by Blavatsky one could see the four first (linked to the elements) mapping to the four CoL or rounds, see Schema FMC00.057D.


Schema FMC00.313 provides an overview of the beings that provide spiritual guidance of mankind in the current Postatlantean epoch, comparing it with the categories of beings and the state of 'ensoulment' by a being from the third spiritual hierarchy H3 in the Lemurian epoch (upper right).


Schema FMC00.362 illustrates the process of souls descending from the various planets based on their stage of spiritual development, for the process of developing the human 'I' principle and the pipeline for the Tenth hierarchy.

The blue line depicts the spiritual guidance of mankind.


Schema FMC00.526 is a representation of the Dhyani-Buddhas in a painting by Irena Novakova (a student of Franz Bardon working with him on the preparation of his study materials and his fourth book). This picture was going to be the cover image for Franz Bardon's (unpublished) fourth book 'The Golden Book of Wisdom'. It is taken from a copy of this book with remaining fragments, published in 2021 as prepared by Lukas Louzecky.

Interestingly it does not show the typical five Dhyani Buddhas (above, see Schema FMC00.526A for comparison) but an additional sixth below, said to be Samantabhadra, a bodhisattva associated with practice and meditation. The Schema was added here because it is remarkable (and never without deeper meaning) that a contemporary 20th century European teacher as Franz Bardon used this picture as a cover.

Schema FMC00.526A shows a few examples of the more traditional representations of the five Dhyani Buddhas with their colours and positioning. The background points to the four elements (see Schema FMC00.300B), the central white one to the fifth element Franz Bardon calls akasha.


Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

  • the best introduction to the broader topic is 1911-06-GA015 that contains three lectures of 6,7 and 8 June 1911 published as GA015 with the title 'spiritual guidance of mankind' - see Spiritual guidance of mankind

Reference extracts

Helena Blavatsky - Secret Doctrine and Collected writings

Ten short quotes taken from (that contains specific references) are to be read together and aggregated.

quote A

In the esoteric, and even exoteric Buddhism of the North, Adi-Buddha (Chogi dangpoi sangye), the One unknown, without beginning or end, identical with Parabrahm and Ain-Soph, emits a bright ray from its darkness.

This is the Logos (the first), or Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha (also called Dorjechang). As the Lord of all Mysteries he cannot manifest, but sends into the world of manifestation his heart—the “diamond heart,” Vajrasattva (Dorjesempa).

This is the second logos of creation, from whom emanate the seven (in the exoteric blind the five) Dhyani Buddhas, called the Anupadaka, “the parentless.” These Buddhas are the primeval monads from the world of incorporeal being, the arupa world, wherein the Intelligences (on that plane only) have neither shape nor name, in the exoteric system, but have their distinct seven names in esoteric philosophy.

quote B

The former [Dhyāni-Buddhas] only are called Anupadaka, parentless, because they radiated directly from that which is neither Father nor Mother but the unmanifested Logos. They are, in fact, the spiritual aspect of the seven Logoi; and the Planetary Spirits are in their totality, as the seven Sephiroth.

quote C

In the esoteric system, the Dhyanis watch successively over one of the Rounds and the great Root-races of our planetary chain.

quote D

Every class or hierarchy corresponds to one of the Rounds, the first and lowest hierarchy to the first and less developed Round, the second to the second, and so on till the seventh Round is reached, which is under the supervision of the highest Hierarchy of the Seven Dhyanis.

quote E In this function, they are known as the "watchers" or the "architects". They remain active during the whole Planetary manvantara, and can rest--

Only at the end of the seventh Round, and not between each round, for they have to watch over the working of the laws during these minor pralayas.

quote F

Now, "there are incarnating and there are watching Dhyanis", although we must remember that "all these differences in fact are merely functional, for they are all aspects of one and the same Essence".

The incarnating Dhyanis appear on Earth during every Round and Race through their emanations, the celestial Bodhisattvas:

These Dhyani Buddhas emanate, or create from themselves, by virtue of Dhyana, celestial Selves—the super-human Bodhisattvas. These incarnating at the beginning of every human cycle on earth as mortal men, become occasionally, owing to their personal merit, Bodhisattvas among the Sons of Humanity, after which they may re-appear as Manushi (human) Buddhas. The Anupadaka (or Dhyani-Buddhas) are thus identical with the Brahminical Manasaputra, “mind-born sons”—whether of Brahmâ or either of the other two Trimurtian Hypostases, hence identical also with the Rishis and Prajapatis.

quote G Although Tibetan Buddhism mentions five Dhyani-Buddhas, the Theosophical literature talks about seven ("or, rather, the Seven Hierarchies of these Dhyanis"). The reason given is that although there are seven hierarchies in total, they become active progressively as the evolutionary cycles go on. Thus, on this Globe...

...five only have hitherto manifested, and two are to come in the sixth and seventh Root-races. They are, so to speak, the eternal prototypes of the Buddhas who appear on this earth, each of whom has his particular divine prototype."

quote H However, this is said to be only a figurative way of speaking. As Blavatsky further explained:

This is, again, semi-allegorical, if not entirely so. For the sixth and seventh Hierarchies have been already incarnated on this earth together with the rest. But as they have reached “Buddhaship,” so called, almost from the beginning of the fourth Root-Race, they are said to rest since then in conscious bliss and freedom till the beginning of the Seventh Round, when they will lead Humanity as a new race of Buddhas.

quote I It seems that even the "watchers" incarnate at the beginning and the beginning and the end of major evolutionary cycles:

The Dhyani-Buddhas of the two higher groups, namely, the “Watchers” or the “Architects,” furnished the many and various races with divine kings and leaders. It is the latter who taught humanity their arts and sciences, and the former who revealed to the incarnated Monads that had just shaken off their vehicles of the lower Kingdoms—and who had, therefore, lost every recollection of their divine origin—the great spiritual truths of the transcendental worlds.

quote J

At the last, they will appear on earth, as also will some of the Planetary, for the whole humanity will have become Bodhisattvas, their own “sons,” i.e., the “Sons” of their own Spirit and Essence or—themselves.

Helena Blavatsky - Secret Doctrine Vol 1


quote (SWCC/edited)

The divine, purely Adi-Buddhic monad ...

... manifests as the universal Buddhi (the Mahâbuddhi or Mahat in Hindu philosophies) the spiritual, omniscient and omnipotent root of divine intelligence, the highest anima mundi or the Logos.

This descends “like a flame spreading from the eternal Fire, immoveable, without increase or decrease, ever the same to the end” of the cycle of existence, ... and becomes universal life on the Mundane Plane.

From this Plane of conscious Life shoot out, like seven fiery tongues, the Sons of Light (the logoi of Life). The “Seven Sons of Light” are also called “Stars.”

.. then the Dhyani-Buddhas of contemplation: the concrete forms of their formless Fathers, the Seven Sons of Light, still themselves, to whom may be applied the Brahmanical mystic phrase: “Thou art ‘THAT’—Brahm.”

... It is from these Dhyani-Buddhas that emanate their chhayas (Shadows) the Bodhisattvas of the celestial realms, the prototypes of the super-terrestrial Bodhisattvas,

... and of the terrestrial Buddhas,

... and finally of men.


is a key lecture regarding the descent of the first spirits (terminology-wise, the word souls is used) in the Lemurian epoch, and the context of the original sin

Freely translated excerpt

In the middle of the Lemurian epoch we have streams flowing together. The souls of humanity already existed but on another plane, where they had developed over seven races and rounds. ...

[In the Lemurian epoch] the first and second root races were still soul-less. Souls could not take hold of the bodies as the Earth was not ripe enough. ...

First the Earth had to produce mature bodies, so the degree of maturity matched that of the souls. So here we have two development streams that flow together. ...

  • When we consider the earthly stream: only a few of the bodies were ripe enough that they could be inhabited by souls. Furthermore, the whole bodily development was thus that only very advanced souls knew how to do anything with these bodies. Hence we have here a group of men with very advanced souls. This is an exceptional human race of highly developed arhats, really a small share. The souls of these arhats were much advanced in comparison with the stream of normal development, they could foresee what the others would only achieve after much further developement. Hence they could lead humanity.
  • Now the limited number of these excellent bodies was exhausted, and the others had to be content with inferior bodies. ... These bodies could only development so far as the atlantean, that is why they had to extinct.
  • The primal semites were the basis for the fifth root race ... this is the third group.


  • first group: very advanced arhats
  • second group: received only a dull spirit and had to die out
  • third group: that lags and comes behind just as bodies become available. From these are recruted the capable to develop up until beyond the fifth race and beyond.

The arhats are highly developed beings that, whenever they incarnate, stand much higher than any normal human being. They have the capability to live in the higher planes and communicate there, also receive orders there. Hence these were messengers of the gods, kings and leaders of humanity. At most they could attract a few men to them, but overall the rest of men were guided rather unconsciously. This lasted throughout the Atlantean epoch.

Only those that develop from the primal semites are able to take fate in their hands .. and were ready to be taught by the messengers of the gods.

[follows Tantalos myth]


The Rishis were the first initiated Men, all the ones before were gods that had descended. Now a new phenomena occured with new beings: initiates that origine from Earth development itself .. and that could become leaders. .. Since then these have incarnated again and again, and are now called Masters. The sixth epoch will have the first beings that arose from humanity itself and that will lead humanity as Manu. This is a transition from the divine leaders to the human masters (or mahatmas).

And now this Manu is at the head of the spiritual scientific movement and preparing for the sixth rooth race. So in a way, what happens in the spiritual scientific movement is the same as what happened in the Atlantean epoch. Master Morya is the first human Manu that will found the sixth root race, whereas before this was done by divine messengers called arhats (or also called sons of the fire mist, while this was the state of the Earth in the Lemurian epoch).

[Note: text states 'theosophical' as this is an early lecture, we opted to here choose the generic term 'spiritual scientific' over 'anthroposophical']


on this topic, see Mysteries of the Spirit, the Son and the Father#1904-10-24-GA090A


This section below follows a description of the evolutionary cohorts and three types of beings in the Lemurian epoch, see lecture extract on Man in the Lemurian epoch, and continues with the beings that bring the budhi spark:

... Then we have those which threw the spark of budhi into the human being. These dhyani, which live on higher plane, are the ones which are called the Buddhas in a higher sense, or Christos in Christian terms. They are the fourth dhyani, the budhi dhyani. They are real gods.

We have now widened our horizon. The spark, which the budhi dhyani are there to give, can first of all be thrown into the solar pitris. Such a solar pitri, into whom the spark of budhi has been thrown, is called a bodhisattva.

At a much later time the spark of budhi was able to descend as far as the lunar pitris. The first lunar pitri who was filled with budhi and in whom human and godhead were united, was Jesus Christ. And there we have to consider that in Jesus Christ the budhi divinity had descended to the lowest level.

The budhi spark can descend as far as the kama manasic principle. The human being would then be a teacher. Buddha, Zarathustra, Krishna, Moses, Hermes and others were such teachers. Such individuals are born destined to be teachers.


Note in the excerpt below, the term 'monad' is used for the spiritual souls that descended onto the physical bodies on Earth.

SWCC (phrasing not changed but some sentences re-ordered for logical flow)

Thus we have the human being as he evolved from the unisexual into the bisexual state, and together with him bisexual animals, male and female. It was only through the Lunar Pitris that man became mature enough to have a body capable of receiving the Monads. The latter however selected only the most highly developed examples and evolved a noble human form; only these had to be withdrawn completely from intercourse with anything around them, otherwise the beautiful bodies would have been lost.

  • It was only then that the body formed itself in accordance with the monad. In the middle of the Lemurian Age we find the first 'sons of the fire mist'; these incarnate in the fiery element, which at that time surrounded the Earth. These 'sons of the fire mist' were the first Arhats.

Then there arose the other two kinds. The other forms which were less advanced failed to satisfy the descending monad; hence they poured only a part of their spiritual force into the imperfect human bodies and the third stream utterly refused to incarnate. Because of this there existed very poorly endowed human bodies and also others quite devoid of spirit.

  • In the first Lemurian human race those who had received only a small spark were little adapted to forming a civilisation and soon went under.
  • On the other hand those who had received absolutely nothing found full expression for their lower nature. They mingled with the animals. From them proceeded the last Lemurian races. The wild, animal instincts lived in wild animal-like human forms. This brought about a degeneration of the entire human substance.

Had all human beings been fructified with monads, the whole human race would have greatly improved.

The first evil arose through the fact that certain monads refused to incarnate. From this, through intermingling, deterioration set in. In this way the human being suffered an essentially physical degradation.

Only in the Atlantean epoch did the monads regret their previous refusal; they came down and populated all mankind. In this way arose the various Atlantean races.

We have now reached a time when something happened to bring about the deterioration of the Earth. The wholesale deterioration of the races brought this about. It was then that the seed of karma was planted.

Everything that came later is the result of this original karma; for had the monads all entered into human forms at the right time, human beings would have possessed the certainty of animals, they could not have been subject to error, but they would not have been able to develop freedom. The original arhats could not go astray; they are angels in human form.

The Moon Adepts however had so brought things about that certain monads waited before incarnating. Through this the principle of asceticism entered into the world, reluctance to inhabit the Earth. This discrepancy between higher and lower nature arose at this time. Because of it Man became uncertain; he must now try things out, oscillating from one experience to another, in an attempt to find his way in the world. Because he had original karma, his own further karma came about. Now he could fall into error.

The intention was that Man should attain knowledge. This could only be brought about through the original karma. The Luciferic principle, the Moon Adepts, wanted to develop freedom and independence to an ever-greater degree. This is very beautifully expressed in the saga of Prometheus: Zeus will not allow human beings to get fire. Prometheus however gives them fire, the faculty of developing ever higher and higher. By so doing he condemns Man to suffering.

Man must now wait for the coming of a Sun Hero, until the Principle of the Sun Hero in the sixth race will make him able to develop further without Luciferic knowledge. Those endowed with this higher degree of advancement are like Prometheus, they are Sun Heroes.


describes the leadership of mankind

[Luciferic beings from Venus and Mercury]

We now ask: Who were the elemental Beings who helped man not to sink into the depths?

They are those mentioned in the last lecture, those who worked on Man when he had descended to the depths, and who led him again to the heights — the Luciferic beings. The Sun-Spirits did not yet work upon him, but those beings did who sacrificed themselves.

They moved among the people of the Earth in a very remarkable way. Outwardly they had a certain human form, for even the highest spirits have to incarnate in forms which are to be found on Earth, so these beings took upon them the external shape that was Man's at that time. They said: In form we are similar to man, but our true home is not on the Earth; it is upon the two intermediate planets, Venus and Mercury. The best part of their souls were on these planets, but their outward form, which in fact was a kind of illusion, was on Earth.

They gave to Man what he needed, namely, guidance and teaching, for the reason that their home was not on Earth, which was the first planet to be formed, but upon Venus and Mercury. These beings must be described as the first teachers, the first Initiates of humanity; outwardly they resembled the human beings of that time, but inwardly they possessed lofty and important qualities enabling them to work upon humanity as a whole, and also to work on the more advanced individuals in special schools, which were the first Mystery schools. There were always some of these more advanced individuals who had their home in the stars and who, although connected with the stars, had a human shape and walked among men.

[Atlantean epoch]

Man himself continued to progress, and now passed on into the middle of the Atlantean epoch; the present human form only began to develop during the first half of that epoch; only then did Man begin to feel fully at home in it.

Now, there were some beings in those ancient times who were very low down in the scale of humanity; these became the backward races; there were others who kept themselves plastic; and, again, others who only occasionally inhabited human bodies.

What I am now about to describe happened very frequently in the first part of the Atlantean epoch.

Imagine a Man of that time who for an Atlantean was highly evolved; through certain procedures it frequently happened that such a Man was caused to separate his physical body (which was then very plastic) and his etheric and astral bodies from his more spiritual parts, which then withdrew more into the spiritual world so as later to take on another body.

It very frequently happened that, long before the physical, etheric and astral bodies were ready to die, they were willingly vacated by their soul and spirit-principles. These, when they had belonged to especially exalted individuals, were pure and good bodies. Highly spiritual beings then let themselves descend into these bodies; and so it frequently happened during the ancient Atlantean epoch that beings who were otherwise unable to incarnate on earth made use of such advanced bodies in order to descend among men. These were the beings who acted as great teachers in the Atlantean schools of initiation. They worked powerfully with the means available at that time.

[memories of Wotan, Thor, Zeus, Apollo]

When at that time Man left his physical body at night he had what may be called a dim clairvoyant consciousness; during the day the outline of objects was still indistinct, and there was no such clearly defined difference between the conditions of sleeping and waking as exists today. It happened, therefore, that the ordinary man beheld such an individual as I have described in an alternating manner — by day he saw him like a man, but at night he saw him quite otherwise, in a spiritual soul-like way, though he knew it was the same being who appeared to him by day in a physical body. These were beings belonging to Venus and Mercury who interposed into human existence and were with man day and night. The remembrance of these beings remained in the souls who incarnated again and again among the peoples of Europe, and they recalled them when they uttered the names Wotan, Thor, etc.

When the inhabitants of ancient Europe spoke of the Gods they were no imaginary figures to them, but memories of forms seen in Atlantis. In the same way, when the Greeks spoke of Zeus, Apollo, and Ares these were forms they had themselves perceived during the Atlantean epoch. Whereas in the Egyptian age memories of ancient Lemuria arose, in the Grecian age memories of the earthly experiences on Atlantis rose within the souls of the people.


We indicated the nature of this Impulse when we spoke about the long intermediate period of evolution in which Luciferic beings were preparing mankind, making him capable of receiving the Christ Impulse, so that the sun should not merely send down its force externally, but that inner forces should also stream into man from it. This period has not nearly come to an end; it is still in its beginning, for with the coming of Christ only the first impulse was given for the inwardly spiritual part of the sun to stream to earth in addition to the physical sunlight. Ever stronger will that light become, which as Spiritual Sunlight, or Christ-light, will irradiate mankind from within as the physical sunlight illuminates him from without.


discusses the eastern differentiation of Ati-Buddha (primeval), Dhyani-Buddha (transcendent), and Manusha Buddha (human)

For we certainly know that what is regarded as the Dhyani-Buddha is nothing but the etheric body of the historic Buddha that had been taken possession of by a god, namely the Individuality of whom we spoke yesterday, Wotan

longer extract

When it is asserted in certain Theosophical quarters that there is a western initiation for our stage of civilization, but that it is a late product, that true initiation comes only from the East, we must answer that this cannot be determined without knowing something further. The matter must be gone into more deeply than is usually done. There may be some who say that in Buddha the highest summit was reached, that Christ has brought nothing new since Buddha; but only in that which meets us positively can we recognize what really is the question here. If we ask those who stand on the ground of Western initiation whether they deny anything in Eastern initiation, whether they make any different statements regarding Buddha than those in the East, they answer, “No.” They value all; they agree with all; but they understand progressive development. They can be distinguished from those who deny the Western principle of initiation by the fact that they know how to accept what Orientalism has to give, and in addition they know the advanced forms which the course of time has made necessary. They deny nothing in the realm of Eastern initiation.

Take a description of Buddha by one who accepts the standpoint of Western esotericism. This will not differ from that of a follower of Eastern esotericism; but the man with the Western standpoint holds that in Christ there is something which goes beyond Buddha. The Eastern standpoint does not allow this. If it is said that Buddha is greater than Christ that does not decide anything, for this depends on something positive. Here the Western standpoint is the same as the Eastern. The West does not deny what the East says, but it asserts something further.

The life of Buddha is not rightly understood when we read that Buddha perished through the enjoyment of too much pork; this must not be taken literally. It is rightly objected from the standpoint of Christian esotericism that people who understand something trivial from this understand nothing about it at all; this is only an image, and shows the position in which Buddha stood to his contemporaries. He had imparted too many of' the sacred Brahmanical secrets to the outer world. He was ruined through having given out that which was hidden, as is everyone else who imparts what is hidden.

This is what is expressed in this peculiar symbol. Allow me to emphasize strongly that we disagree in no way with Oriental conceptions, but people must understand the esotericism of such things. If it is said that this is of little importance: it is not the case. They might as well think it of little importance when we are told that the writer of the Apocalypse wrote it amid thunder and lightning, and if anyone found occasion to mock at the Apocalypse because of this we should reply: “What a pity he does not know what it means when we are told that the Apocalypse was imparted to the earth 'mid lightning and thunder!”

We must keep in mind the fact that no negation has passed the lips of Western esotericists, and that much that was puzzling at the beginning of the anthroposophical movement has been explained by them. The followers of Western esotericism never find in it anything out of harmony with the mighty truths given to the world by H. P. Blavatsky. When we are told, for example, that we have to distinguish in the Buddha the Dhyani-Buddha, the Adi-Buddha, and the human Buddha, this is first fully explained by the Western esotericist.

For we know that what is regarded as the Dhyani-Buddha is nothing but the etheric body of the historic Buddha that had been taken possession of by a God; that this etheric body had been laid hold of by the being whom we call Wotan. This was already contained in Eastern esotericism, but was only first understood in the right way through Western esotericism.


In Postatlantean times men had not yet advanced so far that they could do without help from above, inspiration was still necessary; and a sort of ensouling still took place from above.

  • have seen how such ensouling occurred in Lemurian times, because an Archai ensouled the physical body;
  • in the Atlantean times the physical and the etheric bodies were ensouled by Archangels,
  • and now the great leaders of the Postatlantean times were ensouled through an Angel descending into their physical, etheric and astral bodies.

The great leaders of humanity in the post-Atlantean times did not possess merely a physical, etheric and astral body, but an Angel also lived within them. Therefore, these great leaders could look back into their former incarnations. The ordinary man cannot do so as yet, because he has not yet developed his Manas; he must himself first become an Angel. These leaders, who were born out of the ordinary inhabitants, carried an Angelic Being within their physical, etheric and astral bodies, who ensouled and, interpenetrated them. This is again Maya, again we have Beings who are something different from what they appear to be on earth. The great leaders of humanity of grey antiquity were quite different from what they outwardly seemed to be. They were personalities in whom an Angel dwelt and gave what they needed, so that they might become Teachers and Leaders of men. The great founders of religions were men possessed by Angels. Angels spoke through them. The affairs of the world have to be described indeed as entirely regular, but the processes of development always slide one within the other, they overlap. That which we describe as exhibiting complete regularity does not work itself out with such regularity.

It is certainly true that, as a general principle, Archai did speak through human entities in the Lemurian times, Archangels in the Atlantean, and Angels in the Postatlantean times.

However also existed:

  • But such beings arose, also even in the Postatlantean times, who were penetrated by an Archai down to their physical body, who, therefore, were in the same position, although they lived in the Postatlantean times, as were those beings through whom in Lemuria the Archai spoke. Thus it was possible to have men also in the Postatlantean times, who bore externally all the characteristics of their nation, but who, because humanity still needed such great leaders, carried within them an Archai (Spirit of Personality) - and who were the external incarnation of such a Spirit.
  • Then there were also men in the Postatlantean times who had an Archangel, a Spirit of Mercury, within them, who ensouled their physical and etheric bodies.
  • And lastly, a third category of men was ensouled, inspired in their physical, etheric and astral bodies by an Angel Being, one through whom an Angel spoke. In the spirit of the Eastern Teaching such personalities received particular names.

Thus a personality who outwardly resembles a man of our Postatlantean times, but who really is the bearer of an Archai, who is ensouled by that Spirit down to his physical body, is called Dhyani-Buddha in the Eastern Teaching. Dhyani-Buddha is a generic name for human individualities in whom the Spirits of Personality are active, even as far as their physical body.

  • Those personalities who are ensouled down to their etheric body, who were bearers of Archangels in the post-Atlantean times, are called Bodhi-Sattva
  • And those who are the bearers of an Angel, who are, therefore, ensouled in their physical, etheric and astral bodies, are called human Buddhas

Thus we have three degrees: that of the Dhyani-Buddha, the Bodhi-Sattva and the human Buddha.

This is the true teaching of the Buddhas, of the classes and categories of Buddhas, which we have to recognise in connection with the whole manner and means by which the Hierarchies fulfil their ends. This is the marvel which meets us, when we look back to earlier undeveloped men, that among these men we find those, through whom the Hierarchies speak The great Hierarchies speak out of the Cosmos downwards into the Planets, and only by degrees do these Spirits of the higher Hierarchies, who were active before the appearance of our earth, emancipate the planetary men who live down here, when they have reached the necessary degree of ripeness. Here we gaze into unfathomable depths of wisdom. And what is of extraordinary importance is, that we understand this wisdom exactly as it was taught in all the ages, when primeval wisdom was taught to men.

Thus, when you hear of the Buddhas, for they do not speak of the one Buddha only in the Eastern teaching, but of many, among whom there are naturally different grades of perfection — give attention to the fact: a Buddha walks on earth, but behind the Buddha, was the Bodhi-Sattva and even the Dhyani-Buddha.

Matters, however, might be so, that the Dhyani-Buddha or the Bodhi-Sattva did not reach so far as to ensoul the physical body, but that the Bodhi-Sattva descended only as far as to be able to ensoul the etheric body, so that you can imagine a Being who does not reach so far as to ensoul and inspire the mans physical body, but only the etheric body.

It can, however, happen when such a Bodhisattva is not physically visible (for when he appears only in an etheric body he is not physically visible, and there were such Bodhi-Sattva who were physically invisible) that he can, as a higher Being, inspire quite exceptionally the human Buddha. So that we have the human Buddha, who is already inspired by an Angelic Being, being further inspired in his etheric body by an Archangel Being.

It is essential that we should look into this wonderful complexity of the human nature. Many Individualities to whom we look back into former times can only be understood, when we accept them as the meeting point of different higher Beings, who proclaim and express themselves through the man. For, in truth, many periods do not possess a sufficient number of great men to be inspired by the Spirits who have to be active. Thus sometimes one single personality has to be ensouled by different individualities of the higher Hierarchies. And sometimes it is not only the inhabitants of Mercury who speak with us, when we have a certain personality standing before us, but the inhabitants of Venus also.

Such ideas lead us to the understanding of human evolution, so that we may recognise the true nature of those personalities who, when met as physical men, represent merely Maya. Tomorrow we shall begin by trying to comprehend the origin of each individual planet, which up to now we have considered only as boundary marks, and then we shall gain an idea of them as the dwelling-places of the corresponding spiritual beings.



  • The Christ Impulse and its great heralds
  • The Role of High Great Personages Who are Involved with the Development of the Earth

link DE version, internet translation

Gautama Buddha was born as such a being. Only in his twenty-ninth year did his earthly personality become so strong that it could absorb the higher part. According to the legend, he settled under a fig tree during his wanderings and received the enlightenment that made him a Buddha. He ascended to a higher dignity, according to the order of precedence as it prevails in the spiritual world. Another one moved up at the same time and took the place left by him. His successor in the bodhisattva dignity now holds his office until he himself will have attained Buddha-ness. Still 3000 years will pass, then he will incarnate as Maitreya Buddha among the people. His task will be discussed later.

What is the significance for humanity of the Bodhisattva becoming a Buddha? It made it possible for them to acquire new abilities. It is often thought that the same abilities have always been present to a greater or lesser degree.

However, this is not the case at all. In the course of evolution, new abilities have always been added, and each time mankind became ripe to be endowed with a new gift, the new ability had to be incarnated once first in a great man. In him it manifested first, and he then laid the germs in the souls that were ready. Therefore, all feeling and thinking was different before the appearance of Gautama Buddha. The receiving of the teachings was also different from that of later people. Half unconsciously, like a suggestion, they received what the Bodhisattvas received as inspiration and let flow over as power into their disciples. It was through Gautama Buddha that men first received the impulse to compassion and charity, and were thus prepared to receive the Christ-impulse. However, it is not enough to feel this ability; it must become the guiding life force and be able to be lived out.

From where, we may ask, do all these Bodhisattvas receive their power and their teaching? High above in the spiritual worlds into which they project, in the midst of their lofty choir, one is enthroned who is the teacher of all and at the same time the inexhaustible source of all light and all power and all wisdom that overflows upon them: Christ. From him they drew and, as his forerunners, descended again among men. Then he himself came down to earth and embodied himself in Jesus of Nazareth. And after him they will come again to carry out his plan.

At the end of his development, a bodhisattva becomes a Buddha and no longer needs to assume a physical body. The Buddha stage completes the cycle of his incarnations, and he enters a new, higher evolution. His lowest member is then no longer a physical body, but an etheric body, and he is henceforth perceptible only to the clear-sighted eye. The seer alone can follow how Gautama Buddha after his death continued to work for the salvation of mankind and helped to develop all forces on earth, so that the Christ himself could embody himself in the flesh, in an earthly instrument which became his personality: in Jesus of Nazareth. Many things had to happen for this to happen, and a series of great events were connected with it, as we can see from the Gospel of Luke.


The Bodhisattva who took Gautama's place when he became the Buddha will descend in the form of Maitreya Buddha to bring people to the full recognition of the Christ. He will be the greatest of the proclaimers of the Christ Impulse and will make the Damascus experience possible for many. A long time will pass, and in ever newer forms spiritual science will make the Christ being comprehensible to men from ever higher points of view, until the last of the Bodhisattvas will have completed his mission on earth, and mankind will have grasped the Christ in all his significance, and their whole life will have been unreservedly absorbed in his impulse.


see also: Sixth cultural age#1911-10-01-GA130

Oriental mystics were able to picture the consequences of that event but not the actual form it would take. They could picture that within a period of 5,000 years after the great Buddha achieved Enlightenment, pure Akashic forms, bathed in fire, lit by the sun, would appear in the wake of one Who could not be recognized through Oriental mysticism. A wonderful picture in very truth: that something would come to make it possible for the Sons of Fire and of Light to move about the moral atmosphere of the earth, not in physically embodied form but as pure Akashic forms within the earth's moral atmosphere. Five thousand years after Gautama Buddha's Enlightenment, so it was said, the teacher will also be there to make known to human beings what these wonderful forms are, these pure forms of Fire and Light. This teacher — the Maitreya Buddha — will appear 3000 years after our time and will be able to teach people about the Christ impulse. Oriental mysticism thus unites with the Christian knowledge of the West to form a beautiful unity. It will also be disclosed that he who will appear 3000 years after our time as the Maitreya Buddha will have incarnated again and again on the Earth as a Bodhisattva, as the successor of Gautama Buddha. One of his incarnations was that of Jeshu ben Pandira, who lived a hundred years before the beginning of our era. The being who incarnated in Jeshu ben Pandira is the same one who will one day become the Maitreya Buddha and who from century to century returns ever and again in a body of flesh, not yet as Buddha himself but as Bodhisattva. Even in our age there proceeds from him who later will be the Maitreya Buddha the most significant teachings concerning the Christ being and the Sons of Fire — the Agnishvattas — of Indian mysticism.


This will happen before long. Those who are able to say, “Not I, but Christ in me,” will be able to work with the plant forces in the same way that mineral forces are now understood. Man's inner being and his outer surroundings work into one another reciprocally; what is outside transforms itself for us, depending on whether our vision is clear or clouded. Even in this century, and increasingly throughout the next 2,500 years, human beings will become able to behold Christ in His etheric form. They will behold the etheric earth from which the plant world springs up. They will also be able to see, however, that inner goodness works differently on the environment from evil.

He who possesses this science in the highest degree is the Maitreya Buddha, who will come in approximately 3,000 years. “Maitreya Buddha” means the “Buddha of right-mindedness.” He is the one who will make clear for human beings the significance of right-mindedness. This will all lead human beings to know in which direction they must go.

You must undertake to transform abstract ideals into concrete ideals in order to contribute to an evolution that moves forward. If we do not succeed in this, the earth will sink into materialism, and humanity will have to begin again, either on the earth, after a great catastrophe, or on the next planet. The earth needs anthroposophy! Whoever realizes this is an anthroposophist.


see: Christ in the etheric#1911-08-18-GA129

That will be the greatest event for the future history of the human soul. It is the event for which Spiritual Science must prepare, so that the soul may become capable of acquiring the etheric vision. In the next three thousand years it will lay hold of more and more souls, the next three thousand years will be devoted to kindling the forces in the human soul which will make it aware of the etheric wonders of Nature around it. It will begin to happen in our own century that one here and one there will see with their etheric souls the reappearing Christ, and within the next three thousand years more and more men will see Him. Then will come the fulfilment of the true oriental tradition, a tradition with which all true occultism is in agreement.

At the end of three thousand years the Maitreya Buddha will descend, and will speak to humanity in a form which every human soul will understand, and will mediate the Christ-nature to man. That is the secret guarded by oriental mysticism, that about three thousand years after our time the Maitreya Buddha will appear. What can be added as the contribution of western culture is that the cosmic Individuality who has only once appeared in a human body will become ever more visible to the etheric vision of man; ...

Just as two thousand years ago the Buddha spoke of what was natural to the best human souls of his time, so in words which will thrill the soul, the Maitreya Buddha will be able to proclaim everywhere what today cannot be proclaimed publicly: the vision of the Christ in the etheric world which is to come. That is the greatest event of the twentieth century, this upward development of human nature towards what we may call the recurrence of the vision of St. Paul. In the vision at Damascus it came to one person only; in the future it will come little by little to all humanity, beginning in our own century.


Thus during the time of Atlantis these gods were human beings, with souls which had a macrocosmic significance and this experience enabled them to make such progess as to fit them to play their part in the fourth Postatlantean cultural age, but during that age to hold the reins very loosely in their spiritual guidance of humanity. As gods they no longer needed to be like Cecrops, Theseus and Cadmus, in whom were also incarnated Luciferic souls who had fallen behind during the Moon evolution, for they had finished with what earthly incarnation could give them in their Atlantean incarnations.


This also tells us why the wise government of the world holds back the development of certain beings and prevents them from reaching their goal. The reason is that the holding back will serve a good purpose in subsequent evolutionary periods. In ancient times, when the nations were not yet able to direct themselves, teachers guided particular eras and particular individuals. In a sense, all the teachers of the nations — Kadmos, Kekrops, Pelops, Theseus, and so on — bore an angelic being in the innermost depths of their soul. This is a clear indication that humanity is in fact subject to guidance and direction in this respect as well.

Thus, at each stage of evolution there are beings who fail to reach the goal they should have attained. In ancient Egyptian civilization, which flourished several thousand years ago on the banks of the Nile, superhuman teachers revealed themselves to the people and were considered by them to be divine guides. At the same time, however, other beings were active who had not yet completely reached the level of angels.

The ancient Egyptians had attained a certain level of development — that is, the souls of people today had developed to a certain level during the Egyptian period. Thus the guidance I am talking about here has a twofold benefit: it helps the person who is guided to achieve something, and it also helps the guiding beings to advance in their development. For example, an angel is more after having guided people for a while than it was before taking this guiding role. In other words, angels advance through their guiding work — “full” angels as well as those who have not yet completed their development. All beings can advance at all times; everything is in continuous development. Nevertheless, at each stage some beings remain behind and fail to complete their development.

Ancient Egyptian culture, therefore, was influenced by three categories of beings: divine leaders or angels, semi-divine leaders who had not yet fully reached the level of angels, and human beings. Now while the human beings on Earth progressed in their evolution during the ancient Egyptian period, some superhuman beings or angels were held back, that is, they did not fulfill their guiding role in a way that would have allowed them to bring all of their powers to expression. Consequently, these beings remained behind as angels and did not develop further. Similarly, the imperfect, “retarded” angelic beings, who had not yet developed to the level of the “full” angels, were also arrested in their development. Thus, when the Egypto-Chaldean cultural period drew to a close and the Greco-Latin period began, guiding beings from the earlier cultural epoch who had not finished their development were still present. However, they could now no longer use their powers because their place in guiding humanity had been taken over by other angels or semi-angelic beings. As a result, these beings who were left over, so to speak, were unable to continue their own evolution. Thus we have a category of beings who could have used their powers during the Egyptian period, but did not do so to the full extent possible and so were unable in the subsequent Greco-Latin period to use their own forces because other guiding beings had taken their place. In addition, the nature and character of the Greco-Latin epoch also made their intervention impossible.

Earlier we saw that the beings who had not evolved to the level of angels on the Old Moon later had the task of actively participating in the earthly evolution of humanity. By the same token, those guiding beings who did not complete their development in the Egypto-Chaldean period are similarly meant to intervene in human development in a later epoch. This is to say that, in a given later cultural epoch, the normal progress of human evolution is to be directed by beings whose turn it is to take on a guiding role; but, at the same time, other beings will be active who did not develop fully in earlier times, for instance, those who failed to complete their development in the ancient Egyptian epoch. This characterization applies to our own period as well; that is, we live in a time when, besides the normal leaders of humanity, the incompletely developed beings from the ancient Egypto-Chaldean cultural period actively intervene.

To understand the unfolding of events and beings, we must see events in the physical world as effects (revelations) of causes or archetypes that lie in the spiritual world. Our culture, by and large, is characterized by a trend toward spirituality. The urgent striving for spirituality we see in many people is the result of the work of those spiritual guides who have attained the developmental level appropriate to them. These normally developed spiritual guides of our evolution are at work in everything that can lead us to the great treasures of spiritual wisdom that anthroposophy can impart to us.


see: Sixth cultural age#1911-12-03-GA130

  • There have been, and will continue to be, frequent incorporations of the individuality who appeared as Jeshu ben Pandira, until he rises from the rank of Bodhisatva to that of Buddha. According to our reckoning of time this will be in about 3,000 years, when a sufficient number of people will possess the above-mentioned faculties, and when, in the course of a remarkable incarnation of the individual who was once Jeshu ben Pandira, this great teacher of mankind will have become able to act as interpreter of the Mystery of Golgotha in a very different way from what is possible today. It is true that even today a seer into the supersensible worlds can gain some idea of what is to happen then; but the ordinary earthly organisation of man cannot yet provide a physical body capable of doing what that teacher will be able to do approximately 3,000 years hence. There is, as yet, no human language through which verbal teaching could exert the magical effects that will spring from the words of that great teacher of humanity. His words will flow directly to men's hearts, into their souls, like a healing medicine; nothing in those words will be merely theoretical. At the same time the teaching will contain - to an extent far greater than it is possible to conceive today - a magical moral force carrying to hearts and souls a full conviction of the eternal, deeply significant brotherhood of intellect and morality.
  • This great teacher, who will be able to give to men ripe for it the profoundest instruction concerning the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha, will fulfil what Oriental prophets have always said — that the true successor of Buddha would be, for all mankind, the greatest teacher of the good. For that reason he has been called in oriental tradition the Maitreya Buddha. His task will be to enlighten human beings concerning the Mystery of Golgotha, and for this he will draw ideas and words of the deepest significance from the very language he will use. No human language today can evoke any conception of it. His words will imprint into men's souls directly, magically, the nature of the Mystery of Golgotha. Hence in this connection also we are approaching what we may call the future moral age of man; in a certain sense we could designate it as a coming Golden Age.


Whilst human beings all over the Earth are born again and again and can thus always come to an experience of the Christ Impulse in their incarnations after the time of Christ, the Buddha attained in pre-Christian times the stage of evolution which removed from him the necessity of returning any more into an Earthly body. This means that the Buddha belongs therefore to the very small number of human beings who lived on the Earth and then left it, before Christ came.

And you may want to know, what is the relation of the Christ to Buddha?

Apart from what I mentioned yesterday, that Buddha shone down from higher worlds into the astral body of the Luke Jesus Child, how do the Christ and Buddha stand to one another? Is it actually so, that Buddha left the Earth before Christ was on the Earth? that he took his way to Mars, so that the Buddha and Christ so to speak passed one another?

I explained to you [earlier] how the Christ was united with the Sun. In point of fact it was only through the baptism by John, or rather through the Mystery of Golgotha itself, that the Christ came into union with the Earth. The Christ is therefore a Sun Spirit and we have to look for Him, before the Mystery of Golgotha took place on Earth, in close connection with His Kingdom, the Sun. Zarathustra sought Him there. And it is during the time when Christ is working as Ruler in the kingdom of the Sun, when He has not yet extended His rulership to the Earth — at all events, not yet by means of His Impulse — that the life of Buddha takes its course on Earth. And now we must turn back to the earlier incarnations of Buddha, if we would arrive at the truth in this matter. We know that Buddha was before a Bodhisattva; he worked on Earth through long periods of time as Bodhisattva. These Bodhisattvas had in them no ordinary human soul. Their case was quite a special one.

You must here call to mind the description in Occult Science of the beginning of Earth evolution, — how, after the interval between Moon and Earth, the Sun was re-united with Earth and the other planets, and how they all then separated again, being shed, as it were, like a husk or shell one after the other. (See also my lecture cycle on the Spiritual Hierarchies.) There was, therefore, at one time the condition in which the Earth was united with the Sun. Then Earth and Sun separated, and you know that after that came the separation also of the Moon, and the strengthening of the Earth through souls coming from other planets.

Let us now fix our attention on the point of time when the Sun has just separated from the Earth. When this separation took place, the two planets Venus and Mercury — I am giving them their astronomical names — were still within the Sun. The Earth alone separated off, Venus and Mercury remaining within the Sun. We have therefore now Sun and Earth. On Earth, evolution continues.

Only a small number of human beings remain behind; others go up to the planets, to return again later on. With the Sun went also beings; for the world does not consist just of external matter, but of beings. Beings went with the Sun when it separated from the Earth. And their Leader is the Christ. For at the time in Earth evolution when the Sun separated from the Earth, What one may call the taking precedence by the Christ over Lucifer and the other planetary spirits had already come to fulfilment.

Then later on, Venus separated, and Mercury.

Let us consider for a moment the exit of Venus from the Sun. Together with Venus are beings who had also at first gone with the Sun but were not able to remain there. These break away and inhabit Venus. Among them is the being who stands behind the later Buddha. He went as a messenger from the Christ to the dwellers on Venus. The Christ sent him to Venus, and here on Venus Buddha passed through all manner of stages of evolution.

Later on, souls came back from Venus to Earth.

  • The ordinary human souls were of course but little developed.
  • Buddha, however, who also descended to Earth with the Venus souls, was a highly evolved being, — so highly evolved that he could at once become a Bodhisattva and afterwards early a Buddha.

Thus we have in Buddha one who had long ago been sent out by Christ and had the task of preparing the work of Christ on Earth. For his mission to the Venus men had this meaning, — that he should go to Earth beforehand, as a forerunner of the Sun.

Arthur E. Powell: 'The Solar System' (1930)

see Ch 28: 'Buddhas, Machachohans and bodhisattvas'

see Atlantean epoch#References and further reading


Note 1 - Nirmanakaya and the bodies of a Bodhisattva

To be added: the Trikaya or three bodies of a Bodhisattva

  • Nirmanakaya (see also workings of Buddha and John the Baptist)
  • as well as Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya

References oa :


When the astral body is completely transformed the etheric body becomes a counterpart of it. This is Nirmana Kaya when no remnants are left in the astral world. Zarathustra penetrated the astral body of Hermes Dharmakaya.


Of a Being such as the Bodhisattva who became Buddha, we said — and this is the teaching of all who know: When a Being passes through this stage he has had his last incarnation on the Earth, for his whole nature is contained within a human body. Such a Being never again incarnates in this sense. Hence when the Buddha became aware of the significance of his present existence, he could say: ‘This is my last incarnation; I shall not again incarnate on the Earth!’ — It would however be erroneous to think that such a Being then withdraws altogether from Earth-existence. True, he does not enter directly into a physical body but he assumes another body — of an astral or etheric nature — and so continues to send his influences into the world. The way in which such a Being who has passed through the last incarnation belonging to his own destiny continues to work in the world, may be understood by thinking of the following facts.

An ordinary human being, consisting of physical body, etheric body, astral body and I, can be permeated by such a being.

It is possible for a Being of this rank, who no longer descends into a physical body but still has an astral body, to be membered into the astral body of another human being. This man may well become a personality of importance, for the forces of a being who has already passed through his last incarnation on the Earth are now working in him. Thus an astral being unites with the astral nature of some individual on the Earth. Such a union may take place in a most complicated way.

When the Buddha appeared to the shepherds in the picture of the ‘heavenly host’, he was not in a physical body but in an astral body. He had assumed a body in which he could still send his influences to the Earth. Thus in the case of a Being who has become a Buddha, we distinguish three bodies:

1. The body he has before he attains Buddhahood, when he is still working from above as a Bodhisattva; it is a body that does not contain in itself all the powers at his command; he still lives in spiritual heights and is linked with his earlier mission as was the Bodhisattva before his mission became the Buddha's mission. As long as such a Being is living in a body of this nature, his body is called a ‘Dharmakaya;

2. The body which such a Being builds as his own and through which he brings to expression, in the physical body, everything he has within him. This body is called the ‘body of perfection’, ‘Sambhogakaya’.

3. The body which such a Being assumes, after he has passed through the stage of perfection and can work from above in the way described. This body is called a Nirmanakaya’.

We can therefore say that the ‘Nirmanakaya’ of Buddha appeared to the shepherds in the picture of the angelic host. Buddha appeared in the radiance of his Nirmanakaya and revealed himself in this way to the shepherds. But he was to find further ways of working into the events in Palestine at this crucial point of time.

Note 2 - Model of creation and positioning Dhyani-Buddhas


In the Secret Doctrine, Helena Blavatsky states a seven-fold hierarchy described in the interesting quote above, repeated below as a base reference excerpt:

The divine, purely Adi-Buddhic monad ...

... manifests as the universal Buddhi (the Mahâbuddhi or Mahat in Hindu philosophies) the spiritual, omniscient and omnipotent root of divine intelligence, the highest anima mundi or the Logos.

This descends “like a flame spreading from the eternal Fire, immoveable, without increase or decrease, ever the same to the end” of the cycle of existence, ... and becomes universal life on the Mundane Plane.

From this Plane of conscious Life shoot out, like seven fiery tongues, the Sons of Light (the logoi of Life). The “Seven Sons of Light” are also called “Stars.”

.. then the Dhyani-Buddhas of contemplation: the concrete forms of their formless Fathers, the Seven Sons of Light, still themselves, to whom may be applied the Brahmanical mystic phrase: “Thou art ‘THAT’—Brahm.”

... It is from these Dhyani-Buddhas that emanate their chhayas (Shadows) the Bodhisattvas of the celestial realms, the prototypes of the super-terrestrial Bodhisattvas,

... and of the terrestrial Buddhas,

... and finally of men.

This statement can be used to try and map the teachings and terminology used in hinduism, buddhism, and modern theosophy and anthroposophy. Indeed both Blavatsky and Steiner initialized their teachings with the ancient sanskrit terminology. But, due to the multitude of complex terms in hinduism and buddhism and its multiple variants or schools, this can become confusing.

See also Schema FMC00.062 on Monad


Regarding [1] - for more info see

Note: a draft page contains Rufold Steiner's references to Mahat

Blavatsky followed the tradition of the Gelug school identifying Adi-Buddha with Vajradhara:

Ādi-Buddha is Vajradhara, and the Dhyāni-Buddhas are Vajrasattva; yet though these two are different Beings on their respective planes, they are identical in fact, one acting through the other, as a Dhyāni through a human Buddha.

However, in another passage, Vajradhara is not equated to Adi-Buddha, but rather seen as the First Logos radiating from the Absolute:

In the esoteric, and even exoteric Buddhism of the North, Adi Buddha (Chogi dangpoi sangye), the One unknown, without beginning or end, identical with Parabrahm and Ain-Soph, emits a bright ray from its darkness. This is the Logos (the first), or Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha (also called Dorjechang).


From the ten short quotes from Blavatsky on Dhyani Buddhas (read first), we hereby put forth the following tentative interpretation image. It remains an interpretation and hence hypothesis that can be incorrect, but the image may help to integrate the various concepts and terms in a consistent frame.

1 - The monad consists of the atma (spirit-man) and buddhi (life-spirit) principles, the highest two of Man's bodily principles that form the divine essence of Man's higher triad. These are to be positioned in the higher spirit world, or arupa devachan, so formless and hence really cosmic 'principles'. For buddhi, see eg Schema FMC00.481 on Bodhisattva.

2 - As Rudolf Steiner explains, these two really originate in the nirvana and budhi planes. For reference, see Monad#Maximilian Rebholz

3 - Boddhisattvas can be seen as carriers of the buddhi principle through an archangelic being (again see FMC00.481 on, and the on Bodhisattva topic page). It is said they operate on the budhi plane.

In a way by logical extension, if one reads all excerpts available from Blavatsky and Steiner, Dhyani Buddhas can be seen as carriers of the atma principle through an archai being (1909-04-16-GA110), and we can map them to the nirvana plane.

Whereas Bodhisattvas carry the spark of budhi, Dhyani Buddhas are the highest class of beings we can map to identify with the carriers of atma.

4 - Pulling these elements together

As such one could see Dhyani Buddhas as logically forming a bridge between the seven create spirits originating from The three Logoi, and the whole of creation in the evolution of a solar system, see Overview of solar system evolution.

4.1 - The logical link being made here is illustrated on the Monad topic page with Schema FMC00.057D that shows the three dimensions of evolution in the development of our solar system, as linked to the Prajapatis. Read again the ten quotes by Blavatsky to see how Dhyani Buddhas are sometimes called equivalent to Prajapatis and are the ones related to the state transitions at CoL or round level.

Schema FMC00.062 on the Monad topic page shows how the three logoi and seven creative spirits can be mapped to the nirvana plane.

Note that at the same time, amazingly, the ten Blavatsky quotes above also say these beings incarnate. These statements really come together, or can be fused, in what is explained on the Occult atom topic page. There are classes of beings who coordinate the 'implementation' of the divine plan that comes down through the hierarchies, and this does not stop at the more well known level of the Bodhisattvas, but there is a level up that is referred to as the Dhyani-Buddhas.

For a specific example, see eg Wotan Impulse working through Gautama Buddha (1908-08-16-GA105).

Schema FMC00.077A on Creation of solar system depicts this 'involvement' (of the Third Hierarchy) as the green box in the column for Earth (CoC=5-6-7). And one can imagine that this nicely maps to what Blavatsky calls the 'builders' and 'architects' who work, at every planetary stage of evolution, with the substance provided by the sacrifice of the higher beings (CoC=8).

Furthermore, the above also allows one to 'feel' one's self into the relation of the Third Hierarchy as the carriers of the human seeds for future worlds.

And for yet another perspective on involvement in the kitchen of Earth development and cooking the Human I, see als:

4.2 - Now Schema FMC00.057D also illustrates what happens during a pralaya at the nirvana plane (in grey). This is not an easy subject, but it is core to understanding many deeper threads in Rudolf Steiner's teachings. More on this 'inversion or reversal at nirvana plane level - shedding buddhi' is explained on:

At least tentative on the basis of what is possible here on this site, and with the limited information available. With reference to 1904-11-09-GA089 and 1904-11-10-GA089.

5 - The above tentative description is probably also yet another illustration of the multidimensional nature of the Cosmic fractal, and why it requires a more imaginative faculty rather than the more limited faculty of sequential intellectual thought. By contemplation and meditation one can 'see' that all the above blends together into one image or insight. However describing that with concepts and narratives along various perspectives becomes complex straightaway, and a derivate with limitations. See also: Study process and developing imaginations

6 - Some additional related links can be made:

6.1 - When discussing the three divine impulses, as depicted on the drawing by Rudolf Steiner on Schema FMC00.185, note the following extract from Luciferic beings and their influences#1905-10-25-GA093A

The representative of the Eagle will come only later; he represents the Father Principle. The third impulse will be represented by an Adept who was already an adept on Old Saturn. Such a one cannot as yet incarnate on the Earth. When man is not only able to develop his higher nature upwards, but working creatively is able to renounce completely his lower nature, then will this highest adept, the Saturn adept, the Father Principle, the Hidden God, be able to incarnate.

With a 'Saturn adept' is meant a being who was already most advanced on Old Saturn's human stage CoC=4, and then evolved (see Schema FMC00.077) to the level of Archai (CoC=7) in the current Earth planetary stage. In other words, this would be a being of the level above a bodhisattva, a Dhyani-Buddha and carrier of the atma spirit-man principle.

See also the blue for the Sixth epoch on Schema FMC00.486 on Epochs in Earth physical round. It is hard to imagine this as the Sixth epoch will be so vastly different, but for an impression of the impact of such an impulse one can get inspired on how Rudolf Steiner describes the impact of 'the word' from the Maitreya Buddha in the sixth cultural age of the current epoch .. as if streaming out the buddhi principle - see Schema FMC00.481.

Related pages

References and further reading