PHOENIX LECTURES: Chapter 3

Project: Hubbard 1954: The Phoenix Lectures

This paper presents Chapter 3 from the book THE PHOENIX LECTURES by L. RON HUBBARD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by The Church of Scientology (1954).

The paragraphs of the original material (in black) are accompanied by brief comments (in color) based on the understanding from Buddhism.  Feedback on these comments is always appreciated.

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SCIENTOLOGY, ITS GENERAL BACKGROUND (Part 3)

When we look at Buddhism, we don’t wonder that a great change took place in the operating climate of Man, which it certainly did. Rome went under just 800 years later. Now that’s fast, because their whole philosophy shattered. The philosophy of every state operating on force alone and every barbaric society that Buddhism touched — shattered. The first one to go by the boards was, however, India itself. India at that time was a savage and barbaric area, as was China. Japan is still characterized very impolitely by the Chinese, and the civilization of Japan by Buddhism took place almost in modern times. It was completed by America. So there they meet very closely. 

Buddhism shattered the philosophy of every barbaric society and every state that it touched–the philosophy of operating on force alone.

But now, moving forward on the time track over all of these ages, we discover that it took an awfully long time for the Veda to walk forward and emerge as a new knowledge called the Dhyana. And it took quite a little while for the work of Buddha to move out of Asia. But we see the work of Asia itself — not the work of Buddha necessarily — moving out into the Near East. 

Though it took an awfully long time but we see the work of Asia itself — not the work of Buddha necessarily — moving out into the Near East. 

Now there were trade routes that had existed since time immemorial. Man has no real trace of his own roadways, but the trade routes were quite wide open from very, very early times. We find the Phoenician, for instance, trading very neatly and very nicely up around Great Britain and sailing out through the Pillars of Hercules. And I was just last year standing on the edge of a Phoenician ruin which was advertised as a Roman ruin but wasn’t a Roman ruin. It had its inscription in cuneiform, which was a Phoenician script. And this was 1,000 BC. A Phoenician ship then demonstrated at least ten thousand years of sea-faring technology. It was a very complex ship. And Phoenicia spread its empire out through Europe and just from where and what and why, we have no real trace, but Phoenicia is very well within our own teachings, our own history. Well, it was a thousand years after the Phoenicians that we first began, in the western world, to actually aver to a higher level of civilization. For some time, the Hebrew in the Middle East had been worshipping in a certain direction, along certain lines, and they had as one of their sacred books, the Book of Job, and many other of their sacred works were immediately derivable from similar sources. And into this society, apparently, other teachings suddenly entered. Their holy work, known to us as the Old Testament, leans very heavily on the background of philosophy we have been looking at, but it has a rather barbaric flavor, with all due respect to the holy book. It was a long way from home. 

There were trade routes that had existed from East to the West since time immemorial, on which knowledge traveled. The holy work of Hebrews, known as the Old Testament, leans very heavily on the background of the eastern philosophy, but it has a rather barbaric flavor.

And we discover the civilized aspect of that religion which we know of in the western world as Christianity, taking place of course at the year 1. Now we find that that’s of no importance to us except that everybody who writes a date out is talking about the man we’re talking about, when he puts down A.D. Now when he puts down B.C. we are dating our very calendar from this incident I am discussing here. 

The principles known as Buddhism included those of course of love thy neighbor, abstain from the use of force. These principles appeared in Asia Minor at the beginning of our own date, and I am not, by the way, discounting even vaguely the work of Christ, or Christ himself. 

The principles of love thy neighbor, and abstain from the use of force, that were known as Buddhism, appeared in Asia Minor at the beginning of our own date as the teachings of Christ.

Traditionally Christ is supposed to have studied in India. One doesn’t hear of him until he is thirty years of age, and he was a carpenter and so on — one hears of a lot of things, but we also hear this persistent legend that he had studied in India. Well, this would, of course, be a very acceptable datum, in view of the fact that the basic philosophy about which he was talking was a philosophy which had been extant in India, at this time, for about 500 years. Little less than 500 years. It was about that time that it moved out of that area, having taken over, by that time, two thirds of the earth’s populace, but we don’t quite recognize our Europe, if we think of it as a thriving culture. It was not a culture even twelve or thirteen hundred years after Christ. 

A mighty conqueror stopped abruptly at the borders of Europe because he was leaving all areas of civilization and he saw no slightest gain in attacking an area where everyone was cloaked in fur loin-cloths. That was Tamerlane — Timuri Lang. 

Traditionally Christ is supposed to have studied in India. The basic philosophy he was talking about had been extant in India, at this time, for about 500 years. Europe was not civilized then.

Now when we look at the Middle Eastern picture we find ourselves looking at the rise of a philosophy which, however interpreted, however since utilized, is nevertheless a thoroughly interesting philosophy. You have told a preclear, I’m sure, to get his attention off those energy flows and to get some space. And when he could tolerate that, he then could change his considerations. 

Do you suppose for a moment that a preclear can actually get anywhere if he continues to use force? Well whether we try to put this in to a public practice, such as turn the other cheek, or use it for Theta Clearing — the emancipation of exteriorization of a soul — we are certainly looking at the same fact. And we are looking at the words of Gautama Buddha, however we wish to interpret this. 

At this time we see a rise of a philosophy in Middle East of abstaining force. Use of force fixates attention. One cannot change considerations while attention is so fixed. Therefore, one cannot improve spiritually.

Now the parables which are discovered today in the New Testament are earlier discovered, the same parables, elsewhere in many places. One of them was the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which predates the New Testament considerably. This is love thy neighbor. This is in effect be civilized. And it is abandon the use of force. 

But at the same time, we are talking straight out of the mouth of Moses, so we evidently are at a crossroads of two philosophies, but these two philosophies are both the philosophies of wisdom. 

The parable of love thy neighbor teaches one to abandon the use of force. Moses, however, preached a different philosophy that came from Egypt, but it was wisdom too.

Now the Hebrew definition of Messiah is One Who Brings Wisdom — a teacher. Messiah is from “messenger”, but he is somebody with information and Moses was such a one. And then Christ became such a one. He was a bringer of information. He never announced his sources. He spoke of them as coming from God. But they might just as well have come from the god talked about in the Hymn of the Dawn Child, who, by the way, is rather hard to distinguish from gods talked about later on. The god the Christians worshipped is certainly not the Hebrew god. He looks much more like that one talked about in the Veda. 

Messiah (messenger, teacher) is One Who Brings Wisdom. Moses and Christ spoke of this wisdom as coming from God. The God of the Christians is different from the Hebrew god and more like the god one talked about in the Veda. 

And we come on down from there and we find that we are talking about a meeting place, a sort of melting pot of religious practices stemming from various wisdoms, but the highest amongst those wisdoms is apparently the Veda and the teachings of Gautama Buddha. The parables coming from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and from various other places, were probably not original with the Book of the Dead, so it would not be true that the parables of Christ necessarily came from Egypt, while we know full well that Moses escaped from Egypt, and that the Jewish peoples stem their history from their freedom from bondage in Egypt — not all of their history, but the history which they speak of most in the New Testament. 

Now here we have a great teacher in Moses. We have other Messiahs, and we then arrive with Christ, and the words of Christ were a lesson in compassion and they set a very fine example to the western world, compared to what the western world was doing at that moment. 

Middle East became a melting pot of different philosophies. The wisdom of Christ seem to have come from the Vedas and the Buddha, while the wisdom of Moses came through Egypt.

What were they doing at that time? They were killing men for amusement. They were feeding men to wild beasts for amusement. In the middle reign of Claudius, we find 3,500 men being turned loose, four abreast, divided half and half across a bridge of boats, slaughtering each other for the amusement of the patricians. How long can a society stand up when it is worshipping force to this degree? However these teachings were interpreted, the vein of truth was still here: that an exclusive reliance upon force will bring about a decay and a decadence which is unimaginably terrible. And that was the truth which came through. And so we find the Buddhist principles of brotherly love and compassion, then, appearing in the west 2,000 years ago. 

At that time Europe was worshipping force. The truth that came through from these philosophies, however, was that an exclusive reliance upon force will bring about a decay and a decadence which is unimaginably terrible. 

Now Christianity spread like wildfire throughout Europe. But it was necessary to achieve a certain agreement, and in order to achieve that agreement, many of the practices which you know of today were incorporated into this worship. Basic and early Christianity is not recognizable today in many church practices. It’s just not recognizable. It is very clouded. But these churches themselves recognize as their original source the New Testament, which contains, aside from a few court records and a few legends, all that we know of this particular transition. 

This transition in Europe from the use of force to the abandoning of force is recorded in the New Testament.

But here we have this information poorly interpreted, badly carried, through areas which did not know how to read and write, which is quite different from Asia. And we find this church and that church having to pick into and adopt customs in order to gain any entrance into these new areas. We discover today the worship of the Winter Solstice, in our Christmas. That is German and that is also other barbaric societies. Almost every barbarism that ever existed has worshipped the departure and return of the sun in the northern hemisphere and we find this incorporated into Christianity, and over there we find something else incorporated into Christianity and each time a certain amount of superstition coming into the information line — until we don’t know what was on the information line unless we go back to sources and trace it through clearly and purely. 

But here we have this information poorly interpreted, badly carried, through areas which did not know how to read and write, which is quite different from Asia. 

Then we are again, however, working with wisdom. What wisdom? The wisdom of knowing how to know one’s self to resolve the mystery of life. 

And when this Christianity was interpreted and imported into Europe, there was considerable speculation and resurgence and an enormous amount of hope. The very same thing that the Buddhists hoped for (and this is what is very interesting) became the hope of the Christian world. Emancipation — from the body. The survival and immortality of the human soul. 

And although there was a cult in Rome which had this idea, it itself had no great antiquity, and it had evidently stemmed over from Persia, which was closer yet. The Christian impact wiped out this other cult but that’s because actually they were just alike and one couldn’t distinguish one from the other and the Christians won. 

But in spite of this poor interpretation Christianity brought the very same thing that Buddhism hoped for–emancipation from the body and immortality of the human soul.

Now we have this immortality, this hope of salvation, being expressed throughout Europe and they expound it and they find it expedient to keep extending it, because they keep promising people that it was just about to occurr, the day of judgment was just about to occurr. Now we can get this as a sort of barbaric interpretation of what Gautama Buddha was talking about, the emancipation of the soul from the cycle of births and deaths. And then we get the fact that there is going to be a day when somebody blows a horn and it’s all going to occurr. We don’t know what barbarism that superstition came from, but we have that superstition today in our society. The Day of judgment. 

The Day of Judgment is a barbaric interpretation of what Gautama Buddha was talking about, the emancipation of the soul from the cycle of births and deaths.

At first, Hell was only the fact that Rome was going to disappear in a sea of lava — and everyone wanted to see Rome die. And that recruited people left and right. They promised them that Rome was going to disappear in a sea of molten lava. And they tried to prove it in Nero’s reign, by burning the place down. Well, they didn’t have a great deal of success doing it. Rome went on surviving and was finally taken over entirely and has since been the orientation point of Christianity. 

At first, Hell was only the fact that Rome was going to disappear in a sea of lava, then it was taken over and became the orientation point of Christianity.

A thousand years or so after Christ they started to try to take back the actual birth place of Christ in Jerusalem, and there’s been a considerable argument going on about it, back and forth, ever since. 

But the orientation point was placed at the only stable point, because that was the part of the world to which all roads led, and that became the dissemination point of all this information. But Rome split off and went back to Constantinople and we had then the Constantinople branch of this church and it, however, received its biggest blow when Russia suddenly turned completely atheist. We don’t hear too much of that church any more. 

But we still hear a great deal in the western world of this church at Rome. It is still there. 

The church at Rome is the main dissemination point of all this information in the western world today.

The use of Christianity was to produce a certain civilized state and many people would blacken Christianity by saying it reduced people down to a very low level indeed. This is not true. It took an entire world of slaves and it made free men out of them. This in itself was quite a gain. It took a world which worshipped exclusively force and matter and made it recognize that sooner or later one would have to turn to the fact that he had a soul. 

Christianity took an entire world of slaves and it made free men out of them. This is quite a gain.

Now, remember that Christianity in its basic wisdoms is still available to us in the New Testament, and that this, no matter how it has come through the line, is quickly and swiftly traceable back to the Veda. We have a consistent track here. The same message is coming through. The Christian god is actually much better characterized in the Vedic Hymns than in any subsequent publication, including the Old Testament. The Old Testament doesn’t make nearly as good a statement of what the Christians think of as God as does the Veda. 

Christianity in its basic wisdoms is still available to us in the New Testament, and this, is quickly traceable back to the Veda. The Old Testament doesn’t make nearly as good a statement of what the Christians think of as God as does the Veda. 

We have the loss of the trade routes somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 A.D. Now, there was an enormous period of non-communication there. What had happened was Ghengis Khan, the various hordes which had been trying to pour out of Russia had cut the trade routes time and time again, and the amount of unrest in the area, and the taking of Baghdad and Jerusalem by such people. Of course, it kept these routes cut. You couldn’t travel safely between these two worlds. And we find that communication doesn’t open up again, not really, until some time in the 17th century.

In the middle of the 17th century, we find certain eastern practices beginning to show up in France, and there are many books being published saying you could do this and you could do that and you’d achieve something more closely related to religious philosophy than Europe was accustomed to. 

We have the loss of the trade routes somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 A.D.; and we find that communication doesn’t open up again until some time in the 17th century. We then find certain eastern philosophy and practices beginning to show up in France.

Now, quite incidentally, during this period, a navigator who should have taken more lessons but fortunately didn’t, by the name of Christopher Columbus, discovered America. He was simply trying to get to Asia, because everybody knew everybody in Asia knew everything and had everything and so you had to get to Asia. And he ran into America, fortunately, because he miscomputed the size of the earth so grossly that he would have perished out in the endless oceans if there hadn’t been a continent there to receive him. 

Christopher Columbus was simply trying to get to Asia when he discovered America.

He was a very wise man — he discovered among other things a variation of the compass — but he failed. It was up to the Portuguese to continue around the bottom of the Cape of Good Hope and open the lanes to Europe and as soon as we get them open, we first find all of this information flooding in, information suddenly starting to appear, parts of the Veda starting to appear, various practices of Buddhism, Zen-Buddhism, other things start to crop up in Europe and right along with this, we begin to get such things as The Arabian Nights and in the middle of the 18th century, we get what you might call a renaissance of literature, the birth of the novel and so forth, coincident with the introduction of The Arabian Nights into France. A fascinating flood of information came in at about that time and the culture had already, during the Renaissance, picked up considerably, but the Renaissance was right in there with Marco Polo and we find some other interesting routes were open during that time. People had managed to get through. This is no attempt to tell you that everything was invented by Asia, but Asia had a tradition of information. They had kept their records, which was not true of the western world, and so the information was there and you might say it was a depository of knowledge which might just as well have originated in the western world, gone to Asia, been put on file and come back again. I don’t care how you would trace this one way or the other, but we still find that it was the repository of all the wisdom there was in the world at that time. And it has more or less continued so. 

When the Portuguese did open the lanes to Europe, we find all of this information from the East flooding in, and a renaissance of arts and literature taking place. Asia, basically, served as a repository of wisdom.

Philosophers, from the early Greeks on forward, made the first division in wisdom: they said there is wisdom about the soul, and there is wisdom about the physical universe, and there is some speculation about life. And this is the tradition of the Greek philosopher and it has come forward to us as represented in people like Kant, Schopenhauer or Nietzsche — interesting material, and oddly enough those writings are coincident with new releases of Asian information in Europe. If you had ever convinced Schopenhauer he was writing nothing but sacred lore he probably would have committed suicide, but he never wrote anything else. 

Now where did we get this artificial breakdown? We got it right there in the Middle East. The Greek came forward, went through Rome, and the philosophic scholarly consecutive line has come to us through barbarisms. What we call science today came to us from a barbarism, Greece, which civilized itself. It’s largely an independent shoot of information. 

Philosophers, from the early Greeks on forward, made the first division in wisdom about the soul and the physical universe. Science has come to us from the development that followed this artificial division of knowledge.

Now the western world specialized in this, and never made enough advance in the humanities with it to bother about. So that today it would gladly — just to fill another test tube full of guck — it would very, very happily blow all of Man off the face of the earth. It is completely divorced from the humanities. 

Where we come to the humanities and where we have to do anything for the humanities or with the humanities, we go straight back, all the way back, as far as we can go, to the Veda, and then come on forward and as long as we’re on that track, we’re on a track which means better men. 

The western world specialized in physical sciences and  never made enough advance in the humanities to bother about. Where we come to the humanities, we go straight back to the Veda.

And when we go on the other track, we’re talking about dead men. We’re talking about dead men in an arena. We’re talking about dead men on battlefields. We’re talking about dead men in cities under atomic bombs. That is the tradition of barbarism. The only thing that has let the western world survive at all was an entirely different track which went back to the sacred lore of 10,000 years ago. 

When we go on the other track of knowledge about the physical universe, we’re talking about dead men, which has been the tradition of barbarism.

Scientology, then, today, could not possibly be characterized as a science the way the western world understands science. Scientology carries forward a tradition of wisdom which concerns itself about the soul and the solution of mysteries of life. It has not deviated. 

Scientology cannot be characterized as a science the way the western world understands science. Scientology carries forward a tradition of wisdom.

The only reason why I would suddenly come up and do something like this in a western culture is a very simple one. I studied in my earliest years, and the first thing I was exposed to in this life, was a rough tough frontier society. Montana. There was nothing tougher than Montana, either in terms of weather or in terms of people. And from there I went over to the completely soft Far East and heaved a long sigh of relief and found out what it meant to be in part of a civilization and the shock was so great to me that I was very deeply impressed. 

Hubbard was greatly impressed when he went from a rough tough frontier society of Montana over to the completely soft and civilized environment of Far East.

And so, although I was a young American, I did pay attention. I had many, many friends in the western hills of China, friends elsewhere, friends in India, and I was willing to listen. I was also willing to be very suspicious and I was willing to be very distrustful but I was never willing to completely turn aside from the fact that there was some possible solution to the riddle of where man came from. 

Any work that I am doing or have done, and that any Scientologist is doing, has a tremendously long and interesting background. We are delving with and working with the oldest civilized factors known to Man. Anything else is Johnny-come-lately. Scientology is a religion in the very oldest and fullest sense. Anybody who would dare try to make religion in to solely a religious practice and not a religious wisdom would be neglecting the very background of Christianity. Wisdom has no great tradition in the western world. 

Hubbard was very suspicious but willing to listen to possible solution to the riddle of man. So he came up in Scientology with a summarization of the oldest civilized factors known to Man. 

But if we are very industrious, it will be up to us to make one. 

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FINAL COMMENTS

Hubbard is now describing the track of wisdom as it moved westward from Asia. There were trade routes that had existed from East to the West since time immemorial, on which knowledge traveled. The holy work of Hebrews, known as the Old Testament, leans very heavily on the background of the eastern philosophy, but it has a rather barbaric flavor.

The principles of love thy neighbor, and abstain from the use of force, that were known as Buddhism, appeared in Asia Minor at the beginning of our own date as the teachings of Christ. Buddhism shattered the philosophy of every barbaric society and every state that it touched–the philosophy of operating on force alone. It did so with respect to the Roman Empire through the teachings of Christ.

But here we have this information poorly interpreted; but in spite of this poor interpretation Christianity brought the very same thing that Buddhism hoped for. The Day of Judgment is a barbaric interpretation of what Gautama Buddha was talking about, the emancipation of the soul from the cycle of births and deaths. Even then Christianity took an entire world of slaves and it made free men out of them. This is quite a gain.

Philosophers, from the early Greeks on forward, made the first division in wisdom about the soul and the physical universe. Science has come to us from the development that followed this artificial division of knowledge. The western world specialized in physical sciences and never made enough advance in the humanities to bother about. When we go on the other track of knowledge about the physical universe, we’re talking about dead men, which has been the tradition of barbarism.

Scientology cannot be characterized as a science the way the western world understands science. Scientology carries forward a tradition of wisdom.

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Comments

  • Sam Ayers  On February 3, 2020 at 6:20 PM

    Genghis Khan, from the east, brutally attacked western world, slaying everything in his path, and raping so many women that a large, disproportionate number of people by DNA can trace their ancestry to him. That is how the east presented itself to the west. Just before Khan, Rome was torturing and executing not only Christ, but the followers of Christ which included both Jews and Gentiles (anyone not a Jew.) It was when the apostle Paul, who was both a Jew and a citizen of Rome, appealed his sentence to Caesar that the tide began to turn. The new Testament churches were growing and spreading. The entire Roman empire turned to Jesus at the same time the Mongolians attacked Rome (I suppose that is the peaceful Eastern/Buddhist culture to which Hubbard refers?)

    Hubbard was a spin artist, a con-man and a brainwashed who has used your pride and used others’ ignorance to promote a falsehood that is the church of scientology. He has spun history, and falsely represented the writings in the New Testament, and how they came about. The fact that Hubbard created a religion from his original work in psychology is, in itself, highly suspect.

    Vin, I will continue to read the Phoenix lectures, but I can tell you without doubt that Hubbard either never read the New Testament, or was just a liar and a con artist.

    Again, read the entire New Testament for yourself.

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