Buddha/The Eightfold Path/Christ

Nineteen centuries and roughly five more have now elapsed since the great Buddha lived on the Earth; in about three thousand years from now — this we learn from occultism — a considerable number of human beings will have reached the stage of being able to evolve the wisdom of the Buddha, the Eightfold Path, out of their own moral nature, out of their own heart and soul. Buddha had once to be on Earth, and the power that mankind will develop little by little as the wisdom of the Eightfold Path proceeded from him; after about three thousand years from now men will be able to unfold its teaching from within themselves; it will then be their own possession and they will no longer be obliged to receive it from outside. Then they will be able to say: This Eightfold Path springs from our very selves as the wisdom of compassion and love.

Even if nothing else had happened than the setting in motion of the Wheel of the Law by the great Buddha, in three thousand years from now humanity would have become capable of knowing the doctrine of compassion and love. But it is a different matter also to have acquired the faculty to embody it in very life. Not only to know about compassion and love, but under the influence of an Individuality to unfold it as living power — there lies the difference. This faculty proceeded from Christ. He poured love itself into men and it will grow from strength to strength. When men have reached the end of their evolution, wisdom will have revealed to them the content of the doctrine of compassion and love; this they will owe to Buddha. But at the same time they will possess the faculty of letting the love stream out from the Ego over mankind; this they will owe to Christ.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Nine – Basel, September 25, 1909

Previously posted on December 25, 2013


Truth is complicated

When, as so often happens, people say that truth should be simple, this is due to indolence and a dislike of having to wrestle with many concepts; but the greatest truths can be apprehended only when the spiritual faculties are exerted to their utmost capacity. If considerable efforts are needed to describe a machine, it is surely unreasonable to demand that the greatest truths should also be the simplest! Truth is inevitably complicated, and the most strenuous efforts must be made if it is desired to acquire some understanding of the truths relating to the Events of Palestine. Nobody should lend himself to the objection that the facts are unduly complicated; they are complicated because here we have to do with the greatest of all happenings in the evolution of the Earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Five – Basel, September 19, 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Owen Barfield

Previously posted on March 16, 2018


What claims to be “humble” or “simple” today is often supreme arrogance

More and more generally it is being said that people should steep themselves in the very simplicity of the Gospels and not attempt to understand the Mystery of Golgotha by entering into the complexities of spiritual science. Those who feign unpretentiousness in their study of the Gospels are the most arrogant of all, for they despise the honest search for knowledge demanded in spiritual science. So arrogant are they that they believe the highest revelations of the spiritual world can be garnered without effort, simply by browsing on the simplicity of the Gospels. What claims to be “humble” or “simple” today is often supreme arrogance. In sects, in religious confessions — it is there that the most arrogant people are to be found.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – Influences of Lucifer/Ahriman: Lecture Three – Bern – 4th November, 1919

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on March 13, 2018


Anthroposophy can reach everyone

We have to learn to pay attention to the symptoms of our cultural life. For example, I once gave a lecture in a town in southern Germany, and afterward two Catholic priests came up to me and said that I was only speaking to educated people, while they spoke so everyone could understand them. 

In reality, the opposite is the case. Anthroposophy can reach everyone provided we find the way to the simple, ordinary people. The farmer would understand it much better than the so-called educated person if only the way were not blocked by social conventions. In these matters, we must be able to leave ourselves completely out of the picture and not ask what we think best. Instead, we must ask what human souls require in a given era. 

So I replied to the priests that while their feeling tells them they speak to everyone, the facts will tell them they do not, because not everyone comes to hear them. And it is to those who do not come to them that I speak.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914  

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on March 20,  2020


Christ impulse: Not the teachings, but the power

In order to avoid misunderstandings, we must emphasize that when we speak of the old religious founders we are not including Christ among them. I have often said that Christ’s significance does not lie in his teachings, but in what took place through him. The ancient religious founders were in a sense teachers, but Christ’s main deed was to imbue humanity with His own power through the Mystery of Golgotha. To this day, this has been extremely difficult for many people to understand. That is why they speak of Christ as only a great cosmic teacher. For those who really understand the full significance of Christ, this is simply nonsense.


See also: Buddha and Christ

Previously posted on March 2, 2020