Having overcome all traces of selfishness and desire, Siddhartha entered a deep meditative state in order to realize the ultimate reality -- not merely for his own benefit, but for the sake of all beings. Throughout the night he sat recalling his previous existences, until at dawn he achieved perfect Enlightenment. He had become a Buddha, an 'awakened one.'
For several weeks the Buddha remained in meditation beneath his tree. During this time he was visited by the gods Indra and Brahma, who begged him to share his experience with others for the benefit of those who would understand his teachings.
It is often overlooked that H.P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society in 1875, was the first person to bring both Buddhism and Hinduism to the West. Of course, there were orientalists and scholars who had written books about the Eastern religions prior to Blavatsky’s day but these were merely written from the perspective of academic observation and more often than not misrepresented the religions as being primitive, superstitious, and “demonic,” according to the level of prejudice and bigotry of the writer.
Blavatsky, however, presented them as valid and noble spiritual paths and philosophies – indeed as the highest spiritual paths and philosophies – and worked ceaselessly and under much persecution from the Christian elite to show their true nature and real worth and importance. As has been said elsewhere, anyone in the West today whose life has been at all enriched by the concepts, teachings, or practices of Eastern spirituality has – whether they realize it or not – Madame Blavatsky to thank for it. It is a great shame then that many people today refuse to read her writings on the nonsensical grounds that they are “impossible to understand.”
The respected Buddhist expert Richard Taylor has written, “Blavatsky had access to Tibetan Buddhist sources which no other Westerner during her time had. Her works are by no means merely strings of plagiarisms, but rather very cogent arguments, supplemented by masses of data, that her readers should believe Buddhist claims that there is a perennial philosophy, in the possession of Adepts, which explains the origins of the world and leads to salvation from it. … Blavatsky knew what the Buddhist Tantras were, knew their content and philosophical import better than any Western contemporary, and knew bona fide Tibetan traditions surrounding them. This alone gives strong reasons not to dismiss her claims out of hand.”
In 1925 the Panchen Lama of Tibet officially endorsed her book “The Voice of The Silence” and called it the “only true exposition in English of the Heart Doctrine of the Mahayana and its noble ideal of self-sacrifice for humanity.”
When the centenary edition of this book was brought out in 1989, the present Dalai Lama wrote, “I am therefore happy to have this long association with the Theosophists and to learn about the Centenary Edition: THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE which is being brought out this year. I believe that this book has strongly influenced many sincere seekers and aspirants to the wisdom and compassion of the Bodhisattva Path. I very much welcome this Centenary Edition and hope that it will benefit many more.”