dualism


Zen emptiness is not the emptiness of nothingness, but the emptiness of fullness in which this equation takes place: zero=infinity. The Godhead is no other than this equation. In other words when God as Creator came out of the Godhead he did not leave the Godhead behind. He has the Godhead with him all along while engaging in the work of creation. Creation is continuous, going on till the end of time, which really has no ending and therefore no beginning. For creation is out of inexhaustible nothingness.

 

–Thomas Merton

 

………………………..

THE universe is God’s book,
And he to whom the vision of the Divine
Has been vouchsafed
Reads therein and understands.
Substance is its consonants and accidents its vowels,
And different creatures are its signs and pauses.
The first verse is “Universal Reason,”
The second “Universal Soul,” the “verse of light,”
And this is as a brightly shining lamp.
The third is the “Highest heavens,
The fourth “The Throne.”
After there are seven transcendent spheres,
The “chapter of the seven limbs,”
And forms of the four elements,
Then Nature’s three kingdoms
Whose verses none can count.
And last of all came down the soul of man

http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/srg/srg00.htm

………………………………………………….

 

“The world was created with ten utterances.

But could God not have created her with a single utterance?

Rather, it is to teach you how precious the earth is,

and how much reward for those who cherish her and how great the consequences for those who abuse her”

 

— Babylonian Talmud, Avot 5:1

 

………………………..

 

 

Sometimes you really feel the presence of God in the world, and in your life, And sometimes, you have trouble accessing that sense of Divine Presence. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi calls God “The Great Cosmic Flasher.” More ancient rabbis put it this way: “The Sacred Wellspring (God) is both revealed and concealed. “God is always present, and at times that presence is conspicuous, and at times mysterious. But never absent.

-Sefer Ha’Zohar, (Vol 1, f39b)

 

Ten Spheres

 

When you train yourself to hear the voice of God in everything, you attain the quintessence of the human spirit. Usually the mind conceals the divine thoroughly by imagining that there is a separate mental power that constructs the mental images. But by training yourself to hear the voice of God in everything, the voice reveals itself to your mind as well. Then the right in mind, you discover revelation.

–Daniel C Matt: The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism

 

 

 

To find the Tao, there is nowhere you need to search.

If it is nit inside you, it is not the Tao

–Confucius

 

“As men’s Prayers are a Disease of the Will, so are their Creeds a disease of the Intellect.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is the use of gnosis, if it is so forbiddingly elitist? Since the alternatives are diseases of the will and of the intellect, why invoke the criterion of usefulness? Prayers are a more interesting literary form than creeds, but even the most impressive of prayers will not change us, let alone change God. And nearly all prayers are directed anyway to the archons, the angels who made and marred this world, and whom we worship, William Blake warned, as Jesus and Jehovah, Divine Names misapplied to our prison warders. The Accusers who are the gods of this world have won all of the victories, and they will go on triumphing over us. History is always on their side, for they are history. Everyone who would return us to history always performs the work of the Accusers. Most scholars worship history, the Composite God who rewards their labors by granting them their illusion of value. Emerson remarked that there was no history, only biography, which is another Gnostic recognition.

Do not pray, do not believe; only know and be known. Many among us know without knowing that we know; Bentley Layton catches this when he suggests that gnosis should be translated as ‘acquaintance’ rather than as ‘knowing.’ Acquaintance with your own deepest self will not come often or easily, but it is unmistakable when (and if ) it comes. Neither the will nor the intellect spurs such acquaintance, but both come into play once it is achieved. To be acquainted with what is best and oldest in yourself, is to know yourself as you were, before the world was made, before you emerged into time.

–Harold Bloom (from “Alone with the Alone” by Henry Corbin)

 

After extinction I came out, and I

Eternal now am, though not as I.

And who am I, O I, but I

–Ali Shushtari

 

As we travel upon this road of self-knowledge with the help of the means

provided by tradition—means without which such a journey is in fact impossible—we

gain a new perspective concerning every kind of reality with which we had

identified at the beginning of our journey. We come to realize that although we

are male or female, that attribute does not really define us. There is a deeper

reality, one might say an androgynic reality, transcending the male-female

dichotomy so that our identity is not determined simply by our gender. Nor are

we simply our body and the senses although we often identify ourselves with

them. As we travel upon the Sufi path, it also becomes more and more evident

that what we call ” I ” has its existence independent of sense perceptions and

the body as a whole although the soul continues to

have a consciousness of the body while being also aware through spiritual

practice of t h e possibility of leaving it for higher realms.

Likewise, although we have emotions and psychological states with which

we often identify, the spiritual path teaches us that they do not

define and determine our identity in the deepest sense. In fact, often we

say, “I must control my temper,” which demonstrates clearly that

there is more than one psychological agent within human beings. As St. Thomas

said, confirming Sufi teachings, “Duo

sunt in homine” (“There

are two in man”). The part of u s that seeks to control our temper

must be distinct and not determined by the part of o u r soul that is angry and

needs to be controlled. Yes, we do experience emotions, but we need not be

defined by them. In the same manner, we have an imaginative faculty able to

create images, and most of t he time ordinary people live in the lower reaches

of that world of imaginal forms. Again, we are not determined by those forms,

and j o u r n e y i n g upon the spiritual path is especially effective in

transforming our inner imaginal landscape. As for the power of memory, it is

for the most part the repository of images and forms related to earlier

experiences of life. Metaphysically speaking, however, it is also related to

our atemporal relation to our Source of Being and the intelligible world to

which we belonged before our descent here to earth. That is why true knowledge

according to Plato is recollection, and in Sufism the steps of t h e path are

identified with stages of the remembrance of t h e Friend. Most people,

however, consider these everyday remembered experiences as a major part of

their identity. Yet again, the center of our consciousness, our I,  cannot be

identified with our ordinary memory.

We can forget many things and remain the same human being. The spiritual life

may in fact be defined as the practice of techniques that enable us to forget

all that we remember about the world of separation and dispersion and to

remember the most important thing, which this world has caused us to forget,

namely, the one “saving Truth,” which is also our inner reality.

The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition

 

Zhungzi and Huizi roamed on the bridge over River Hao. Zhuangzi said, “The tiao fish come out roaming, free and at ease (chuyou congrong). This is the joy of fish!.”

 

Huizi said, “You are not a fish, how can you know the joy of fish?”

 

Zhuangzi said, “You are not me, how can you know that I do not know the joy of fish?”

Huizi said, “I am not you, indeed I do not know you. You, indeed, are not a fish, that you do not know the joy of fish is completely clear.”

Zhuangzi said, “I beg to seek the beginning. For you have to have said ‘How can you know the joy of fish,’ it is as if you already knew that I know it and thus asked me. I know it by standing on the river Hao.”

Two modes of knowledge and reasoning are juxtaposed here. Huizi’s certainty is based on the logic of difference: analogous distinctions or disjunctions between man and fish, and between himself and Zhuangzi. Zhuangzi, by contrast, plays on the logic of fluid boundaries and claims to overcome the division of self and other. Instead of meeting Huizi’s logical argument on its own terms, he radically redefines it and affirms intuitive communion: he knows the joy of fish by standing on River Hao. Huizi concedes to not knowing Zhuangzi; Zhuangzi for his part must presume to know Huizi’s mind, even as he knows the fish. He attributes motives and emotions to Huizi’s question: implicit recognition of Zhuangzi’s own knowledge, possibly envy and irritation. The key word is you (roam, wander, play), which describes the movement of both Zhuangzi and Huizi, as well as that of the fish: the repetition here marks empathic continuity. Roaming is associated with the state of being free, at ease, and disinterested, whereby the mind can be most creative and best apprehend the world. To roam, wander, or play is also to overcome boundaries, to move from one state of being to another, to achieve the self –transformation in Daoist transcendence of the opposites of self and other, dreaming and waking, life and death.

Wai-Yee Li (On Becoming a fish, Paradoxes of immortality and enlightenment in Chinese literature)

God, the word evokes such a lot. In Buddhism however we find that God is as you say, transcendant, but if we dig deeper God is also immanent.

We see this clearly in:

1

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

…………………

This is the ineffible, unknowable reality above reality, beyond reality, something outside of words, outside of concepts…

This is the “God” of the Kabbalist, (Ain Sof: endless light)
This is the God of the mystic (christian and otherwise) such as Meister Eckhart

“To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.”

The Kabbalist (Jewish Mystic, for sake of argument) states ideas such as:

The Nature of God

(from “God is a Verb” by David A. Cooper)

 

“What is God? In a way, there is no God. Our perception of God usually leads to a misunderstanding that seriously undermines our spiritual development.
God is not wht we think It is. God is not a thing, a being, a noun. It does not exist, as existence is defined, for It takes up0 no space and is not bound by time. Jewish mystics often refer to It as Ein Sof, which means Endlessness.

 

Ein Sof should never be conceptualized in any way. It should not be called Creator, Almighty, Father, Mother, Infinite, the One, Brahma, Buddhamind, Allah, Adonay, Elohim, El, or Shaddai, and It should never, never be called He. It is none of these names, and It has no gender.

 

When we call It God, what are we talking about? If we say that It is compassionate, full of lovingkindness, the source of love, we may be talking about our image of what we think the divine nature ought to be, but we are not talking about Ein Sof. In the same way, if we say that the God portrayed in the Bible is vindictive, jealous, angry, cruel, uncaring, or punitive, we cannot be referring to Ein Sof. Ein Sof includes every attribute but cannot be definite by any of them individually or all of them combined…..

 

The idea of Ein Sof was first described by the twelfth-century Kabbalist, Isaac the Blind. He taught that Ein Sof precedes thought (machshavah), and it even precedes the Nothingness (ayin) out of which thought is born. Nothingness is viewed as a level of awareness that is the result of the ‘annihilation of thought.’

 

The idea of the annihilation of thought, of course, is paradoxical. Can we imagine a void without beginning or end? Can we, limited by minds that are finite, imagine infinity? The answer is no, we cannot think of Nothing. Anything that we can imagine has some kind of boundary—Kabbalists call it garment or vessel—and boundaries are containers. All thoughts, including all imagination, are garments or vessels.

 

By definition, a boundary sets limits. We may be able to put a name to infinity, we can draw a symbol of a figure eight on its side and say that this represents infinity, but no matter how much we may believe that our imagination is limitless, we remain confined by the boundaries of our own reality. If it can be imagined, it is not infinite.

 

As infinity is beyond the imagination, what about that which transcends infinity—that which created it? Ein Sof is not ‘restricted’ by infinity. Indeed, we have suddenly run out of words because the idea of ‘trans-infinite’ is a logical absurdity. What can go beyond infinity? Moreover, what can go beyond the Nothingness that surrounds infinity? This is Ein Sof.

 

Although we are informed that Ein Sof is inaccessible through any intellectual endeavor, we may still ask if there is a ‘knowing’ that surpasses the intellect. Did Isaac the Blind have access to a level of awareness through which he could sense, somehow, the imperceivable?

 

The answer is yes. Jewish mysticism teaches that we can know Ein Sof in ways that transcend thought. This aspect of developing a relationship with Endlessness, the source of creation, is the key to all Kabbalah and the lifeblood of all Jewish practice. The secret teaching in developing this relationship with the Unknowable is hidden in the mystical foundation of the nature of relationship itself.

 

The word ‘God,’ and each of Its various names in Judaism, such as El, Elohim, Adonoy, Shaddai, and so forth, represent aspects of Ein Sof. The exploration of these aspects gives us insight into the nature of Ein Sof . Thus, whenever God is discussed…..we are not talking about a thing in itself, but a representation of a far deeper mystery…..

 

We can relate to God as an interactive verb. It is God-ing…..Many names of God are included in Ein Sof; God-ing is one name—a name that happens to be a verb rather than a noun…..What would we be without the awesomeness of the unknowable God?
There is no answer to this question; we cannot prove anything about Ein Sof. Rahter, it is a self-reflecting inquiry. Yet when viewed from the perspective of our dynamic relationship with the Divine, it is a self-fulfilling question, for paradoxically the source of the question is the answer it seeks. ‘What would I be without God?’
Consider this question from your inner awareness. Not you the noun, the person you may think you are, but you the verb, the process of being in full relationship, continuously, with its creator. When a question arises wthin you, who is asking the question, and to whom is the question addressed? Assume that there is no ‘me’ to ask the question, and there is no God out there to answer it. The question is part of the process of David-ing and God-ing in a mutual unfolding.

 

Try to do this in a way that melts all barriers or separation. No subject and no obuect. Simply an ever-opening process. No past, no future; only the Now. Each moment is a fresh opening. Each breath we draw, each move we make, is only Now. This is my dance with God-ing. It is an awesome experience…..

 

Perhaps you will take a few moments to close your eyes and allow yourself to sink into this idea. Meditate on this thought: The teaching of the mystery of Ein Sof is that the center of our being, out of which awe arises, is that about which we are awed. It is It! When we contemplate our continuous process of opening, right here, right now, we realize that God-ing is always with us…..

 

The Unknowable can be discerned. Beginning at an indefinable point as sharp as a needle. It radiates in various ways which can be perceived—only in the context of process and interaction. We are not an audience watching the God-ing process onstage. We are onstage, ourselves. We mysteriously begin to get a glimmer of God-ing when we succeed in merging with the continuous process of unfolding creation…..

 

The intrinsic definition of Limitlessness is that It lacks nothing and can receive nothing, for It is everything. As It is everything, theoretically It is the potential to be an infinite source of giving.

 

The question arises, however, that there is nothing for It to give to because It is everything. It would have to give to Itself. This has been a major conundrum in philosophy and theology for thousands of years.

 

Kabbalah suggests one way of dealing with this issue. It says that as long as the infinite source of giving has no ‘will’ to give, nothing happens. However, the instant It has the will to give, this will initiates a ‘thought.’ Kabbalah says, ‘Will, which is [primordial] thought, is the beginning of all things, and the expression [of this thought] is the completion.’

 

That is, the entire creation is nothing more than a thought in the ‘mind’ of Ein Sof, so to speak. Another way to express this idea is that the will to give instantly creates a will to receive…..”

ain

Here we can see that God is NOT God

If we return to Buddhism the Heart Sutra states:

Body is nothing more than emptiness,
emptiness is nothing more than body.
The body is exactly empty,
and emptiness is exactly body.

The other four aspects of human existence —
feeling, thought, will, and consciousness —
are likewise nothing more than emptiness,
and emptiness nothing more than they.

All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases. So, in emptiness, there is no body,
no feeling, no thought,
no will, no consciousness.
There are no eyes, no ears,
no nose, no tongue,
no body, no mind.

There is no seeing, no hearing,
no smelling, no tasting,
no touching, no imagining.

There is nothing seen, nor heard,
nor smelled, nor tasted,
nor touched, nor imagined.

There is no ignorance,
and no end to ignorance.
There is no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
no end to suffering, no path to follow.
There is no attainment of wisdom,
and no wisdom to attain.

The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and so with no delusions,
they feel no fear,
and have Nirvana here and now. +

All the Buddhas,
past, present, and future,
rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and live in full enlightenment.
The Perfection of Wisdom is the greatest mantra.
It is the clearest mantra,
the highest mantra,
the mantra that removes all suffering.

………..
Here we see the Heart Sutra telling us that God is transcendent and immanent, that God is not God

If we return to christianity again:

Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.’

-John 6:12

“But if by “God“ we mean a reality far surpassing our own fullness of being we must envisage the divine as total realization, abundance of life and actuality, energy unfailing, of which our mode of being is a pale reflection, and at best a symbol. Yet people persist in asking whether or not God exists. As Dostoyevsky pointed out, their question never finds an answer, because it is wrongly put. Its proper context is the experience of active loving, but it is confined within the narrow limits of a notion of existence which is as irrelevant to life as it is unreal and reductionist. The concept of God as a remote entity which does nothing served as a postulate for some philosophers of the eighteenth century, but it is foreign to all the great religious traditions of humankind. For these the question-and it is a burning question-is not of God‘s existence but of his presence, and this implies his power or energy. Yet even today deism is not dead. The reductionist notion of God, which was formerly the preserve of academics, is uncritically accepted by ordinary people in our society, who on the whole do not reject belief that God exists but have little sense of the divine presence and of communion with him. This reductionist point of view is in direct opposition to the religious instinct and mystical impulse, which suffers widespread atrophy in our times.
In spite of all this, the human heart senses that “God” is not a mono­syllabic blob but the Ever-present One. How are we to understand, and live, this sense? Christianity is sometimes seen as nothing but a collec­tion of moral duties and soothing reassurances about salvation, rather than as a summons to the deification of the human person.

St. Athanasius of Alexandria, a pillar of orthodoxy during the fourth century, insisted upon the divine being’s exuberance. The divine being, ineffably more alive that we are, cannot be self-contained and barren but has to be Father, forever bringing forth his son from the womb of his own substance. This continual begetting is a movement of being which is essentially fruitful. Our human experience of parenting is only an analogy for the perfect generation in the divine being, where there is no before and after, no differentiation into male and female, and where the one brought forth is not inferior to the parent. This vision of God continually pouring forth his very being would inspire Meister Eckhart a millennium later to speak of God in terms of molten metal which is always boiling over. The son‘s coming forth from the Father is a non-stop act of both begetting and giving birth.
Thus for the Christian tradition the divine reality is essentially per­sonal. The three are not merely aspects of some impersonal substrate, nor are they separate individuals. The doctrine of the Trinity states that ultimate reality is a communion of persons, each dwelling in the others. Here relationship is of the essence. And this communion of persons is the truth and exemplar of all being. In particular it is the hope to which we human beings aspire. We come alive when our eyes meet those of the one who loves us, for we then find our center outside ourselves in the other, and in so doing we touch the mystery of transcendence.

By falling in love we leave behind our own isolation and break away from our old, limited way of life, which is now revealed as loneliness and incompletion. And, even more, in the unromantic daily struggle of active loving, in relationship, we find out who we really are. That is the context in which we can ask about God for it is then that we most resemble God. The Trinity goes beyond both solitude and the mutual opposition of Dual­ism, for God, as St. John says, is love.”

–father symeon burholt

….

And finally we get a clear idea if we turn to Gnosticism, and the Gospel of Philip (note that of course many Gnostics were highly influenced by Buddhism, in fact one branch even boasts that their leader was the reincarnation of Lao Tzu)

Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.

Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who hears the word “God” does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with “the Father” and “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit” and “life” and “light” and “resurrection” and “the Church (Ekklesia)” and all the rest – people do not perceive what is correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world […] deceive. If they were in the Aeon (eternal realm), they would at no time be used as names in the world. Nor were they set among worldly things. They have an end in the Aeon.

One single name is not uttered in the world, the name which the Father gave to the Son; it is the name above all things: the name of the Father. For the Son would not become Father unless he wore the name of the Father. Those who have this name know it, but they do not speak it. But those who do not have it do not know it.

We see things as we are
Not as they are

–Kahlil Gibran

There are no mundane things outside of Buddhism,
and there is no Buddhism outside of mundane things.

–Yuan-Wu

It is I who am you, and it is you who are me. And wherever you are, I am there.

And I am sown in all; and you collect me from wherever you wish.

And when you collect me, it is your own self that you collect.

–Attributed to Christ, found in the Gospel of Eve

Who is the giver?

What is given, and to whom?

and the receiver, who is that?

and what is gotten?

 

Who is the teacher?

What is taught, and to whom?

Who is the knower of That?

and what is known?

 

Upon knowing, upon realization

what will that one say?

or having said that –

of what value is it?

 

What can that one hope to gain –

What does that one have to give?

Is there any value in what such a one

would offer us?

 

What has been gained?

What great jewel has that one found?

Of what use is his tapasya?

Of what use his penance?

 

At the end, in the desire to give

in the hope that what will be given

be of value and worth, lies a quandry.

 

The evidence of the value of what would be given,

does not yet shine in the life of that one having arrived.

There is no evidence, “but the giving itself.”

 

After the giving, after the sowing

the crop bares fruit, not otherwise.

Yet the Sadhu would give only what has value.

But who is the knower of that value?

 

To the one desiring to give

arises the desire that what would be given,

be of value to the receiver.

That one desiring so, cannot see the worth

until after the fruit is eaten.

 

The taste of truth is not given by the giver

nor does it exist in the sweet words uttered;

“That” lies only in the arising of love

in the receiver.

 

Giving belongs to God, to the consciousness,

never to the Sadhu.

and it is also the consciousness

that is the receiver of the gifts.

 

Yet the Sadhu mutters, “I will not give

a thing which has no value”.

He does not realize that wealth

has no value unless used for the good of all!

 

Selfishness has no part in truth

nor any part in Love. Love that is selfish

is just that; “Selfish”

It is that which excludes and disqualifies

us from realization due to selfhood;

Due to I-Ness and Me-ness.

 

Due to ownership, an I exists!

Due to the mere desire to give

there is a giver, an “I”!

 

True Wisdom is not great knowledge

nor the ownership of understanding;

Wisdom is the realization of charity.

Thus what can be given with wisdom

can only be what is loving to all.

 

Which knowledge is that, and who is the knower of it?

Which knowledge is for the good of all

and who could be the giver of that?

The knowledge can only be knowledge of the One Self

And the giver of such as that,

can only be one who has realized that self.

 

Who is the receiver of great wisdom, of great love?

and who the giver? It is certainly not the one

crying from the mountain-top;

Nor is it the one who seeks value in giving;

 

It is not the one who seeks to be paid homage

neither is it the one seeking absolution.

The receiver and the giver are but one.

 

There can be thus no gain, nor any loss

for in the acceptance of the receiver –

the giver is also the receiver.

 

Wisdom is charity, nothing more.

While it is Love that is the hidden force

of consciousness and the knower of the known.

 

Having known everything, it is time to give.

At this time what can be received?

Nothing what-so-ever,

but the knowledge of “The Love of The One Self”

What can be given?

Nothing what-so-ever, but “The Love of The One Self”.

 

In this way, the one having arrived nowhere

comes home……….. Home to the heart!

Home to Love……. The light then shines.

> I think that the True Man can be more accurately described as the

> Jesus-Man through which the Christ can become manifest.

>

> As for the mirror/reflection analogy … I think of the Biblical

> phrase that we were created in the “image” of God. The word “mirror”

> can be found in the definition of “image” … not that we are/were

> “The” God, but were created in the likeness of God … a reflection of

> the divine.

>

> Regards,

>

>

 

these are important questions

 

“I think that the True Man can be more accurately described as the

> Jesus-Man through which the Christ can become manifest.”

 

The power of God is with you at all times; through the activities of mind,

 

 

senses, breathing, and emotions; and is constantly doing all the work

 

using you as a mere instrument.”

 

 –The Gita

 

 

So is Jesus the vessel and christ wine that is poured into the vessel?

 

Or is Jesus the vessel and the wine as is the Christ?

 

One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate,

 

the Buddha called to him,

 

“Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?”

 

Manjusri replied,

 

“I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?”

 

 

 

> As for the mirror/reflection analogy … I think of the Biblical

> phrase that we were created in the “image” of God. The word “mirror”

> can be found in the definition of “image” … not that we are/were

> “The” God, but were created in the likeness of God … a reflection of

> the divine.

 

Where does God end and man begin?

 

 

“When my Beloved appears,With what eye do I see Him?

 

With His eye, not with mine,

 

For none sees Him except Himself.”

 

–Ibn Arabi

 

 

 

Two points as opposites when stretched for infinity will bend in upon themselves and meet. Thus mnaking the end in the begining, or perhaps that there is no end or beginning; see college level math and chapter one of the Sefer yetzirah in theory and practice, A. Kaplan translation.

 

if we are alike God, but not God… is this not duality?

 

If I am not God, does this mean that there exists God and not God?

.

 

 

“He who sees himself only on the outside,

 

not within, becomes small himself and makes others small.”

 

–Mani (turfan fragment M 801)

 

…..

 

Ain Sof in the Kabbalah of Azriel of Gerona

 

 (from “Origins of the Kabbalah” by Gershom Scholem)

 

 

 

 ”If…..there was at first a great deal of uncertainty about the use of the term ‘en-sof, no such ambiguity exists any longer in the mystical vocabulary of the school of Gerona [13th century]. ‘En-sof there is a technical, indeed artificial, term detached from all adverbial associations and serving as a noun designating God in all his inconceivability. Here it is well to remember that the determination of God as the Infinite served for for the thinkers of antiquity and the Neoplatonists…..precisely as a symbol of his inconceivability, and not as an attribute that can be grasped by reason (such as it became with the Scholastics). Among the kabbalists, God is regarded as Infinitude no less than as the Infinite One. The inconceivability of the hidden God and the impossibility of determining him, which, occasionally seem to point to a neutral stratum of the divine nature, are nevertheless those of the infinite person on the whole, the latter being the theistic reinterpretation of the Neoplatonic ‘One.’ Azriel himself introduces him as such at the beginning of his questions and answers on the sefiroth, for he identifies ‘en-sof—a word he employs often and without hesitation—with the leader of the world and the master of creation…..

 

        Azriel’s…..spoke of ‘en-sof as the God whom the philosophers had in mind, and whose sefiroth were but aspects of his revelation and of his activity, the ‘categories of the order of all reality.’ Precisely the most hidden element in God, that which the mystics had in mind when they spoke of ‘en-sof, he transformed into the most public. In doing so he already prepared the personalization of the term ‘en-sof, wich from the designation of an abstract concept begins to appear here as a proper name. Whereas in general, and even in Azriel’s own writings, ‘en-sof still has much of the deus absconditus, which attains anapprehensible existence in the theosophic notion of God and in the doctrine of the sefiroth only, the commentary on the ten sefiroth already presents the ‘en-sof as the ruler of the world, which certainly suggests an image of the government of the world that is very different from that of the theosophy of the Infinite and its sefiroth. For Azriel the highest sefirah is evidently the unfathomable or unknowable and especially the divine will, which in this circle is elevated above the primordial idea. In the abstract the latter could be distinguished from ‘en-sof, but in the concrete it constitutes a real unity with it. The hidden God acts by means of this will, clothes himself in it, as it were, and is one with it. In order to express this, the kabbalists of Gerona readily speak of the ‘will up to the Infinite,’ the ‘height up to the Infinite,’ the ‘unknowable up to the Infinite,’ by which they evidently mean the unity in which the supreme sefirah, represented in each case by the corresponding symbol, extends up to the ‘en-sof and forms with it a unity of action…..

 

        Azriel is fond of referring Job 11:7 : ‘Can you find out the depth of God?’ to this primordial depth of God, which can signify both the fathomable as well as precisely that in the will that is unfathomable and beyond the grasp of all thought. From this primordial depth flwow all the paths of wisdom and it is this primordial depth that in the ‘Chapter on the kawwanah‘ is literally called ‘the perfection of the depth that is one with ‘en-sof,’ a phrase that can also be translated equally literally as ‘that unites itself with ‘en-sof,’ that is, that extends up to its infinity. Thus the terminology of cheqer, the primordial depth, at which all contemplation of the divine is aimed, changes at the same time into that of the ‘undepth’ (Hebrew: ‘en-cheqer), this primordial depth proving to be precisely the unfathomable, and thereby a perfect analogy, in its linguistic form as well, to the Infinite, ‘en-sof.

 

        The will as primordial depth thus becomes the source of all being, and the deity, insofar as it can be envisioned from the point of view of the creature, is conceived entirely as creative will…..The fact that this creative will is then understood by Azriel, in the context of the ideas analyzed in the foregoing, as the Nought, is by no means an isolated instance in the history of mistical terminology. Jacob Böhme, whose Ungrund is reminiscent of Azriel’s formulations, considers the will that eternally emerges from this Ungrund as the Nought. It is therefore no wonder that in these writings the will never appears as something emanated, but rather as that which emanates…..

 

        A state in which ‘en-sof would be without the will accompanying it is thus inconceivable. This again raises the problem of the necessity of the emanation versus the freedom of ‘en-sof in the primordial act of the creation…..

 

        It can be said of ‘en-sof as well as of the Will that nothing exists outside it.

 

 

 

‘All beings come from the incomprehensible primordial ether, and their existence [yeshuth] comes from the pure Nought. However, this primordial ether is not divisible in any direction, and it is One in a simplicity that does not admit of any composition. All acts of the will were in its unity, and it is the will that preceded everything…..And that is the meaning of (Job 23:13): “He is One”—He is the unity of the will, outside of which nothing exists’ [Perush Aggadot, 107)…..

 

 

 

Neither is ‘en-sof nor in the will is there any differentiation; both are designated as the indistinct root of the opposites. For this indistinctness…..the ‘Iyyun circle and Azriel use the Hebrew hashwa’ah; unseparated and indifferent is there called shaweh, literally ‘equal,’ a word that is never used in this snese elsewhere in the Hebrew literature. ‘En-sof as well as the will are ‘indifferent with regard to the opposites.’ They do not conjoin the opposites…..but no distinctions are admitted at all; since the opposites in these supreme principles are ‘equal,’ that is, indistinct, they coincide in them. It is in this sense that mention is often made of the ‘indistinct unity’ or of the ‘indifference of unity’ in which apparent opposites coincide…..The oppoistes are abolished in the infinite…..

 

 

 

‘En-sof is the absolute indistinctness in the perfect unity, in which there is no change. And since it is without limits, nothing exists outisde of it; since it is above everything it is the principle in which everything hidden and visible meet; and since it is hidden, it is the [common] root of faith and unbelief, and the investigating sages [the philosophers] agree with those who say that our comprehension of it can take place only through the path of negation’ [Sha’ar ha-Sho’el].”

 

 

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