Or More than a Person?
Last week we spoke of nirvana as the reality of no birth and no death.
Nirvana is our true substance just as water is the true substance of the wave. We practice to realize that nirvana is our substance. Once we realize this, we transcend the fear of birth and death, of being and non-being. God is an equivalent expression. God is the foundation of being, or as many theologians, like Paul Tillich, say, “God is the ground of being.”
Last week we said that the notion of being and non-being cannot be applied to God or to nirvana. The notion of beginning and end cannot be applied to the absolute either. That is why both the notion of person and non-person cannot be applied to God, nor can it be applied to nirvana. So if we spend time quarreling with each other as to whether God is a person or a non-person, we waste our time. That is discouraged in the Buddhist practice and that is why Paul Tillich was so skillful when he said, “God is not a person, but not less than a person.” It was a wonderful way to advise people not to spend too much time speculating.
Thich Nhat Hanh
from Jesus and Buddha as Brothers
To be continued . . .