Since I blathered so much about God and divinity in the last post, I thought I might take a moment to articulate my current conception of deity. I have actually had to explain this quite a bit to my fellow Buddhist friends since I began the process to become ordained as an independent Catholic Priest, yet have no intention of renouncing Buddhism.
The problem is, there is no God in Buddhism. At least not in the “creator God” sense. Buddha himself remained silent when asked about ultimate divinity. Silence was his answer. However, because Samsara, the world of appearance, sprang up because of Ignorance, most Buddhists take this to mean an Atheistic spirituality. There are actually twelve stages of interdependent origination: Ignorance, Conditioning, Consciousness, Name and form, the Six Senses, Contact, Feeling, Craving, Grasping, Becoming, Rebirth, Aging and Death.
I am in total agreement about all the stages except the first one. I get the lack of independent existence, but I have always felt a direction and guiding force. The thing is, the chain works exactly the same if you put “creative impulse” as the first cause. When I had my first “experience” at the age of five, the one that sparked my lifelong obsession with magick and mysticism, I saw and understood this guiding awareness quite clearly as only a child can. In a way, it has taken me years of practice to know it as an adult, as well as I knew it as a child.
But you shouldn’t take my belief in God to mean belief in some entity outside the universe, or a micro-managing deity that controls the wheels of destiny. No, that’s not it at all.
God is consciousness. Consciousness pervades all space, time, and probability. The universe is “just right for life”, as physicist Paul Davies puts it in his book “Cosmic Jackpot”, because consciousness itself makes it so.
Consciousness in its final stages of the evolution of has to filter back to the very beginning of time so that it can insure its own evolution, so that it can reach its final stages, so that it can filter back and insure its own evolution…. Etc etc. Davies, who really helped me articulate some ideas I have had since I was five, but who would argue with my conclusions, calls this a quantum feedback loop.
If this all sounds a bit too “Doctor Who” for you, than think of it like this: God, is us, but not as we are now. As Meister Eckhart said: “The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge.” This truth is known by anyone that has crossed the Abyss for even a second. Or if you like, ascended to the 8th and 9th, as Hermes Trismegistus would have said.
It is the work of every sentient being to become liberated and head towards this goal. In the process of filtering backwards, God/Consiousness also impacts the creation of certain special individuals. Thus the Buddhas, Saviors, Avatars and so on throughout time. Some have greater impact than others.
As Athanasius put it: "God became man so that man might become a god." This being the Great Work.