Losal Samten wrote:Divine light, uncreated, nonconceptual, etc. is standard talk regards to tirthika metaphysics and mysticisms.
Pretty remarkable for a medieval German, though, isn't it?
But Eckhart went further in deconstructing the very idea of God. He talked about something called "the essence of God":
Eckhart, Sermon 87 wrote:
While I yet stood in my first cause, I had no God and was my own cause: then I wanted nothing and desired nothing, for I was bare being and the knower of myself in the enjoyment of truth. Then I wanted myself and wanted no other thing: what I wanted I was and what I was I wanted, and thus I was free of God and all things. But when I left my free will behind and received my created being, then I had a God. For before there were creatures, God was not 'God': He was That which He was. But when creatures came into existence and received their created being, then God was not 'God' in Himself—He was 'God' in creatures.
Therefore I pray to God to make me free of God, for my essential being is above God, taking God as the origin of creatures. For in that essence of God in which God is above being and distinction, there I was myself and knew myself so as to make this man. Therefore I am my own cause according to my essence, which is eternal, and not according to my becoming, which is temporal. Therefore I am unborn, and according to my unborn mode I can never die. According to my unborn mode I have eternally been, am now, and shall eternally remain. That which I am by virtue of birth must die and perish, for it is mortal, and so must perish with time. In my birth all things were born, and I was the cause of myself and all things: and if I had so willed it, I would not have been, and all things would not have been. If I were not, God would not be either. I am the cause of God's being God: if I were not, then God would not be God. But you do not need to know this.
Now you can see why he was investigated for heresy by the Papal authorities! That quotation sounds totally arrogant and presumptuous if you read it as simply a delusional human being. But if the "I" speaking there is the same "I" that in our own tradition's scriptures says "I am primordial self-originating wisdom. I am the primordial source of all phenomena. I am the all-creating king, pure perfect presence," what he has said is the opposite of arrogance or presumption.
The story of an "I" reposing in its first cause and then giving rise to creation sounds very much like the accounts we've heard of dualistic samsaric experience arising through non-recognition and the arising of false knowledge on the basis of ignorance. In fact, I would suggest that that is what Eckhart is trying to get at. But he phrases it in the language of "creation" that was known to everyone in his culture the same way that Buddhist accounts of how dualistic consciousness arises would be familiar to Buddhists. Eckhart saw the need to go back to the ground from which all conceptual proliferation arises.
Does he have to have fully realized and integrated that awakening in order for us to suspect he had a genuine glimpse? Of course we won't find Buddhist words coming out of his mouth, because he was unacquainted with Buddhism. However, if we take seriously the teaching that all sentient beings have buddha-nature . . . very possible.