Author: David

00. [Oneness]

From Oneness, produce the ten thousand things; through the ten thousand things, govern the One.

– Shih-t’ao: ‘Hua-p’u’ chapter 7, ‘Harmonious Atmosphere (Yin Yun)’

No characteristics except its oneness <–

It is not a thing nor a thing in it

Neither white nor black, neither red nor green, of no color whatever

Beingless, becoming not, nameless

Where there is nothing but the one, nothing is seen

Ad Reinhardt: ‘ONE’, Unpublished Notes, 1966-67

…if all images are detached from the soul, and it contemplates only the Simple One, then the soul’s naked being finds the naked, formless being of the divine unity.

– Meister Eckhart: ‘The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense’

So long as something is still the object (vishaya) of our attention we are not yet one with the One. For where there is nothing but the ONE, nothing is seen.

– Rudolf Otto: ‘Mysticism East and West’, 1932 (and Meridian Books Inc. August 1957)

Our thought cannot grasp the One as long as any other image remains active in the soul.

– Plotinus: ‘The Six Enneads’

If he remembers who he became when he merged with the One, he will bear its image in himself. He was himself one, with no diversity in himself or his outward relations; for no movement was in him, no passion, no desire for another, once the ascent was accomplished. Nor indeed was there any reason or though, nor, if we dare say it, any trace of himself.

– Plotinus: ‘The Six Enneads’

It is no less than the Eternal and Infinite Oneness of God, the Certainty of Whose Truth burns up all except Itself.

– Abu Bakr Siraj Ed-Din: ‘The Book of Certainty’, 1952

Enter me, O Lord, into the deep of the Ocean of Thine Infinite Oneness

– Muhyi’d-Din Ibn Arabi

Does Islamic non-figurative art triumphantly proclaim the “Infinite Oneness of God “ or does it triumphantly proclaim again, with all other art, only the same “endless sameness of art.”

– Ad Reinhardt: ‘Art vs. History’, Art News,January 1966

Equality today means ‘sameness,’ rather than oneness.

– Erich Fromm: ‘The Art of Loving’, Harper & Row, New York, 1956

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01. “Shadow of the spiritual”

Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears with His personal entourage once in paraphernalia, just to attract the conditioned souls of the material world. Although the material world is only a shadow of the spiritual world, the materially encaged living entities seek spiritual happiness here in a form perverted by materialistic attachment.

– His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: ‘Light of the Bhagavata’, adaptation of the 20th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, written 1961 for the 1962 Congress for Cultivating the Human Spirit, Japan.

And if so, why should not we suppose that he makes the inferior in imitation of the superior, the material of the spiritual, on purpose to have a resemblance and shadow of them? We see that even in the material world God makes one part of it strangely to agree with another; and why is it not reasonable to suppose he makes the whole as a shadow of the spiritual world?

– Jonathan Edwards: ‘Images of Divine Things’, 1728

02. “the one, the good”

Dean Inge tried to show that Plotinus ‘has three names for his Absolute – the One, the Good, and Beauty’. He remarks elsewhere, however (p. 102), that although Plotinus calls the Absolute the One and the Good, he does not call it the Beautiful.

– John M. Rist: ‘Plotinus, The Road to Reality’, 1967

03. “universe of sense”

Again, are those powers, entering the universe of sense, still within the First or not? If they are not, we have the absurdity that the First has been lessened, disempowered, stripped of power originally possessed. Besides, how could powers thus cut off subsist apart from the foundations of their being? Suppose these powers to be at once within the First and elsewhere; then the universe of sense contains either the entire powers or parts of them; if parts of powers, the other parts are There; if entires, then either the powers There are present here also undivided – and this brings us back to an identity omnipresent in integral identity — or they are each an entire which has taken division into a multiplicity of similars so that attached to every essence there is one power only – that particularly appropriated to it – the other powers remaining powers unattached: yet power apart from Being is as impossible as Being apart from power; for There power is Being or something greater than Being.

– Plotinus: ‘The Six Enneads’, Fourth Tractate ‘On the Integral Omnipresence of the Authentic Existent.’

04. “Movement beyond itself toward its idea”

The will could not experience an actual development of freedom if it were not possible for it to negate its essence. The subjective will must be able to separate itself from the essential, must be able to fall away from the Idea of freedom. The will must therefore determine itself as freedom of choice or as the ability to choose between opposite ends. The antinomy between the proposition that the will can only determine itself toward its Idea, and the opposite, that it can also negate it, is annulled by the recognition that the latter contains the negative condition for the actuality of the former. Only by overcoming the possibility of its opposite can freedom actually substantiate itself.

– Hans L. Martensen: ‘Outline to a System of Moral Philosophy’, 1841

05. “awesome nearness”

A mantle of cold grey and dark green seemed to wrap you round on every side, and the sky felt close to your head, almost within reach of your outstretched hand at first, but by degrees this feeling of awesome nearness to Infinity wore off.

– H. Ellen Browning: ‘A Girl’s Wanderings in Hungary’, 1896

06. “Purgative, illuminative, unitive”

…we have the division of the spiritual life which has been adopted since the time of the Pseudo-Dionysius into the “purgative” way, the “illuminative” way, and the “unitive” way. St. Thomas well explains the reason for this division when he says: “The first duty which is incumbent on man is to give up sin and resist concupiscence, which are opposed to charity; this belongs to beginners, in whose hearts charity is to be nursed and cherished lest it be corrupted. The second duty of man is to apply his energies chiefly to advance in virtue; this belongs to those who are making progress and who are principally concerned that charity may be increased and strengthened in them. The third endeavor and pursuit of man should be to rest in God and enjoy Him; and this belongs to the perfect who desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ.”

– The Catholic Encyclopedia: ‘State Or Way’, 1913, (as in the Rev. Alban Goodier’s ‘Life That Is Light’ in three volumes ’Purgative’, ‘Illuminative’ and Unitive’, published by P. J. Kenedy & Sons in 1957)