Plotinus and Eckhart

 

But just to put you on the trail, here are two examples.

Perhaps no other Mystic influenced all three of the Abrahamic faiths as comprehensively as Plotinus [203-270]. You will find his ideas widely dispersed across the mystic dialogues of all three.

The Neo-Platonic ‘One’, itself largely sourced in Plato’s Parmenides, was a ‘Sheer Potentiality’ incapable of utterance. But if you had to say something about it, it was:

A Nameless Unity, indescribable, undefinable.. never known measure, stands outside number..is under no limit of any kind..is Everything and Nothing..‘.

In that tradition was Meister Eckhart [1260-1328 CE] the Dominican Friar who also taught Aristotle at the Sorbonne:

‘God..is a Namelessness..God and I are one in the act of my perceiving Him’. [He was promptly arraigned by the Church for heresy.]

Earlier, he had given up on such contortions as ‘Transcendent’ and ‘Superessential’, the same track as taken by the original Advaithins.

‘Therefore be silent and prate not about God, for whenever thou dost prate about God, thou liest.’ [This idea can be traced back all the way to St. Augustine; we’ll cover it in later Posts.]

Or as the modern scholar-mystic Joseph Campbell put it: ‘ This is the Holy Land, the Holy Moment, and to find the Christ power here is the goal…’.

 


Plotinus famously joined Gordian’s march on Persia in order to find his way to India. The campaign failed and he returned to Antioch. In 3rd Century Bharat, the understanding of Shūnyam was still not entirely dead; it would have been a worthwhile visit.