Religion [from Re-Ligaire: ‘to bind back’] in its broadest sense begins with the assignment of a Name other than as ‘Nameless’, a certified Self-Negating Expression.
If you can give your terminus a feature, however exalted, banal or debased, you have a man-made ‘God’. A modeled construction born of the first cleaving, the presumption of a Separated ‘Self’.
An far back as the early Upaniṣads, names proliferate: Subtle Essence; Imperceptible; Omniscient; Omnipresent; Omnipotent; Unattached; Unfetterred.
Cherished human virtues are foisted on top of them: Compassionate, Happy, Generous, Just, Kind, Loving, Merciful, Motherly and so on. The standard wish-list of the beginning practioneer.
You will find close variants of this list in every formal religious tradition. Just skim the opening pages.
Here is a short-list, premature photographs clicked in a stopping-short of Shūnyam.
‘The All’, Absence, Awareness, Being, [A Physical] Body, [A] Code, Co-Dependence, Consciousness, Emptiness, Energy, Essence, Existence, Form, Groundlessness, Impermanence, Infinity, Inner-Being, Intelligence, Life-Force, [Man-Made, Man-Like] Gods, Mind, No-Mind, No-Thought, Nothingness, Now-ness, Not-Nothing, Nullity, ‘The One’, Organizing-Principle, Presence, Silence, Soul, Space, Spirit, Stillness, That-ness, Totality, ‘True-Self’, Unconscious, Unity, Void…
Many on the above list are in fact perfectly good Self-Eating Expressions [‘The All’, for example]. The problem is that they have not been recognized as such and the self-scuttle is prematurely truncated. [That is, truncated before a sighting of ‘True Nothing’]
Then come the new vocabularies denoting mysterious, self-sustaining higher-powers and self-tripping abstractions coming out of Universities, Research Houses and Scholarly publications. And of course the best-selling airport-paperbacks of Pop-Philosophers.
It’s a long list. We’ll look at them gradually in the course of the Posts.