And or or?
by Andrea Elizabeth
The Zen riddle is that if it is not I who made myself and it is not another who made me, then neither made me so I disappear into nothingness. The conundrum that is dismissed as ridiculous though in the Buddhist dialogue presented in Darrida for Beginners, is that I am both made by myself and by another. Is Eastern Orthodox Christianity the only belief that allows both/and? Coming from a Protestant perspective, the veneration of Saints is a very hard hurtle to get over because it seems impossible to a binary, either/or thinker that we can be saved both by God and by Mary, the Second Eve, for example. This is why the reformed have to do away with free will, so that they don’t have to take her, any other Saint, Sacraments, or any other other as a source into account.
But in God’s economy, he provided for plurality. Not in a Pantheistic sense because free will (still not sure how that differs from voluntarism) is necessary to be obedient to God and enter into His heavenly kingdom. “Thy will be done” as Mary said, can only be said by a person with free will. And it is this subjection of her will to God’s that makes her a source of our salvation, both by example, and because of the fruit of her will and her womb and her prayers.
I think that it is this both allowance that enables us to comprehend reality better. This is how we love our neighbor and ourself, it is also how we see Christ in everyone. The other person is Christ because he is made in God’s image and because he is united to Christ because his very life is based in inspiration. Yet he is not Christ because he does not have the same hypostasis as Christ who is a distinct Person with a divine and human nature. And he is not Christ if he sins.
Creation is both God and not God. Christ is God and a created human. I am saved by God and the Saints and by everything and everyone in the universe, including myself. In addition to learning more about Buddhism, I’m also trying to work through The Deconstruction of Buddhism to see how Derrida sees it – not sure yet. But he seems to seek the membrane between without saying neither side exists. That instead they supplement (both in completion and in addition) each other.