At this interfaith symposium, I attended an inspiring presentation by the scholar, Daniel Matt, on Kabbhalah, which is a form of Jewish mysticism that seems to address contemplations of nothingness and being, emptiness and fullness, the divine and the incarnate. It was fascinating to listen to their descriptions of nothingness, which at moments sounded remarkably compatible with some attempts of Buddhists to describe the experience of nibbana, similar, that is, until the Kabbhalists described it as an aspect of God. It made me ponder what a meditator’s experience of nibbana might be if the meditator experienced nibbana while seeking unity with a concept of divity. How much does our preconception and desire affect what we perceive in the depths of meditation. What is the direct mystical and meditative realization, and what are the concepts that define it or give the experience significance? Certainly desire affects what we see in daily life — people commonly notice the things that they want, or the things that threaten to thwart their desires. People interpret experiences to build a coherent understanding of experience. Is the meditative experience that arises through Kabbhalah meditation, before it is described in theistic terms, similar to a Buddhist meditator’s experience? Or are they vastly different?
There is much to learn and share with mystics and serious meditators of the various world religions. I am certainly enjoying and benefiting from this interfaith dialog.