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Nonduality and Trinity: A comparative analysis of the trinitarian perspectives of Jung Young Lee and Raimon Panikkar

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Shin Whan Kang
Abstract:
This dissertation explores the Asian ways of understanding the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as presented by Jung Young Lee and Raymond Panikkar, who have established their respective trinitarian perspectives by means of Asian nondualist frameworks--namely, the East Asian " yin-yang " conceptuality and the Hindu Vedantic notion of advaita . Lee claims that yin-yang thinking is the fundamental cognitive structure of peoples of East Asia. From within the framework of yin-yang cosmology found in the I Ching , the Book of Change, Lee derives a triadic structure consisting of yin and yang , and the connecting principle of "in-ness," and applies it to the trinitarian relationships between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Thus, for example, the Father and the Son are one in their "inness," but also at the same time they are three because "in" represents the Spirit, the inner connecting principle which cannot exist by itself. Lee's "cosmo-anthropological" vision manifests that humanity and the universe are in the same cosmic process of change, which is infinitely bounded by the Tao , the Ultimate. Panikkar utilizes the Vedantic notion of advaita to argue that the Father and the Son of the Trinity are neither one nor two because the Spirit unites and distinguishes them. In doing so, Panikkar identifies the Father with the absolute transcendence of the Divine, and the Son with its manifestation, i.e., the Father's Being, and the Spirit with the communion of the Father and the Son, as well as the Divine's immanence in the world. Panikkar's "cosmotheandric" metaphysics suggests that reality is constituted by three irreducible dimensions of the divine, the human, and the cosmic. By virtue of "radical relativity" of these three dimensions reality is fundamentally open to transcendence at every moment. This study seeks to show that "apophaticism," "relationality," and "dynamism" are essential elements for understanding the Trinity from Asian nondualist perspectives. Lee and Panikkar have a strong sense of the primarily apophatic nature of God. They have a problem with the notion of God and the person as an independent substance. Moreover, according to Lee and Panikkar, the trinitarian relations ad intra and ad extra are not static but always dynamic. For the two Asian thinkers, it is the dynamism of kenosis that makes possible the conception of God as Trinity, i.e., the unity-in-diversity.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGEMENT iv LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS viii INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter I. JUNG YOUNG LEE'S NONDUALIST FRAMEWORK 14 Lee's Epistemological Position 16 Primacy of Experience in Theological Construction 16 East Asian Nondualist Thinking 24 Lee's Critique of "Either-Or" Way of Thinking 25 East Asian "Both-And" Way of Thinking 31 Lee's Changeological Metaphysics 40 God as "Change Itself 41 "I AM WHO I AM": Is-ness of the Ineffable God 42 "Is-ness Itself vs. "Being Itself 45 God, the Change, and the Tao 49 Dynamics of Yin and Yang 54 Reciprocity and Transformation 55 Nondual Integration of Being and Nonbeing 58 Cosmo-anthropological Vision of Reality 63 II. JUNG YOUNG LEE'S COSMO-ANTHROPOLOGICAL TRINITARIANISM. . 70 The Characteristics of Lee's Account of the Trinity 70 Creation-centered Approach 70 Bipolar Yin-Yang Symbolism as Trinitarian Thinking 73 Familial Image of the Trinity 80 The Constitution of the Trinity 82 The Son 84 The Logos and the Tao 85 Jesus-Christ as the Connecting Principle 87 The Father 91 The Father as Heaven 92 Creatio ex nihilo 97 The Spirit 101 The Spirit asCh'i 102 v

The Spirit as Earth/Mother 106 The Universality of the Spirit and the Problem of Evil 108 Trinitarian Dynamism of Marginalization 112 God's Self-giving Creativity 113 Marginalization of the Kenotic Christ 114 Trinitarian Marginalization in Crucifixion and Resurrection 116 Lee's Trinitarian Approach to Religious Pluralism: Multiple Cosmo-functional Orders of the Trinity 119 The Father-Sprit-Son: East Asian Cosmological Paradigm 121 The Father-Son-Spirit: Creedal and Confucian Paradigm 122 The Spirit-Father-Son: Taoist Paradigm 124 The Spirit-Son-Father: Shamanistic Paradigm 124 The Son-Father-Spirit: Buddhist Paradigm 125 The Son-Spirit-Father: Contextual Paradigm 127 III. RAIMON PANIKKAR'S NONDUALIST FRAMEWORK 133 Panikkar's Epistemological Position 135 Immediate Awareness of Reality 135 Three Dimensions of Human Awareness: Logos, Mythos, and Pneuma 144 The Advaitic Intuition 149 Panikkar's Notion ofAdvaita 149 Apophatic Epistemology of Neti-Neti 154 Panikkar's Cosmotheandric Metaphysics 158 Reality as Radical Relativity 160 The Co-constitutional Unity of the Divine, the Human, and the Cosmic 163 The Divine Dimension 165 The Human Dimension 167 The Cosmic Dimension 168 IV. RAIMON PANIKKAR'S ADVAITIC TRINITARIANISM 171 The Characteristics of Panikkar's Account of the Trinity 172 Deontologization of God 173 Advaita and the Trinity as "Homeomorphic Equivalents" 175 The Constitution of the Trinity 182 The Father 182 The Father as the Absolute 182 Non-existence of the Father 183 The Son 185 The Son as the Being of the Father 185 From Christology to Christophany 190 The Christ and the Historical Jesus 192 vi

The Spirit 195 The Spirit as the Divine Immanence 195 The Spirit as the Cosmic Pillar 199 Trinitarian Dynamism of Self-immolation 203 God's Sacrificial Act of Creation 204 The Sacrifice of Creature for Redemption 207 The Kenosis of Jesus Christ 213 Panikkar's Trinitarian Approach to Religious Pluralism: One All-embracing Onto-mythical Trinity of World Religions .... 216 V. A COMPARATION BETWEEN LEE AND PANIKKAR IN APOPHATICISM, RELATIONALITY, AND DYNAMISM 227 Apophatic Dimension of the Trinity 227 The Trinity and Nonbeing 229 Apophaticism and Trinitarian Distinctions 237 Intrinsic Relationality of Reality 241 The Integration of Temporality and Eternity 242 Harmonic Correlation vs. Rhythmic Concurrence 252 Trinitarian Dynamism of Kenosis 261 Donald W. Mitchell's Analysis of Kenosis as Mutual Penetration .... 263 The Trinitarian Dynamism of Emptiness and Fullness in Lee and Panikkar 267 Nondualistic Trinitarianism and Asian Liberative Spirituality 274 The Principle of Change in Deconstructing Patriarchy 275 Liberative Dimension of Cosmic Confidence 285 Cosmic Harmony and Human Freedom 294 CONCLUSION 296 BIBLIOGRAPHY 305 vii

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS Jung Young Lee CGC "Can God Be Change Itself?" Journal of Ecumenical Studies 10 (Fall 1973): 752-770. CR Cosmic Religion. New York/San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1978. EC Embracing Change: Postmodern Interpretations of the I Chingfrom a Christian Perspective. Cranbury, NJ: University of Scranton Press & Associated University Presses, 1994. ICM The I: A Christian Concept of Man. New York: Philosophical Library Inc., 1971. IMM The I Chingand Modern Man: Essays on Metaphysical Implications of Change. Secaucus, NJ: University Books, 1974. MKMT Marginality: The Key to Multicultural Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995. PC The Principle of Changes: Understanding the I Ching. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1971. TAP The Trinity in Asian Perspective. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996 TC Theology of Change: A Christian Concept of God from an Eastern Perspective. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1979. YY "The Yin-Yang Way of Thinking: A Possible Method for Ecumenical Theology." International Review of Mission 60, no. 239 (July 1971): 363- 370. Raimon Panikkar BS Blessed Simplicity: The Monk as Universal Archetype. New York: The Seabury Press, 1982. CD Cultural Disarmament: The Way to Peace. Trans. Robert Barr. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995. CE The Cosmotheandric Experience: Emerging Religious Consciousness. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1993. viii

CFM Christophany: The Fullness of Man. Trans. Alfred DiLascia. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2004. CP "A Christophany for Our Times." Theology Digest 39 (1992): 2-21. DPW A Dwelling Place for Wisdom. Trans. Annemarie S. Kidder. Westminster: John Knox Press, 1993. EG The Experience of God: Icons of the Mystery. Trans. Joseph Cunneen. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006. IR The Intrareligious Dialogue. Revised Edition. New York: Paulist Press, 1999. IH Invisible Harmony: Essays on Contemplation and Responsibility, ed. Harry James Cargas. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995. SCD "A Self-Critical Dialogue." In The Intercultural Challenge ofRaimon Panikkar, ed. Joseph Prabhu, 227-291. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1996. SG The Silence of God: The Answer of the Buddha. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1990. TREM The Trinity and the Religious Experience of Man: Icon-Person-Mystery. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1973. UCH I The Unknown Christ of Hinduism. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1964. UCH II The Unknown Christ of Hinduism: Towards an Ecumenical Christophany. Completely Revised and Enlarged Edition. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1981. VE The Vedic Experience: Mantramanjari: An Anthology of the Vedasfor Modern Man and Contemporary Celebration. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977. WSM Worship and Secular Man: An Essay on the Liturgical Nature of Man, considering Secularization as a major phenomenon of our time and Worship as an apparent fact of all times. A study towards an integral Anthropology. Maryknoll: Orbis Books & London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1973. ix

INTRODUCTION The primary objective of this dissertation is to compare and analyze the understandings of the doctrine of the Trinity in the theologies of Jung Young Lee and Raymond Panikkar with particular reference to their respective philosophico-religious frameworks of nonduality—i.e., the East Asian "yin-yang" cosmology and the Hindu Vedantic notion of''advaita." Traditionally, the formula of "one substance, three persons (|o.ia oucia ipse; wtcooxaosi;)" has served as the orthodox statement of the doctrine of the Trinity. When the theologians in the fourth century gathered at the Council of Nicea (325) and the Council of Constantinople (381) to produce the official formula, they utilized terminology and concepts borrowed from Greek philosophy. The basic assumptions of Greek metaphysics were that "reality consists fundamentally of substances ('thing-like' something), and that it is with the concept of 'substance', therefore, that we designate most precisely that which is truly real."1 In Greek philosophy, the divine was regarded as an absolute unity, simple in its essence (substance) without characteristics of any kind, and not subject to change (immutability). Hence, the divine was unchanging, distant, and unaffected by the world that is temporal and constantly changing (impassibility). Furthermore, the divine was considered unrelational, for relationship in the deity would compromise the all-important Greek insistence on divine simplicity. Ted Peters describes the relation between the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity and Greek substantialist metaphysics as follows: 1 Gordon D. Kaufman, In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 412. 1

2 When the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed was formulated in A.D. 381 our theologians were quite confident that they could speak about the being of God. Whether speaking about the divine ousia in Greek or substantia in Latin, no one doubted that these terms referred to the divine reality itself. We can speak of God as the "very ocean of substance," Boethius would say, and acclaim God as the originating fount of all tat is substantial. To speak of the divine substance was to refer to that which exists of itself, subordinating to it all other properties, accidents, deprivations, and relations. It was Tertullian who gave us the formula: one substance in three persons {una substantia, trespersonae).2 Western trinitarianism, which had stemmed from Augustine, developed within the framework of this substantial metaphysics. As such, it paid primary attention to the simplicity of the being of God and then sought to fit the three persons into that framework. The oneness of God was thus regarded as having an ontological priority over the three divine persons. In contrast, the Cappadocian theologians in the fourth century, i.e., Basil the Great (ca. 330-ca. 379), his friend Gregory of Nazianzus (ca. 330-ca. 390), and Basil's brother Gregory of Nyssa (ca. 331-ca. 396), challenged the views of Greek substantialist philosophy by developing the idea of the perichoresis of the three persons of the Trinity in order to replace the notion of God as simple substance with a much more relational conception. In fact, they found themselves defending the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed against Arianism, which believed in the subordination of the Son to the Father. Because they began their thinking of God with God's redemptive acts in the economy Ted Peters, God as Trinity: Relationality and Temporality in Divine Life (Westminster: John Knox Press, 1993), 31. The Cappadocian theologians employed the concept of perichoresis to signify the mutual inter-animation and dynamic reciprocity of the divine persons. The first Father to employ the term perichoresis in a theological sense was Gregory of Nazianzus, when speaking of the titles of Christ with regard to his humanity and divinity. He never used the term to refer to the mutual indwelling of the three persons in one another. The first author to apply the term perichoresis in a Trinitarian sense was Pseudo-Cyril. John Damascene later gave official approbation to the trinitarian use of the term. See Daniel F. Stramara Jr., "Gregory of Nyssa's Terminology for Trinitarian Perichoresis," Vigiliae Christianae 52, no. 3 (Aug. 1998): 257-258.

3 (oikonomia) of salvation as revealed in the incarnate Son and the gift of the Spirit, the Cappadocians found it necessary to explain the nature of the Father-Son relationship.4 In articulating the eternal intimate relationship between the Father and the Son, they gave ontological primacy to divine personhood over divine essence. Gordon D. Kaufmann describes the importance of the notion of divine personhood in trinitarian discourse as follows: [0]n the one hand, the "persons" of the trinity are so involved with one another, so relationally interconnected in their very being, that it is simply not possible to conceive them as independent substances who have their being or can act in any way independently of the others (una substantia, tres personae); on the other hand, the "one substance" that God is thought to be is precisely this exceedingly complex interpenetrative activity/being of the three "persons," a conception far removed from the simple oneness or unity which "substance" had previously designated.5 Yet, for the Greek-speaking thinkers ousia and hypostasis were philosophically synonyms. The term ousia designated the common substance of each particular as well as a particular subsistence, and the term hypostasis, which meant literally substance, was used as equivalent to the Latin persona to designate the individual members of the Trinity. Thus, the distinction between ousia and hypostasis remained obscure. Then, being aware of the possibility of creating confusion, Eastern trinitarianism stressed that what is common to the three trinitarian persons and what is distinctive between them lay beyond human comprehension and is therefore mysterious. As Gregory of Nazianzus stated: It is difficult to conceive God but to define him in words is an impossibility.... In my opinion it is impossible to express him, and yet more impossible to Catherine Mowry Lacugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991), 60ff. 5 Kaufman, 412. 6 Christopher Stead, Divine Substance (Oxford: Charendon Press, 1977), 160-161.

4 conceive him ... and this, not merely to the utterly careless and ignorant, but even to those who are highly exalted and who love God, and in like manner to every created nature.7 At any rate, the teaching of the Trinity in the Eastern Church seemed to verge precariously toward tri-theism in the eyes of the Western Church. Hence, a schism developed between the Eastern and Western Churches in their respective understandings of the Trinity: in the West God was understood primarily in terms of one divine essence; in the East the tri-personality of God was understood as the primary fact of the Christian experience of salvation. Alluding to the Eastern Church's emphasis on the three hypostases, Paul Tillich addresses the following problem: The idea of three hypostaseis, the three different personae, could lead to tri- theism. This danger became much more fully real when the philosophy of Aristotle replaced that of Plato. Plato's philosophy was always the background of mystical realism in the Middle Ages. In this philosophy the universals are more real than their individual exemplars. But in Aristotle the matter is quite different. Aristotle called the individual thing the telos, the inner aim, of all natural development. If this is the case, the three powers of being in God become three independent realities, or more exactly, the three manifestations of God become independent powers of being, become independent persons. Those who are nominalists by education have a great difficulty in understanding the trinitarian Gregory of Nazianzus, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and Philip Schaff, vol. 7 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publisher, 1994), 289. I am aware that many of the materials cited in this dissertation are employing gender-exclusive language when the use of inclusive language is obviously appropriate. While I myself will avoid exclusive male language in my own writing, I will leave intact in direct quotations the gender renderings of the original texts, rather than indicating the inappropriateness of gender-exclusive pronouns by inserting "sic" wherever they are used, only for the purpose of smooth reading, despite that such renderings can affect the reading of texts and the understanding of symbols, whether of the divine or of the human.

5 dogma. For nominalism everything which is must be a definite thing, limited and separated from all other things.8 As Tillich insinuates in the above statement, the doctrine of the Trinity today is called into question with regard to the concept of person, when viewed from the modern point of view that understands a person to be a unique individual who is a self-initiating and self-determining subject. Each person is regarded as a distinct subjectivity and, therefore, independent of other persons and things. If the modern understanding of person is to be applied to the trinitarian formula, we cannot avoid positing three distinct subjectivities only accidentally tied together, which would constitute a form of tri-theism. On the other hand, if we follow the Western Church's trinitarianism's approach to God from the perspective of oneness rather than threeness, the question arises as to "How is it possible to understand God, who is the simple and indivisible ultimate substance, as incarnate and actually present to and within every created being, as the doctrine of the Trinity had originally purported to describe?" Because of all these theoretical difficulties surrounding the conception of God as Trinity traditional dogmatic theologies have typically sidetracked us by asserting that the doctrine of the Trinity is absolutely incomprehensible to the human mind, that human reason cannot conceive God's being as simultaneously threeness and oneness.9 Indeed it is hardly surprising that many people see the idea of the Trinity as "unintelligible hocus-pocus, in which it is supposed that somehow in God 3 = 1 and 1 = 3."10 Because the doctrine of the Trinity is allegedly impossible to comprehend by means of human reason, it is customarily designated as a Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought: From Its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism, ed. Carl E. Braaten (New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1967), 78. 9 Peters, 16. Kaufman, 413.

6 "mystery," which only the people of 'Christian' faith are able to appreciate. But ironically, because the Trinity is a mystery, the great majority of people who faithfully hold to the doctrine believe that all it means is simply that there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the "mystery" of the Trinity has become the central doctrine of Christian faith. Consequently, as John Cobb criticizes, the doctrine of the Trinity has been used more "as a test of orthodoxy than as a way of clarifying and advancing the good news of Jesus Christ."11 At this point, I agree with Peters that while ultimately the reality of God is mysterious, the doctrine of the Trinity is, like other doctrines, "the analytic and synthetic construction of evangelical explication for the purpose of bringing faith to understanding, for the purpose of explaining the significance of what happened in the Christ event."12 As such, the doctrine of the Trinity purports to clarify the trinitarian form of divine reality. Here, the best initial way to understand the trinitarian form of divine reality seems to be to break with the substantialistic assumptions of Greek metaphysics.13 And, as Peters 11 John Cobb, "Response to Ted Peters," Dialog 30, no. 3 (Summer 1991): 243- 244. 12 Peters, 17. Whitehead points out that what we usually think of as "enduring things" cannot be metaphysically proven. As he writes: The simple notion of an enduring substance sustaining persistent qualities, either essentially or accidentally, expresses a useful abstract for many purposes of life. But whenever we try to use it as a fundamental statement of the nature of things, it proves itself mistaken. It arose from a mistake and has never succeeded in any of its applications. But it has had one success: it has entrenched itself in language, in Aristotelian logic, and in metaphysics. For its employment in language and logic there is a sound defense, but in metaphysics the concept is sheer error (Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality. An Essay in Cosmology, corrected edition, ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne [New York: The Free Press, 1978], 70).

insists, the key element in the attempt to modify substantialist metaphysics seems to be "the affirmation of the principle of relationality."14 Unlike Western substantialistic metaphysics, many Asian philosophical systems make epistemological and metaphysical claims on the basis of intrinsic relationality of things and events. The notions of yin-yang relation in Taoism and Confucianism, advaita (nonduality) in Advaitic Hinduism, and pratitysamutpada (co-origination) in Buddhism provide conceptual schemes in which existent realities are thought of as interrelated or interconnected. The reason why Lee and Panikkar engage in the doctrine of the Trinity from perspectives different from classical ones is that they believe that Asian thoughts, particularly nondualist traditions, are more congruent with Christian trinitarian insight than Greek substantialistic conceptuality that did much to shape philosophy and religion in the West. In this study we will see how Lee and Panikkar move toward a relational paradigm. Lee derives from the traditional yin-yang cosmology of East Asia a trinitarian structure consisting of yin and yang and its relational, connecting principle of "in-ness," namely yin "in" yang and yang "in" yin. Lee argues using the "both/and" logic of yin- yang thinking: "The Father and the Son are one in their "inness," but also at the same time, they are three because 'in' represents the Spirit, the inner connecting principle which cannot exist by itself."15 Lee also employs the cosmology of the / Ching (J?!S: the Book of Changes) to illustrate dynamic cosmic relationships between the three members of the Trinity in terms of yin-yang relations, and posits the Tao as their ultimate origin 14 Peters, 34. 15 TAP, 58.

and the Change (7: H) as the Tact's immanent nature. By contrast, Panikkar utilizes the nondualism rooted in Advaitic Hinduism and establishes a "cosmotheandric" vision of reality in which "God," "the human," and "the world" are integrated. In regard to the constitution of the Trinity Panikkar argues using the "neither/nor"—"neti, neti"—logic ofadvaita: "If the Father and the Son are not two, 1 7 they are not one either: the Spirit both unites and distinguishes them." In his trinitarian account, Panikkar identifies the Father of the Trinity with the absolute transcendence of the divine (the apophatic dimension), the Son with its manifestation (the personalistic dimension), and the Spirit with the communion of Father and Son as well as the divine's presence in the world (the immanent dimension). Despite their differences, both Lee and Panikkar consider that the doctrine of the Trinity formulated in a nondualistic way illumines not only the structure of the Trinity but also that of the world and of personhood: all reality including the divine reality reveals a trinitarian structure. Therefore, the doctrine of the Trinity must inform every speculation on God, the world, and the person, which requires overcoming the ontological dichotomy between being and nonbeing, the metaphysical dichotomy between subsistence and transformation, and the theological dichotomy between the Infinite and the finite without subordinating or assimilating one to the other. This study It should be noted that there is no distinction between singular and plural in the Chinese character H (I). So Jl can be translated into English as "change" or "changes." In Lee's East Asian trinitarian account, H is also used in an absolute sense to refer to the divine reality that is revealed or known—namely, the manifestation of the ineffable Tao. In this study I will use "change" or "changes" when pointing to a concrete event or stage of transformation and its plural, and "the Change" when referring to the divine reality as experienced in the process of change. As we shall see shortly, Lee equates the Change with the Trinity. TREM, 42.

9 will examine the ways in which Lee and Panikkar unfold within their respective trinitarian accounts nondualistic visions in terms of the natures and roles of the three trinitarian members. According to David Loy, philosophical differences among Asian nondual systems, including Advaita Vedanta, Mahayana Buddhism, and philosophic Taoism, reflect different ways of expressing the common nondual experience. He argues that the nondual experience is phenomenologically the same but is expressed differently because of different metaphysical orientations. This may explain why, despite the difference in their philosophical frameworks of nonduality, Lee's and Panikkar's trinitarian accounts show a surprising degree of similarity in some important issues. However, if Loy's argument is correct, what this dissertation aims is not so much to synthesize Lee's and Panikkar's nondualistic trinitarian thoughts into a uniformed formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity for Asian minds on the basis of the same nondual experience, but rather to see clear features of Lee's and Panikkar's Asian trinitarian perspectives and clarify differences and similarities between them for further elaboration of the doctrine of the Trinity in the Asian context. Fundamentally, this dissertation is designed to achieve two goals, each of which relates to the contemporary debate among Christian theologians in regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. The first goal is to provide a proper orientation to Lee's and Panikkar's David Loy says that there are at least five nondualities in the systems of Asian thought: (1) thinking that does not employ dualistic concepts, (2) the non-plurality of what seems to be discrete objects causally interacting in space and time, (3) the nondifference of subject and object, (4) the identity of phenomena and Absolute or "the nonduality of duality and nonduality and (5) the possibility of mystical unity between God and the human (theological nondualism). Loy's assertion is that all these systems refer to the same nondual experience. See David Loy, Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy [Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, Inc., 1997, 17.

10 non-Western nondualistic interpretations of the doctrine of the Trinity. Chapters One and Two of this dissertation examine Lee's yin-yang conceptual framework and his works on the doctrine of the Trinity from the East Asian cosmo-anthropological perspective. Then, Chapters Three and Four seek to offer an in-depth exposition of Panikkar's cosmotheandric vision of reality followed by an exploration of his advaitic trinitarianism. Historical and analytical approaches will serve as the primary methodology for the exploration of Lee's and Panikkar's use of their respective nondualist traditions and their own accounts of the Trinity. The second goal is to critically analyze the trinitarian perspectives of Lee and Panikkar by employing the comparative categories of "apophaticism," "relationality," and "dynamism." Indeed, Lee and Panikkar have a strong sense of the primarily transcendent, apophatic nature of God. At the same time, they have a problem with the notion of God and the person as an independent substance. In fact, the most suggestive aspect of the Asian nondualistic way of thinking has to do with the relational features of all reality, including the divine reality.19 However, apophaticism and relationality per se are not able to explain sufficiently the nature of the trinitarian reality of God. For Lee and Panikkar, the trinitarian relations ad intra and ad extra are not static but always dynamic. Thus, Here the term "divine reality" does not necessarily refer to a personal deity. Wolfhart Pannenberg argues that Christianity must presuppose a general idea of God as identifying the subject to which it ascribes various attributes on the basis of God's action. For Pannenberg, the minimal condition for the concept of God is God's eternity and infinity as opposed to the temporality and finitude of the world. "However, Pannenberg goes on to assert that this minimal concept of God "is not identical with the essence of God which reveals itself in his historical acts" (Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991], 394). It seems that for Pannenberg the relational character of the trinitarian persons belongs to the realm of special revelation. But it is a persistent contention of Lee and Panikkar that relationality is one of the fundamental characters of all reality including the divine reality.

Full document contains 338 pages
Abstract: This dissertation explores the Asian ways of understanding the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as presented by Jung Young Lee and Raymond Panikkar, who have established their respective trinitarian perspectives by means of Asian nondualist frameworks--namely, the East Asian " yin-yang " conceptuality and the Hindu Vedantic notion of advaita . Lee claims that yin-yang thinking is the fundamental cognitive structure of peoples of East Asia. From within the framework of yin-yang cosmology found in the I Ching , the Book of Change, Lee derives a triadic structure consisting of yin and yang , and the connecting principle of "in-ness," and applies it to the trinitarian relationships between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Thus, for example, the Father and the Son are one in their "inness," but also at the same time they are three because "in" represents the Spirit, the inner connecting principle which cannot exist by itself. Lee's "cosmo-anthropological" vision manifests that humanity and the universe are in the same cosmic process of change, which is infinitely bounded by the Tao , the Ultimate. Panikkar utilizes the Vedantic notion of advaita to argue that the Father and the Son of the Trinity are neither one nor two because the Spirit unites and distinguishes them. In doing so, Panikkar identifies the Father with the absolute transcendence of the Divine, and the Son with its manifestation, i.e., the Father's Being, and the Spirit with the communion of the Father and the Son, as well as the Divine's immanence in the world. Panikkar's "cosmotheandric" metaphysics suggests that reality is constituted by three irreducible dimensions of the divine, the human, and the cosmic. By virtue of "radical relativity" of these three dimensions reality is fundamentally open to transcendence at every moment. This study seeks to show that "apophaticism," "relationality," and "dynamism" are essential elements for understanding the Trinity from Asian nondualist perspectives. Lee and Panikkar have a strong sense of the primarily apophatic nature of God. They have a problem with the notion of God and the person as an independent substance. Moreover, according to Lee and Panikkar, the trinitarian relations ad intra and ad extra are not static but always dynamic. For the two Asian thinkers, it is the dynamism of kenosis that makes possible the conception of God as Trinity, i.e., the unity-in-diversity.