This paper will be an attempt to re-think and re-read the New Testament, as the foundational text of Christianity, and hence the Western religious and philosophical tradition, towards opening a space for a full dialogue between the Western and Eastern traditions and their Canons. I will offer a reading of some of the important and often quoted and reflected upon passages of the New Testament that will be read along with contemporary and ancient philosophers and concepts of the Eastern tradition. I will also draw from the conceptual tools of Western thinkers who resonate with the Eastern thinkers in order to draw this project out. This move will be an important one as the philosophical traditions emerging from the East and West are drawing ever closer. Similarly, in Western popular culture Christianity is being read alongside Eastern religious and philosophical traditions from the East. In order for there to be full dialogue the very foundations of these traditions must be re-thought in lieu of this coming conversation. We will be attempting to find traces in the most Canonical text of the Western Canon of the possibility of this dialogue.

I would like to begin with Nishida's characterization of God in An Inquiry Into The Good. Nishida characterizes God as the unifier of the universe, the base of reality and declares that "because God is no-thing, there is no place where God is not, and no place where God does not function". It should not be thought however that Nishida's God is absolute nothingness, or simply absolute nothingness. If God is simply thought to be nothingness, that is, wholly absent or a void then we are missing the activity of God as unifier and base of reality. In order to understand this we have to consider that in being absolute nothingness, God must negate its being absolute nothingness, God must be absolute nothingness by way of not being it. This negation of its being absolute nothingness is the reason that the double negations in the lines from Nishida above equate to God being everywhere, in all things. God is every-thing, and yet nothing. God as absolute nothingness, is the activity of, and the in between of nothingness and Being, and thus the generative force of both. Absolute nothingness is generative, because absolute nothingness negates itself.

This of course, is a radical departure from God as traditionally thought in the West, for in Nishida there is no Cartesian God, that is a God that is self-founding, (rather this God is always self-negating), willing, judging or a God that possesses the symptoms of possessing an ego. This God, however can be found, in the New Testament. "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John1:1). The word "Word" is the English translation of Logos. The problem of understanding God as Logos was one of the primary problems in attempting to explain God in the early church. It is Heidegger, that provides us with a clue. In Being and Time, Logos is what makes present that which is being talked about in its being talked about. Logos is the presencing of presences. This perhaps is what leads Heidegger to say that 'language is the house of being'. God, as we have said with Nishida, is not Being nor beings in its entirety. It would be a mistake as well to think that the opening verse of the Book of John implies that God is merely the making present of things. For although the Word was God, God is also with the Word. God is Logos and yet, not just Logos. The ontological structure of God is that of not being the word but being only in being-together-with the word. This is the Kyoto school's central critique of Heidegger, that Heidegger focused too much on Being, to the neglect of nothingness, and as such God is not merely presence, nor the presencing of presences. To go further, I consult Derrida. In Difference, Derrida tells us that a text is never identical with itself. Things come to mean what they do in lieu of their differentiation from other things and their defferal to other things. That is, it is through absences that presences come to be present, and that presences can never be fully present (for they are continually differing and deffering). Thus if Logos is that which makes things present, it is Difference (with an 'a') which makes Logos present and at the same time that Logos 'lets something be seen, namely, what is being talked about', that thing is never fully its being talked about nor its being made present in its being talked about. I think Nishida, with his characterization of God in mind, would critique Derrida by saying that these incomplete presences are what makes present absence. That the defferal and differentiation is mutually co-constitutive with presences. There can be no deffering nor differing in absolute absence, until that absence makes itself absent through presences.

This brings us back to God. For it is in this sense that God is both Logos and with Logos. God is both the making manifest of things and the making manifest of the absences (spatial and temporal) that makes Logos itself manifest. God is both Logos and with Logos because God, as absolute nothingness, is the activity of negation, including the negation of absolute nothingness, inherent to absolute nothingness, and is never identical with itself. Although this path of has taken several turns we can now see the resonances between the God of John and the God of Nishida.

The problem now arises of how we are to understand the figure of Christ, given the exegesis of God that we have come to. What does it mean that Christ is the Son of God? How are we to understand that? In the Western tradition Christ is considered to be the way to the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven. Christ, in the reading given by Western metaphysics, is the mediator between this world and the next, a world beyond this world. Christ functions as this mediator through his being the Son of God, that we can only reach God and Heaven because Jesus was crucified for our salvation. What I will attempt to show is how it was not through the sacrifice of Christ that our salvation was paid for, it is not even a question of our salvation being paid for at the expense of another. Our salvation is in our following of Christ, not as THE Son of God, but of the example of the way to God, to the absolute nothingness that negates its being absolute nothingness and thus is also Being(s). Christ is the Son of God, but this term is not an exclusive one, that is, one can become the Son of God as well.

The key for our understanding of Christ, is the same as Nietzsche's, that is that "The Kingdom of Heaven is in you". In Luke17:20-21 Christ says "The Kingdom of Heaven is not coming with striking observableness, neither will people be saying, 'See here!' or 'There'! For, look! The kingdom of heaven is in you!" Here heaven is neither here nor there, nor will it come in a way that is distinctly visible. In its being neither here nor there, it is not a place that might one might travel to, that is, it is not geographically nor cosmologically locatable. The Kingdom of heaven is in you, it is not a matter of going to or getting into, it is a matter of introspectively going back to. But what is it that is being returned to, what is heaven? We will stay here with the common use of the term heaven, that is, to be in heaven is to be with God. Heaven as the place where God is to be found (thus it may not be that important that God and Heaven in Luke 17:20-21 are exchanged for each other- to be in heaven is to be with God). Heaven, as the place where God resides, is now something internal, rather than external, similarly, God is neither above nor below, but in everything, residing in heaven. To be in the state of heaven is to be-with-God. It is the ex-posure of oneself to God, absolute nothingness, through an inward movement. To therefore insist on a Heaven outside and beyond this world, in another world, would be like looking for the Tao as if it were a place or an object or a measurable energy, for just like Heaven, 'the Tao flows through all things.' If the Kingdom of Heaven, and the workings of God are to be located 'in' us, then we have to re-think the meaning of Christ. For Christ cannot simply be the mediator between this life and the next, but he is the demonstrator of a powerful method, in which the self is divested of itself, in order that the self might return to heaven. (Luke 9:24, 'whoever would save his life would lose it, and whoever loses it for my sake will save it'). It is only in the reading that posits heaven as another world beyond this one, that Christ as the Son of God, the only Son of God comes to be, for if we take heaven to be in us then Christ is now a mentor teaching a spiritual practice of attaining heaven in this world. The resonances with the East now are becoming much clearer, with the emphasis put on an internal transformative process that transforms the world into the kingdom of heaven through a dissolution of subject and object.

This however, is not enough to warrant a characterization of Christ that does not read him as being the one and only Son of God. I will continue with two quotes from Christ, the first is from John 6:63, "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" and Mathew 10:34-35, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother." Given these two quotes we begin the relationship with God that Christ has in our reading of him, in lieu also of John 10:38 "Know that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father; I and the Father are one." Jesus isn't the Son of God, that is that God begot him in the way that we normally conceive of fathering a son. Jesus is not the Son of God as a fact of his existence, but as a consequence of the manner in which he exists. In the first quote there can be heard a strict phenomenalism that is in accordance with many Eastern traditions, that in many ways is the fundamental ontological axis of those traditions. That is that flesh, which is often characterized as the site of suffering, is not meaningful, valuable in and of itself, but it is the meaning and value of things that possess meaning and value. Thus it is his words that are spirit and life, for Logos is what lets things be seen in their being talked about. These words which bring forth a spirit which gives life, do so because his teaching is a way towards values and meaning, and taking the world for both what it 'factually' is, a manifold of negations negating themselves infinitely which produce being(s), and what is 'true' (not necessarily 'objectively'), the true world now being the world of spirit. The true world is now the subjective one.

Let us here turn to the second of the three quotes I cited above for a further account of this. Jesus claims to be a sword that will set a man against his father. Certainly Christ, as the Son of God, does not mean that he is to go against his father, and notice that father in the quote cited from Matthew isn't capitalized indicating a difference from 'Father'. What is going on here is Christ is attempting to give us a teaching that dissolves the authority of one's biological genesis. He instead becomes the Son of God, begotten not by a figure which we could consider to be authoritative and a totalizing impulse of an identity, but the result of God. In other words, one's biological make-up one's 'factual' existence and the burden it carries with are to be cast off. Christ is the Son of God in his practices, he is the result of the movement and activity of God, not only in his biological birth but in his doing and saying. His doing and saying carries God with it, is with-God. The relationship of father and son is not stabilized by the event of one's birth. As it is an accidental event, the event of one's biological birth is meaningless on its own. We take up our relationships to the world; our lives are matters of values and meanings determined through practice, discipline and transcendence of haphazard interpretations that forget themselves in a matter that leads them to be considered 'facts'. One is not restricted to the 'in-itself', the 'in-itself' is not even 'in-itself'. For God is working within these things, and God is never identical with itself. The 'in-itself' is always something else as well. The Yin Yang serves to remind us that darkness is not merely the absence of light, as if that factual description said nothing more than what was denotative, for here darkness is seen as the deficiency in the distribution of light, and yet that 'deficiency' does not declare itself as deficiency, for if we were still inclined to say that darkness is the absence of light, we must also say that it is the right amount of absence for light to be light at all. To be in the Father, and to have the Father in you, to be one with the Father is to be able to see the workings of God in all things, that is to see God as the activity of a manifold of negations, as self-negating, an infinite number of times over, folding its nothingness over on itself infinitely in each moment, which brings identities to the threshold of their identity and beyond their identity. A process occurring internally to those objects as manifestations of a flow.

Thus in Matthew 19:26 "With God all things are possible". The identification of things with themselves is what produces limits, With God things are no longer things but possibilities which leave open their possibility of being things in an other-wise manner. Brought out as immanent Being, things merely are what they are, they become stabilized and forced against the Tao, against God, 'Force is followed by loss of strength and is not the way of the Tao'. The act of forcing limitations on things through the establishment of factual necessary determinants (the relationship between father and son) is the forgetting of God for God is always in the process of re-determining things. Christ is the Son of God, not as the implication of the particularities of a birth, for a birth is always given birth to afterwards, but as a way of living. A way of living which is not particular to Christ himself. Thus Christ is not God become flesh, all things are always already God become flesh, Christ is the transcendence of the flesh, the refusal to take the fact of pain and suffering as determination of a value. His death on the cross, was an example of the unusual case where the death of the martyr does give weight to the cause, for the death on the cross was the limit situation, as expressed as the proof that even the injustice of one's death cannot on its own determine its own value. In realizing that, one gains access to spirit, the ephemeral, the realm of meaning and value and to the ability to create value and meaning.

Finally, In John14:6 we have Christ saying that he is 'the way, the truth, the life'. It is one of the most popular sayings of Christ. However, its popular interpretation is to take the commas as performing the function of 'ands', Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. I think though that what Christ is saying, based on what we have said above is that he is the way-the-truth-the-life. 'Way', 'truth', 'life' are descriptions of the same process. In this sense, truth is never valuable as a destination, nor is it ever arrived at, truth is always arriving on the way, with the way (that is why it doesn't matter if the answers to Ko-an's get published). Truth, life, and way interpenetrate each other, one knows by one's living, the manner of the way produces a manner of truth. That is why the Buddha tells us that he is lying to us, because in order for his truth to be ours we must engage in a practice , in a way of living that accomodates this truth. Thus one must have faith in order to believe. Truth is always a way of truth, and truth (as way of truth) is living, only truth as Truth is the death of Truth. For when truth becomes Truth, what it is that is to be true is negated and annihilated as the manifestation of the activity of God, the penultimate activity. Totalization and finalization occur only as death. Thus in every impulse to a final solution, there is the will to death, the act of violence. If Christ tells us to turn the other cheek in response to an act of violence, it is to renounce the act of violence as a once and for all. Rather than posit the violence as bad in itself, one turns the other cheek, one shows one's healthy cheek. The turning of the other cheek is the turning away of the bruised cheek. The turning of the other cheek is the resistance of the totalizing impulse. In every act of violence, there is the second act of violence when one becomes victim and objectifies the act of violence. The concept of God is not a totality, because it is never totally anything, it is never totally nothing that is the condition of absolute nothingness. Thus Christ in leading us to God, is leading us against the deification of facticity, is leading us to the transcendence of Being and beings. This is how Christ in John 16:33 can declare that he has overcome the world. Thus, we have arrived at a figure of Christ which is strikingly different from the Christ that the West is accustomed to. It is a figure much more akin to the traditions and faiths of the east, both in its contemporary and ancient manifestations.