There is no god and he is always with you, may sound like a typically enigmatic Zen quote, the kind of answer couched within a riddle that makes you roll your eyes and toss up your hands. But in his new book, Brad Warner makes the compelling argument that that quote quite succinctly and perfectly presents the Buddhist approach to the concept of God. Your precise idea of God, he says, whether a He, She, or It, does not exist. Cannot exist. It is an image created in your mind. It doesn't matter if it's the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God or a bright, amorphous being, or a purple-skinned Indian youth. But something spiritual exists, "something powerful and ineffable that is the ground of all being and nonbeing." Something that could be called God?
Brad Warner is a Soto Zen priest, punk rock bass guitarist and the bestselling author of Hard Core Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up, and Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate. He lives in Los Angeles.
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