Talk:Transcendence (religion)

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Transcendent God or Immanent G-D[edit]

<Commenting on Transcendence (religion)In religion, transcendence is the concept that God can be either close to you or very separate from you, because he is perfect and beyond all things human.>

From The Teaching Company's Tapes; "Philosophy of Religion"; by Professor James H. Hall; Lecture 26—Symmetrical and Reciprocal Relations: Immanent G-D or Transcendent God:

I. The general characteristics of relevance determine its use in everyday contexts.
A. Relevance and irrelevance are two-place, symmetrical, and reciprocal relations.
1. If X is relevant to Y, then Y is relevant to X
{If G-D is relevant to Man, then Man is relevant to G-D. Indwelling, Immanent G-D}
2. If Y is not relevant to X, then X is not relevant to Y.
{If Man is not relevant to God, then God is not relevant to Man. Anthropomorphic, Transcendent God} {See Notes 1 & 2.}

Transcendence of Otherness[edit]

<Commenting on Transcendence (religion)In religion, transcendence is the concept that God can be either close to you or very separate from you, because he is perfect and beyond all things human.>

From The Teaching Company's Tapes; "Philosophy of Religion"; by Professor James H. Hall; Lecture 27—Transcendence of Otherness

4C. Transcendence3 is the "transcendence of otherness." The only place in which this is commonly said to be exemplified is in the "great gulf(s) fixed" between humans and God or between bodies and minds.

1. Here, "transcendent" means about the same thing as having absolutely nothing in common with. On the religious front, it is clearest in the medieval notion that humans are not in a position to say anything about God because of God's total "otherness."
2. Here, the relationship is strictly symmetrical. If X is totally other to Y, then Y is totally other to X. If God is radically other to us, then we are radically other to God. The same disconnect (but between appearance and reality rather than between men and God) occurs in Plato's theory of the Forms.
3. There is strong ambivalence throughout the monotheistic community over God's transcendence and immanence.

Yesselman 02:02, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Adding other religions[edit]

I'm uncertain how my changes will be taken by Yesselman. When I came across the Transcendence (religion) page I realized it needed and still needs much work. Work done by diverse wikepedians would be most beneficial to this page. I thought it was errie that in an article stating the definition of Transcendence (Religion) is "...the concept that God can be either close to you or very separate from you, because he is perfect and beyond all things human" there was no mention of religions(there are many) claming to be following a god who became human. Is it not pertinent that when discussing the transcendence of a deity that and while its transcendence by its separateness from "anything human" to mention at least a couple of these faiths?

I am well aware that my changes have not even closely perfected this article, but it appears to me that at least this article is headed in a more substantial direction.

Something else that I find disturbing: there is no discussion of this article?! I suppose if we prescribe to the Teaching Company we don't need any discussion, Yesselman?

If I'm in error, someone please let me know.

Anastacius 03:30 April 01, 2006

It is not safe assume that the state you discovered the article in, was considered acceptable by other editors. If you check the article history, you will see that there was a paragraph on Christianity that was removed by an editor last month. This sort of thing happens regularly, because anyone can freely edit an article. To guard against this, you can add the articles you are interested in to your watchlist. Then any changes will be evident to you without the need to visit the page, and if it has been vandalized, you can easily restore the previous version from the page history. --Blainster 23:00, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Conflicting beliefs[edit]

Anastacius, adding information about the beliefs of different religions concerning transcendence is commendable. But you included information not related directly to the subject which appears to be emphasizing contrasts between religions, rather than focusing on each one's belief about transcendence. This is likely to provoke conflict rather than clarifying the subject of transcendence. --Blainster 23:00, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm glad you have added what you have. I see also that you have taken my little tidbit on the Nation of Islam off, and I think I understand why, however one cannot dismiss the fact if a religion believes that God transcends anything human, yet it also believes God became a HUMAN, it is relevant to note in this article. The real problem, I believe, is that this article is way too short and is in its infancy. Another problem is that we are way too worried about offending someone. Lets not forget what this article is about: transcendence relating to RELIGION! This is not an article on transcendence (philosophy). No matter how objective we are and neutral we remain, someone's gonna get offended.

Transcendence (Religion): Transcendence (God); Transcendence (Man)[edit]

Because of a recent change to the article I am wondering (is anyone else) whether there should be seperate articles concerning transcendence relating to man and transcendence relating to deity. Does anyone think this is viable or should, in the development of this article, there be two discussions as how transcendence would relate to a religion's deity and transcendence in relation to the deity's followers? Any thoughts?

In the mean time I will begin working on an article that will contain both, however they will be seperated somehow. The reason is: in most religions, particularly monotheistic religions, there is a definate difference between the transcendence of this deity and the transcendence that the followers will achieve.

I am aware that in some faiths, such as many sects in Budhism, there is no division and this should be noted also. Any thoughts??-Anastacius

First paragraph unclear/difficult to read[edit]

"It is affirmed in some way of the divine in most major religious traditions, and is opposed to the notion of a God, or an Absolute, as existing only in the physical order and not beyond it (immanentism), or as being somehow, in the final analysis, indistinguishable from it (pantheism)."

I can't get my head round that sentence. It might just be me but it's utterly illegible and the original meaning is hard to decipher. Hopefully someone might be able to clear it up for me and others. Particularly what "some way of the divine" means. 10:52, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Good point. We will try to clear it up. --Blainster 11:44, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Sounds much better now. :-) Gouranga(UK) 14:39, 2 May 2007 (UTC)


In the various forms of BuddhismTheravada, Mahayana (especially Pure Land and Zen) and Vajrayana — the notion of transcendence is of more difficult application. Except for Pure Land and Vajrayana (where a certain return to Hindu-like personifications of the spiritual world is countenanced), the role played by transcendent beings is minimal and at most a temporary expedient. However, Buddhists do believe that Nirvana is an eternal, transcendental state, so Nirvana is the main concept of transcendence in Buddhism.

This entire paragraph is highly suspect and, for many traditions (including the Tibetan Madhyamaka and Tibetan Vajrayana of the Gelugpas) unfounded, at least in part. The identification of Nirvana as transcendent is problematic for all traditions - in that transcendence generally is referring to a state of being, whereas Nirvana refers to a state of unbeing - it is a cessation rather than a product; moreover, within the Madhyamaka tradition, everything is essenceless, including Nirvana. I guess the closest thing that one may identify as being truly transcendent in Buddhism could be Dharmakaya - but as to whether or not Dharmakaya is transcendent, I believe that Buddhist scholars have remained silent. Western scholars say all sorts of things, no doubt; they have a tendancy to promote their own individual interpretations.

The other possibility of transcendence could be found in the formless realms - which represent a place where there is no form; but there isn't very much going on there, and it is hardly central to Buddhist practice - being merely a state of rebirth within samsara.

So basically, the paragraph as was needed citations, and it needs to qualify it's claims more carefully. Until then, submitted an alternative paragraph which is clearly sourced to early Sutra and which should be far less controversial for Buddhism. (20040302 (talk) 10:56, 1 February 2010 (UTC))

9. Old paragraph on Buddhism was fine[edit]

First, it has been generally stated in virtually every tradition sect that Nirvana (as well as the three bodies doctrine) was the ineffable antithesis of Samsara (the realm of change, birth, death and rebirth), which automatically equals it with transcendence. Second, transcendence is actually not generally stated to be a state of being but, in fact, beyond both being and non-being, which the pali canon stated nirvana was (see the wikipedia articles on nirvana, negative theology, and tathagata for more details). And finally, Arupajhana was not considered the outcome of transcendence nor a "formless existence" according to the pail canon and other sramana teachings, both just another finite realm of rebirth in samara. So basically, the old paragraph was fine.

Severking 1:00, feb 16 2010 (UTC)

Okay, these are interesting views, but you need to demonstrate them with citation from reliable sources, because the original paragraph appears to be a large string of WP:OR. Within the four noble truths, Samsara is a cessation of suffering. Cessations are permanent because they are not products - they are absences. The nature (mahayana: svabhava) of cessations is that they are absent of inherent existence (see Nagarjuna's MMK) - but Nirvana itself is the (permanent and complete) freedom from suffering. The debates regarding Nirvana regarding whether or not consciousness is extinguished are not relevant here: the fact is that Nirvana itself is the cessation of suffering. "Nibbāna" means "blowing out" — that is, blowing out the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion.[1]
If we look at the opening definition of transcendence in the article, we read In religion, transcendence is a condition or state of being that surpasses physical existence and in one form is also independent of it. This is exactly what the Arupajhana represent.
Lastly, do NOT revert without discussion. It is vandalism. (20040302 (talk) 11:17, 16 February 2010 (UTC))

10. The section on Christianity is not written from a NPOV.[edit]

The Christianity section of this page reads like an advertisement for Christianity. Note out-of-place sentences like "For if He be for me, who can be against me?" This is not for preaching. This should be brought more in line with the other sections asap. Hierophantasmagoria (talk) 05:34, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Hierophantasmagoria. The writing may be appropriate for intra-Christian writings, but it's not written well for an encyclopedia. Moreover, the entire section on Christianity doesn't appear to address the human notion of transcendence: "A trance-like condition or state of being that surpasses physical existence and in one form is also independent of it.", and I'm not sure if it addresses the divine notion of transcendence, because I don't understand it. (20040302 (talk) 09:02, 1 June 2011 (UTC))

11. Neutrality in the Christianity section of this page.[edit]

"This does not mean that creation exists as God or in equality with God, because creation does not possess either the fullness of God's nature or the ability to exist outside of God." (, 2011)

This sentence states a theistic belief as a fact especially in its latter half. No one has been able to measure any god's fullness, or document existence outside of a god, much less within. This sentence does not belong on any page purporting to contain facts.

Regardless of what was written before it in the paragraph, this sentence must be reformed to express that it is a reflection of the opinion of the people being studied in this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:44, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Why do all of you losers just comment without actually changing anything? Then, when a writer actually wants to change something and make it better, you revert the changes and write snooty comments about how the change doesn't constitute a better version. I wrote a better version for this entry and cited it, but Wikipedia admins revert the changes and leave it as the objective version with the incessant notification that it needs to be changed for neutrality. Either delete subjective writing, or write in objective information, but don't leave passages in a messy disarray and stifle the march of progress just because the changes don't suit your personal desires. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:48, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Transcendence (religion)/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Needs references and reference citations. Badbilltucker 18:59, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 18:59, 4 January 2007 (UTC).

Substituted at 09:10, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988, page 63: "Nibbana means 'blowing out.' What must be blown out is the triple fire of greed, hatred, and delusion."