Regarding your challenge to the priest you’ve been talking to that he “show how the Incarnation and Trinity are as self-evident as suffering”, I wonder whether this is a fair demand or whether on the contrary it’s really an apples and oranges issue.

Existentially, Christianity begins with sin, which I would have thought was as obvious as suffering. It’s easy enough to see, with Saint Paul, that there is a kind of battle going on within us between the “spirit” and the “flesh” (Rom. 7:15-20) or—if you prefer—between what conscience knows to be right and what the ego with its self-serving desires wishes to think, feel, and do nonetheless. We know this just as certainly as we know we’re suffering.

By contrast the doctrine of the Incarnation, expressed apophatically with its four alpha-privatives (I have in mind the Chalcedonian Formula), is on roughly the same level as Nagarjuna’s teaching about emptiness. As I said in my brief dialogue with the Dalai Lama last year, Christ—like Nirvāna—is “is not That alone, for He is not merely God; nor is He this alone, for He is not just a man; nor is He neither That nor this, for He is not an angel; nor again is He both That and this, for He is not a mixture, as a griffin is a mixture of an eagle and lion.” Now I readily concede that what all this means is not “self-evident”! But neither is it self-evident, as surely your Tibetan teachers would agree, that everything is empty of own-being; if it were, the dialectics of the Mulamadhyamaka-Karikas would be a waste of our time.

What I suspect you’re really looking for is some sort of inward or esoteric “correlate” for the Incarnation—some element of meditative experience to which the doctrine points or from which it might be thought to issue—and if so, that’s another question altogether, one too large for me to try to write about at any length here. Suffice it to say that Orthodox Christology is essentially nothing other than esoteric anthropology: in the eso anthropos—to allude to the same chapter in Paul (Rom. 7:22)—I myself am the Word-become-man.