Thank you for referring me to the review of this book: Mystics, by William Harmless, S. J. (Oxford, 2007).

The problem, of course—or one problem—comes in the reviewer’s claim that “the Christian conception of knowing a personal God and the deity-free Buddhist conception of realizing Buddha-nature are markedly different”. Are they indeed? In some ways this is doubtless so, but one must nonetheless call the bluff regarding this matter of “person”.

Even C. S. Lewis—not generally considered a “mystic”, though see my paper “Lewis as Apologist and Mystic“—could write, “Christian theology does not believe God to be a person…. It believes Him to be something very different from a person, just as a cube, in which six squares are consistent with unity of the body, is different from a square” (“The Poison of Subjectivism”, Christian Reflections, 79).

How different, or how similar, the perichoretic indeterminacy—like Wisdom, “more moving than any motion”—of a tri-hypostatic Godhead may be when compared to the emptiness of the Buddha-nature is, frankly, not something it seems to me this reviewer may have the capacity to assess. And if the author shares this opinion, I fear the book may be rather less “harmless” than his name suggests!