Gautam the Buddha has said – he was the first man to utter it – that there is no self, no soul. His word was anatta; anatta means no-selfness. Dionysius is saying the same truth:
…he is neither a soul…
He is not a self. People ordinarily think of God as the supreme self – not only a self but the supreme self. We are all selves and he is the supreme self. Buddha says we are not selves and there is no supreme self at all. Buddha was condemned in India as an atheist. Dionysius was not in any way ready to get caught by the Catholic Church and condemned as an atheist. It was okay for Buddha to say that there is no self because in India, at least in those days, you were not going to be burnt alive. Otherwise maybe Buddha would not have said it so clearly, may have gone round and round to deceive the fools who are always dominant in the organized religions.
In fact, no mystic can be a part of any organized religion; it is very difficult – he will have to create so many unnecessary disguises just to protect himself and his teaching. But Dionysius thought otherwise; maybe that was the only course open for him. But he is saying a few tremendously beautiful things. One is: God is not a soul. Here he is absolutely in agreement with Gautam the Buddha. In fact, if God is not a soul, it is another way of saying that there is no God. But he is not saying it so clearly as Buddha says It.
He also says:
…nor a mind…
That is Bodhidharma’s expression. Bodhidharma defines meditation as a state of no-mind. The moment the mind disappears, you know. Knowing happens only when there is no mind; mind is a barrier to knowing.
Dionysius says God is not a mind.
…nor an object of knowledge; neither has he opinion, nor reason, nor intellect….