Tuesday, September 26, 2006
"Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they shall be satisfied!"
----- J.B. Phillips translation
"Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right; they shall be satisfied."
----- Jerusalem Bible translation
This is a difficult beatitude for me to understand. I realize most Christians believe in the Last Judgment, The Second Coming in which the scales of justice will be balanced: the wicked will suffer and perish, perhaps, into everlasting fire; the faithful will be exalted and see their hunger for justice and righteousness will be satisfied.
As for me, those who seek goodness, liberation, enlightenment, salvation will have a very good chance of being satisfied; certainly, more so than those who don't. In Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, the sect in which I seem to be---at least primarily----those who seek to attain the Pure Land, but realizing their inability because of past karma and general moral weakness---answer the call of Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Compassion, by saying in a sincere manner: Namo Amida Butsu (I take refuge in Amida) will be delivered by Buddha's merit and action. We step aside and allow Amida to take over -- so to speak.
From another viewpoint: there is a satisfaction from hunger for goodness and justice and do what they can in social activism, in their church, among their neighbors --- will know that they tried their best to make things right. This is all we can really do --- anyway. This, in itself, is satisfying.