Good Karma


From Paul Knitter’s Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian: “My conversation with Buddhism has helped me see more clearly what the theologians mentioned above were groping for: if we really believe our symbols that call God Father or tell us that the Divine is Love, then there can be no permanent stains. No permanent or eternal hell. As Rahner perhaps suspected, Buddhists are nudging Christians to expand the meaning of their symbol of purgatory: we can be “purified” not only of our blemishes but also of our stains. And that will usually take more than one lifetime. The process goes on. And it goes on because, in Buddhist terms, “bad karma” never has the last word; there is always the possibility of it providing an opportunity for “good karma.” In Christian language, human decisions, no matter how mean-spirited and death-dealing to others they may be, never have the last word over Divine Love. What the poet calls “the Hound of Heaven” never gives up. If Christians are right in calling God Love, if Buddhists are right in affirming compassion as a quality of the ongoing process of InterBeing, then there is always hope. Buddhists have reminded me, as I believe they can remind my fellow Christians, that what we Christians say we believe is really the case. Love is stronger than hatred. Good is stronger than evil. The good that we do, or can do, will outlive, or offset, the evil that we have done. But it may take more than what we define as one, single lifetime!”


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