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Justice and Mercy

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Venerable Muni Ratana
CEO/Chief Monk
Speech for “Peaceful Surrender” initiative

Thank you. It is an honor and privilege to be here this morning to speak to you all. In this occasion I want to thank Mayor Nutter for his kind invitation. Also, on behalf of the Buddhist community, I want to wish him great success in his term as Mayor for the City of Philadelphia.

I am sure that Mayor Nutter and his fine staff will serve this city justly and make it safe for us and the children. Speaking of a safe Philadelphia, this brings me to the topic of my discussion this morning, that is, the topic of justice and mercy.

From a Buddhist perspective, justice and mercy are seen as necessary human conditions for a peaceful society. Justice is a moral code or law that defines proper human behavior. Justice is also how morality is enforced in society. Without justice, humans cannot pursue a life of liberty and happiness. Similarly, mercy and compassion for our fellow human beings creates an atmosphere of understanding; an understanding that all we all seek happiness in some way or another. This understanding leads to peaceful and just society.

In Buddhism, the term for mercy or compassion is karuna. It belongs in a group of four noble and sublime states of mind. Compassion is one, the other three are: Appreciative-joy (Mudita), Equanimity (Upekkha), and Loving-kindness (Metta). If we develop these four sublime states of mind, not only will we enjoy great bliss in our lives but we will also impact our society in profound ways.

In order for a safe Philadelphia, we must uphold noble qualitative such as justice and mercy. Without these qualities, there will arise violence, corruption, and hate. Crime rates will go up, murders and robberies, rape and vandalism will instill fear and sadness in our lives.

This is a destructive path we cannot take. Who wants to live in such a society? Who wants to be the person who causes destruction? Certainly for us, we would rather choose the path of peace. Yet, not one of us can ever claim to be perfect individuals. We have made many mistakes in our lives and have committed much wrong. Knowing this, let us show compassion to others as we would have others show unto us.

And so I end this morning with a poem by Venerable Buddhaghosa expounding the beautiful essence of virtue. The poem reads:

"What scent else blows with and against the wind?
What stairway leads like her to heaven's gate?
What door into Nibbana's city opens?
The sage whose virtue is his ornament
Outshines the pomp and pearls of jeweled kings.
In virtuous men virtue destroys self-blame,
Begetting joy and praise. Thus should be known
The sum of all the discourse on the power
Of virtue, root of merits, slayer of faults."

Thank you.

1 comments:

ស្អាតណាស់រតនា
នេះខ្ញុំទើបតែ
បានឃើញប្លុកអ្នក
ពូកែខ្លាំងណាស់
ពិតសូមពឹងពាក់
ជាមួយរូបអ្នក
ឲ្យជួយណែនាំ។

»ខ្ញុំបាទកូនខ្មែរ
ខ្ញុំសូមសរសើរ
ថាអ្នកៗគ្រាន់
សរសើរដោយស្មោះ
មិនមែនបញ្ជាន់
បញ្ជោរលិចលង់
ឲ្យអ្នកនោះឡើយ!

»សូមក្ដីរាប់អាន
សូមអ្នកកុំមាន
កុំធ្វើតោះតើយ
សូមរាប់ជាមិត្រ
រៀងរហូតហើយ
ឱរតនាអើយ
អរទុកជាមុន។

 
 
 

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