— 2.J.1 Buddhist response by Ruben Habito

(Response to 2.J.1 Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, The Lights of Penitence, Chapter 2, Sudden and Gradual Penitence, presented by Alon Goshen-Gottstein)

This text recalled for me the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, wherein he invites the practitioner who seeks to reorder one’s life “according to the purpose for which we are born on this earth” (Principle and Foundation) to first take stock of the reality of sin in which one finds oneself enmeshed. This first week recommends meditation on the sins of created beings, beginning with our human ancestors, to the structural sin that characterizes the current world situation whereby the richest 20% of the world’s population consume 76 % of its goods, while the bottom 20% only have the remaining 1.5% between them. This is a situation that brings about the deaths of 22,000 children under the age of five daily, where the world’s rich squander away their money in trivial pursuits, etc. The meditations then go on to the individual’s personal sinfulness, including one’s accountability for the injustice and suffering in the world, as well as one’s proclivities to do, say and think things that are not beneficial for oneself nor for others. In short, recognizing and acknowledging the “mess” in one’s life is the beginning of the path of wisdom.