The question of karma always brings up the question of grace. Below is a précis of part of an essay entitled "Is there room for grace in Buddhism?" by Marco Pallis, a Tibetan Buddhist and a Perennialist. The goal of Buddhism is presented as the state of Enlightenment, and enlightenment is presented in non-personalist terms. The goal of Christianity could be spoken of in those self-same terms, but then 'light' is a universal concept. Whilst in Christianity that goal is presented under the attributes of personhood, the word "God" nevertheless comprises the ineffable and the numinous, that which stands beyond every qualification and, in that sense, above or beyond knowledge. Despite (indeed it is because of) the anti-metaphysical bias of much Western thinking, it would be a mistake to assume that qualifying God as "Person" constitutes a limit in principle. To do that does the tradition a great dis-service. Of Buddhism, despite its insistence on impersonal expressions, one could reasonably ask: "Who's is the state of Enlightenment?", since the term itself, in a doctrinal context, cannot escape an distinct anthropomorphism. One does not speak of a Buddha as "It". There is a passage from the Pali Canon: The above quotation is plainly couched in the language of transcendence. This text sits as happily within a commentary on Christian doctrine as it does in its own. It speaks of God and of the world, of the Infinite and the finite, the Eternal and the contingent, the Absolute and the relative. This transcendence provides the ground for hope within any religious context. What it does not do, is define the nature of a union between the two terms under comparison; between the unborn and the born, the unbecome and the become or, to provide a Christian text, the uncreate and the created. How can the ephemeral experience the eternal? How can the finite become infinite? Here is the crux of the matter: a nature cannot transcend itself, how can the lesser, by its own power alone, become the greater? This is the function of Grace. There is, one might say, a veil between Enlightenment and the seeker after enlightenment. The problem is the seeker —ignorant by definition— cannot declare with certainty that he or she has reached the goal to which they aspire. It is self-evident that such seeking on the part of a human being with a necessarily imperfect vision and limited powers, does not really make sense when taken at its face value alone. Enlightenment (or the Tao, or the Divine) cannot possibly be situated at the passive pole in relation to Man's (active) endeavour. The inversion of this metaphysical principle is fashionable today, in a culture intent on asserting its own freedom and autonomy — the right to self-determination, even where God or Enlightenment is concerned. Buddhism makes the strongest claim not only that such is not the case, but that such a way of thinking is clear evidence of the illusory character of the human claim to selfhood, to which all our conceptual aberrations are severally and collectively imputable. One doesn't have to call on a Personal God or indeed any order of theism to make that argument. Man cannot possibly be the active agent in an operation wherein Enlightenment plays the passive part; whatever may or may not be suggested by appearances the truth has to be read the other way round since Enlightenment, awareness of the (Divine) Real, belongs outside all becoming by definition, it is wholly "in act"; so that wherever one discerns contingency or potentiality, as in the case of our human seeking, this of necessity pertains to samsàra, to the changing, the impermanent, the compounded. It is this very character of potentiality, experiencable positively as arising and negatively as subsiding, which makes samsàra, the Round of Existence, to be such as it is. If there is a 'wooing' of Enlightenment by man, it is the former which, in principle and fact, must remain the real subject of the quest as well as its ostensible object. It has often been said that in Enlightenment the subject-object distinction is cancelled out – but the assumption is all too often reductive – that all man has to do is ignore the distinction and convince himself he is enlightened. What the doctrine of every ancient tradition – and plain common sense – asserts the exact opposite. The old adage is 'you become what you think about' not simply by thinking about it, but by aligning your entire being towards that end, to the point of utter self-effacement. Metaphysical intuition, however, already allows one to know—or shall we say, to sense—that intrinsically Enlightenment is the active factor in our situation and that it is Man who, for all his apparent initiative and effort, represents the passive term of the supreme adequation. Meister Eckhart puts this whole question into proper perspective when he says that "in the course of nature it is really the higher which is ever more ready to pour out its power into the lower than the lower is ready to receive it."... for, as he goes on to say, "there is no dearth of God with us; what dearth there is wholly ours who make not ready to receive his grace." Where he said "God" you have but to say "Enlightenment" and the result will be a Buddhist statement in form as well as content. The great paradox, for us, is that we still cannot help viewing this situation in reverse, a misplaced ego-centricity makes us do so; we all have to suffer the congenital illusion of existence in which every creature as yet undelivered shares in greater or lesser degree. Buddhism invites us to get this thing straight before anything else.