Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby Eightfolder » Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:57 pm

Could someone quote sources or passages in the Pali Canon where Buddha spoke specificially about the concept of forgivenss (which was probably not stated as such but the theme itself) or where I might find sources? I am really very curious about this wave of "forgiveness" that is suppose to be a great source of peace. I personally have questions about whether or not forgivenss works as well as some are claiming. I would like any information about what Buddha said about it. Thanks

:juggling:
Eightfolder
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby Jetavan » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:05 pm

"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves."

-- Kakacupama Sutta: The Simile of the Saw
User avatar
Jetavan
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:45 am

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby santa100 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:07 pm

Ven. Thanissaro's essay about forgiveness and some sutta references here
santa100
 
Posts: 1585
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby Eightfolder » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:56 pm

Thank you both. Links are very helpful and I see in Buddha's conversation with Rahla the importance of owning up to mistakes made. I am looking at this issue of forgivenss again in light of so many unfortunate circumstances in the world today which are private, personal, family matters and end up in the public awareness. I look at the photo and media heading of that poor 16 year old boy in PA who must be suffering terribly to have been so out of control yesterday with his behavior which lead to so much dreadful violence against his classmates - and all I see is reference to the attorney's recommendation for "psychiatric evalution"! Same old same old!

When are people going to own up and admit that violent children with horrible acts against themselves and others doesn't come out of nowhere? These are family systems full of secrets and lies and violence. The courts cover for families. The social welfare system is designed to cover for families....and this poor kid will end up on powerful medications and incarcerated for years if not decades to come.

I have often felt the Christian version of "forgivenss" is what has created an atmosphere of impunity, not just in families but in entire religious communites and churches. Versions of psychotherapy have been emphasizing forgiveness more and social justice programs focus on forgivenss. I just don't understand how people are suppose to forgive in a convuluted system of lies and cover up.

Thanks for posting the links. :shrug:
Eightfolder
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:54 pm

You cannot be a moral conscience for those around you. Such evaluations are judgemental and are prejudicial, thereby rendering your compassion selective and flawed.

Developing the 4 Sublime States - the Brahma Viharas - is beneficial both to yourself and those around you.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=20240

If we permit our emotional opinion to evaluate everything we see, to the detriment of what we learn and practise, then we do ourselves, and others, a disservice.

Forgiveness of others must begin by examining our own opinions, and determining their purity.
Forgiveness is something that is easy to say, but hard to do.
However, the cultivation of Metta, Karuna and Mudita are of paramount importance. Upekka arises as a result of perfecting the first three....
And they must be unconditional.
And they should include yourself, first and foremost.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
User avatar
TheNoBSBuddhist
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:06 pm
Location: Loch Lomond, via the High AND Low road....

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby Eightfolder » Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:51 pm

Ah...this is where it is said by many observers that "Buddhists' are passive - and concern themselves only with own enlightenment and not with the cruelities of the world around them"....have I got that assessement accurate? True, I cannot judge what's in someone's heart but it seems to me we are certainly in a position everyday to judge what is someone's intention by the actions they take - particularly as those actions affect all of us. Are you suggestion that the Buddha never called out anyone on his/her actions if those actions were harming others all around? Seems to me thats why in a democracy (flawed as it may be), we have developed a civil order of law, courts, judges, and prosecutors. Again, not denying the flaws in our justice system - we certainly wouldn't throw out the very concept of justice, would we? When we refuse to judge the actions of those around us who are harming others are we doing the Buddha's work?
I am referring to policies and the institutions that make those policies which are lacking in carrying out the original compassionate intent and mission of those institutions! Are you saying we are not to judge their flaws and allow corruption to continue?

:quote:
Eightfolder
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:52 am

The Buddha may well have called others out - but he did it from a State of Enlightenment, and was able to comment dispassionately, logically, wisely and in a detached manner.

That is the clue: DETACHMENT.

We must not cling, grasp or become attached to these evaluative, judgemental notions.

This is why development of the Brahma Viharas is of fundamental and vital importance; because it bequeaths on us the ability to evaluate with Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech and right Action.
While we occupy this samsaric existence, we risk weighing matters up with our thumbs on the scales. We form opinions, and eventually unswerving beliefs about people and situations which risk embittering our Perspective, and distorting our Views, Intentions, Speech and Actions.

By all means, be critical of what you perceive to be wrong-doings and corruption; but take a step back and be detached.
If you permit righteous indignation to fuel your Actions, you will invariably suffer for the load you choose to carry.
First, develop Metta, Karuna and Mudita for these very people you consider corrupt and flawed.
THEN - strive to redress what you perceive to be the problem, in as prominent, but compassionate way as you can.

Nobody is saying you should remain inactive.
Detachment is not inaction.

Quite the very opposite, in fact.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
User avatar
TheNoBSBuddhist
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:06 pm
Location: Loch Lomond, via the High AND Low road....

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby pegembara » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:58 am

Jetavan wrote:"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves."

-- Kakacupama Sutta: The Simile of the Saw



Forgive them for they (driven by greed, hatred and delusion) know not what they do.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
pegembara
 
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby seeker242 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:18 pm

Eightfolder wrote:Ah...this is where it is said by many observers that "Buddhists' are passive - and concern themselves only with own enlightenment and not with the cruelities of the world around them"....have I got that assessement accurate? True, I cannot judge what's in someone's heart but it seems to me we are certainly in a position everyday to judge what is someone's intention by the actions they take - particularly as those actions affect all of us. Are you suggestion that the Buddha never called out anyone on his/her actions if those actions were harming others all around? Seems to me thats why in a democracy (flawed as it may be), we have developed a civil order of law, courts, judges, and prosecutors. Again, not denying the flaws in our justice system - we certainly wouldn't throw out the very concept of justice, would we? When we refuse to judge the actions of those around us who are harming others are we doing the Buddha's work?
I am referring to policies and the institutions that make those policies which are lacking in carrying out the original compassionate intent and mission of those institutions! Are you saying we are not to judge their flaws and allow corruption to continue?

:quote:


The Buddhas teachings on forgiveness are really concerning what's in your mind and how you hold and train your mind. Harboring ill-will and resentment inside your mind is detrimental to yourself, to those around you and causes you to act in ways that cause even more harm to yourself and to others.

But that does not mean that you don't send people to jail if they hurt others. The judgment that takes place inside your mind is a different kind of judgment that takes place in a court room. To "forgive someone" does not mean "let them out of jail". The proper course of action is to send them to jail but to do so without harboring ill-will, resentment, hate, etc. AKA, To forgive them for their actions but still send them to jail.

:namaste:
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby Eightfolder » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:03 pm

Well said...well said. Thank you all for the comments. Plenty of food for thought and elbow room for change.


:bow:
Eightfolder
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby Ananda26 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:50 pm

Eightfolder wrote:Could someone quote sources or passages in the Pali Canon where Buddha spoke specificially about the concept of forgivenss (which was probably not stated as such but the theme itself) or where I might find sources? I am really very curious about this wave of "forgiveness" that is suppose to be a great source of peace. I personally have questions about whether or not forgivenss works as well as some are claiming. I would like any information about what Buddha said about it. Thanks

:juggling:


Long Discourse of the Buddha #2: "Since you acknowledge the offense and confess it, we shall accept it. For he who ackowledges his offence and makes ammends as is right by undertaking restraint for the future will grow in the Noble Dhamma and Discipline."
Last edited by Ananda26 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ananda26
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:41 pm

Re: Forgiveness - What did the Buddha say about it?

Postby Eightfolder » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:18 pm

Me thinks some (perhaps many) practicing Buddhists or followers of the Dhamma have found convenient little cracks in the sidewalk of life to allow for dispassion and non-attachment where a deeper human impulse would be calling to pay heed under normal circumstances. Of course, some are born and raised in an environment that fosters or causes empathy and compassion to grow more organically. Thus we have great writers and artists who have conveyed the visscissitudes of life in novels, plays, poetry and paintings!

I have been studying the teachings of Buddha more lately and surprized to find so many of the standards and values to be consistent with feminism. In other words, what Monks and the Buddha taught are very consistent with some of the very messages we got from loving mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc. Loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and balance all seem to be the great values we have seen come from the "feminine" side of life and I don't mean in any way, exclusively. There have been (thank goodness) through out history many examples of great men who were kind, gentle, and non-violent.

Is it no coincidence that more women seem to be inspired by the Mahayana tradition since that tradition focuses more on others than the self first? I am not suggestion that to be the right view. I think we must first remove the plank from our own eye before seeking the splinters in anothers. But isn't it rather odd that so many men in Buddhism (like in Zen) and all the forest traditions are so quick to speak about non-attachment instead of engaging in the social activites to bring about real change in the world?

Buddha was a sensitive man...raised in the protection and luxury of a kingdom. Surely, this early and consistent indulgence was in large part what made him set out for something more meaningful. Who of us haven't known people who came from wealth and comfort only to set out for India or Mt Everest to find meaning? The Buddha was no different.

I find this entire topic of forgiveness to be deeply woven into the complicated constructs of religious themes of domination, control, and impunity. Who of us have not been touched by watching videos of Monks in Thailand or Malaysia - all white males - many of whom leave the comforts of Western developed nations, only to have the poor people of villages support them, feed them, and put to work building their new and improved meditation halls, huts, and gardens. Something wildly and absurdly insenitive about this scene. Does anyone else see this?
I heard it said that while Monks put on a serious face of austerity and contemplation in front of the villiage people, they are often laughing and giggling among themselves in private. I wonder what's so funny?

:redherring:
Eightfolder
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:49 pm


Return to Classical Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests