Wow, thanks everyone I was surprised to see that many replies.
PeterB wrote:There is a practice called Metta Bhavana ( you could google it ) where you send thoughts of loving kindness to all the people you like and all the people you dont like...all the people you have harmed and all you see as harming you. You start with sending thoughts of loving kindness to yourself. Not in a glib way. Not glossing over what you have done or failed to do.
Just as you are. The past is gone. Tomorrow is another day.
Thanks after looking into Metta Bhavana I think its a good place to start, I needed to start doing more meditation anyways.
Tex wrote:Start with forgiving yourself. That guilt doesn't help anything and you can't change the past. So learn what you can from it and then let it go. Focus on what you can control: the present and the future.
Thats my problem, My mind cant seem to let it go. I hear monks talking about letting go of the past all the time but I just have a hard time doing it. I might think ive finally got over it and let it go from a hour or so and then a memory comes back and its all back again. Thanks for linking the story of Angulimala, I had never heard the story before until now and I think its just what I needed to read right about now.
You stop being bad, like Angulimala.
It is a good thing that you regret so badly. Many of us weren't exactly saints before they found Buddhism and have to regret a few things too, or continue to do so.
Perhaps you can calm down your guilty conscience by making positive efforts in the right direction.
Like: If you were bad to your mom, and she is still alive, tell her you love her and that you are sorry, and because you know that action speaks louder than words, DO something nice for her as well, as often as you can.
And if you can do something good and wise for someone else you damaged....
That's a start.
Good luck and lots of success.
Ive already stopped being bad, well mostly. I only wish I could help those ive harmed but unfortunately for me thats not possible for most as ive lost contact with nearly everyone that I did. So I guess ill start with just being nice to everyone else and not harming anyone else. After realizing all the pain ive caused I have no desire to do that to anyone else, especially since ive experienced it myself already. Thanks also for posting that story.
jackson wrote:In my experience memories of harmful actions I committed haven't left me, in fact not a day goes by where I don't remember them, but my attitude towards them has become one of acceptance. I think the important thing is to learn from your mistakes, really look at the pain it's caused and open up to what it has to teach you, then make a vow to not repeat whatever you have done. There's an analogy that the Buddha gave in the Dhammapada that talks about how just as a water jar is filled drop by drop so too can one purify their mind. I imagine very few people become saints overnight, it's more a gradual process that happens over time, but if you want to become a better person then I'd encourage keeping the five precepts (refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false and harmful speech, and using intoxicants). I'm not saying become a Buddhist (that's up to you) but I've found keeping the precepts to be a great protection against causing harm to myself or to others. Anyway, I wouldn't expect the memories to go away but they become easier to live with over time and making a strong effort to be a better person and free the mind from suffering has been the greatest gift I've given myself.
Thanks, I know they will never leave me fully, or at least I hope they never do, for fear I might fall back onto old habits if they did. I hope like you said the memories become easier to live with. As for becoming a Buddhist I think Ive pretty much decided even though my friends and family aren't exactly happy about that. I feel I have a lot more to learn before I should actually call myself one, Theres still a lot about Buddhism I don't understand. So ive been trying to learn more about it and read a few books since theres no monasteries close to me.
Jhana4 wrote:4. If you did nothing but good things for next 82 years, ask yourself would you be a good person at your death?
I thought about this for a while, and I think I would be but I doubt if in 82 years I told someone every bad thing Ive done if they would agree.
Ben wrote: Get that going for a little while and then investigate attending a residential meditation retreat of some variety. Somewhere where you can take refuge in the Triple Gem, adopt the five precepts and start developing self-mastery by developing concentration, and developing wisdom (vipassana) into the nature of reality. A meditation retreat will also give you some depth of meditative experience, support and the theoretical background on an extraordinarily useful tool for self-transformation.
Thanks for the advice. Id love to attend a retreat somewhere in the future, for the moment thats not really possible but hopefully some day it will be.
Thanks for the suggestion, ill look into it.
1. Do good things. Even if at the moment you do not see much good you can do. Maybe you can't. But the time will come. Possibilities will come if you keep yourself ready and don't give up.
2. A friend joking that you are too bad to be a Buddhist, things like that, trying to "be a good person", you just need some humble self-esteem to go through that. Cynicism is a bane in such a situation. But if you don't get friendly support you must go without it. People don't share your pain, your guilt, your conscience. So it's easier to joke around. But you just stay clear, make the best of it, endure it.
Blahblah. Not knowing anything better than you probably... but just trying to encourage you to do the best. Even if everything is dark.
Thanks for the encouragement. I will try my best.
poto wrote:Hey, this is something I know a little about!
I've done more than my share of bad things, the bulk of it when I was younger. I think I'm at a point in my life where I've let go of all of that and moved on. Of course, there are other people who haven't let go of my past and sometimes they will remind me of such. I'm trying to not let that bother me, as it's just another thing to let go of.
I hope I can get to that point also some day, I also have problems with others that keep reminding me of my past, and its been a real bother to me lately. To the point ive thought of leaving everyone and going where I have a fresh start and a clean slate although I think everything would still follow me and eventually come back. Ill try to let go of that too.
robertk wrote:happiness is just dhammas, sadness is mere dhammas, feelings are dhammas.
They are all there to be known and insighted when they arise. To think any of them are preferable objects is not understanding their inherent anatta nature: to wit they arise because they are conditioned to arise, it cannot be other than it is.
Thank you, although ill be completely honest that went right over my head. I have a lot to learn.
pilgrim wrote:There's something real you can do.
You can dilute the bad you have done by doing good, lots of it.
Thanks for posting that, I was doing exactly that looking at everything as the small cup of water. It amazes me how The Buddha seems to have a teaching for every situation.
TMingyur wrote:Regret, regret, regret ... practice regret, wholehearted regret ... never ever try to rationalize your faulty deeds away or to excuse them ... BUT do not condition yourself with thoughts of "guilt".
Practice loving kindness/metta and practice karuna/compassion toward all those that you have harmed and those that harm themselves through such misdeeds like yours (including yourself).
Resolve wholeheartedly to refrain from any such kinds of missdeeds in the future and recall this resolve as often as you can and establish your conduct accordingly.
Thank you, I've already decided to stop doing as I have in my past. I dont think I could ever do it again, realizing all the pain its caused.
Annapurna wrote:And don't get into a habit of beating yourself up.
The past is gone, a bright future can be forged, and for this you need to live in the "here and now", not in the past, beating yourself up.
Thanks again, ive been doing that for a while. I will try my best to live in the here and now.
Again thanks everyone for all the replies, I'm happy I found a place like this to help me along this path and do what I can to "dilute" the pain ive caused in the world as much as I possibly can.