Forgiveness

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Forgiveness

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:26 pm

Has anyone else wondered why there seems to be a dearth of instructions and discussion of forgiveness in the suttas on the topic of forgiveness? I find it to be a very important practice in my own life but have been unable to find descriptions of the cultivation of forgiveness in any way similar to those which describe metta and karuna bhavana. Is this simply a matter of translation or a matter of orientation? A Sakyapa lama with whom I once spoke seemed to regard forgiveness as tainted by the concept that their is an "I" that chooses to forgive this or that person and withholds forgiveness from this or that other one. I guess our traditional (read: Judeo-Christian) concept of forgiveness is intimately bound up with the ego/Semitic soul in a way that he found anti-thetical to true development of the brahma viharas. Anyhow, I'd be interested to hear the following:
(1) Your thoughts as to why forgiveness is largely overlooked in the suttas and;
(2( The way(s) in which you incoporate and cultivate forgiveness in formal meditation and in daily life.

Metta,

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Forgiveness

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:44 pm

HI Khalil Bodhi,

I guess I don't really see "forgiveness" as something separate from Metta, though I can see the point that "forgiveness" might imply some sort of "feeling of superiority", which would not be completely wholesome (but surely a step in the right direction away from hating...).

Surely the following have something to do with "forgiveness"?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
"Monks, even if bandits were to savagely sever you, limb by limb, with a double-handled saw, even then, whoever of you harbors ill will at heart would not be upholding my Teaching. Monks, even in such a situation you should train yourselves thus: 'Neither shall our minds be affected by this, nor for this matter shall we give vent to evil words, but we shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and we shall not give in to hatred. On the contrary, we shall live projecting thoughts of universal love to those very persons, making them as well as the whole world the object of our thoughts of universal love — thoughts that have grown great, exalted and measureless. We shall dwell radiating these thoughts which are void of hostility and ill will.' It is in this way, monks, that you should train yourselves.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle
their quarrels.


See also:

The Practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta)
As Taught by the Buddha in the Pali Canon
compiled and translated by Ñanamoli Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el007.html

Reconciliation, Right & Wrong
byThanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ation.html

Metta
Mike
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby pink_trike » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:55 pm

When we see and let go of our reactive (hungry or fearful) attachments regarding the circumstances and recognize the folly of our overblown notion of an imagined "self" who's boundaries were violated, and when compassion arises by understanding that the one who violated our boundaries is also deluded in the same way, is suffering, and is ensnared by hunger and fear - then there is nothing and no one to forgive, and no one to do the forgiving. Metta is the healing balm.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:32 pm

Thanks for the replies guys, they were both insightful and a great help. In the interim I also found the following Dhamma talk by Ajahn Sister Vayama which touches on points tat both of you have made: http://www.bswa.org/modules/mydownloads ... 12&lid=184

It is interesting that I have consistently (if unconsciously) regarded forgiveness as a separate emotional fabrication than metta but I see that it doesn't really hold up when brought out into the light of day. Thank you both and may you be well.

P.S.

Happy Uposatha!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
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