Forgiveness?

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Forgiveness?

Postby Epistemes » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:07 pm

Forgiveness isn't a word I hear Buddhists use much.

So, when I'm going shamatha, which is my primary style right now, negative thoughts arise - as Pema Chodron said they would. I think back on old arguments with ex-girlfriends and the pain I was feeling then - then I bring myself back to my outward breath - but then my mind wanders to people on this forum calling me a troll and how angry that makes me feel - then I bring myself back to my outward breath - and then my mind goes toward these sensitive spots. I just recognize them as thoughts and move on with the meditation.

However, when I have these negative thoughts, I want to forgive somebody whether it's myself or the people who hurt me. This is what I'd do when I practiced Centering Prayer, which is just Christianized shamatha. But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:09 pm

Epistemes wrote:But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?


Exchange of self and others.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:46 pm

Epistemes wrote: (snipped)
....but then my mind wanders to people on this forum calling me a troll and how angry that makes me feel - then I bring myself back to my outward breath - and then my mind goes toward these sensitive spots. I just recognize them as thoughts and move on with the meditation.
.... But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?


Forgiveness requires a forgiver and a person to forgive. So there is a kind of duality set up. Also, in some sense, the forgiver is superior to the person being forgiven, because the forgiver is the one who grants forgiveness.

A Buddhist approach (and there can be many) is to ask, "Why did that person accuse me of trolling?"
And the answer is the same as why it bothers you, because that person wants to be happy, and so do you. And being accused makes you unhappy, and asking things that push people off heir comfy couch makes them unhappy. But sometimes that's okay, and if, as buddhists, we don't depend on being happy or dwell in being unhappy, then there is a lot more freedom and openness in dealing with other people. We can ask all sorts of questions and not worry about it.

"Happiness" in one way, shape or form, is always, ultimately. the motivation. If you keep asking, "why..why...why...along the way, it always comes back to this.
So, the person assumes they know better, or they are calling someone's bluff or whatever, and doing this gives them a feeling of security or importance or of being clever or whatever, and this makes them happy.

I was in another dharma forum and when I posed questions or suggested possibilities that were outside the boundaries of their understanding, my comments were basically dismissed as crap and when I objected, I was accused of trolling. It's gotten too easy to do (in internet forums)and there is no consequence if the accuser is wrong. It wasn't worth the mental frustration, then I found this forum which I think is much more open, and for the most part people are not afraid of being corrected if their facts are wrong, or so attached to their own experience that they can't see other viewpoints.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Paul » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:38 pm

Epistemes wrote:However, when I have these negative thoughts, I want to forgive somebody whether it's myself or the people who hurt me. This is what I'd do when I practiced Centering Prayer, which is just Christianized shamatha. But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?


This is the first thing I thought of - from the Dhammapada:

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.

This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Kyosan » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:39 pm

Epistemes wrote:Forgiveness isn't a word I hear Buddhists use much.......However, when I have these negative thoughts, I want to forgive somebody whether it's myself or the people who hurt me. This is what I'd do when I practiced Centering Prayer, which is just Christianized shamatha. But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?

Even better than forgiving is not blaming or judging in the first place. If people do you wrong, speak to them about it and try to work things out with them and try to understand the problem, but don't get angry at them. Getting angry doesn't help. Getting angry creates a me-verses-them idea in your mind and it clouds your judgement.

When you are meditating and these thoughts arise, just patiently return to your meditation and don't get angry at yourself for having these thoughts. Don't get upset that the meditation isn't going as well as you might expect. We all have this problem, especially when we haven't meditated for a long time. When you are practicing samatha, just sit; and there is nothing to worry about. There is no guilt or innocence; there is no forgiving or non-forgiving.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:58 am

Epistemes wrote:Forgiveness isn't a word I hear Buddhists use much.

So, when I'm going shamatha, which is my primary style right now, negative thoughts arise - as Pema Chodron said they would. I think back on old arguments with ex-girlfriends and the pain I was feeling then - then I bring myself back to my outward breath - but then my mind wanders to people on this forum calling me a troll and how angry that makes me feel - then I bring myself back to my outward breath - and then my mind goes toward these sensitive spots. I just recognize them as thoughts and move on with the meditation.

However, when I have these negative thoughts, I want to forgive somebody whether it's myself or the people who hurt me. This is what I'd do when I practiced Centering Prayer, which is just Christianized shamatha. But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?


That negative thoughts are very precious. Let's take an example anger. When we are not angry, we can easily say we won't get angry. But when angry appears, we fail.

In the meditation, if angry or pain appear, that is the best moment to learn to handle them because if we can success in it, our ability to see anger and pain for example is actually already quite advance.

So, hindrances are very precious.

Some people actually purposely create or invite anger or pain to appear because they want to be in that state to train their mind. In case, you have that frequently, I will say you are actually quite lucky. If you know how to use it, they are really a diamond.
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I am not right nor wrong.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Ogyen » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:12 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Epistemes wrote: (snipped)
I was in another dharma forum and when I posed questions or suggested possibilities that were outside the boundaries of their understanding, my comments were basically dismissed as crap and when I objected, I was accused of trolling. It's gotten too easy to do (in internet forums)and there is no consequence if the accuser is wrong. It wasn't worth the mental frustration, then I found this forum which I think is much more open, and for the most part people are not afraid of being corrected if their facts are wrong, or so attached to their own experience that they can't see other viewpoints.
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that's cuz our mods rock. The truth is if you let yourself be wrong and it's not a big deal, what's there to forgive? All the self-importance that is imputed upon a self is what drives the need to forgive and be forgiven in the sense that it's like a mental grasping, a hunger cramp in the stomach that wants validation, warmth, and happiness.

I love how you phrased this here, it's true, DW has a nice feel about it in the sense that people will give you a good outside perspective, but there's also room to just be wrong, and hey, crap happens. It's not the end of the world, we're human, ignorant and we err. No need to cling to it. I'm not saying apologizing isn't a powerful practice, but apologizing is more like an honest rendering of having mistaken something, it's not necessarily asking for or giving forgiveness. It's a simple acknowledgment.

Perhaps the OP experiences this urge to acknowledge and be acknowledged and the shortest route to understanding its habitual expression is to forgive and/or be forgiven. I think the distinction is fine, subtle, but very present. Honest confession is practiced a lot in TB and does not require any acknowledgment but your own. Forgiveness requires a forgiver and therefore in a sense distracts from the essence in which there is no one but you who can change the habitual pattern. The forgiver can't change squat for ya.

It feels good to be told by someone that they still love/care about you after you boobooed. And perhaps that is also talked about as forgiveness, however, it is not essential to have someone to tell you you're still ok, what's essential is to be present when you come apart with something that hooks you right in the righteous indignation, the habitual reaction. A key distinction that popped up in my head in response to this thread.

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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Tilopa » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:32 am

Epistemes wrote: But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?


In the Tibetan tradition thought transformation is the main way of dealing with pain and generating forgiveness:

http://www.bodhicitta.net/HHDL%20The%20 ... mation.htm

http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&cid=50

http://ventenzinchogkyi.com/suggested-r ... formation/
Last edited by Tilopa on Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby LastLegend » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:34 am

We invest heavily emotionally and mentally in this sensual life-sex, family, kids, eating, sleeping,etc. Then death comes after old age. Everything we think and do revolve around this sensual life. This is a maze, and we are the mice. We react with emotions when someone provokes us. See how invested we are.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Vasana » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:25 am

Bumping the thread to say thanks for the contributions here!

I have been combining my dream yoga practice with the intent to purify any afflictive emotions and wrong views and one of the recurring themes that is emerging is the need for "me" to forgive my older brother and release some of the deeply engrained ,but very subtle and subconscious imprints of fear,hatred and aversion that have gathered over a long period of time/my whole life.

I do not have such strong feelings of aversion for anyone else in my life and even though on the surface level i can say "I" forgive, i realize it all go's much deeper than that and that these karmic knots and imprints have to be dissolved by some deeper analysis.

I'm realizing that in order for this to happen, i need to direct my mind towards loving kindness and realize that any pain "I" feel , and any wrong i feel he has done is based on wrong views that there is any separation between us. And on other levels, i need to recognize more deeply his own suffering in order to motivate the proper resolve.

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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Minjeay » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:51 pm

Well, forgiving as well as asking for forgiveness are great techniques for purification.

Actually, in truth, there is no person who is forgiving and noone who'd be to blame.
But as long as you perceive it this way, I would consider forgiveness as necessary even.
So don't complicate your world, pretending you were someone you are not, trying to be or think more non-dual than you actually are able to. If you feel sorry, then say sorry, and if it's just in your mind, and if you feel better after forgiving someone, then just do it :) Everything else would just be playing tricks on yourself - and for whom should you do this?

During meditation thoughts should calm down naturally, so one will just let go of the bad feelings this way. As long as this doesn't work sufficiently, crying, laughing and asking for forgiveness are absolutely okay.
Just don't forget to go on with meditation afterwards :)

Greetz and all the best :smile:
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby muni » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:08 pm

“To understand everything is to forgive everything” Buddha.

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(Mark Twain)
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby Vasana » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:27 pm

Minjeay wrote:If you feel sorry, then say sorry, and if it's just in your mind, and if you feel better after forgiving someone, then just do it


If it was as simple as just doing it or saying it,and it being done, it wouldn't be an issue. Even though Buddhadharma is helping me change my views from the inside out and become a more peaceful presence for myself and for him, the imprints of deeply engrained aversion towards him built up from an entire life-time of verbal ,emotional and physical abuse are still left there from years and years ago, all before i had any framework to see the situation from a more objective and compassionate perspective.

I know the deeper the aversion i have cultivated towards him, the equal ammount of loving kindness and purification and general study i will have to carry out in order to clear it. Conceptually i know there is no one and nothing to forgive but to know it is different to living it continually, even in the midst of hostility and anger.

I know the process is under way anyway and i'm happy for it to be unfolding with the highest possible intent as root motivation. I always remind myself that his angry temperament has been one of the core things that has made me move towards cultivating a more peaceful mindset so for that i thank him and will do what i can do to help.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby muni » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:03 am

The forgiveness is healing ones pain since it is our own minds' reaction from which we suffer.
All harm is done because of being victims of obscurations.

* Compassion is great medicine which embraces all *
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby lobster » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:53 pm

Epistemes wrote:But what do Buddhists do? Is there no reconciliation, just arising and falling?


Depends on their needs. On the whole the outer that we experience and how we experience it, is indicative of our internal state. So forgiving others is forgiving an outer reflection of something we feel needs forgiving.

Of course if that is not true, you can forgive me . . . :woohoo:
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby In the bone yard » Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:39 am

Forgiveness sort of assumes the other party is at fault. That may not be so.
If I feel the need to forgive someone I'll always ask myself what I could have done to help precipitate the event?
Even if the other party is to blame I'll ask myself what I could have done to prevent the event.
This would fall under the merit or compassion aspect, depending on where you are in your spiritual journey (Hinayana or Mahayana).
Taking responsibility for my own actions helps me learn my karma which helps my meditation.
This is how to grow and progress, but it is difficult because it takes honesty scutiny of oneself and it takes time (healing).

Merit always accompanies meditation (wisdom).
Merit AND meditation (wisdom).
Buddha said both!
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby avisitor » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:16 am

I hold lots of guilt and blame and grief and anger and emotional turmoil
As they come up, I believe one should do as one does in meditation
Let it go ... don't grasp ... don't reject

Sometimes it requires I forgive
It isn't about who is better or at fault or who wins
It is about letting it go.
Then, I can move on, forward
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Re: Forgiveness?

Postby lobster » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:54 am

Excellent thread.

Forgiving is mindful forgetting or letting go. Forgive yourself and spread outwards. We haz plan! :twothumbsup:
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