Compassion for abusers..how?

Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Mokugyo » Fri May 13, 2011 4:05 pm

I've been through a lot of pain recently. The person whom I once cared for hurt me tremendously. I've spent the nights so angry, trouble mind, lost, confused, sorrowful.

I decided to turn to sutra recitation last night (Ksitigarbha sutra). It did help a little. I dedicated my merits toward my abusers. Little by little, I am beginning to figure out that they too are sentient beings stuck in samsara just as I am. I pray so that their suffering and their karmic retributions for whatever they have done may be lessened. Am I idiotic for doing this?

I pondered on Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings and teachings of various masters. Holding hatred toward someone is like holding on to a hot piece of coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, only the person holding it is getting burned. You see, if I am angry, my abusers will not feel the wrath of my anger. Only I will and it consumes me. But if I practice the opposite, having compassion and praying for them, it heals me bit by bit. I figured that this is hard, a big challenge. In our world today, when one is hurt, many turn to vengeance but few turn to compassion and forgiveness. I am inspired by the stories of Tibetan exiles, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and many monks and nuns who have been hurt by the Chinese authorities. I draw from their strength, wisdom, and compassion to the point where I am touched by their kindness toward their abusers.

What else can I do to strengthen my practices of compassion toward my abusers? Why is it important to have kindness toward our abusers?

:anjali:
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Anders » Fri May 13, 2011 4:19 pm

I find it an illuminating perspective sometimes to contemplate that all of us have traversed samsara since beginningless time and have climbed up and down the ladder and been in all kinds of states. We all have a past of being murderers, rapists and evil beings, just as 'evil' beings now have a past of doing good and living heavenly lives. And at the root of it all is ignorance. If we knew the consequences of bad karma, we wouldn't dare thinking even a thought of harmfulness. And yet we have done so because we don't see things clearly and abandoned good paths because of the same. Over and over, up and down the ladder.

At this point in time, perhaps it is you who find yourself in a position of good karma and someone you share a karmic bond with is burdened by heavy karma. Formerly the rolves may have been reversed and it could be so again.

For me, I consider that any kind of karmic connection, whether it is negative or positive, is like a tie to my vows. I hope that in the future when I may have the skilful means to exert a positive influence, that this connections will allow me to come into contact with them again to make a positive difference and that they may not be bereft of guidance and support in their lives.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri May 13, 2011 4:43 pm

Mokugyo wrote:I've been through a lot of pain recently. The person whom I once cared for hurt me tremendously. I've spent the nights so angry, trouble mind, lost, confused, sorrowful.

I'm sorry to hear about that.
Dear friend, those emotions are natural when one gets seriously hurt. Unfortunately, there's no magic potion to alleviate the pain. Know, however, that slowly it will pass. These troubled emotions, feelings and thoughts will vanish and the pain will ease up. So, there's no bright side to it. We deposit our expectations in transient things and when they change, we suffer. You can take the chance to observe carefully these thoughts and emotions when they arise. Take a step back and look at them, not being consumed by them. You will see them arise and vanish, again and again, but don't let yourself be swept by their power. You can learn from this, because time will pass, sorrow will ease and you're likely to do the same again. Next time, if you learn from this experience, you're expectations will be more realistic. This doesn't mean you won't trust others or that they won't hurt you again, but by then perhaps you gained some insight and deal better with the situation.
In a nutshell, it will take a while to go away, so you might as well learn from it, friend.

I decided to turn to sutra recitation last night (Ksitigarbha sutra). It did help a little. I dedicated my merits toward my abusers. Little by little, I am beginning to figure out that they too are sentient beings stuck in samsara just as I am. I pray so that their suffering and their karmic retributions for whatever they have done may be lessened. Am I idiotic for doing this?

You need to put your heart in it, see? It should be done with pure intentions, so you must check your thoughts. If you are able to understand, not only intellectually, that we all harm each other because we are ignorant, it would be very good. Anders put it very well in his post. Think a little about what he said. You can even picture in your mind all these ups and downs we all went through.
You are not idiotic, by any means. You're courageous and compassionate, worthy of admiration. Few people do what you do in this sort of situations.

I pondered on Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings and teachings of various masters. Holding hatred toward someone is like holding on to a hot piece of coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, only the person holding it is getting burned. You see, if I am angry, my abusers will not feel the wrath of my anger. Only I will and it consumes me. But if I practice the opposite, having compassion and praying for them, it heals me bit by bit. I figured that this is hard, a big challenge. In our world today, when one is hurt, many turn to vengeance but few turn to compassion and forgiveness. I am inspired by the stories of Tibetan exiles, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and many monks and nuns who have been hurt by the Chinese authorities. I draw from their strength, wisdom, and compassion to the point where I am touched by their kindness toward their abusers.

This is very wise, friend.

What else can I do to strengthen my practices of compassion toward my abusers? Why is it important to have kindness toward our abusers?

You can practice the four immeasurables.

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes

May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes

May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss

May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.


Take a look here: http://www.bodhicitta.net/The%20Practice%20of%20the%20Four%20Immeasurables-opening.htm

This is the best advice I can give you right now. Your second question may also be answered once you read these articles by Ven. Sangye Khadro.

I hope you find peace of mind swiftly.

Best wishes! :consoling:
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri May 13, 2011 5:05 pm

I'll give you a practical hint from my personal experience, hopping it helps you. I too had my fair share of disappointments. We all had, I guess.
It's related to that part of taking a step back and looking to the emotions, feelings and thoughts that arise in your mind.
It's helpful to control the breath first. I sit, inhale and exhale deeply a few times to clear the stale air. If you know some breathing techniques to clear the stale air, you can use them. Then you leave the breath settle by its own. Don't throw yourself right into the "observation part". First relax a little. The breathe will become slow and shallow. Focus a little in the sensations of breathing in and release when breathing out. Focus a little steadier in the inhalation and release a bit in the exhalation.
Then notice your awareness. Be mindful and look to your mind, not repressing thoughts neither following them. Emotions, feelings and thoughts will come.
Notice that you aren't those emotions, feelings and thoughts. You experience them, yet that awareness that experiences them remains untouched by them as long as you aren't swept away by their power. So you don't become anger, disappointment or even get lost, since that awareness is there, remaining clear and radiant while the storm of negative emotions and thoughts happens and fades away. Do small sessions, otherwise you'll end up caught by these thoughts, unless you have some experience. Then, when you get up, try to be mindful and when you hint an episode of negative emotions and thoughts, don't become those thoughts. There is nothing to solve. You just need to let it pass and not be overwhelmed. Don't waste too much time looking for solutions. If you feel you did what should be done, and there's no perfection here, just what we can do, give it a rest and let the situation follow its course. Meanwhile, you'll gain deeper insight. I hope it helps.

Hang in there and keep us posted.
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri May 13, 2011 9:34 pm

Excellent replies all. Mine is perhaps not so excellent but I will offer it for a person like me. Not to say the initial poster is like me, but a suggestion it may be for that unlikely event... :smile: or someone who reads this who is like me..

I can simply find noone who has harmed me who is the person who has harmed me. Changes have occured and that person no longer exists.
My arrows aim of revenge or retribution will be far off its mark. Striking a innocent it will. The person I strike has not performed the deed.

As all is circumstantial in origin, a being that I perceive to be individual that i perceive as individual harming me is not such.
A composite only they are and as so am I neither may in fact harm either. I may as well blame a tree whose limb falls on me for growing a limb, that limb falling off in storm and hitting me on the head. Quite unfortunate but I cannot blame the tree, nor limb nor storm. I may perhaps learn not to be under a tree with a weak limb in a storm for future use. The tree has done what circumstances dictate...nothing more nor less.

I can find noone not like me. As I am composite in nature I can find nothing that is not fashioned thusly. So I cannot imagine or fathom a thing composite in nature and form having differing composite performing or engageing not in any concievable fashion.
As I see myself thusly I can envision doing anything or nothing in a unfathomable amount of concievable circumstances. To include produceing the circumstance of harm upon another that I am presently engaged in.
So as I always seek to cognicize be aware, understand and continue to be so doing, I cannot rationally wish another not be doing so.
So as seeking to understand is a form of compassion(compassion always is elicited by understanding)...I cannot help feeling compassion for another, as all are exactly like me in this fashion.

As I feel compassion thusly for myself I must feel compassion thusly for all.

So it simply cannot be that I do not feel compassion. Seek to avert harm and not stand under weak limbs in storms...sure I do that constantly.
Hate the tree limb storm or myself for standing under the tree in such a circumstance, stupidly....no. That would be quite absurd.
We create our reality what presents to us through our stupidity, our ignorant assumptions of things and thusly it is to be expected that we will act stupidly and have stupid things happen to us.
So I can only work to avert the heart of the matter...stupidity ignorance. So I will see all storms weak limbs and such things coming...and be not harmed.


Death is the ultimate weak limb bound to fall. I cannot hate death, quite silly that would be. The greatest abuse, someone to kill me.....I would certainly rush from that limb falling. But hate the limb....silly. I am the creator of that circumstance not another. So none may kill me....only me. None may harm me, only me.

Again not to confuse that with not rushing away from falling limbs in storms...certainly I must do that. I don't particularly feel compassionate towards those limbs...they don't care, I feel about the same to all trees. I can't hate or work to harm them....it would be quite silly. When the storm is over I may work to cut trees weak branches, if they are on my property and I have the tools at hand. If not not. There are billions of trees with weak limbs and billions of storms and places to stand under such things I don't make a big deal about one personal tree whose limb may fall on me. If I want to be hit on the head I will find one. If not I will avoid such things. I expect the limb of death to fall on me....my birth demands it. Silly me.

I wish all trees well...but they do not care. To do otherwise....I could not do.

I hate to be silly :smile:
So hating to be silly is how I have compassion.

So....that's my trick to add to the excellent comments offered. For a person like me.

A comical aside but literal fact, and hence the reference....I live adjacent to a national forest, am sitting at a desk looking at a large pine tree take daily walks through the forest and am in fact at this moment nursing a bump on my head from a tree limb(though not a falling one). Hence my affinity for trees and my circumstantial response to this question.

Thoughts to harm another things places or objects....thoughts are just thoughts they come and go without substance. Who cares what I think...I pay it no mind. Circumstantial they are as well. Good or bad ones...I can't claim a one to be mine. Feelings about the same. Moods negative or positive. Of no concern.
Intent.....I decide intent. And no intention of harm can occur.....it is simply silly to do so.
Seems such to me....internal dialogue.....a stream of circumstance/energy only, what humans do. Intention.....a action, a thing performed. Quite dissimiliar to my view. So prayer doesn't get employed by me, excepting as necessitated by oath or vow. And this engaged for another, not me.

So quite likely few are like me, nor desire such. I am not selling this thing of me. Just that some may be like me, and engage such things in this fashion.

Truth be told I added the last part as context for clarification.
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Fri May 13, 2011 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Luke » Fri May 13, 2011 9:44 pm

Dear Mogyugo,

It's very noble and strong of you to try to feel compassion for your abusers, but please also remember to have compassion for yourself and to care about yourself. You also possess the radiant, pure Buddha-nature which all beings possess.

I once read about visualization exercises in a book for post-traumatic stress which seemed very similar to Tibetan Buddhist meditations. So practicing a sadhana in which you visualize yourself as Chenrezig or another deity could help make you feel the bliss of your buddha-nature and also transform your viewpoint as you try to see the world and other beings as innately pure--but it's a long process, so be patient.

May you find peace.

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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Fa Dao » Sat May 14, 2011 3:34 am

Sounds to me like you are on the right track. Even having the thought that you want to have compassion for your abusers is a step in the right direction. One thing you can contemplate that may help is to realize that time is beginningless and endless. All beings at one time have been our own kind mother. Even the person/s that abused you. Think of your mother now. Imagine that she was struck with dementia or alzheimers and did not know who you were, yelling at you and abusing you. Would you feel angry towards her? Would you want revenge knowing that she is in a confused state? The person/s who abused you recently are basically in the same state of confusion and was in fact your own mother at one time. Perhaps contemplating it in this way might help. Stay on the compassionate course you have set for yourself. Good job!!!
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby LastLegend » Sat May 14, 2011 9:01 am

Very good very good replies. There are many methods to combat suffering and are offered in this thread. Let me say some words:

Let's the pain or suffering you endure be the firewood, stack it up, and when you have fire, it will burn all firewood and turn it into wisdom. Yes, see it as a treasure for now...see your pain or suffering as a test in your path...as some said your strength. Without this strong enemy, you cannot grow stronger. So be a warrior to combat suffering in your path. Appreciate the suffering for it gives you the strength and courage to walk the path. And have compassion like Fa Dao said for the person for the person is also a victim of his/her ignorance.

Buddha said there is a thief who steals all of your things when you can't recognize who he is. In this case the thief is the 3 poisons (greed, anger, and ignorance) especially anger that steals your wisdom, merits, concentration, and purity. The application here is like what amigo Dechen Norbu said recognize these thoughts of anger (and thoughts of other 2 poisons) and but do not follow them. What works for me is to constantly say Namo Amitabha in mind to keep my mind focusing on Buddha and not on the thoughts from 3 poisons. Keeping my mind on Namo Amitabha is considered a right view as opposed keeping my mind on false view that comes from the 3 poisons.

Like Anders said due to ignorance we create karma and what you experience now is karma and this karma will create more karma. So we now have to decide to stop following the path of the 3 karma of body, speech, and mind (3 poisons). In the line of what Ronnewmexico said, you are the creator of all your problems, and you are also the solver of all your problems...I find that triple jewels really help me a lot. The triple jewels of Buddha-Dharma-Sangha or Awakened-Truth-Purity is what helps me cut through most of the unneccessary thoughts. Whenever my mind is engaging in thoughts that are based on the 3 poisons, I remember of Awakened-Truth-Purity and stop engaging/refugeeing in these thoughts as these thoughts bring me suffering. In other words, I no longer take refuge in the 3 karma of body, speech, and mind (3 poisons).

It comes down to will and faith. And I personally rest my will and faith in Namo Amitabha and Awakened-Truth-Purity. Will to cultivate concentration as in Conducts-Concentration-Wisdom, which is the opposite of Greed, Anger, and Ignorance. Conducts here mean methods to keep mind concentrate. When one’s mind has concentration, it is no longer dragged in by the thoughts of 3 poisons. And the main method for me is reciting Namo Amitabha. Others employ main methods of Tantra, Chan, and other forms. But in everyday life, there are other methods we also need employ to keep our mind pure. For example, I prefer to avoid the crowds as this will stir my thoughts of 3 poisons when it meets conditions. So I don’t actively seek the crowds. I prefer to make some small donations. I prefer to not associate with people who party. And vows and precepts also fall under this category of conducts. Following the laws also falls under this category as breaking the laws might result in consequences and consequences will not keep the mind pure. Those are my methods. You might have your own and whatever works to help keep your mind pure.

And lastly, diets. I recommend organic food if you can afford it. Integrate whole grains into your diets, and of course vegetables and fruit preferably in bright colors such as red and orange. Definitely avoid processed food and artificial sugar in drinks and such. So water is preferred.

That's what I practice basically. I hope you will find it helpful and not too heavy to digest. It's up to you to find methods that suit you.
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Mokugyo » Sat May 14, 2011 8:10 pm

Hey all!

Thank you for your kind help and advice. I really appreciate it.

Some of you said I may we may experience such things due to karmic debts. So I thought about it for a while and realized that I have hurt others in the past. Due to my ignorance, I was not aware that my words or actions can hurt others. Now, I am perhaps feeling the pain that I was not aware that I may have caused others. I hope to be more mindful of this and stop the cycle. The person that I held dear, due to his ignorance, he did not know the pain he would cause me. I only pray that his suffering be lessened..that goes for my abusers as well.

So perhaps, knowing how the pain feels, it is best that we try to be mindful? So...if I dont hurt others, then they wont hurt me?

I guess this only calls for mindfulness :buddha2:



May you all be happy and free from suffering. :namaste:
Last edited by Mokugyo on Sun May 15, 2011 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Anders » Sat May 14, 2011 9:54 pm

thanks! :smile:
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby LastLegend » Sun May 15, 2011 8:14 am

Mokugyo,

Sometimes we unintentionally create karma without even knowing it. For example, someone/a stranger overheard something you said to your friend, and this person takes what he/she heard in a wrong way and becomes upset. The point is we constantly create karma without even knowing because we are not enlightened yet to see that. And you are right we should be mindful of our actions.
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby Paul » Sun May 15, 2011 9:47 pm

Mokugyo wrote:I've been through a lot of pain recently. The person whom I once cared for hurt me tremendously. I've spent the nights so angry, trouble mind, lost, confused, sorrowful.

I decided to turn to sutra recitation last night (Ksitigarbha sutra). It did help a little. I dedicated my merits toward my abusers. Little by little, I am beginning to figure out that they too are sentient beings stuck in samsara just as I am. I pray so that their suffering and their karmic retributions for whatever they have done may be lessened. Am I idiotic for doing this?

I pondered on Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings and teachings of various masters. Holding hatred toward someone is like holding on to a hot piece of coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, only the person holding it is getting burned. You see, if I am angry, my abusers will not feel the wrath of my anger. Only I will and it consumes me. But if I practice the opposite, having compassion and praying for them, it heals me bit by bit. I figured that this is hard, a big challenge. In our world today, when one is hurt, many turn to vengeance but few turn to compassion and forgiveness. I am inspired by the stories of Tibetan exiles, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and many monks and nuns who have been hurt by the Chinese authorities. I draw from their strength, wisdom, and compassion to the point where I am touched by their kindness toward their abusers.

What else can I do to strengthen my practices of compassion toward my abusers? Why is it important to have kindness toward our abusers?

:anjali:



My family has had a lot over very, very serious abuse in it - although nothing has happened to me personally. This left me with some serious hatred towards some people - including some that were long dead.

When you are remembering events that have happened in your life, what you are doing is actively thinking in the present about something. It's this present thoughts that you are having an emotional reaction to and both the thought and reaction are habitual patterns.

If what you are dealing with has a strong negative emotion linked to it them it's hard to overcome the habit and also see that you're still actively creating thoughts - a memory is very much a live process.

The only way I have found to develop forgiveness etc. is to see that any rumination, regrets, negative memories etc. are myself being involved in something right now. It is not something in the past reaching out towards me, it's a creative process I am not seeing myself being involved in. If you see this creative process and its harmfulness then you automatically stop it because it's painful. This is almost like a self-vaccination against the effects of past memories and I think that until you see how a memory works in the present, you can still be hurt by memories ( to the point of PTSD).

Once you have overcome this, then compassion for those who've hurt you in the past can develop a lot easier. The mind is a lot more open and resilient, so you can see the sentient beings as ones that are suffering, even if they are actually committing very evil acts.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Compassion for abusers..how?

Postby LastLegend » Wed May 18, 2011 5:54 am

We should see everything as wholesome instead of rejecting self versus true nature. So by accepting wholesome, you accept that you are the one who is responsible and no one else. You are the one who has karma of body, speech, and mind (greed, anger, and ignorance). Yes, I is responsible for I possess greed, anger, and ignorance and I act upon these. Now I have to seek to cure this problem.

Others creating 3 karma of body, speech, and mind is none of my concern. Their problems are not mine. And I cannot let my problems mix with their problems. I cannot let greed, anger, and ignorance possess me by taking in their problems.
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