Author Topic: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner  (Read 17529 times)

DSFriend

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Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« on: January 15, 2012, 01:17:50 PM »
From Wikepedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution...."

Wikipedia described the process by using very big words and seems easier said than done. Most of us if not all of us, have been hurt, disappointed time and time again. What does forgiveness means in buddhist context? How did you overcome what you went thru and felt you have forgiven the person.

Midakpa

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 02:26:13 PM »
If we cannot forgive, the anger will remain, the suffering continues and we will not be able to move on. Forgiveness is a kind of compassion for the person who has hurt you. As Buddhists, we need to look at things from the point of view of dharma and also karma. 

By forgiving the person who has hurt you, you are in fact applying the antidotes to anger, such as love, understanding, patience, and compassion. If you can understand the suffering of others, you will be able to forgive, and as a result be a happier person. Believing in karma also helps. If we accept our karma, it is easier to forgive and not blame the other person. We might have done the same thing to him/her in a previous life.

In our previous lives and in this life, we have hurt many beings. We should seek their forgiveness in our prayers. Similarly, we must also forgive those who have hurt us, in our previous lives and in this life. This way we will have no enemies and our lives will be more happy and peaceful.

My method is to let others win. Although I'm the boss, I can still be humble and say sorry. It is very effective.  They all end up being very respectful and polite. And they stop complaining. It really doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong. Just say sorry and be kind.

Galen

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2012, 05:16:06 PM »
Forgiveness is bliss cos it frees us of the anger and resentment and hatred to the person who have done wrong to us. It is not an easy task especially when we have hurt a lot. When we forgive, it does not mean we forget. We still have memory of the incident but it does not affect us anymore. We cannot wipe out our memory. It just means that we are no longer attached to the incident. Even if they are wrong in accusing us, we have to forgive.

In one of the verses in the 8 verses of Thought Transformations, it says:

"Whenever others, because of their jealousy, treat me badly 
with abuse, insult, slander, or in other unjust ways, may I accept this 
defeat myself and offer the victory to others."

It is Buddhist practice if we are able to forgive and let others win even though they have mistreated us badly. This is because when we accept defeat (forgive), we are practicing kindness and not letting ourselves reacting in non-virtuous ways like being angry. We are in a way cultivating compassion in us and elimating our self-cherishing mind.

Let's all forgive!

hope rainbow

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 05:15:48 PM »
Forgiveness is understanding that when others hurt me, they do so by ignorance, they do so because they think ignorantly that their hurtful action would solve a suffering they experience, they do so because they want to be happy, yet go about it the wrong way.

Forgiveness is understanding that the hurtful action was not directed at me, that I am not the focus and axis of the hurtful action, the focus is a state of suffering experienced by the person hurting me.

Forgiveness is understanding that the way to help the person hurting me cannot be found in a mindset of defensiveness, retaliation, revenge nor can it be found in a mindset of numbness, indifference or carelesness.
I am not under attack, I witness and experience (painfully) an ignorant mind that suffers a great deal and that is trying to find peace.

Only after I forgive can I start thinking of ways to help the person that did hurt me.
Without forgiveness, this would be impossible (with forgiveness I can only develop a mind of hatred and it is impossible to combine hatred and compassion at the same time - impossible).

Tenzin K

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2012, 10:51:45 AM »
If we give up resentment against someone, then we no longer have desire to retaliate or seek revenge. In short, we forgive them.
It's not easy to forgive when we re hurt or offended. To forgive means to let go of the hurt feeling and our grudges.

Forgiveness is a self transformation. when we forgive we transform our anger into positive mental state of goodwill (kindness & compassion).

Forgive doesn't mean to forget but to remember to prevent from people to have chance to hurt us.

If we want to be happy, we have to forgive. This is real buddhist practitioner.
If we hurt others we hurt ourselves. If we help others we help ourselves.

Forgiveness is a giving up of self centredness and we develop a more emotional maturity.

As Shantideva says in the Bodhicaryavatara:   
"One's mind finds no peace, neither enjoys pleasure or delight, nor goes to sleep, nor feels secure while the dart of hatred is stuck in the heart. Those whom one honors with wealth and respect, and also one's dependents, even they long to destroy the ¾master who is disfigured by hatred. Even friends shrink from him. He gives, but is not honored. In short, there is no sense in which someone prone to anger is well off. The person who realizes that hatred is an enemy, since it creates such sufferings as these, and who persistently strikes it down, it happy in this world and the next."

pgdharma

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2012, 02:03:26 PM »

In one of the verses in the 8 verses of Thought Transformations, it says:

"Whenever others, because of their jealousy, treat me badly 
with abuse, insult, slander, or in other unjust ways, may I accept this 
defeat myself and offer the victory to others."


This verse applies to everyone regardless of religion. If we can apply this into our daily lives, then we will be able to let go of our ego, hatred, anger and practice loving kindness, understanding and patience.

I agree with Galen that forgiveness is bliss as it frees us from resentment, anger and hatred even though it is not an easy task. However, when we look at great masters like HHDL who has full of compassion and forgiveness, it gives us the inspiration to put this act into our practice.

shugdentruth

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2012, 02:36:08 PM »
When we forgive, it ends our own torturing so we can be free to help ourselves and others. When we hold onto grudges, the person we tie down the most is ourselves.

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 04:21:43 AM »
My method is to let others win. Although I'm the boss, I can still be humble and say sorry. It is very effective.  They all end up being very respectful and polite. And they stop complaining. It really doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong. Just say sorry and be kind. ( from Midakpa )

While I agree that your method works, it may still be limited to letting others have their  small wins . Like, if a  street boy pinched five dollar from our pocket, most of us would probably be able to react not too negatively and also easy to let it go. However, imagine the scenario where he damaged your brand new car and you got to fork out a few thousand bucks at the work shop and for a few weeks have to go to work by bus.
My point is, unless we have true acceptance of a bad experience arising from someone, our letting go will not be complete and there will be lingering bitterness which will build up silently in us until it blows up one day. The highest level of acceptance and hence true letting go can only be achieved  when we have realized the true nature of things and where they are coming from. The next level should be compassion based. Midakpa's statement here is more  a psychological or intellectual decision which can only work for small issues or challenges.


Gypsy

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 06:31:41 PM »
Anger is one of my serious issue that i need to really overcome and i'm in the midst of practicing ZEN..look at things at a wider scope, divert my anger to positive motivation, learn how to chill and relax when my nerves go up to neck..Anger is destructive.

Due to my anger, i've hurt people and eventually myself, because when you make people suffer, in the end of the day the suffer will come back to you. Karma bites! (if you believe in karma) I agree with hope rainbow" Forgiveness is understanding that the way to help the person hurting me cannot be found in a mindset of defensiveness, retaliation, revenge nor can it be found in a mindset of numbness, indifference or carelesness. I am not under attack, I witness and experience (painfully) an ignorant mind that suffers a great deal and that is trying to find peace."

Peace is the most precious thing that we want to pursue in our life. When we are blinded by anger, jealousy, ignorant etc, we hardly can think properly or even breathe properly. Our mind is full of negative thoughts. After consulting my Buddhist friend, i'm now practicing to have an open heart, accept whatever it comes, be compassionate and kind, hope my anger issue can go away, it doesn't hurt more people..

Big Uncle

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 07:13:15 PM »
I think forgiveness is difficult if we keep a narrow mind and think we are hurt very badly and no one else is as hurt as we are. Truth be told! There are many people who are in worse situations but they do not react as negatively as we do. I realized this when I interacted with many senior Dharma students and I noticed how they handle very negative situations with certain individuals and they do it with so much grace, forgiveness and loving kindness even.

I think such observation and comparison is a good yardstick for my practice. I don't think as humans we can't avoid being hurt. The key is not to react in anger. We control our anger and not the other way round. Those who find it difficult to forgive others and always volatile and in fits of rage really need to control their anger even more. That's because it is actually a very dangerous situation to be in because each moment of rage creates multiple causes to be born in hell or hell-like situations.

Anyway, I do think that people who are very angry are usually people who have very little control of their lives and anger is just a method to exert control over certain individuals. Another possible cause is due to a lot of deep-seated regrets that sometimes manifest as anger. Knowing the root cause could be a good way to find ways to heal this rage within. Meditations like Guru Yoga with a lot of Migtsema recitations is one good meditative way to heal.

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2012, 04:48:28 AM »
I like this topic because we are being ‘ hurt’ all the time and learning how to forgive will be extremely useful . The thing about forgiveness is that we apply it  only after we are hurt or harmed. In this sense, it is a damage control remedy. Due to this reason, the only opportunity we have to train in developing such a forgiving attitude is when we are hurt and that is the challenge ! The 8 verses come to mind immediately , in particular the 5th & 6th verses to offer victory and accept defeat, and to view those who hurt or harm us as supreme teachers. I understand now its wisdom.
 I think the most beneficial aspect of forgiving is that it allows us to move on.  It also protects our mind from being dragged down by bitterness which if uncontrolled develops into hatred and worst of all, getting back by taking revenge. If someone poked our eye out and we accept the damage had happened, forgive and move on ,its only one person and we contain the problem. If we take revenge , eventually the whole world goes blind. From this logic, forgiving is not about losing but taking responsibility to avoid a chain reaction of hatred that can destroy the world. When we come to terms with this logic and reality , if we forgive someone, we will feel good that we have done something truly beneficial by not escalating or being influenced by the person's negative action and that makes whatever pain we had to absorb worth it.We are in control.


yontenjamyang

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 09:50:40 AM »
The first thing that comes to my mind is that there is nothing to forgive if one is not hurt. Of course, to be hurt really depends on the things done to us. If some body just did some minor to us, we may not even notice it and we need not forgive that person. If someone kill our family for example, then we are more likely to be hurt and then there is a need to forgive.
In the context of Buddhism, if there is no self-cherishing then there is no need to forgive and we are not hurt. However, for most of us, we DO have self-cherishing mind, hence there is OTHERS that can hurt us, hence we need to forgive.
I find the "Eight verses for Training the Mind" to be the best practice for this.

Eight Verses for Training the Mind

by Langri Thangpa

With a determination to accomplish
The highest welfare for all sentient beings
Who surpass even a wish-granting jewel
I will learn to hold them supremely dear.

Whenever I associate with others I will learn
To think of myself as the lowest among all
And respectfully hold others to be supreme
From the very depths of my heart.

In all actions I will learn to search into my mind
And as soon as an afflictive emotion arises
Endangering myself and others
Will firmly face and avert it.

I will learn to cherish beings of bad nature
And those oppressed by strong sins and suffering
As if I had found a precious
Treasure very difficult to find.

When others out of jealousy treat me badly
With abuse, slander, and so on,
I will learn to take on all loss,
And offer victory to them.

When one whom I have benefited with great hope
Unreasonably hurts me very badly,
I will learn to view that person
As an excellent spiritual guide.

In short, I will learn to offer to everyone without exception
All help and happiness directly and indirectly
And respectfully take upon myself
All harm and suffering of my mothers.

I will learn to keep all these practices
Undefiled by the stains of the eight worldly conceptions
And by understanding all phenomena as like illusions
Be released from the bondage of attachment.

bambi

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 12:35:40 PM »
Before I knew the beauty of Dharma, it was hard to forgive someone and in the end it was all I could think of.  How the other person hurt me and made it hard for me. I blamed everything and everyone for what I was going thru. How can bad things happen to me and not other people? Then I found out about karma and realized the world as I see it is not that bad. There are worse cases out there and they go on with their life with anger until the day they die. It's actually very easy once I learn how to let go and practice it every day. Even saying thank you/sorry to other people makes me happy as their eyes lit up because they feel appreciated. I am so glad I found my root Guru early for He made me saw things I never knew I could.

diamond girl

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2012, 08:40:49 AM »
If we are seriously wanting to be happy then we must recognize that the truth to happiness lies inside us. And when we learn the Dharma we acquire the teachings/skills to develop inner happiness. Forgiveness is necessary because the inability to do so causes unhappiness and bitterness.

Be happy, forgive and most of all forget what people have done to you... Do not waste your mental peace by clouding it with "memories of pain".  NO POINT.

Klein

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Re: Forgiveness as a buddhist practitioner
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2012, 06:38:32 PM »
I agree with Galen and Hope rainbow. Forgiveness is very important as a buddhist practitioner because in order to practise compassion, we must let go of the person who hurt us. Compassion is about accepting the person unconditionally, both the good and bad qualities. Since all negative actions arise from ignorance and our sufferings are from our negative karma, we shouldn't blame the person but just accept.

When we continue to practise compassion no matter how difficult it may be at times, over time, it'll be easier to let go and forgive. The key is consistency to the practice. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.