forgiveness

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clyde
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forgiveness

Post by clyde » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:56 pm

Buddhists of all traditions practice gratitude. Mahayanists also practice repentance.

But recently I’ve begun contemplating and practicing forgiveness (focusing on giving forgiveness). In doing some research, I searched for “forgiveness” in the Pali Suttas (using accesstoinsight.org) and found no matches; not one sutta about forgiveness!

Of course, contemporary Buddhist teachers talk about forgiveness and attempt to give it a basis in Buddha’s teachings; but it’s a constructed concept.

Is forgiveness missing from the Buddha’s teachings?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:04 pm

Try looking for teachings on "enemies".
namuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabu

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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emaho
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Re: forgiveness

Post by emaho » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:00 am

It depends on how you understand "forgiveness" - we've had a similar discussion in another context. Some of the folks here (not me) are highly allergic against all terminology that reminds them of Christianity. The way I understand the term "forgiveness" - giving up negative feelings and intentions of revenge towards the aggressor and wishing him well instead - what the Buddha says in this passage is pretty much the same:
“Monks, even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, he who gave rise to a mind of hate toward them would not be carrying out my teaching. Herein, monks, you should train thus: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading them with a mind imbued with loving-kindness; and starting with them, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.’ That is how you should train, monks.”
(from MN 21, MLDB 221)
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Wayfarer
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:14 am

I don't know if you know of Ken McLeod, who's a Western dharma teacher, but have a look at this thread which is a discussion of his idea that 'forgiveness is not a Buddhist idea'.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Aryjna
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Aryjna » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:28 am

There is no need to talk about forgiveness using the specific concept, as it is covered already by reducing aversion. It can be found practically everywhere. It should be impossible to miss.

E.g. in 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.
Extensively in the Bodhicaryavatara, and probably hundreds of other texts.

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Re: forgiveness

Post by clyde » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 am

emaho wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:00 am
It depends on how you understand "forgiveness" - we've had a similar discussion in another context. Some of the folks here (not me) are highly allergic against all terminology that reminds them of Christianity. The way I understand the term "forgiveness" - giving up negative feelings and intentions of revenge towards the aggressor and wishing him well instead - what the Buddha says in this passage is pretty much the same:
“Monks, even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, he who gave rise to a mind of hate toward them would not be carrying out my teaching. Herein, monks, you should train thus: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading them with a mind imbued with loving-kindness; and starting with them, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.’ That is how you should train, monks.”
(from MN 21, MLDB 221)
I understand forgiveness as you do, but the passage says something different. The Buddha speaks of a monk whose mind remains unaffected; but if that’s the case, there is no need to forgive. But for us who are not so well trained and our minds are affected, we need to forgive.

I get that one can construct/imply a teaching of forgiveness from the Buddha’s teachings, but there doesn’t seem to be a direct teaching.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Aryjna
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Aryjna » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:07 am

clyde wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 am
I understand forgiveness as you do, but the passage says something different. The Buddha speaks of a monk whose mind remains unaffected; but if that’s the case, there is no need to forgive. But for us who are not so well trained and our minds are affected, we need to forgive.

I get that one can construct/imply a teaching of forgiveness from the Buddha’s teachings, but there doesn’t seem to be a direct teaching.
Or, if one's mind is affected, they are advised to let go of the aversion, which is the same thing as forgiveness, even if excessive nitpicking is applied.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:27 pm

clyde wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 am
I get that one can construct/imply a teaching of forgiveness from the Buddha’s teachings, but there doesn’t seem to be a direct teaching.
Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life wrote:If the sight of me inspires in others
Thoughts of anger or devotion,
May such states of mind be causes
For eternally fulfilling their desires.

May those who insult me to my face,
Or cause me harm in any other way,
Even those who disparage me in secret,
Have the good fortune to awaken.

...

Unruly beings are as unlimited as space;
They cannot possibly all be overcome,
but if I overcome thoughts of anger alone
This will be equivalent to vanquishing all foes.

...

There is nothing whatsoever
that is not made easier through acquaintance.
So through becoming acquainted with small harms
I should learn to patiently accept greater harms.
Bodhicitta, the basis of the Mahayana path, is impossible without forgiveness. It necessitates the setting aside of aversion and the taking up of a universally loving attitude.
There are many teachings available on what this attitude is, how to cultivate it, its impediments and how to remove them.
The work cited above is a classic example. :namaste:
namuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabu

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

Free Pure Land Buddhism resources

Simon E.
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Simon E. » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:46 pm

This.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Re: forgiveness

Post by Simon E. » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:16 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:07 am
clyde wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 am
I understand forgiveness as you do, but the passage says something different. The Buddha speaks of a monk whose mind remains unaffected; but if that’s the case, there is no need to forgive. But for us who are not so well trained and our minds are affected, we need to forgive.

I get that one can construct/imply a teaching of forgiveness from the Buddha’s teachings, but there doesn’t seem to be a direct teaching.
Or, if one's mind is affected, they are advised to let go of the aversion, which is the same thing as forgiveness, even if excessive nitpicking is applied.
I don't think so. Letting go of aversion need not involve the conventional other. Forgiveness by definition does.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Aryjna
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Aryjna » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:27 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:16 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:07 am
clyde wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 am
I understand forgiveness as you do, but the passage says something different. The Buddha speaks of a monk whose mind remains unaffected; but if that’s the case, there is no need to forgive. But for us who are not so well trained and our minds are affected, we need to forgive.

I get that one can construct/imply a teaching of forgiveness from the Buddha’s teachings, but there doesn’t seem to be a direct teaching.
Or, if one's mind is affected, they are advised to let go of the aversion, which is the same thing as forgiveness, even if excessive nitpicking is applied.
I don't think so. Letting go of aversion need not involve the conventional other. Forgiveness by definition does.
The other is involved regardless, as it is one of the conditions for the aversion to appear. And when someone feels aversion, thy feel it against someone or something, not in general. So if this aversion toward a person is abandoned, that is forgiving the person.

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Re: forgiveness

Post by Simon E. » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:52 pm

Not convinced. One is passive, the other active.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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clyde
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Re: forgiveness

Post by clyde » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:22 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:14 am
I don't know if you know of Ken McLeod, who's a Western dharma teacher, but have a look at this thread which is a discussion of his idea that 'forgiveness is not a Buddhist idea'.
Yes, in my research I did come across the article by McLeod. Although I thought his article might confirm my suspicion, I think his point is different as he focuses on the transactional nature of forgiveness. (I was unfamiliar with but grateful to learn of the teaching on purification called the the four forces: regret, reliance, remedy, and resolution.)

My focus is on forgiving as the release of negative emotions towards someone, including myself, or something.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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clyde
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Re: forgiveness

Post by clyde » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:24 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:27 pm
clyde wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 am
I get that one can construct/imply a teaching of forgiveness from the Buddha’s teachings, but there doesn’t seem to be a direct teaching.
Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life wrote:If the sight of me inspires in others
Thoughts of anger or devotion,
May such states of mind be causes
For eternally fulfilling their desires.

May those who insult me to my face,
Or cause me harm in any other way,
Even those who disparage me in secret,
Have the good fortune to awaken.

...

Unruly beings are as unlimited as space;
They cannot possibly all be overcome,
but if I overcome thoughts of anger alone
This will be equivalent to vanquishing all foes.

...

There is nothing whatsoever
that is not made easier through acquaintance.
So through becoming acquainted with small harms
I should learn to patiently accept greater harms.
Bodhicitta, the basis of the Mahayana path, is impossible without forgiveness. It necessitates the setting aside of aversion and the taking up of a universally loving attitude.
There are many teachings available on what this attitude is, how to cultivate it, its impediments and how to remove them.
The work cited above is a classic example. :namaste:
Yes, it is classic and wonderful . . . but it’s not a direct teaching of the Buddha.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Empty Desire
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Empty Desire » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:29 am

clyde wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:24 am
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:27 pm
clyde wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:28 am
I get that one can construct/imply a teaching of forgiveness from the Buddha’s teachings, but there doesn’t seem to be a direct teaching.
Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life wrote:If the sight of me inspires in others
Thoughts of anger or devotion,
May such states of mind be causes
For eternally fulfilling their desires.

May those who insult me to my face,
Or cause me harm in any other way,
Even those who disparage me in secret,
Have the good fortune to awaken.

...

Unruly beings are as unlimited as space;
They cannot possibly all be overcome,
but if I overcome thoughts of anger alone
This will be equivalent to vanquishing all foes.

...

There is nothing whatsoever
that is not made easier through acquaintance.
So through becoming acquainted with small harms
I should learn to patiently accept greater harms.
Bodhicitta, the basis of the Mahayana path, is impossible without forgiveness. It necessitates the setting aside of aversion and the taking up of a universally loving attitude.
There are many teachings available on what this attitude is, how to cultivate it, its impediments and how to remove them.
The work cited above is a classic example. :namaste:
Yes, it is classic and wonderful . . . but it’s not a direct teaching of the Buddha.
Not being able to Forgive is due to Aversion to a person who said/did something to you in the past. It then lives on in Mental Activity as part of the Afflictions Mind to varying degrees.

Bodhicitta/Love/Compassion for Enemies would have to include Forgiveness.

Shakyamuni Buddha said:

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 5: "Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law".

Also in Theravada, the key teaching is Non-Self.

Here in Vajrayana, we emphasise Non-Duality.

So we can fall into Dualistic Thinking and Attachment/Aversion become strong.

Whilst the Event occurred in our Outer Mind, it lives on in the Inner Mind.

Love/Compassion/Bodhicitta would resolve it.

Shakyamuni Buddha couldn't attain Buddhahood without Bodhicitta. So I'm sure he had to forgive a few people along the way, so he could then be of great benefit later on.

I think the real issue is, however, overcoming Attachment/Aversion.
No Beginning, No End, Just Mind......

Attachment's True Face is Aversion....

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clyde
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Re: forgiveness

Post by clyde » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:40 am

Empty Desire wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:29 am
Verse 5: "Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law".
I quoted that verse to a friend the other night. It’s a wonderful teaching. But it’s not what I understand as a teaching on forgiveness.

I agree that the Buddha taught many things, like the verse you quote, which either prevent or eliminate the need for forgiveness or resolve the matter.

But the Buddha did not explicitly teach forgiveness.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Empty Desire
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Empty Desire » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:08 am

clyde wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:40 am
Empty Desire wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:29 am
Verse 5: "Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law".
I quoted that verse to a friend the other night. It’s a wonderful teaching. But it’s not what I understand as a teaching on forgiveness.

I agree that the Buddha taught many things, like the verse you quote, which either prevent or eliminate the need for forgiveness or resolve the matter.

But the Buddha did not explicitly teach forgiveness.
How about seeing Forgiveness as a way to Liberate yourself and the Other from a Karmic Obscuration, born of Aversion.

The Buddha taught Suffering and the End of Suffering.

When we don't Forgive born of Aversion both Self/Other Suffer.

The Means would be Metta/Karuna and any other quality associated with the Parami(tas).
No Beginning, No End, Just Mind......

Attachment's True Face is Aversion....

Simon E.
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Re: forgiveness

Post by Simon E. » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:19 am

clyde wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:40 am
Empty Desire wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:29 am
Verse 5: "Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law".
I quoted that verse to a friend the other night. It’s a wonderful teaching. But it’s not what I understand as a teaching on forgiveness.

I agree that the Buddha taught many things, like the verse you quote, which either prevent or eliminate the need for forgiveness or resolve the matter.

But the Buddha did not explicitly teach forgiveness.
If by the Buddha you mean the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, he lived in a different age when certain collective mindsets were vastly different to our own both in a positive and negative sense. The Buddha did not question the keeping of slaves for example.
Buddhadharma in it's Mahayana form is not a one off revelation..it is living and growing. It has always absorbed what is good and right from the cultures it encounters, and if that includes a forgiving heart ( and social involvement) inspired by Theistic thought then it will be all the richer for it in terms of it's expression.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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clyde
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Re: forgiveness

Post by clyde » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:55 pm

Simon; I agree.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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