How important is forgiveness?

bcol01
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How important is forgiveness?

Post by bcol01 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:22 pm

I recently had a big miscommunication with a close friend, leading to an argument. Honestly, we were both intoxicated and said hurtful things. Nevertheless, I reached out to said friend and apologized for my part in things but I can't help feeling bruised still. Anyway, how important is forgiveness in this form of Buddhism? Do I need an apology to forgive?

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well wisher
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by well wisher » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:47 pm

In the end, the decision is up to yourself to forgive your friend or not, or cut ties.

Anyways I believe holding on to any sort of grudges for too long to be unhealthy, I have personal experience about such too. Forgiveness is a type of liberation, akin to letting go.

I think eventually you should let go of this event, but whether how and when you want to do so is up to you. You don't even necessarily have to let your friend know.

I think the main question you should ask yourself is: was that matter & dispute serious enough to warrant a break in friendship? And was it rare.
In my opinion, miscommunications are common, and friendship understandings needs to be bi-directional, not only one-way. Forgiveness definitely can help the beneficial friendships foster!

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Queequeg
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Queequeg » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:55 am

what are the options?

What does it mean to forgive?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by DharmaN00b » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:22 am

If you're going to rub shoulders for any duration forgiveness is very important, even if and when the interaction becomes somewhat dysfunctional.

The notion of agency- who's to blame and whatnot- can be 'muddy'. People can be akin to a rockfall or a shower of rain. In the first instance avoid at all costs, and in the second a minor inconvenience.

Pick your battles wisely, so says the cliche man.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by muni » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:53 am

Holding grudges is the most affecting ourselves in the first place, but also the environment. Just like holding on all kind of passing feelings-emotions is affecting our health, troubles our perception. Saying I forgive is easy of course, but, not so easy….looking to others, suffering of confusion just like all our own experienced suffering, can help. Why should we blame them then any longer? Because they are temporary victim of confusion -maya? Looking like this can help to be able to forgive because they are nothing different than us.

This morning this sentence popped in mind: the change must come from within. Looking into own mind and see how grasping works, and doesn’t allow open compassion. This can bring some insight how grudges are maintained and keep affecting us .
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Ayu » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:43 am

Forgiveness is an important tool for mental health and cleansing the karma as well. Forgiveness gives peace of mind, because other people's faults are no longer your business.

Maybe you can find some English text about the Four Powers (or how is this practice called in English?)
I mean:
- Admitting & regret
- The wish or vow not to do it again
- Cleaning (like excusing or if not possible doing some practice for oneself)
- Taking support in Dharma (like refuge or some sadhana)

I read it recently somewhere at DW in other better words.
This is a practice to help forgiving oneself. Which is an important foundation for being able to forgive others.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by dude » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:54 pm

Forgiveness is for your own sake, not the other person. When you forgive, you free yourself from the anger and bitterness that would otherwise fester in your heart.
To forgive is not to literally forget. If you go on as if the incident had never happened, you may be leaving yourself open to such a thing happening again, so to remember it means to keep in mind that the situation or the issue should maybe be avoided in the future.
Forgiveness is akin to reconciliation, but it's not the same thing. Resolving the issue means having an open and honest discussion, using "I" statements ( "I felt, I want, I need") and listening closely to the other person as well.
It's also important to remember, as with any other kind of suffering, that karma is at the root. The cause for the conflict, at the end of the day, was made by you in the past. Whatever can't be resolved has to be let go of.

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Minobu
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Minobu » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:18 pm

muni wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:53 am
Holding grudges is the most affecting ourselves in the first place, but also the environment. Just like holding on all kind of passing feelings-emotions is affecting our health, troubles our perception. Saying I forgive is easy of course, but, not so easy….looking to others, suffering of confusion just like all our own experienced suffering, can help. Why should we blame them then any longer? Because they are temporary victim of confusion -maya? Looking like this can help to be able to forgive because they are nothing different than us.

This morning this sentence popped in mind: the change must come from within. Looking into own mind and see how grasping works, and doesn’t allow open compassion. This can bring some insight how grudges are maintained and keep affecting us .
Ayu wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:43 am
Forgiveness is an important tool for mental health and cleansing the karma as well. Forgiveness gives peace of mind, because other people's faults are no longer your business.

Maybe you can find some English text about the Four Powers (or how is this practice called in English?)
I mean:
- Admitting & regret
- The wish or vow not to do it again
- Cleaning (like excusing or if not possible doing some practice for oneself)
- Taking support in Dharma (like refuge or some sadhana)

I read it recently somewhere at DW in other better words.
This is a practice to help forgiving oneself. Which is an important foundation for being able to forgive others.
i agree

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Minobu
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Minobu » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:19 pm

dude wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:54 pm
Forgiveness is for your own sake, not the other person. When you forgive, you free yourself from the anger and bitterness that would otherwise fester in your heart.

That festering anger affects the whole pond

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Grigoris » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:34 am

I was having a discussion on forgiveness with a Gelugpa monk friend of mine and I said to him:
I think the problem with forgiveness is 1) It looks like you are doing the other person a favor when in fact we know that any abuse etc... we suffer from somebody is karmic debt, so in effect they are doing us a favor by allowing it to ripen. 2) Forgiveness seems to come from higher to lower, when in fact we know that all beings are equal in nature.
I do not know if this is valid in a Nichiren context, please feel free to ignore me if it isn't.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Queequeg » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:28 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:34 am
I was having a discussion on forgiveness with a Gelugpa monk friend of mine and I said to him:
I think the problem with forgiveness is 1) It looks like you are doing the other person a favor when in fact we know that any abuse etc... we suffer from somebody is karmic debt, so in effect they are doing us a favor by allowing it to ripen. 2) Forgiveness seems to come from higher to lower, when in fact we know that all beings are equal in nature.
I do not know if this is valid in a Nichiren context, please feel free to ignore me if it isn't.
That first point is very much the case. Those interested should consider Nichiren's Letter from Sado. Very heavy. Nichiren was summarily arrested and immediately taken to an execution ground. We have varying accounts, including one where the executioner was about to raise his sword when a ball of light streaked across the sky. The execution was disrupted and in that time an Imperial messenger arrived sentencing him to exile. He was sent to Sado Island, arriving in the middle of winter and given quarters in a shrine with a hole in the roof. He wrote the letter from there.

How terrible are the slanders Nichiren has committed in his past and present existences! Since you have been born into this evil country and become the disciples of such a man, there is no telling what will happen to you. The Parinirvāna Sutra states: “Good man, because people committed countless offenses and accumulated much evil karma in the past, they must expect to suffer retribution for everything they have done. They may be despised, cursed with an ugly appearance, be poorly clad and poorly fed, seek wealth in vain, be born to an impoverished and lowly family or one with erroneous views, or be persecuted by their sovereign.” It continues: “They may be subjected to various other sufferings and retributions. It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law that they can diminish in this lifetime their suffering and retribution.” Were it not for Nichiren, these passages from the sutra would virtually make the Buddha a liar. The sutra says, first, “They may be despised”; second, “They may be cursed with an ugly appearance”; third, “They may be poorly clad”; fourth, “They may be poorly fed”; fifth, “They may seek wealth in vain”; sixth, “They may be born to an impoverished and lowly family”; seventh, “They may be born to a family with erroneous views”; and eighth, “They may be persecuted by their sovereign.” These eight phrases apply only to me, Nichiren.

One who climbs a high mountain must eventually descend. One who slights another will in turn be despised. One who deprecates those of handsome appearance will be born ugly. One who robs another of food and clothing is sure to fall into the world of hungry spirits. One who mocks a person who observes the precepts and is worthy of respect will be born to an impoverished and lowly family. One who slanders a family that embraces the correct teaching will be born to a family that holds erroneous views. One who laughs at those who cherish the precepts faithfully will be born a commoner and meet with persecution from one’s sovereign. This is the general law of cause and effect.

My sufferings, however, are not ascribable to this causal law. In the past I despised the votaries of the Lotus Sutra. I also ridiculed the sutra itself, sometimes with exaggerated praise and other times with contempt—that sutra as magnificent as two moons shining side by side, two stars conjoined, one Mount Hua placed atop another, or two jewels combined. This is why I have experienced the aforementioned eight kinds of sufferings. Usually these sufferings appear one at a time, on into the boundless future, but Nichiren has denounced the enemies of the Lotus Sutra so severely that all eight have descended at once. This is like the case of a peasant heavily in debt to the steward of his village and to other authorities. As long as he remains in his village or district, rather than mercilessly hounding him, they are likely to defer his debts from one year to the next. But when he tries to leave, they rush over and demand that he repay everything at once. This is what the sutra means when it states, “It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law.”

The Lotus Sutra says: “There will be many ignorant people who will curse and speak ill of us and will attack us with swords and staves, with rocks and tiles . . . they will address the rulers, high ministers, Brahmans, and householders, [as well as the other monks, slandering and speaking evil of us] . . . again and again we will be banished.” If the offenders are not tormented by the wardens of hell, they will never be able to [pay for their offenses and] escape from hell. Were it not for the rulers and ministers who now persecute me, I would be unable to expiate my past sins of slandering the correct teaching.


I don't recall Nichiren forgiving anyone - no one can really forgive. I think that goes to your second point. Karma is unavoidable. There is nothing we can really do to forgive except relinquish our ire, anger, animosity. Karmic retribution is unstoppable. Actually, we can only be compassionate about the retribution that will be visited on those who ignorantly cause others harm. Nichiren was never bitter. After he was pardoned from exile he visited the man who sentenced him to death and had a civil conversation. The man even offered him patronage, which Nichiren declined.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Minobu
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Minobu » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:09 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:34 am
I was having a discussion on forgiveness with a Gelugpa monk friend of mine and I said to him:
I think the problem with forgiveness is 1) It looks like you are doing the other person a favor when in fact we know that any abuse etc... we suffer from somebody is karmic debt, so in effect they are doing us a favor by allowing it to ripen. 2) Forgiveness seems to come from higher to lower, when in fact we know that all beings are equal in nature.
I do not know if this is valid in a Nichiren context, please feel free to ignore me if it isn't.
I've been trained through the teachings of Nichiren to appreciate the harm done to me and be grateful to see it ripen and happen .
It's not so much forgiving the person , for me, but thanking the person. Grudges don't happen and revenge is never on my radar.

so yeah i agree with 1)

but to be honest, 2) ,the thought of higher and lower is lost on me. Are you talking about something like taking the high road .

we still live in a society where the act of offering forgiveness is compassionate in the sense it lets the other person maybe move on, or in the very least allowing them to maybe see their wrongs.

it's like apologies are a societal thing .

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by muni » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:48 am

Ayu wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:43 am
Forgiveness is an important tool for mental health and cleansing the karma as well. Forgiveness gives peace of mind, because other people's faults are no longer your business.

Maybe you can find some English text about the Four Powers (or how is this practice called in English?)
I mean:
- Admitting & regret
- The wish or vow not to do it again
- Cleaning (like excusing or if not possible doing some practice for oneself)
- Taking support in Dharma (like refuge or some sadhana)

I read it recently somewhere at DW in other better words.
This is a practice to help forgiving oneself. Which is an important foundation for being able to forgive others.
Yes grudges and all
destructive emotions are affecting our health very much as well physically: higher blood pressor, higher heart beat and higher risk for heart attack, head aches; all due to too much stress. Then as well bad indigestion, easy gray hair and wrinkles. Just to name few but there are certainly more. Looks like liberation of own negativity allows longer healthier,and happier life and gives a rejuvenation cure for free!

Forgiving oneself you say, sounds as a true basis to be able to forgive others when we realize the harm we did upon ourselves.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by dude » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:29 pm

well said, muni

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:41 pm

Not nearly as importance as acceptance.

Not that the two are mutually exclusive necessarily, but forgiveness typically carries an agenda, even if it's just to "make things right", to make things ok again. Acceptance of where things actually are, and true compassion for self and other applied from that point of acceptance is a much better policy than forgiveness, in my opinion.

The difference is subtle but important. When it comes to the sort of pain that compels people to "forgive", attachment to outcomes is often just as bad as whatever is being forgiven, and losing the attachment to outcomes is where true healing can happen, in my experience.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by WuMing » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:36 pm

listen to what Dharma Master Heng Sure says here
Life is great and death has to be just as great as life.
- Mike Tyson
People not only don't know what's happening to them, they don't even know that they don't know.
- Noam Chomsky

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by dude » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:41 am

I'd say "attachment" to outcomes is pretty important in the Nichiren school.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:03 am

dude wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:41 am
I'd say "attachment" to outcomes is pretty important in the Nichiren school.
In what way dude?

Wanting "everything to be ok" due to one person forgiving another is IMO, simply a non-Buddhist notion, contrary the framework of any Buddhist ethical teaching i'm aware of. Like QQ said, it's not really even possible. The belief that forgiveness can somehow 'reset' relations is implicit in the idea, which is contrary to any notion of working with one's karma - as a couple other people alluded to. The Eight Worldy Dharmas is a teaching that goes back to Pali Canon, and it's directly related here https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html, that is what I mean by attachment to outcomes.

I have very limited knowledge of the Lotus schools; but it would surprise me to know that they or Nichiren specifically subscribed to anything like the modern notion of forgiveness, which is colored mainly by Judeo-Christian ethics and numerous modern self-help traditions.

That said, i'm interested to know in what way you think I might be wrong, or if there is some idea about "attachment" in Nichiren's teaching that I am unaware of. Perhaps ethics are simply different in the Nichiren school, but Nichirenistas here seem to have said things similar to me so...

Working as a counselor I also just have a problem with the notion of forgiveness as it's generally seen, as I have seen people "forgiving" others work out terribly in many cases, and I am not sure I've seen one single case of someone professing or working for "forgiveness" that did not involve a very serious helping of what (from a Buddhist standpoint) amounts purely to attachment. So, I guess it depends on what we mean by forgiveness.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by muni » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:20 am

To forgive 'that' or 'this one' (another), can indeed be not possible, could even create more tension.

To avoid misunderstanding H H Dalai Lama has some explanations regarding this.
Okay, Nichiren.

Buddhism.
When it is meant as releasing the tension of any destructive emotion held into own mind, is this very healing. Since when there is a feeling of harm done upon us, is this creating anger. And holding onto this anger is drinking poison oneself, while hoping the other will die or be harmed.
And this release allows a change of perception of the other as well.

All the best.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:17 pm

dude wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:41 am
I'd say "attachment" to outcomes is pretty important in the Nichiren school.
Please explain. That does not sound like Nichiren. That might be Soka Gakkai.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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