How important is forgiveness?

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Queequeg
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm

Do we have a common definition of "forgiveness" that we are working with? I don't think my question - what does it mean to forgive - has been answered.
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

Simon E.
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Simon E. » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:39 pm

bcol01 wrote:
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?
Its a good question. As is yours Queequeg.

I think we need to acknowledge the reality of our situation in relative terms.
We are not Mahasattvas. We feel hurt and in turn lash out at others.
No amount of pretending will alter that fact..and certainly no amount of asserting the absolute truth of things wilfully ever modifies the relative truth of things..
To all intents and purposes we are real and concrete and so is the other.
So perhaps forgiveness entails acknowledging our humanity and the humanity of others and constantly
starting again with a clean slate.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

muni
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by muni » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:30 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm
Do we have a common definition of "forgiveness" that we are working with? I don't think my question - what does it mean to forgive - has been answered.
No idea of definition. Release?

I see it not just as realizing own grasping and that's it, but could be as well action by loving kindness, compassion. A help for example to release him-her of being guilty, bring peace, harmony, give joy and courage back.
It depends on certain factors whether this is skilful to do.

But in the case of the OP it is probably different, could it be " let go"?

And:
So perhaps forgiveness entails acknowledging our humanity and the humanity of others and constantly
starting again with a clean slate.
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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Minobu
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Minobu » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:43 pm

As Buddhists we are supposed to be trained in this...
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
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.
i get this...so true..

not that this is exactly about forgiveness but more to what you are reminding us of.
I recall HHDL once saying something like, "Only through the Nature of Sunyata can knowing the sufferings of sentient beings be bearable."

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Queequeg
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:15 pm

merriam.com defines forgive:
transitive verb

1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON
forgive one's enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of
forgive a debt

intransitive verb

: to grant forgiveness
had to learn to forgive and forget
The first definition seems closest to the Buddhist idea of non-attachment, but not quite. Its too limited in scope.

Non-attachment is effortless, whereas forgiveness has a sense of intention. I remember reading a book on zen back in high school that gave a description of non-attachment that has always stuck with me - the grasping and release of an infant. They grasp and release in a way that appears spontaneous. Also, non-attachment is a release of everything - not just negative emotions toward the perpetrator of an injurious act, but of the whole complex of causes and conditions, propositions of self and other, etc. etc. - the dharmadhatu in whole. Forgiveness is an act done within the web of causes and conditions, specifically directed at one injury.
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

dude
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by dude » Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:24 am

Sure it's the sgi interpretation. But I wouldn't practice if I didn't think it affected outcomes in this life and the next.
Not that Nichiren wasn't familiar with the principle of the Eight Dharmas; he called them the Eight Winds.

Simon E.
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:37 am

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:15 pm
merriam.com defines forgive:
transitive verb

1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON
forgive one's enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of
forgive a debt

intransitive verb

: to grant forgiveness
had to learn to forgive and forget
The first definition seems closest to the Buddhist idea of non-attachment, but not quite. Its too limited in scope.

Non-attachment is effortless, whereas forgiveness has a sense of intention. I remember reading a book on zen back in high school that gave a description of non-attachment that has always stuck with me - the grasping and release of an infant. They grasp and release in a way that appears spontaneous. Also, non-attachment is a release of everything - not just negative emotions toward the perpetrator of an injurious act, but of the whole complex of causes and conditions, propositions of self and other, etc. etc. - the dharmadhatu in whole. Forgiveness is an act done within the web of causes and conditions, specifically directed at one injury.
There might well be for some a period where forgiveness has to be willed before it becomes a spontaneous expression of Insight. Rather in the way that one generates Metta. Whether that constitutes 'real' forgiveness is a moot point. It is certainly better than carrying resentments and grudges, which is a common phenomenon in many Buddhist circles.
We do not live in a Platonic ideal world. We live in a messy Samsaric one.
We need various upayas.
One is to fake it 'til you make it.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

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Queequeg
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:29 pm

£$&^@ wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:37 am
There might well be for some a period where forgiveness has to be willed before it becomes a spontaneous expression of Insight. Rather in the way that one generates Metta. Whether that constitutes 'real' forgiveness is a moot point. It is certainly better than carrying resentments and grudges, which is a common phenomenon in many Buddhist circles.
We do not live in a Platonic ideal world. We live in a messy Samsaric one.
We need various upayas.
One is to fake it 'til you make it.
£$&^@, I agree.

I guess the point I would make is that if you have ordinary forgiveness in mind as the goal of practice, you won't get beyond the triple world. If forgiveness is practiced within a framework of the right view, then it becomes continuous with higher levels of practice. Maybe? Since we're here in the Nichiren forum, its how I understand devotion to Saddharma (NamuMyohoRengeKyo) to work. All the upaya are perfectly ordered when oriented within Single Vehicle practice.
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

markatex
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by markatex » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:19 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:23 pm
Do we have a common definition of "forgiveness" that we are working with? I don't think my question - what does it mean to forgive - has been answered.
Mine is different from what has become the common definition, which seems to be “just let it go.”

IMO, forgiveness requires a genuine apology and a good faith promise to not repeat the behavior. Without that, I can choose to move on and eventually not allow it to bother me, but that’s not the same thing as forgiveness. Forgiveness means that there’s now a blank slate as far as whatever the offending behavior was. It’s like forgiving a debt. You don’t owe the money anymore.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Minobu » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:01 pm

markatex wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:19 pm
Forgiveness means that there’s now a blank slate as far as whatever the offending behavior was. It’s like forgiving a debt. You don’t owe the money anymore.
Are you referring to the Karmic debt incurred by the offenders actions?

Does forgiveness wipe that slate clean?

Forgiveness is an attitude , and like all attitudes they are positive or negative by nature.

I think for the person that forgives, they are creating a very positive role for their sentient awareness in Samsara .

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Ayu » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:19 pm

I was not really aware this is the Nichiren subforum... :emb:

I hope, this fits at least a bit nevertheless:

Jack Kornfield about forgiveness
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by dude » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:14 pm

Ayu, I can't imagine a better answer to the question than that presented here.
I don't think much of rigid sectarian compartmentalization anyway.
Nichiren and President Ikeda both use Buddhist texts (other than the Lotus) and secular quotes as well to illustrate principles
Thank you very much.
A different translation of that same Dhamapaddha passage really drove the point home for me :
"He beat me, he robbed me, but what do I expect? He cheated me, he stole from me, but what do I expect?" Thus the wise free their hearts from hatred.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by Ayu » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:20 pm

dude wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:14 pm
Ayu, I can't imagine a better answer to the question than that presented here.
I don't think much of rigid sectarian compartmentalization anyway.
Nichiren and President Ikeda both use Buddhist texts (other than the Lotus) and secular quotes as well to illustrate principles
Thank you very much.
A different translation of that same Dhamapaddha passage really drove the point home for me :
"He beat me, he robbed me, but what do I expect? He cheated me, he stole from me, but what do I expect?" Thus the wise free their hearts from hatred.
:smile:
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

markatex
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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by markatex » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:06 pm

Minobu wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:01 pm
markatex wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:19 pm
Forgiveness means that there’s now a blank slate as far as whatever the offending behavior was. It’s like forgiving a debt. You don’t owe the money anymore.
Are you referring to the Karmic debt incurred by the offenders actions?
No, I'm just talking in terms of personal relationships. If I forgive someone, I'm not considering their mistake in future dealings with them. It's like it never happened.

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Re: How important is forgiveness?

Post by illarraza » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:40 am

bcol01 wrote:
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?
Nichiren on forgiveness:

"There was a kingdom called Small Stones in northern India that was ruled by a king named Dragon Seal.20 Dragon Seal killed his father, but later, horrified by his own act, he abandoned his country, presented himself before the Buddha, and repented of his wrongdoing; thereupon the Buddha forgave him."

"There are times when a worthy man of the secular world, because his son is behaving strangely or is guilty of some error, will declare that he is no longer his son. To prove the truth of the assertion, the man may even write out a vow or swear an oath. But when the time of his death approaches, he will forgive his son. Though he does these things, we do not deny that he is a worthy man or accuse him of speaking falsely. And the Buddha, too, at times acts in this same manner."

"When a person’s offense is minor, admonishment is sometimes called for, but at other times it may be unnecessary, for there are those who may correct themselves without being told. Reprove a person for slander when necessary, so that you can forestall for both of you the consequences of an offense. Then, you should forgive that person. The point is that even minor slanders may lead to serious ones, and then the effects one must suffer would be far worse. This is [what Chang-an means when he writes], “One who rids the offender of evil is acting as his parent.”

"In any event, even though the parents may be evildoers, if the child is good, the parents’ offenses will be forgiven. On the other hand, although the child may be an evildoer, if the parents are good persons, their child’s faults will be pardoned. Hence, even though your late son, Yashirō, committed evil, if you, the mother who gave birth to him, grieve for him and offer prayers for him day and night in the presence of Shakyamuni Buddha, how could he not be saved? Moreover, because he believed in the Lotus Sutra, he may have become the one who will lead his parents to Buddhahood."

"He pondered, thinking to himself, “I rejoice that this verse [though it came from a demon] is no different from the teaching of the Buddha, but at the same time I lament that I alone have heard it and that I am unable to transmit it to others.” Thereupon he inscribed the stanza on stones, cliff faces, and the trees along the road, and he prayed that those who might later pass by would see it, understand its meaning, and finally enter the true way. This done, he climbed a tall tree and threw himself down before the demon. But before he had reached the ground, the demon quickly resumed his original form as Shakra, caught the boy, and gently placed him on a level spot. Bowing before him reverently, the god said, “In order to test you, I held back the Thus Come One’s sacred teaching for a time, causing anguish in the heart of a bodhisattva. I hope you will forgive my fault and save me without fail in my next life.”

"In past ages, when there were those who slandered the Law, Brahmā, Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, the four heavenly kings, and the deities of the earth, all of whom have sworn to defend the Lotus Sutra, would look on with disapproval. But because there was no one to proclaim the matter aloud, they would be forgiving, as one would be with an only child who misbehaves, at times pretending not to notice such slander, at times administering a mild reproof. Now that I am present to make clear the matter, however, I can only be amazed that the ruler should continue to listen to persons who slander the Law. Yet he does so, and on the contrary, even goes so far as to persecute the rare individual who attempts to enlighten him and rescue him from error. Not for just one or two days, one or two months, or even one or two years, but for a number of years on end now, I have met with greater difficulties than the sticks and staves that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was obliged to face, and have encountered more fearful opposition than the murderous attacks inflicted on the monk Realization of Virtue.

During this period, the two great kings Brahmā and Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, the four heavenly kings, the gods of stars, and the deities of the earth have manifested their anger in various ways and again and again have delivered reprimands. And yet the attacks on me have only worsened. Finally, heaven in its wisdom has made the situation known to the sages of neighboring countries, enlisting them to add to the reprimands,144 and has caused the great evil spirits to enter the nation and deceive the people’s hearts, inciting them to rebel against their own rulers.145

It is only reasonable to assume that, whether good or evil, the greater the portents, the greater will be the occurrences to follow. Now we have seen huge comets of a magnitude never known before in the 2,230 or more years since the Buddha’s passing, and have experienced earthquakes such as were never encountered before during that time. In China and Japan in the past, sages of outstanding wisdom and ability have from time to time appeared. But none, as an ally of the Lotus Sutra, has faced such powerful enemies within his country as have I, Nichiren. From the facts present before your very eyes, it should be apparent that Nichiren is the foremost person in the entire land of Jambudvīpa."

"Answer: This Law is revealed in the text of the Lotus Sutra, so it is an easy matter for me to explain it to you. But first, before clarifying this Law, there are three important concerns97 that I must mention. It is said that, no matter how vast the ocean, it will not hold within it the body of a dead person,98 and no matter how thick the crust of the earth, it will not support one who is undutiful to one’s parents.99 According to the Buddhist teaching, however, even those who commit the five cardinal sins may be saved, and even those who are unfilial may gain salvation. It is only the icchantikas, or persons of incorrigible disbelief, those who slander the Law, and those who pretend to be foremost in observing the precepts who cannot be forgiven."

Also, you should always look out for your younger brothers and make sure they have the money they need for the bath charge and proper sandals. You must keep in mind that if anything should happen to you, your brothers will not forgive your enemies and may be obliged to give up their lives on your behalf. Even if they have their faults, if they are only minor ones, just pretend you do not notice them.

"With regard to your women relatives, whatever faults they may have, do not make any attempt to correct them and certainly never quarrel with them. The Nirvana Sutra states, “Though the offense may be grave, punishment should never be inflicted on women.” The meaning of this passage is that whatever the error may be, women should not be chastised for their faults. This is the proper approach for a person of wisdom and a disciple of the Buddha. This passage in the sutra occurs when King Ajātashatru, having not only killed his father, is about to do the same to his mother, and is reprimanded by his ministers Jīvaka and Chandraprabha.

Remember that these brothers and sisters of yours are dear to your mother, and she will be concerned for them until the moment of her death. If you pardon their faults and treat them with kindness, you will be easing your mother’s mind and exercising proper filial regard. Reflect deeply on this! If you treat others with kindness, how much more so should you treat your own siblings. For if you should encounter trouble, they would be the ones to share your fate with you. And if you should die before they do, they would be the ones left behind to mourn you. With that thought in mind, you should be particularly kind to them."

"Alas! In terms of the laws of the secular world, these persons have violated the imperial edicts. They have been condemned by the ruler of the nation, and even now there is no sign that they have been forgiven for their actions. How can anyone among the conscientious vassals of the ruler and common people of the nation bear to give alms and lend support to the people of this Pure Land school."

"CAN what I have heard about your beloved father having passed away possibly be true? Because you and your brother, Tayū no Sakan, were born in the Latter Day of the Law in a remote land far from the birthplace of Buddhism and took faith in the great Law of the Lotus, there could be no doubt that evil demons would take possession of those such as the ruler of the country and your parents and attempt to harass you. Indeed, you were disowned by your father several times, but perhaps because you and your brother are the reincarnations of Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye, or due to the consideration of Medicine King and Medicine Superior, in the end your father forgave you with no ill effects. And having carried through with the filial resolve you had made before, how could you be anything other than filial sons? The heavenly gods will surely bring you joy, and the Lotus Sutra and the ten demon daughters must also approve."

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