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I can't forgive

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:55 pm
by quad
I can't seem to forgive someone who caused me a lot of pain: imagine the worst and you'll be close.

This person, of course, is family...and not so easy to cut out of my life. And the person won't apologize, so the rage in me just builds and builds. I want justice, vengeance even. I have really become consumed with hatred and it has destroyed me: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I just want to let it go, but it feels like the "scars" of their damage to me never let me rest.

I've read some books on anger...one by the Dalai Lama, another by Thich That Hanh. I've tried traditional psychotherapy, somatic therapy, EMDR, you name it. I've read so many articles of forgiveness. I keep trying everything I know how. Nothing has worked. Anyone have any ideas? I'm desperate.

Thanks.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:04 pm
by SunWuKong
I'm not sure you are required to forgive. You can only have forgiveness to the extent that you feel is genuine. It is your life and you are free to do what you want. Not forgiving is certainly an option.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:13 pm
by quad
SunWuKong wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:04 pm
I'm not sure you are required to forgive. You can only have forgiveness to the extent that you feel is genuine. It is your life and you are free to do what you want. Not forgiving is certainly an option.
Okay. Fair enough. I'm not sure I agree, but I've certainly explored that idea. Either way, I'm still left with the boiling hatred eating away at me...

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:01 am
by pemachophel
You say you've tried many remedies for your anger. Maybe try the following mantra. It comes from the sutras and therefore does not, strictly speaking, require oral transmission. Maitreya is the coming Buddha and His name means love. There is no particular visualization. If you feel you really need a visualization to go with this mantra, PM me. In any case, try saying this 10,000 times and see what's its result. If the result is good, then continue saying to at least 100,000 times.

Maitreya Mantra

To purify negative karma, especially due to hatred, and to actualize true love and ultimate everlasting happiness and the accumulation of vast merit [say]:


NA-MO RAT-NA TRA-YA-YA
NA-MO BHA-GA-WA-TE SHA-KYA-MU-NI-YE
TA-THA-GA-TA-YA
AR-HA-TE SAM-YAK-SAM BUD-DHA-YA
TAD-YA-THA
OM A-JI-TE A-JI-TE A-PA-RA-JI-TE
A-JI-TE CHA-YA
HA-RA HA-RA MAI-TRI
A-WA-LO-KI-TE
KA-RA KA-RA
MA-HA SA-MA-YA
SID-DHI BHA-RA BHA-RA
MA-HA BO-DHI MAN-DA BI-JA
MA-RA MA-RA
AT-MA-KAM SA-MA-YA
BO-DHI BO-DHI MA-HA BO-DHI SO-HA

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:30 am
by quad
pemachophel wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:01 am
You say you've tried many remedies for your anger. Maybe try the following mantra. It comes from the sutras and therefore does not, strictly speaking, require oral transmission. Maitreya is the coming Buddha and His name means love. There is no particular visualization. If you feel you really need a visualization to go with this mantra, PM me. In any case, try saying this 10,000 times and see what's its result. If the result is good, then continue saying to at least 100,000 times.

Maitreya Mantra

To purify negative karma, especially due to hatred, and to actualize true love and ultimate everlasting happiness and the accumulation of vast merit [say]:


NA-MO RAT-NA TRA-YA-YA
NA-MO BHA-GA-WA-TE SHA-KYA-MU-NI-YE
TA-THA-GA-TA-YA
AR-HA-TE SAM-YAK-SAM BUD-DHA-YA
TAD-YA-THA
OM A-JI-TE A-JI-TE A-PA-RA-JI-TE
A-JI-TE CHA-YA
HA-RA HA-RA MAI-TRI
A-WA-LO-KI-TE
KA-RA KA-RA
MA-HA SA-MA-YA
SID-DHI BHA-RA BHA-RA
MA-HA BO-DHI MAN-DA BI-JA
MA-RA MA-RA
AT-MA-KAM SA-MA-YA
BO-DHI BO-DHI MA-HA BO-DHI SO-HA
Thanks. Anything is worth a shot. :namaste:

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:51 am
by Johnny Dangerous
Hate to be to pithy, but you can't really "try" to let things go, letting things go is quite literally a lack of striving and trying. So maybe a first step is not expecting yourself to "forgive", and simply looking at the situation from where you are realistically.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:04 am
by quad
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:51 am
Hate to be to pithy, but you can't really "try" to let things go, letting things go is quite literally a lack of striving and trying. So maybe a first step is not expecting yourself to "forgive", and simply looking at the situation from where you are realistically.
That's fair. Maybe wording it as "I can't forgive" was a mistake. Forgiveness isn't the essential thing here. I want to not feel so much hatred. So even if I don't expect myself to forgive, and I look at the situation realistically: I'm angry. Someone wronged me. I can't get over it. Or even if I think I do, it comes back within a day or two. Now what.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:49 am
by Johnny Dangerous
Hate to sound so one-note, but trying -not- to feel things guarantees making them stronger, or at least keeping them going. Acceptance of our current state is required to move on, ironically.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:51 am
by Supramundane
quad wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:55 pm
I can't seem to forgive someone who caused me a lot of pain: imagine the worst and you'll be close.

This person, of course, is family...and not so easy to cut out of my life. And the person won't apologize, so the rage in me just builds and builds. I want justice, vengeance even. I have really become consumed with hatred and it has destroyed me: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I just want to let it go, but it feels like the "scars" of their damage to me never let me rest.

I've read some books on anger...one by the Dalai Lama, another by Thich That Hanh. I've tried traditional psychotherapy, somatic therapy, EMDR, you name it. I've read so many articles of forgiveness. I keep trying everything I know how. Nothing has worked. Anyone have any ideas? I'm desperate.

Thanks.
I know exactly what you are going through, my friend, and let me assure you of one thing: there is no vindication. What you are desperately seeking is some sort of vindication, of acknowledgment, but this is the one thing you will ever ever get. If you study the cycle of abuse and how an abuser was abused himself but can still abuse others and justify it to himself, then you will understand what i mean.

The best thing you can do is to never abuse anyone, to never inflict the same suffering that was inflicted upon you and break the cycle. This is the path to freedom and light.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:58 am
by seeker242
Dhammapada 3 "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

Dhammapada 4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.
As long as you keep dwelling on the harm caused to you, nothing will work.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:28 am
by Grigoris
quad wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:55 pm
I can't seem to forgive someone who caused me a lot of pain: imagine the worst and you'll be close.

This person, of course, is family...and not so easy to cut out of my life. And the person won't apologize, so the rage in me just builds and builds. I want justice, vengeance even. I have really become consumed with hatred and it has destroyed me: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I just want to let it go, but it feels like the "scars" of their damage to me never let me rest.

I've read some books on anger...one by the Dalai Lama, another by Thich That Hanh. I've tried traditional psychotherapy, somatic therapy, EMDR, you name it. I've read so many articles of forgiveness. I keep trying everything I know how. Nothing has worked. Anyone have any ideas? I'm desperate.

Thanks.
I recommend contemplating teachings on karma/kamma. I would also recommend you try to go to a retreat on the subject of Lojong and Tonglen.
(11) Depressed and forlorn, when we feel mental anguish, this is the wheel of sharp weapons returning full circle upon us from wrongs we have done. Till now we have deeply disturbed minds of others; hereafter let’s take on this suffering ourselves.
...
(25) When all who are close turn against us as enemies, this is the wheel of sharp weapons returning full circle upon us from wrongs we have done. Till now we’ve held grudges inside us with anger with thoughts of sly methods to cause others pain; hereafter let’s try to have less affectation, nor pretend to be kind while we harbor base aims.
...
(39) When attachment and anger disturb and upset us no matter how much we may try to suppress them, this is the wheel of sharp weapons returning full circle upon us from wrongs we have done. Till now we’ve held on to the improper outlook, stubbornly cherishing only ourselves; hereafter let’s uproot self-interest completely.
...
(46) In short then, whenever unfortunate sufferings we haven’t desired crash upon us like thunder, this is the same as the smith who had taken his life with a sword he had fashioned himself. Our suffering’s the wheel of sharp weapons returning full circle upon us from wrongs we have done. [12] Hereafter let’s always have care and awareness never to act in non-virtuous ways.

(47) All of the sufferings that we have endured in the lives we have led in the three lower states, [13] as well as our pains of the present and future, are the same as the case of the forger of arrows who later was killed by an arrow he’d made. Our suffering’s the wheel of sharp weapons returning full circle upon us from wrongs we have done. Hereafter let’s always have care and awareness never to act in nonvirtuous ways.
...
Etc.
https://studybuddhism.com/en/tibetan-bu ... -rendering
yamantaka.jpg
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Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:09 am
by Vasana
quad wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:04 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:51 am
Hate to be to pithy, but you can't really "try" to let things go, letting things go is quite literally a lack of striving and trying. So maybe a first step is not expecting yourself to "forgive", and simply looking at the situation from where you are realistically.
That's fair. Maybe wording it as "I can't forgive" was a mistake. Forgiveness isn't the essential thing here. I want to not feel so much hatred. So even if I don't expect myself to forgive, and I look at the situation realistically: I'm angry. Someone wronged me. I can't get over it. Or even if I think I do, it comes back within a day or two. Now what.
I used to have dreams of enacting violence against my brother who was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive growing up and beyond. The dreams would really disturb me because I wouldn't ever express that kind of anger in waking life. Eventually I confronted him in my dreams about the injustices I had experienced and a turning point came when I actually hugged him in my dream.

He can still be quite abusive and the gut reaction can be of dislike or irritation but I gradually learnt to see that he acts as he does because of the card he was dealt in life so I take whatever he says to me much less personally than I once did. People only act from the best of their Knowelege and from the sum total of their life's experiences and interactions with others and themselves...thinking of it in this way can give you a little distance and breathing space.

With my brother there is still some stubborn resentment that peaks it's head from time to time but the difference is that now there are also moments of understanding and compassion. It takes time and your situation might not warrant the same approach but the point is that you can build capacity over time. If it's difficult then shift your aim elsewhere and focus on those you do have compassion for first to warm you up.

You could also try and go indirectly by meditating on empathy and how everyone suffers in life. Even those who harm us suffer and often when people hurt others it's because they themselves are hurting. This doesn't mean you condone their actions but you at least see that they're not really free from their own karma, nor free from the everyday diastaificaction of life. They too will loose friends, family, their health, experience burrnout, lonliness, depression, anxiety, physical, emotional finanical distresses...they will part from what is pleasing and encounter what is displeasing. Eventually they'll die and have the good and bad karma to await them. Think about these in detail and it can loosen the knot. We're only alive for less than 100 years if lucky. We need to travel light and carry as little luggage as possible, especially when it's only weighing ourselves down and no one else.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:17 am
by Simon E.
:good:

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:15 am
by Jerafreyr

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:54 am
by Motova
Cease all interaction and cut them out. Avoid any events that they will attend. Hopefully they are shamed into submission by the rest of your family, if not then cut out the rest of your family too and start new. Life is too short to put up with shitty family.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:51 am
by 如傑優婆塞
I'll try to keep it short, so...
1. To cut to the chase: (as Toto sang back in Aug '86) As soon as forever is through, I'll be over you

3. The 'middling' answer..
Huike said to Bodhidharma, "My mind is anxious. Please pacify it."
Bodhidharma replied, "Bring me your mind, and I will pacify it."
Huike said, "Although I've sought it, I cannot find it."
"There," Bodhidharma replied, "I have pacified your mind."
1

3. The 'extensive' answer? Here
"So it is, Ananda. So it is. Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: 'Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.' But my heart didn't leap up at renunciation, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.

The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven't pursued [that theme]. I haven't understood the reward of renunciation; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'

"Then the thought occurred to me: 'If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there's the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.'

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.

[Ed note: For your context, apply this process reflection with your context and see if it makes sense]

4.
This person, of course, is family...and not so easy to cut out of my life.
That's right. For the irresolute and unprepared, that is. Many have done it and some have used the legal severance for finality assurance.

Disclaimer: This reply was prepared or accomplished by 如傑優婆塞 in his/her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this response are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha, the 1st & 2nd Patriarchs Bodhidharma & Huìkě, Dharma Wheel & the 1977 American Rock Band, Toto.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:18 pm
by Akasamuni
quad wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:55 pm
I can't seem to forgive someone who caused me a lot of pain: imagine the worst and you'll be close.

This person, of course, is family...and not so easy to cut out of my life. And the person won't apologize, so the rage in me just builds and builds. I want justice, vengeance even. I have really become consumed with hatred and it has destroyed me: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I just want to let it go, but it feels like the "scars" of their damage to me never let me rest.

I've read some books on anger...one by the Dalai Lama, another by Thich That Hanh. I've tried traditional psychotherapy, somatic therapy, EMDR, you name it. I've read so many articles of forgiveness. I keep trying everything I know how. Nothing has worked. Anyone have any ideas? I'm desperate.

Thanks.
I will first admit that I have my own struggles with forgiveness so I won't say I'm an experiential expert haha, but I do understand something about practice towards compassion and understanding.

As Buddhists, we are ultimately trying to cultivate insight. We practice the precepts in our daily life because it points out to us our ego-clinging over and over again. We learn to see more and more deeply how our egoic actions only bring suffering. This is the case in your situation with family. As unjustified as their actions may have been toward you, your ego is getting its buttons pushed very hard and deeply by this relationship, As we all know, family relationships are the hardest to navigate in terms of old emotional reactive patterns.

Try turning your awareness back to your own reactions, really sit with them and experience them in a mindful way. This is very meritorious practice. It may take a long time but If you continue to practice this you will have insight into your ego-clinging and experience real freedom. These insights will not only apply to your family member but to all relationships. This is the path to freedom.

Secondly, I cannot recommend enough the Metta Bhavana meditation practice to go alongside your daily mindfulness practice with these emotions. It is a transformative and deeply insightful practice and it garnishes us with the necessary positive mention to sit with difficult mental states. It literally cultivates a more positive mind that is fertile ground for wisdom to arise.

Re: I can't forgive

Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:50 pm
by Russell