Forgiveness

He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me

—in those who harbor such thoughts, hatred will never cease.

“He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me”

—in those who do not harbor such thoughts, hatred will cease.”

Shakyamuni Buddha, Dhammapada 1.3-4

Forgiveness is the capacity to reclaim our peace of mind when something has happened to disturb us. 

Forgiveness may be considered

  • in terms of harm or benefit to the person who forgives;
  • in terms of harm or benefit to the person forgiven; and,
  • in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven.

 Forgiveness may be granted

  • after the offender asks for forgiveness
  • without acknowledgement on the part of the offender
  • after the offender makes restitution
  • without expectation of restitution

True forgiveness consists of

  1. abandoning resentment for a perceived offense
  2. ceasing to demand punishment or restitution
  3. giving up all claims on account of an offense
  4. feeling compassion and desiring happiness for the offender

Forgiveness is a practice that prevents harmful thoughts from disturbing our own well-being, as feelings of hatred and ill-will leave a lasting effect on our mind. Instead, the Dharma encourages the cultivation of thoughts that leave a wholesome effect, such as compassion and loving kindness.

Furthermore, in contemplating the law of karma, we realize that the offender is most unfortunate in any situation where offense is committed, and compassion arises for the suffering that is the inevitable result of any unskillful act.

 Avoiding and Releasing Resentment

Reflecting on the Four Immeasurables (compassion, loving kindness, rejoicing, and equanimity) allows us to avoid resentment. These reflections are used to understand the context of suffering in the world, both our own and that of others.

When resentment has already arisen, we can calmly proceed to release it through meditation, by cultivating insight into the nature of reality, and… asking for forgiveness for our own offenses.

 Prayer for Forgiveness

If, due to negligence, I have done wrong by body, speech, or mind

Pardon me that offense, O Buddha, Perfect One of vast wisdom.

If, due to negligence, I have done wrong by body, speech, or mind

Pardon me that offense, O Dharma, visible and immediately effective.

If, due to negligence, I have done wrong by body, speech, or mind

Pardon me that offense, O Sangha, practicing well and supreme.

By means of this meritorious act, may I never keep company with the unwise.

May I always keep company with the wise and attain peace.

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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2 Responses to Forgiveness

  1. sonamwillow says:

    Thank you so much for this greatwmiddleway

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