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Buddhism and Forgiveness

Where does Buddha stand on forgiveness. If I remember correctly Buddha stated that we should always forgive and keep on forgiving. But what about if the person is a constantly liying? Or always stabs you in your back. I can see forgiving the person but then making sure you stay away from them after words. Not out of anger, but out of not wanting to get hurt or subject your life to the negitivity. Or does Buddhism say that we should not leave that person/enviorment?

Comments

  • edited May 2010
    NewOne;108013 said:
    Where does Buddha stand on forgiveness. If I remember correctly Buddha stated that we should always forgive and keep on forgiving. But what about if the person is a constantly lying? Or always stabs you in your back. I can see forgiving the person but then making sure you stay away from them after words. Not out of anger, but out of not wanting to get hurt or subject your life to the negativity. Or does Buddhism say that we should not leave that person/environment?
    Wow. This almost sounds like emotional abuse to me. I don't know of anything in Buddhism that proscribes Getting The Hell Out Of There.

    I think one of the (?) 18 Vows of the Bodhisattva is "to intervene strenuously" in situations like this, though I could be wrong and I'm going to go look it up. But there's nothing in Buddhism that says we have to take that kind of s***.

    (It's not in the 18 vows of the Bodhisattva or the 12 vows of the Medicine Buddha. Somebody please help me out here. But staying in an abusive situation, and lying and backstabbing are abusive, defies logic, and there's nothing in Buddhism that proscribes reasonable and appropriately gentle correction.)

    (HHDL quoted on violence/just war: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/?p=1487)
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited May 2010
    I can only speak for what I feel was Buddha morality and perception, so take it as you would any other opinion of course :)

    In my view, the Buddha is silent inside, so there is no lying to him. He would not say "you have lied to me, poor me" but "you have lied, and it causes you to suffer" without "him" ever entering into it. Same with "stabbing in the back". If it were a literal stabbing in the back, then he would notice he was stabbed in the back. If it is figurative, he would slice through the saying and address the behavior on the side it belongs. Theirs.

    That being said, there is no need for our journey to be an endurance trial. If you cannot see past your own pain in the relationship, perhaps it would be better to vacate.

    With warmth,

    Matt
  • edited May 2010
    In a number of places in the suttas, the Buddha emphasizes the importance of good companions. If someone consistently acts in a way that makes you angry or upset, the wise thing is to avoid them if possible.
  • edited May 2010
    This all makes sense. That was what I was thinking, but growing up Christian. Some Christians would say that it is a "sin" to part ways and you should stay and "help" them. The reason that I asked this question was that where I live two town houses share the water bill. Well the past neighbor which was a friend was supppose to pay it. Well she never did. I don't know what she did with the money. Eventually she lost the house, but she still vists our neighbors on the other side of the parking lot. So sometimes my wife still talks to her. I just really don't want anything to do with her. She has lied about the water bill and we started finding out after she left that she was talking behind our backs. I've forgave her of those things, but I just dont want to subject myself to those things again. So if we see her I just don't say anything. Maybe a smile but thats it. I just didn't know If I was suppose to do anything else or if my ego was getting in the way.
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited May 2010
    NewOne;108126 said:
    my ego was getting in the way.
    Is the water bill really that important? Some people struggle with financial matters, consider the blessings that you are not one of those people!

    I think you're making her relationship with the water bill about you. If you let it be about her, stilling your own greed to take ownership of the offense, you might find that her life is worse off because of the situation, and her discursive talking about things "behind the back" isn't about you either.

    Now, this doesn't sound like a person to entrust confidences or to enter into a business relationship with, but there is no reason that I can think of to harbor any resentment or ill will for your human sister... who makes mistakes like the rest of us.

    With heart,

    Matt
  • thickpaperthickpaper Veteran
    edited May 2010
    RenGalskap;108021 said:
    In a number of places in the suttas, the Buddha emphasizes the importance of good companions. If someone consistently acts in a way that makes you angry or upset, the wise thing is to avoid them if possible.
    Yes exactly. The Dalai Lama speaks well on this too, in terms of people who even after trying you just cant get on with. Its something i have been applying for a number of years in the real world and its far better than conflict.

    But I am not sure in terms of "forgiveness" itself? It seems quite an ego relationship, to forgive? One ego forgives another ego - what does that mean?

    Do you need forgiveness when you have loving kindness?
  • edited May 2010
    thickpaper;108132 said:
    But I am not sure in terms of "forgiveness" itself? It seems quite an ego relationship, to forgive? One ego forgives another ego - what does that mean?

    Do you need forgiveness when you have loving kindness?
    good point.

    perhaps acceptance, or non judgment would be more Buddhist like?
  • edited May 2010
    Speaking of forgiveness I have to things to mention.

    1. My sister killed herself back in 2007, and I was very angry at her for doing this. I kept thinking it was selfish, how could she do that, what about ME, what about her kids etc...

    Then through the teachings of Buddha and the 4 Noble Truths, I finally stopped thinking of me and even her kids and saw it from her point of view. How she must have suffered, so much that this was the only way out for her. and so I finally forgave her, and now think of her every day in a very good but sad way.

    2. I highly recommend a movie called "The Power of Forgiveness" it will make you think, it will challenge you and it will remind you that our own problems are not unique.

    Ironically, as I'm watching the movie with tears in my eyes, I got a call from the NRA (National Rifle Association) for a one question poll. I thought it was actually funny that they called then since they have never called before. (I guess they got my name because I used to target shoot.. paper targets just for the fun of it).

    Anyway, it was a question about Obama and protecting my rights etc... I listened and the guy got back on the line and asked Mr. Olarte do you believe Obama will protect your rights etc... he expected me to agree. I simply said actually yes I believe he will, and that he is trying to do his best. You could hear the surprise on the other end, He was very polite, thanked me and hung up right away.

    I hope he forgave me for not agreeing with him :lol:
  • edited May 2010
    aMatt;108129 said:
    Is the water bill really that important? Some people struggle with financial matters, consider the blessings that you are not one of those people!

    I think you're making her relationship with the water bill about you. If you let it be about her, stilling your own greed to take ownership of the offense, you might find that her life is worse off because of the situation, and her discursive talking about things "behind the back" isn't about you either.

    Now, this doesn't sound like a person to entrust confidences or to enter into a business relationship with, but there is no reason that I can think of to harbor any resentment or ill will for your human sister... who makes mistakes like the rest of us.

    With heart,

    Matt

    Well there is more to this then what I wrote. I just didn't want to write a story. Again I wrote that she eventually lost the house. This wasnt a lack of money. It was the "I dont care". Her husband was in the Military and was overseas. She was making more money than alot of people. She slept around got pregnant. Didn't pay any bills. (I really don't know what she was thinking.) So inturn she lost the house and alot of things. Now the thing with the water. There is only one water pipe. If the bill doesn't get paid I dont get water. Now she might not care, but I do. I'm not greedy, just trying to provide for my family. So I contacted the water company and got I switched to my name and started paying for it, including hers for awhile. Which is fine, I'm not mad about that. But thats when she got mad and started talking about us behind our back. Which fine, that doesn't hurt me. I have forgave her of the past. I just wanted to know if it was ok that I just didn't really say much to her anymore.
  • lightwithinlightwithin Veteran
    edited May 2010
    Forgiveness is great and should be practiced as much and as often as possible. It should be a driving force in our lives and attitude. BUT, there IS a difference between forgiveness and letting people walk all over you. So as long as you're able to draw that line and realize when your forgiveness and kindness are being taken advantage of, then you should be OK.
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited May 2010
    NewOne;108166 said:
    Well there is more to this then what I wrote. I just didn't want to write a story. Again I wrote that she eventually lost the house. This wasnt a lack of money. It was the "I dont care". Her husband was in the Military and was overseas. She was making more money than alot of people. She slept around got pregnant. Didn't pay any bills. (I really don't know what she was thinking.) So inturn she lost the house and alot of things. Now the thing with the water. There is only one water pipe. If the bill doesn't get paid I dont get water. Now she might not care, but I do. I'm not greedy, just trying to provide for my family. So I contacted the water company and got I switched to my name and started paying for it, including hers for awhile. Which is fine, I'm not mad about that. But thats when she got mad and started talking about us behind our back. Which fine, that doesn't hurt me. I have forgave her of the past. I just wanted to know if it was ok that I just didn't really say much to her anymore.
    That sounds like shame to me.

    Anyway, keeping noble friends who share the same values can be an important part of our journey, as many have said. While I again emphasize compassion as a fuel for deep looking at people, with so many other, healthy people on the planet to commune with... well, I'm sure you have filled in the rest already.

    With warmth,

    Matt
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