It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
If there are good men and good women who seek the bodhi of Arhats, the bodhi of Pratyekabuddhas, or the bodhi of Buddhas, [they should confess and repent of their evil karma].In the Nirvana Sutra, it is said that evil karma dissipates due to confession and repentance. It is important to note that repentance is not merely regret/remorse for a past misdeed but crucially it entails an honest resolve to abstain from repeating the misdeed.
If there are good men and good women who do not wish to be reborn as hell-dwellers, animals, or hungry ghosts, they should repent of their evil karma and should not conceal them.
First, one does evil, but later one thoroughly confesses it and repents, and does not repeat it. This is as in the case of muddy water, in which, if the "Bright-Moon" mani [jewel] is placed there, the water becomes clear, due to the wonderful power of the gem. Or it is as when the clouds disperse and the moon reveals itself in its brightness. It is also the same with the repentance of evil acts which one has done. O King! If you repent and feel remorse, the [evil] will go away [and die out] and you will be pure as before.So does that mean repentance will always completely purify evil karma? Apparently not so, and it is possible for residual, less severe karmic retribution to be experienced in the present lifetime.
This comes about when a person confesses all the evils he has done, repents, and does not commit them any more; when he repents fully, makes offerings to the Three Treasures, and always reproaches himself. This person, due to his good deeds, does not fall into hell, but receives in this life karmic returns such as headaches, pain in the eyes, stomach and back, an untimely death, criticism, slander, lashings, prison or fetters, hunger, and poverty.In the Pali Canon, a similar principle is expressed in the Maha Kammavibhanga Sutta:
Now there is the person who has [committed one of the ten unwholesome conducts eg. killing, stealing, etc] and has had wrong view. [Yet] on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... But (perhaps) the good kamma producing his happiness was done by him earlier [or later], or right view was undertaken and completed by him at the time of his death. And that was why, on the dissolution of the body... he reappeared in a happy destination, in the heavenly world. But since he has [committed one of the ten unwholesome conducts] he will feel the result of that here and now, or in his next rebirth, or in some subsequent existence.We could say that "right view undertaken and completed by him" includes repentance of his evil conduct.
[He reflects:] "The Blessed One in a variety of ways criticizes & censures [the ten unwholesome conduct, ie. killing, stealing, etc.] [These ten unwholesome conduct I have committed] to a greater or lesser extent. That was not right. That was not good"... So, reflecting thus, he abandons right then [the ten unwholesome conduct], and in the future refrains from [the ten unwholesome conduct]. This is how there comes to be the abandoning of that evil deed. This is how there comes to be the transcending of that evil deed.Despite what has been noted above, there is also the view that repentance alone cannot act to dissipate evil karma and there is a further requirement that good deeds be performed.
The Buddha said: "If a person has many offenses and does not repent of them, but cuts off all thought of repentance, the offenses will engulf him, just as water returning to the sea will gradually become deeper and wider. If a person has offenses and, realizing they are wrong, reforms and does good, the force of retribution will gradually exhaust itself as a disease gradually loses its baneful influence when the patient perspires.”The fact that good karma can dilute the effects of evil karma was also declared in the Lonaphala Sutta of the Pali Canon:
Suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into a small amount of water in a cup... Would the water in the cup become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?In the Nirvana Sutra, a similar principle is declared as follows:
Now suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into the River Ganges... Would the water in the River Ganges become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?
"In the same way, there is the case where a trifling evil deed done by one individual [whose wholesomeness is like that of a small amount of water] takes him to hell; and there is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by the other individual [whose wholesomeness is like the River Ganges] is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.
O great King! Even small drops of water fill a big vessel. It is the same with the good mind. Each [good volition] thoroughly crushes out a great evil.So what are the implications of the above?
[Regret is] not guilt. It’s important to differentiate these two. Regret has an element of wisdom; it notices our mistakes and regrets them. Guilt, on the other hand, makes a drama, “Oh, look what I’ve done! I’m so terrible. How could I have done this? I’m so awful.” Who is the star of the show when we feel guilty? Me! Guilt is rather self-centered, isn’t it? Regret, however, isn’t imbued with self-flagellation. Deep regret is essential to purify our negativities. Without it, we have no motivation to purify. Thinking about the suffering effects our actions have on others and on ourselves stimulates regret. How do our destructive actions hurt us? They place negative karmic seeds on our own mindstream, and these will cause us to experience suffering in the future.3) Once we understand the harmfulness of our misdeeds we should resolve not to repeat them. While the scriptures say that we should abstain from the misdeed forever, if we feel that we cannot truthfully do so, then according to Ven. Thubton Chodron, we should nevertheless "commit to being very attentive to not doing it during a certain time period that is realistic for us." But this will probably have less of a purifying effect.
It’s good to pick a specific and realistic length of time for making a strong determination not to repeat the action. Then we must be careful during that time not to do the same action. Through making such determinations, we begin to change in evident ways. We also gain confidence that we can, in fact, break old bad habits and act with more kindness towards others. With regard to some negative actions, we can feel confident that we’ll never do them again because we’ve looked inside and said, “That’s too disgusting. Never again am I going to do that!” We can say that with confidence. With other things, like talking behind other people’s back or losing our temper and making hurtful comments, it may be more difficult for us to say confidently that we’ll never do that again.... In such a situation, it’s better to say, “For the next [two/three/four/etc.] days I won’t repeat that action.” Alternatively, we could say, “I will try very hard not to do that again,” or “I will be very attentive regarding my behavior in that area.”4) We should make our determination not to repeat a certain evil action ever more firmer by strengthening regret.
One of the reasons we habitually keep on doing the same things is because our determination not to do it again isn’t very strong, and one of the reasons for that is because our regret for having done it isn’t very strong. So it all comes back to regret. The stronger the regret, the more we’re going to have the determination not to do it, then the easier it’s going to be to change our behavior patterns. To develop regret, we have to think deeply about the disadvantages of the action, the disadvantages for others, the disadvantages for ourselves and become convinced of that. That’s one of the chief things for giving ourselves the ‘oomph’ to break some of those habits.5) We should take remedial action to offset evil karma. This can take many forms such as meditation, prostrations, chanting, alms giving, etc.
The fact that karma can be purified does not mean it's okay to create negative karma. For example, a broken leg can be fixed, but does that mean breaking your leg is fine to do?