On March 13, 2021, after meditation we met online for a Teachers’ Corner session about “Forgiveness.”
At Teachers’ Corner last Saturday, we listened to excerpts from Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni’s talk on forgiveness. In her talk, the Venerable one acknowledged early on that the Buddha did not use the term “forgiveness” in his teaching. She also pointed out the concept of forgiveness may be viewed as contradictory to the concept of No-Self, “if there is no sense of a personal “I”, who is there to offend or to be offended?”
But she proceeded to present us with a story from the Metta Sutta and invited us to look deeper into it. She explained how the Buddha’s instructions for his disciples to practice Metta (Loving-Kindness), as described in the story, provide a method we can adopt to help develop our mental capacity to forgive. She also discussed the compassionate courage required for practicing “Rolling all faults into one” (aka, “Drive all blames into one”) – one of the 59 aphorisms / slogans in the Lojong mind training practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
After hearing the talk, we discussed how the process of forgiving can be a challenging one since it requires us to work on our own perceptions, emotions, as well as our clinging to self. We all agreed that to forgive is not the same as to forget, we should continue to learn from past events and adjust our responses to future occurrences accordingly. We raised the question about the relationship between forgiveness and ill-will, and the fine line between holding a grudge and turning a negative experience into positive energy that fuels our actions to help create a more Just world.
The video we shared during our session, and additional resources are posted below. Happy learning!
From the Teachers: Forgiveness
During our session we watched the following segments of the video:
- 00:14 – 04:52 : An unpopular topic
- 07:18 – 10:47 : What Buddha asked of us
- 14:32 – 16:51 : The Monks & the Forest Beings
- 16:52 – 20:49 : The “I” sickness
- 24:30 – 27:12 : Taking on the unfavorable
- 28:12 – 30:42 : Find it within us
- 30:43 – 34:14 : “Rolling all faults into one”
- 34:14 – 39:12 : Definition of forgiveness
- 42:29 – 45:11 : Do it bit-by-bit
We would also recommend listening to the following segments:
- 48:13 – 52:51 : About the mantra from the Hoʻoponopono forgiveness practice
- 52:51 – 57:09 : Experiencing the Hoʻoponopono forgiveness practice in a song
- 57:09 – 59:43 : More on how the mantra relates to our practice of forgiveness
Forgiveness — by Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni*
* Ven. Dr. Pannavati Bhikkhuni, is co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage and Co-Director of Heartwood Refuge, an ecumenical Buddhist community, and residential retreat center in Hendersonville, NC. A black, female Buddhist monk ordained in the Theravada and Chan traditions, she remains a disciple of Great Master Kuang Seng, continues Vajrayana empowerments and teachings with Rinpoche Zhaxi Zhouma and received transmission from Roshi Bernie Glassman of Zen Peacemaker. Pannavati is both contemplative and empowered for compassionate service. She is president of the Treasure Human Life Foundation, which promotes skillful action globally, for the welfare of the homeless and disenfranchised, disempowered women and youth, and those who are marginalized, abused, and neglected.
Suggested resources for related topics mentioned in the talk:
- Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Discourse on Loving-kindness translated from the Pali by Piyadassi Thera
- Downloadable copy (PDF) of the Metta Sutta – with background info and additional translation notes on Pali keywords used in the Sutta
SOURCE: The Nalanda e-Library of The Nalanda Institute Malaysia at http://nalanda.org.my/e-library/download.php
- Train Your Mind: Drive All Blames into One, an article by Judy Lief
- Drive all blames into oneself ~ Pema Chödron, excerpts from the book When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödron
BOOK SOURCE: Pema Chödron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1997), p.104 & 105.
- More info on the 59 Slogans of Lojong