Thursday, May 8, 2014

Forgiveness (khanti) in Buddhism

Amber Larson, Seth Auberon, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ven. Nyanatiloka (Anton Gueth)
Hope he doesn't come over when my husband's there, hope he remembers low fat... (N)

Change your mind, change your life
There was this car, this reckless driver, that cut me off. I slammed on my brakes, burned with fury, and followed her. She pulled over. I cocked my fists in full ROAD RAGE mode, went to undo my seat belt, then realized I wasn't even wearing one! Which made me angrier, because I realized I really could have died due to this #$%@*&'s thoughtless driving -- I mean I was riding pretty fast. And this careless, careless jerk wasn't paying attention: "Hey" I screamed, "why don't you watch where I'm going?!"

Ride like a meditator. Drive like a rishi (seer).
She laughed, "That's funny. Sorry 'bout that!" 

Funny? Oh, because she should obviously be watching where I'm going? She needs to be responsible for me, or just what kind of society are we living in?! There are road rules...and, apparently, only I can break them! Everybody -- that means all y'all -- should be considerate of me, my body, my feelings, and my perspective in every situation, or I am gonna be p*ssed! Maybe she doesn't like speeding bikes in her way? Maybe you don't?

Look at the things I get mad at! I was cut off and inconvenienced. It's not like I was being cheated on. That would really need patience and a level head. Oh to have khanti! Sweet Dharma, wherefore art thou?
Khanti: "forbearance," "patience," "forgiveness"  is one of the Ten Perfections (pāramī) in Buddhism. 
Nice magnet! Wife home? - No she's on the road
More than simple forgiveness after the fact -- which is something we must do anew every time we recall an upsetting incident of being (or even perceiving that we have been) violated, trespassed, molested, bothered, or otherwise inconvenienced -- khanti means pre-forgiveness.
We must have forbearance, which the Buddha called "the highest virtue," the ability to tolerate, endure, and remain equanimous when things do not go to our liking.

Very be careful or end up on another "bike."
If we pre-forgive there will be nothing to forgive later -- and that will make our lives so much easier that we can hardly comprehend its value.

Who would we be if we did not throw away our energy getting mad in the first place then getting madder when we recollect someone else's wrongdoing?

Learning from the Buddha (NEPLOHO/flickr)
Our karma is our karma (the bad mental karma of dredging up the past, the Wrong Path, recollection full of resentment, that re-upsets us). Their karma is their karma, reckless causing accidents out of ignorance, selfishness, or animosity (aka greed, hatred, delusion). It is not our job to fix them, but it is our job to fix ourselves. It is not their job to fix us, but it is their job to work on themselves. We can all help one another, but we cannot do each other's work for one another. "Everyone is heir to one's own karma," teaches the Buddha (AN 5.57). And whatever we are heir to, it will arrive, it will arrive. Let's make it something welcome and joyful.

It's called a "bike." - No, friend, I meant are those Shimano brakes? They're not going to cut it. Look at this guy, trying to use cut-rate brakes in the Last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom!

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