I would like to tell you a tale, a tale of forgiveness.
Some time back I was studying and practicing Buddhism
and I was reading Tich Nhat Han’s The Heart of the Buddha’s
Teaching and I came across a discussion of forgiveness and the power of it.
Now Buddhism has no “you must do” and “you must not do”
Buddhism recommends things to pay attention to and highly recommends experimentation. Namely, we dont have to get too philisophical about things -lets instead try em out. So, in an experiment in forgiveness you need to find someone you have a grudge with, and forgive them. Ok, someone comes to mind. Can I do that?
Some time back someone hurt me and my family financially through the law, and I had been harboring notions of doing a little mischief, costly mischief, to let them feel just a small amount of the discomfort that I was feeling at this time. Having been out of the crime world since shoplifting in high school, all sorts of considerations had to be made. Should I take my regular vehicle? What time of day, or night? How to get an alibi. I cant remember them all but I remember that such considerations were rampant in my brain. Anyway, I always enjoyed the fantasy. A very dangerous fantasy, one that I was not sure I wanted to give up.
So, what I did was take a weekend and meditate on it. Ok, I flyfished the Santa Cruz river, but this was in my mind at the time. I also hiked and worked out. Anyway, at the end of two days I made my choice. Forgiveness it was going to be. So one evening while sitting at the dinner table I made a vow in my mind of forgiveness and whooooooosh.
Do you remember the movie The Mission with Robert DeNiro?
Young DeNiro makes a blunder and ends up killing his brother with a sword. As repentance he carries a leather wrapped bundle of armour and implements up to a remote Indian village in South America.
When I made this forgiveness it was like DeNiro cutting his load loose.
The whole (or most of it anyway) of my baggage from the past I just unattached to the present and let it slide right into the past. I felt I had just taken the biggest shit of my life.
Instantly I lived in a world of the Now. All tensions in my body melted and life looked clearer, more beautiful and much more simpler than it had looked in a longtime. This feeling did not go away and it changed what I am -an abrupt rotation in the seat of my reality. I had realized the dharma:
Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.
Since that time I have had the chance to repeat this experiment, and the results have always been the same -why was I holding onto that? I have also tried, with some success, to encourage its use.
Bodhisattva of Forgiveness,