Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 02/15/2013

Forgiveness and Freedom from Aversion

English: Deity of Lord Buddha in Mahabodhi Tem...

I have often caught myself slipping into metta directed towards myself when I meditate on forgiveness. My forgiveness practice has evolved into a tripartite reflection that I usually do with my 108-bead cedar mala (not that the number or tree has any real significance to me, I’m just describing it as it actually is) wherein the first round is dedicated to offering myself complete forgiveness and the second and third are for offering forgiveness to those who have hurt me and asking forgiveness of those who I have harmed. As a prelude, I think it’s a nice idea to use the traditional formula requesting forgiveness from the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha but I really am inspired by such things. Just in case you are to, I present it in full below:

Kāyena vācā cittena
Pamādena mayā kataṃ
Accayaṃ khama me Bhante
Bhūri‧pañña Tathāgata.

Kāyena vācā cittena
Pamādena mayā kataṃ
Accayaṃ khama me Dhamma
Sandiṭṭhika akālika.
Kāyena vācā cittena

Pamādena mayā kataṃ
Accayaṃ khama me Saṅgha
Supaṭipanna anuttara.

Anyhow, as I was saying, about a quarter of the way through I realized that the opening of the heart to my own fallibility and the loving-acceptance of myself is nothing short of metta. This may not be news to anyone but to me it is kind of a big deal. I had often wondered why the Lord Buddha had never prescribed forgiveness as a theme for development but, until now, hadn’t understood that he didn’t need to–the brahma viharas include khama. I then moved on to forgiving others and realized this was simply the thought of avero homi, or may I be free from animosity. Metta, strikes again. I suppose the only aspect of the reflection the way that I have been practicing it that doesn’t easily fall under the divine abidings is asking for forgiveness, a topic which surely deserves more reflection.

In that vein, I ask your forgiveness if I have harmed you in any way, knowingly or unknowingly by body, speech or mind. May all being be happy and free of enmity!

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