Here are some links and quotes from Tuesday’s meeting on the topic of the Bliss of Blamelessness:
Practicing Forgiveness from the Season of Forgiveness website
Quoted from the chapter on Making the Heart Good from Living Dharma – by Ajahn Chah:
“Suppose there was a hole, and there was something at the bottom of it. Now anyone who put their hand into the hole and didn’t reach the bottom would say the hole was too deep. Out of a hundred or a thousand people putting their hands down that hole, they’d all say the hole was too deep. Not one would say their arm was too short!
There are so many people looking for merit. Sooner or later they’ll have to start looking for a way out of wrongdoing. But not many people are interested in this. The teaching of the Buddha is so brief, but most people just pass it by, just like they pass through Wat Ba Pong. For most people that’s what the Dhamma is, a stop-over point.
Only three lines, hardly anything to it: Sabba papassa akaranam: refraining from all wrong doing. That’s the teaching of all Buddhas. This is the heart of Buddhism. But people keep jumping over it, they don’t want this one. The renunciation of all wrongdoing, great and small, from bodily, verbal and mental actions… this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
If we were to dye a piece of cloth we’d have to wash it first. But most people don’t do that. Without looking at the cloth, they dip it into the dye straight away. If the cloth is dirty, dying it makes it come out even worse than before. Think about it. Dying a dirty old rag, would that look good?
You see? This is how Buddhism teaches, but most people just pass it by. They just want to perform good works, but they don’t want to give up wrongdoing. It’s just like saying “the hole is too deep.” Everybody says the hole is too deep, nobody says their arm is too short. We have to come back to ourselves. With this teaching you have to take a step back and look at yourself….
Giving up the bad, practicing the good… this is the heart of Buddhism. Sabba papassa akaranam — Not committing any wrongdoing, either through body, speech or mind. That’s the right practice, the teaching of the Buddhas. Now “our cloth” is clean….
We may know of these things, but we don’t really know if we don’t know within our own minds. Buddhism doesn’t enter our heart. If our mind is good and virtuous it is happy. There’s a smile in our heart. But most of us can hardly find time to smile, can we? We can only manage to smile when things go our way. Most people’s happiness depends on having things go to their liking. They have to have everybody in the world say only pleasant things. Is that how you find happiness? Is it possible to have everybody in the world say only pleasant things? If that’s how it is when will you ever find happiness?
We must use Dhamma to find happiness. Whatever it may be, whether right or wrong, don’t blindly cling to it. Just notice it then lay it down. When the mind is at ease then you can smile. The minute you become averse to something the mind goes bad. Then nothing is good at all.
Sacittapariyodapanam: Having cleared away impurities the mind is free of worries… peaceful, kind and virtuous. When the mind is radiant and has given up evil, there is ease at all times. The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement….
When we abandon wrongness then we are no longer wrong. When there is no stress there is calm. The calm mind is a clean mind, one which harbors no angry thoughts, which is clear.”
Here is the sutta in which the Buddha instructs Rahula about reflecting on actions of body, speech and mind – before, during and afterward:
Ambalatthika-rahulovada Sutta: Instructions to Rahula at Mango Stone
This is from The Bhikkhus’ Rules:A Guide for Laypeople compiled and explained by Bhikkhu Ariyesako:
Discipline is for the sake of restraint,
restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse,
freedom from remorse for the sake of joy,
joy for the sake of rapture,
rapture for the sake of tranquillity,
tranquillity for the sake of pleasure,
pleasure for the sake of concentration,
concentration for the sake of knowledge
and vision of things as they are,
knowledge and vision of things as they are
for the sake of disenchantment,
disenchantment for the sake of release,
release for the sake of knowledge and vision of release,
knowledge and vision of release
for the sake of total unbinding without clinging.
— Parivaara.XII.2 (BMC p.1)
And here are some quotes on conduct and forgiveness:
“The virtue of man ought to be measured, not by his extraordinary exertions, but by his everyday conduct.” —Blaise Pascal
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” —Robert Muller
“Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.” —Phillips Brooks
“In our society, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. People who forgive those who have hurt them or their family are made to look as if they really don’t care about their loved ones. But forgiveness is tremendous strength. It is the action of someone who refuses to be consumed by hatred and revenge.” -Helen Prejean
“The supreme act of courage is that of forgiving ourselves. That which I was not but could have been. That which I would have done but did not do. Can I find the fortitude to remember in truth, to understand, to submit, to forgive and to be free to move on in time?” – Kauffman
“Seeing with better eyes “We can recognize that the offender is a valuable human being who struggles with the same needs, pressures, and confusions that we struggle with. We will recognize that the incident really may not have been about us in the first place. Instead it was about the wrongdoer’s misguided attempt to meet his or her own needs. As we regard offenders from this point of view (regardless of whether they repent and regardless of what they have done or suffered), we will be in a position to forgive them.” – Holmgren