Digital Tavern -Bodhisattva of Forgiveness

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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,

Mustafa Kemal.





opher goodwin Added Feb 5, 2019 - 3:36am
A great tale Mustafa. I think the Catholics know the value of forgiveness very well. They've used it with great success.
Flying Junior Added Feb 5, 2019 - 3:45am
Forgiveness is a beautiful gift that God has given to us.  You are correct to assign to it great value.  Usually we only think of the benefit to the transgressor that we have forgiven.
It's also a very important survival skill in a relationship.  One needs to learn to forgive even when no apology has been offered.
But on to other subjects.  I does not seem to me that you have the temperament to be a successful criminal.  A criminal is resourceful and intelligent.  But above all else, a criminal must be quick and decisive.  Crime is a game that requires some skill.  Those who dabble absent-mindedly are quickly apprehended by the gendarmerie.
The Burghal Hidage Added Feb 5, 2019 - 4:30am
No no no Opher....the greatest weapon in the Catholic stable is guilt. Ask any recovering Catholic, they'll tell you. And the very worst? IRISH Catholic guilt. They eat more of that shit than potatoes and cabbage.
It is true what you say, Mustafa. I am not very good at this. I can harbor a grudge for ages. Some can live with it, some can not. But it is like baggage. My philosophy is more "don't get mad; get even" and "revenge is best served cold". I don't have many grudges unsettled. Karma generally takes care of these things without a lot of personal effort expended
opher goodwin Added Feb 5, 2019 - 5:39am
Lol Burger -
Stage 1 - Guilt - build it up. Load it with threat of eternal torture to create fear. There's always some sin you're committing.
Stage 2 - Confession - penitence and the ability to admit and pay for the sin.
Stage 3 - Forgiveness - the sin is forgiven - all is well. You will not burn in hell. The Lord is wonderful.
Temporary relief - great psychological lift - until the next impure thought!
Repeat the cycle into addictiveness.
Dino Manalis Added Feb 5, 2019 - 8:50am
 Forgive, but don't forget, just give them a second chance to improve!
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 5, 2019 - 9:43am
Opher, In my experience, Catholics do not practice forgiveness very well. For them it is something they receive by going to confession.
In my experience, they have similar confusions about Love.
FJ, Im glad to hear you on this post.  My problem was that when I was young, I was a very good shoplifter, Im mean very good. Until one day two policemen came to my parents and informed them that they had apprehended someone selling alot of stolen records and this individual told them that i had helped steal them.  My father told me that "we are headed to Germany, and the Germans wont be so gentle with a thief" 
And That, was the end of my criminal exploits. Intimidated by  Die Polizei!
Burghal Hidage, I know your method, but have you ever experienced any blowback or collateral damage from your revenge?
"Forgive, but don't forget, just give them a second chance to improve!"
Indeed, Forgiveness does NOT mean forgetting.  I had a neighbor who kept borrowing money from me and I decided it was easier to just not try to collect the debt. So I forgave him and the debt. But of course, the next time he came to borrow,   hichi, nada, yok.
As for the second chance, we were way past that. Anyway, forgiveness does not count the number of infractions. It zeros out the attachment to the wrong and frees your mind.
It makes you alot less grumpy.
White Hair'd Added Feb 5, 2019 - 2:28pm
Beautiful article, Mustafa.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 5, 2019 - 3:27pm
Thanks Luther or ahem White Hair'd
At least you got hair, all I got is beard, lol.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 5, 2019 - 4:43pm
Mustafa, thanks for this story. I'm glad you have found release through this technique. I'll try it sometime soon in light of politics and see if it works.
Out of curiosity, have you ever used this to forgive yourself for something you have committed?
Doug Plumb Added Feb 5, 2019 - 6:43pm
  Christ tells us "turn another cheek" I have two, on the third one I have no more cheeks to turn. Until then I can be very forgiving, provided there is repentance - you take that on faith, but accept it.
  I don't think that our own comfort as the most important goal in life. Somethings are right even if they make you uncomfortable.
  I would expect some kind of reparations made if I was to forgive someone that deliberately ripped me off, with both knowledge and intent.
  This is why I wonder about forgiveness, and wonder if that message has been f***ed with over the ages to turn Christians into sheep.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 5, 2019 - 6:48pm
BH re "No no no Opher....the greatest weapon in the Catholic stable is guilt. "
Guilt is not a bad thing. People should avoid getting that feeling, by not doing the things they do to feel guilt. Guilt is a big part of Chistianity. Without guilt we are a society of psychopaths.
The Burghal Hidage Added Feb 5, 2019 - 6:55pm
Doug - you are talking about conscience. I am talking about Irish Catholic Guilt. In the fecal register of the world's religions their creed is "If shit happens then ya probably deserved it!"  I'm talking really, really unhealthy, dehumanizing type guilt trip....not the same thing at all.
FacePalm Added Feb 5, 2019 - 7:03pm
This is a very good path you have chosen for yourself, but i'd recommend not telling too many people about it.  Quite a few personality types i'm aware of will see your stand as a game for them to play, tormenting you endlessly to see how much you'll take before you stop forgiving.  It could be summed up by "How you like me now?"
Just 't'other day, i ran across this gem:
"Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business.  Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always.  The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past.   Forgiveness frees the forgiver.  It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare."
-- Lance Morrow
But to tell the unrepentant that you have forgiven them is to tempt them to engage in more insult, more vituperation, more vitriol, ad nauseum.  To cite that unintentional sage, Yogi Berra, "Some people ain't happy 'less they ain't happy."  But worse, they feel a perverse desire to make you as unhappy as they are, for "misery loves company."
So forgive, just keep it to yourself.
Oh, and as to the borrowing-but-not-repaying thing?
Here's the advice my dad gave me before i joined the military: "Son, you're going to meet lots of different people where you're going, and some are going to want to borrow money.  As long as it isn't too much, go ahead and lend it to them.  If you have to track them down to get it back, never lend them another dime."
He was right, of course, but it cost me plenty before i wised up and admitted that.
The Burghal Hidage Added Feb 5, 2019 - 7:22pm
Mustafa -  I've yet to experience blowback, due in large part to the latter of those two maxims cited: emphasis served cold :)
They never knew what or who or from where. But I do. Rarely exercised....most things are best to just let go. The extraordinarily stupid have a way of finding their proper karma without any assistance from me
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 5, 2019 - 8:00pm
"Out of curiosity, have you ever used this to forgive yourself for something you have committed?"
Yes.  In Buddhism we always practice on self first. We first learn to forgive ourselves, ......then we move out.  However, for me it went opposite.  
This event taught me how to forgive myself.  Sublime it is.
White Hair'd Added Feb 5, 2019 - 11:22pm
Even A Broken Clock asks:
"Out of curiosity, have you ever used this to forgive yourself for something you have committed?"
There is no greater beneficiary of forgiveness, than ourselves.
Forgiveness isn't just some kumbaya- touchy- feely sort of thing.
Without forgiveness, we are doomed to keep going over and over our mistakes until we just wear out the path we've beaten to them. We obviously can't undo anything, or erase it as if it were on a chalkboard, but we can change how we think and feel about something.
There are many examples in the world, of how we bring about things in our lives by keeping our mind focused on an event, or thought.
That's why forgiveness becomes so important for us; it breaks the cycle which we will repeat until we overcome the event. The harder we slam that flail into our own hides, the more likely it becomes that we'll make the same mistake over again, only worse.
Consider a mistake for which you haven't yet forgiven yourself. Did you not learn from that mistake and become a better person for it? Did that mistake not alter your life?
Forgiveness means most of all, to change the way we view an event in our personal history.
Flying Junior Added Feb 6, 2019 - 12:02am
So says a man desperately in need of forgiveness.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 6, 2019 - 9:14am
FacePalm,  Thank you so much for that Lance Morrow quote.
IMO, it is perfect.
Regarding your admonition of anonymity, I fully agree. The way i would put it is to reduce certain secondary effects.  On the other hand, I never told anyone, but it was not because of your concern but because of the other side of the same coin; I was concerned about my ego getting involved, kind of like part of me might use this as a virtue signal of sorts, and I wanted to avoid that. But your concerns are just as valid and corresponding examples of such already exist in my life
However, when you forgive someone and you are in their presence, it appears to me that they will feel a sort of softness, like a hard, bitter/sour edge has disappeared. That generally causes a warming sensation. I will not forsake that for it is too sweet, too human.
BTW, I think I told you that I participated in Ramazan 2014. During that time I tried to practice Charity, one of the pillars of Islam. I was told in no uncertain terms, you MUST act anonymously.  I think the reason is essentially the same. The fact that the majority of muslims annually give 2% of their income in charity is no small thing in my mind. For someone who makes $50K, every year they need to take
10 100 dollar bills, stuff them in an envelope and slip it into someones mailbox. The social/cohesive consequences of such a culture must be profound.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 6, 2019 - 9:27am
“ I would expect some kind of reparations made if I was to forgive someone that deliberately ripped me off, with both knowledge and intent.”
In this case, I suggest that maybe you should collect those reparations.
But what if that is not possible?
  “This is why I wonder about forgiveness, and wonder if that message has been f***ed with over the ages to turn Christians into sheep.”
It has not done so with the Vietnamese. Buddhist Vietnamese fought and died and evidently nowhen an American visits Vietnam they are warmly welcomed. It appears that not only can they defend themselfs, they can forgive their aggressors.
Forgiveness does not imply pacificism. If someone reaches out to do me harm, my reflexes will move to take care of myself. However, after the event is over, there may result several different scenario. 1) I failed and I was beaten. 2) i turned it around but dislocated my shoulder in the process.
3) I turned it around and hurt the attacker and am now in trouble with the law.
In all three cases I could see reparations as appropriate. But what do I do with my mind if I cannot collect?
Maybe it was f***ed up in the same way as 
“the meek shall inherit the earth” is misinterpreted.
We are not sheep here.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 6, 2019 - 9:29am
White Hair'd,
well said. It appears you have some experience here.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 6, 2019 - 9:33am
Burghal Hidage,
There is a sweet devilishness in your method that inherently appeals to me. However, for me I find it a bit of a trap. I would enjoy it too much.
But letting karma take its course is always a good method.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 6, 2019 - 9:37am
Even a Broken Clock
BTW, it is a good thing I have learned to forgive myself. Now that I am getting older all sorts of sins I commited before are coming back to haunt me.   Its terrible, I always thought I was kind of a good guy! gol
The Burghal Hidage Added Feb 6, 2019 - 7:22pm
About twenty years ago, give or take, I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a city building inspector. This man was of a sort that I am sure you have experienced at some point: a very small minded, insecure little man with an official ID and a little bit of authority. By appearance he was sort of a milquetoast and he discovered early on that he could not intimidate the contractors. To compensate for this he took to a rather overzealous approach in his dealings with private homeowners.
At that time we were in a new build and there were still other sites under construction. I was warned by the general superintendent that I should be certain to obtain the city permit before adding a deck on the home as inspector Milquetoast was quite active in the community with construction still underway. I begrudgingly filed and paid their damned fee and began assembling a deck at my own speed. In the late fall I had completed tying in to the 2 x 12 on the back of the house, had dug and poured the footers, leveled the posts and built in the framing around them. I had no intentions of even attempting the addition of the deck boards themselves until the following spring. Then the inspector comes around and wants to see my permit. I presented the permit and then he asked to go examine the site. I told him I had suspended any work until spring and considered that our business was done.
Well that wasn't good enough. He went around to the back of the house before leaving and then returned to my door moments later to inform me that I needed to dig up the footers to demonstrate that the posts had been installed to the required depth of 36". I told him flat out " fuck you, you wanna see 'em, you dig 'em up " and shut the door.
About a week later I received a letter from the city informing me that my permit had been revoked. Fine. No worries. Not doing anything until spring.  Over the winter I observed our inspector regularly. Learned his truck, the plate number, which days he most often appeared on the grounds of the development.  I observed that on days when he worked our beat he liked to frequent a certain tavern across the tracks and down the road a short way after work.
One day (might have been in February come to think of it) I happened over by said tavern around 4:45 in the afternoon, maybe a half hour or so before sundown. I founding our inspector's truck on the lot, unlocked. So....I emptied a bag of emptied to half-emptied beer bottles behind and under the drivers seat, removed the license plate from his truck and went on my way. I never saw that inspector again.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 6, 2019 - 9:06pm
Burghal Hidaghe,
Well done my friend. Well done.

You will not have any trouble with me.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 7, 2019 - 3:36pm
re "In this case, I suggest that maybe you should collect those reparations.
But what if that is not possible?"
This kind of thing comes from very unhappy people. Feel sorry for them, but from a distance.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 7, 2019 - 3:38pm
re "Doug - you are talking about conscience. I am talking about Irish Catholic Guilt. In the fecal register of the world's religions their creed is "If shit happens then ya probably deserved it!"  I'm talking really, really unhealthy, dehumanizing type guilt trip....not the same thing at all."
I've never been exposed to anything like that. Christ didn't preach like that. He talks of two women grinding possibly going to heaven where a saint may not. Christ was really all about the Golden Rule, that's it.
The Burghal Hidage Added Feb 8, 2019 - 7:54am
Whereas the vatican is just about gold
FacePalm Added Feb 10, 2019 - 8:50pm
i probably shouldn't confess this, but i read your story about the milquetoast twice before the import of the sabotoogie came clear to me;
Mr. Inspector, perhaps with a mild buzz, enters his vehicle and drives home...or tries to.  W/o license plate, he attracts the attention of the local constabulary; upon pulling him over and walking up, said ossifer would have "reasonable suspicion" due to the "strong odor of alcohol," whereupon hilarity ensues - for you - not so much for Mr. Detecter.
Personally, i try to treat everyone with respect, and how i'd like to be treated were i in their shoes.  This has generally served me very well, for you never know who someone knows, or who THEY know.
A guy i met aboard ship told me an illustrative story:
He and a friend in Ohio were having a grand old time, driving around in a pickup truck, getting hammered, tossing the beercans in the bed; unfortunately, drunk driver left the road and smacked a tree.
These 2 guys hit on a brilliant idea, Throw the empties as far away from the truck before the cops came as possible.
A short while later, an irate white-haired citizen pulled over and began to yell at them.
"STFU!" was their reply; he would't let up, and came down near where they were to be more in-their faces; one of 'em punched him, knocking him down.  Senior citizen went back to his car and left.  Cops came, busted 'em, they've been sitting in the jail cell for about 2 hours - here comes white-haired Citizen, a hand over one eye, pointing and saying "That's them."
He was a retired cop.
The not-retired cops took them out of the jail cell and into a room, where they were handcuffed to a pipe behind their backs, one ankle also strapped to the pipe, whereupon they both "had the dogshit kicked out of them."  Direct quote.
So again, you never know who someone knows.  Life lesson.
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 11, 2019 - 10:32pm
"A guy i met aboard ship told me"
Aye matey, I would watch for those sailor tales.
Ward Tipton Added Feb 12, 2019 - 7:51am
Ahhh, the Tao of Pooh. (A good book by the way) 
TBH - Don't look for the happy ending. It is not the Irish story. The vatican did indeed begin life as a bank ... and remains one, along with London and the Federal Reserve Trust. And yeah, best served cold ... and while I have never been told as much, I am guessing it is likely pretty cold at the bottom of those mine shafts around my property ... not that I know anyone who has ever been there but ... well ... no need to get to know them really now is there? 
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 12, 2019 - 10:11pm
Ward, but doesnt it concern you that the word is out regarding your mineshafts. I mean can you trust the likes of ..........
Ward Tipton Added Feb 12, 2019 - 11:11pm
Since I no longer exist as a legal fiction all they can do is disappear me, and while that would be possible, it would not likely occur without attracting local attention ... and since I do not exist, yet live in foreign lands, that would be an international incident for the sake of a person that does not exist ... all that aside, I never personally had anything to do with placing anything in said mine shafts ... as I would have most certainly gone through the proper legal authorities if I ever had any issues ... driving twenty-five miles into town to get to the pay phone to dial 911 to send the police to my mail box which was six miles away from my home ... so that they could "protect me" ... and with such  stellar service from our public servants, I never personally found the need to engage in private encounters with intruders ;) And even if there were bodies down those mine shafts, the search alone would take months, and likely would not turn up anyone who would have likely even made a missing persons list. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 14, 2019 - 5:18pm
LOL, Ward, you make me laugh. Thanks!
Ward Tipton Added Feb 16, 2019 - 2:15pm
Just tellin' the truth! Honest injun! (Or is that not allowed any more?)
Mustafa Kemal Added Feb 16, 2019 - 10:59pm
Honest Injun, 
funny, I just had dinner with my daughter's indian boyfriend and Im not sure he liked it when I used the term indian.
Next time, Ill try using injun.
Ward Tipton Added Feb 16, 2019 - 11:22pm
I love real curry but the Indian (as in from India ... Indian food) pickles always grossed me out.