Sunday, October 8, 2006

Forgiveness will heal pain & hatred

Read about several shootings in the US last few weeks. It's so sad indeed, many precious lives were lost due to the inability of these gunmen to control their violent streaks.

As I wondered about what's our world coming to, when people address their frustration, depression, anger and hatred by killing others, a friend of mine post an article in a forum I frequent. What I read cheered me up that despite all the doom and gloom I felt about today's uncaring society, there are still many people who are capable of performing magnanimous deeds. The Amish, whose many children were either coldly executed or seriously injured by a sole gunman, apparently forgave the shooter, and even said his wife would be welcomed to their children's funeral! Read about their noble act HERE.

The Amish schoolhouse where the shootings happened.

Few key sentences come to mind:
"They talk about Monday's school shooting only in terms of forgiveness."
"... believe they need to love their enemies, which may be beyond the ability of most people..."
"...ability to grieve together, forgive as a community and realize they must move on."

Although many might find the Amish way of life strange or "unacceptable", I think we should just put our differences aside, rejoice and learn from their noble acts of forgiveness and equanimity (calm acceptance of dire situations). To me, what they did was very magnanimous when today most of us cannot even forgive those who jump queue or honk indiscriminately. Some might be interested to find out how they managed to reach such a level of patience, tolerance and forgiveness.

IMHO, I think it's coz the Amish are less self-absorbed than others. When one live in relative simplicity and does not seek comfort/pleasure constantly for the self, naturally the self-wanting diminishes and care/concern/focus for others increases. Something akin to reducing selfishness to clear the mind so we can see what's really important in life. This will often result in much inner peace and happiness to one's life. Such peace allows a person to perform deeds that may seem so magnanimous to others.

The Buddha have taught that hatred cannot be countered by hatred (such as taking revenge). Hatred can only be overcome by loving kindness. One might find it hard to forget, but it's good for everyone if one finds the way to forgive. The pain might still be around, but at least it will not fester into depression, anger or hatred. This is the wholesome way of addressing whatever "wrongs" others have done to us, something I'm still trying hard to learn and practice. Little acts of forgiveness and saying sorry have given me much peace and happiness.

The Amish way of living and noble act of forgiveness is another case in good point for those pursuing the "spiritual" path: for those who CHOOSE to live in isolation, take vow of celibacy, vow of silence, a life devoted to helping others (like Mother Teresa and volunteers of so many charities), become a monk, nun and etc. May their lives be a constant beacon of light to us.

1 comment:

alison koh said...

when we forgive others, we forgive ourselves. when we pray for others, we pray for ourselves.

we have so much to learn from others and so much to teach ourselves. indeed, tabit to the 'noble' ones. :)