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fletcher
07 Oct 10, 12:13
What is the skillful way of dealing with feelings guilt or regret about past unwholesome actions? Does one just except those actions as being in the past, recognise the emotions when they arise and let them go or does one attempt to right one's wrongs?
Purely for example, a man steals to pay for a drug habit later in life he feels regret and so volunteers at workshop for young addicts.
Any thoughts?
Gary

Esho
07 Oct 10, 14:57
Set yourself in the here and now. Past actions happend with past conditions that will never come again. Set your mind in the here and now. In the here and now you will find a new set of conditions so to work with... do not go back to that past, do not get anxious with a future. Mindfulness in the here and now and be aware of this exact moment of your life.


a man steals to pay for a drug habit later in life he feels regret and so volunteers at workshop for young addicts.

That is just great and worthy... but later on that man should reach the understanding that the help for young addicts has to be done just because... because discernment and not because abiding in a painfull past...

Hope this can be of some help...

;D

fletcher
07 Oct 10, 15:08
Of course Kaarine always helpful. :hands: Sometimes I think I know the right view but just need a little confirmation. ;D
I'd be interested to hear the opinions of other traditions.

Cobalt
07 Oct 10, 16:57
I remember HH the Dalai Lama mentioning once that in his own culture, they don't have a word for "guilt" as other cultures do. They have a word for regret, for the feeling you get when you look back on something you did and decide that another choice would have been better. However, that's not the same as beating oneself up.

I would say that regret is useful. Guilt... can be, but it can also get really masturbatory. It's easy to spend so much time beating ourselves up that we miss an opportunity to actually repair what we did, or learn how to do better in the future. If we do that, what have we really shown our priority is?

Aloka
07 Oct 10, 17:12
I remember HH the Dalai Lama mentioning once that in his own culture, they don't have a word for "guilt" as other cultures do. They have a word for regret, for the feeling you get when you look back on something you did and decide that another choice would have been better. However, that's not the same as beating oneself up.

I would say that regret is useful. Guilt... can be, but it can also get really masturbatory. It's easy to spend so much time beating ourselves up that we miss an opportunity to actually repair what we did, or learn how to do better in the future. If we do that, what have we really shown our priority is?


Yes I agree Cobalt.

I also recall hearing a Tibetan teacher saying something similar to HHDL in a talk I went to. Someone asked the teacher a question about guilt and he said 'What's that?' and then had to have a chat in Tibetan with the translator to find out....and then still looked a little bemused!

KoolAid900
09 Oct 10, 18:35
Dunno if this is what you are asking or not...

Pema Chodron:

" I was doing an interview with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche recently, and I asked him the question: "Rinpoche, you have been living in the west for some time now, and you know western people well. What do you think is the most important advise you could give to a western dharma practitioner?"

And he said "I think the most important thing that western dharma practitioners need to understand is guiltlessness."

I said "guiltlessness?"

He said "Yes. You have to understand that even though you make a lot of mistakes and you mess up in all kinds of ways, all of that is impermanent and shifting and changing and temporary. But fundamentally, your mind and heart are not guilty. They are innocent."

So guiltlessness is very important in the subject of dissolving or burning up the seeds of aggression in our own hearts and our own minds.

Most of the striking out at other people, for us in this culture, comes from feeling bad about ourselves. It makes us so wretched and so uncomfortable that it sets off the chain reaction of trying to get away from that feeling. It's some very very habitual thing that happens."

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=195137211427&id=27357898219&ref=mf

fletcher
09 Oct 10, 21:29
Thank you Koolaid. :hands:

KoolAid900
10 Oct 10, 00:22
no prob!
yeah, that has been one of most str8 to the heart teachings I have seen in a while. In dealing with feelings of guilt I have been aware for a long time that it is just another ego trick, but still been struggling with it. When I read this, it was like being given permission to finally just let go.

Snowmelt
10 Oct 10, 09:51
Today I had, at a guess, maybe 1,000 thoughts crop up that would on almost any other day have led to guilt about past misdemeanours or misdeeds: severely painful dukkha. Today I kept my mindfulness quite well, I think, and so had a pretty good day. Every time such a thought popped up, I remembered Ajahn Chah's injunction to meditators: when any thought pops up, we respond with, "not my business". So many thoughts today were not my business that I might well have prevented the arising of entire multi-national corporations ... so to speak.