Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Dalai Lama

While surfing the net, I ran across an interesting set of quotes from the Dalai Lama:

“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness ... the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Other philosophical traditions have similar ideas. Judaism has a tripartite concept of forgiveness:

1 mechilá, forgoing the other's indebtedness, the crime remains; only the debt is forgiven

2 selichá. It is an act of the heart. It is achieving an empathy for the troubledness of the other. Selicha, is simply reaching the conclusion that the offender, too, is human, frail, and deserving of sympathy.

3 kappará This is a total wiping away of all sinfulness. Kappara is the ultimate form of forgiveness, but it is only granted by God.

The terms and conditions for granting the first two forms forgiveness are a bit complex in that tradition but are entirely sensible.

Christianity's concept of forgiveness is embodied in several quotations of Jesus with a general emphasis on love, compassion and understanding toward failures of others.

All of these traditions have useful things to say.

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