Buddhist Prayer of Forgiveness
If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly
through my own confusions I ask their forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me in any way either knowingly or unknowingly
through their own confusions I forgive them.
And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive
I forgive myself for that.
For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself,
judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions
I forgive myself.
I came to a clear understanding a few years ago that we all do the best we can with our levels of awareness. When we know better, we do better. When we don’t know better, we tend to be more hurtful to others and ourselves.
I think of my loving mom, who didn’t support significant life-changing decisions. I used to resent this whenever my thoughts ventured into the past. Nowadays, I look back with an open heart that comes from understanding that Mom came from a different culture than the one I was raised in, so her approach and perception of life were different from mine.
I forgive myself for not understanding.
On a more challenging note, I have a friend whose mother was killed by a drunk driver. The driver went to jail, and she spent years being angry with him. It was an overwhelming burden that plunged her into a deep depression and she attempted suicide.
After spending a lot of time doing soul-searching, she decided to forgive him and visited him in prison, got to know him, and found that he was remorseful for his actions. He was a good man with a serious problem with alcohol for which he was rehabilitated. She campaigned to have him released from prison and succeeded.
She got her life back and gave the man a second chance. Nowadays, they are good friends.
The power of forgiveness did not change the past, but it changed their future from one of bitterness to love.
“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” – C.R. Strahan
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” – Louis B. Smedes
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain