Guilt

by Friends of Godwin

Godwin-Icon

One problem I encountered with many meditators is that they are suffering from guilt. Maybe there are some historical or social reasons why there seems to be a lot of guilt in this culture, because in old cultures like the Tibetan culture, Sri Lankan culture and some other cultures there is not even a word for guilt! I read somewhere that his holiness the Dalai Lama was surprised when he encountered so many Westerners suffering from guilt.

People who generally suffer from guilt from the past, they seem to remember mostly the wrong things they have done in the past. So they seem to have a selective memory in this connection. The good things they have done they have completely forgotten and they remember only their shortcomings, only their failures, and they don’t realise that they are punishing themselves with the guilt that they are holding onto.

It is unfortunate that traditional Buddhism also sometimes seems to be emphasising this, especially with the doctrine of kamma. This is why I never speak about kamma, because what happens is you think you have done some wrong things and you think you are going to suffer because of kamma. So it is really unfortunate that the Buddhist doctrines are used to create more suffering. And of course they only think of bad kamma, they never think of good kamma!