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[Buddha]

Author Topic: [Q&A] Confession in Buddhism  (Read 124 times)

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Offline Johann

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[Q&A] Confession in Buddhism
« on: December 05, 2017, 11:29:01 AM »
[Q&A] Confession in Buddhism

Quote from: asked by Robin on BSE
Confession in Buddhism

Growing up in the Roman Catholic tradition, we were encouraged to go to confession (penance) on a regular basis for reconciliation and to be absolved of sins. In Buddhism, the only mention of confession I've seen is in regard to a practice for monks prior to the reciting of the patimokkha. I understand there is no idea of absolving sins in Buddhism, but why is it considered benefical or useful for monks to confess but not for lay people to do the same? I'm assuming there is some sense of unburdening in the confession process and wondering what serves that function for lay people? Thank you.

Venerable members of the Sangha,
walking in front Fellows in leading the holly life.

  _/\_  _/\_  _/\_

In Respect of the Triple Gems, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, in Respect of the Elders of the community  _/\_ , my person tries to answer this question. Please, may all knowledgeable Venerables and Dhammika, out of compassion, correct my person, if something is not correct and fill also graps, if something is missing.

Valued Upasaka, Upasika, Aramika(inis),
dear Readers and Visitors,

 *sgift*

(This is a maybe modified and expanded answer of the "original" that can be found here   .)

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa   -



Confessing faults is very importand for oneself and in cases of relations and communities.

It's absolutly wrong and wrong introduced, especially in the west, to give less empathy toward confessing. The "psychological" benefit is not different to that of Christan earlier usuals.

It can be merely regarded to be or have been a1 kind of marketing strategy, that it's use and benefit is/was generaly denied by "buddhist" teacher.

While others than the believe that confessing will make results from deeds eternally disapear, it's used by the wise to walk best free of conscious on and stay an serious regarded member of a relation ship.

Of course, since the Buddha did not "rule" lay people in any way, there is no such as a "laymans ritual" but people in contact with the costumes of the Noble One often make use of certain ways informal.

To get some ideas of ways, it's good to look at the Uposathakkhandhako: The Uposatha Khandhaka , in the Mahavagga, Vinaya.

The personal purpose is like in the Sutta Pitaka clear presented:

 

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

(Mv.II.3.8 )‘An existing offense’: He has fallen into it, or, having fallen into it, he hasn’t been rehabilitated.

‘Should reveal’: should reveal it either in the midst of the Saṅgha, in the midst of a group, or in the presence of one individual.

‘Having revealed it, he will have peace.’ The peace of what?

He will have the peace of the attainment of the first jhāna, the peace of the attainment of the second jhāna, the peace of the attainment of the third jhāna, the peace of the attainment of the fourth jhāna, the peace of the attainment of the jhānas, liberations, concentrations, attainments, escapes through renunciation, seclusion, and skillful qualities.

The probably most famous instance, where the Buddha taught about the issue confessing, is in the instruction to his son Rahula been given:

 

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

"Having done a bodily action/verbal action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily/verbal action I have done — did it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Was it an unskillful bodily/verbal action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful bodily/verbal action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to a knowledgeable companion in the holy life. Having confessed it... you should exercise restraint in the future. But if on reflection you know that it did not lead to affliction... it was a skillful verbal action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then you should stay mentally refreshed & joyful, training day & night in skillful mental qualities.

It's maybe goid to notice that confessing a fault does not have much sense if confessing toward somebody who has fallen into the same fault. One should look for one who is clean in this regard. One might propable remember the pointless gatherings of people where they merely agree with their common missconducts. Such kind of confessing is not of benefit but may even cause bad results on a community or for people in certain relations.

Usual "formal" tradition under lay people is to ask for pardon mostly in the evening chanting from the Juwels:
 
Kāyena vācāya va cetasā vā, Buddhe kukammaṃ pakataṃ mayā yaṃ, Buddho paṭiggaṇhatu accayantaṃ, Kālantare saṃvarituṃ va buddhe.

Whatever bad kamma I have done to the Buddha [also Dhamma, Sangha] by body, by speech, or by mind, may the Buddha accept my admission of it, so that in the future I may show restraint toward the Buddha.

To do something wrong is "normal", but to be of a kind who sticks to the conviction in cause and effect rather to seek and hold disclaimers of all kinds for his/her actions is already special in that amount. Being then probably in good relation with the three governing principles , one has every support possible to gain from outward.

Moral Shame, discern in reagard of deeds, as well as the tools of cleaning are tools to grow and torward liberation. The more open and honest one is, the more one can expect to benefit not only by being aware that "someone is watching you" but also by being given helpful advices, sometimes helpful rebukes. For one hidding, lying, denying... what than fear is hisgher gain? Where would one try to escape from the fruits of deeds?

At least, if one likes to confess deeds to a god or deity, if one has a serious relation, why not. Better than to don't do at all. If a missdeed has been done torward a person or group, aside of confessing it, if possible, it's also good and releasing to ask for pardon from the victim.

It would be not wrong, and possible of great benefit, to approach a trusted monk or nun (thinking on the advice to Ven.Rahula).

There is just one righteous and possible way to overcome the burden of remorse, shame... and the requirement of cleaning, and this is being most possible virtuous.

In all regards of benefical growing it's of the only outward support to seek always for association and relation with those more advanced, not to rest with equal and avoid binding dependence and nurishment on those lower. If somehow bond to certain relations it's good to leave them from time to time and clean oneself. That is why the layfollower of the Buddha gather on Sila- and Uposatha days in monasteries. To get advices, to renew their precepts, and to use the gained tools by practicing to perform the Uposatha of the Noble Ones , in cleaning the mind by reflection on the six main objects for everyone.

When living next to each other, approving loud or silent faults to each other, what's the gain of being part of a community having given up a strive for becoming better and perfect? The Buddha called it simply a "cattle-like affiliation", "sheep-like affiliation", "heedless-affiliation"... "the undertaking of sectarians"

So while lay people are not bond at all on rules but have generally their own rules of society, law... it's generally nevertheless of benefit to integrate certain tools if possible also within a community.

...why is it considered benefical or useful for monks to confess but not for lay people to do the same? was asked.

Actually itjs not only high benefical and useful, also for lay people but also regarded as such, if meeting lay people actually following the Juwels.

Very formal confessions and asking for pardon, especially toward ones parents, elders, teacher, leader... are still common (of course decaying everywhere...) and in regard of monasitics there are even formal texts.

Requesting Forgiveness

Extending and other aspects can be found in an answer to: What is the Buddhas approach of admitting a mistake? with similar but lesser on seeking distinctions to other sects usuals in doing such as confessing.

Anumodana!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 06:04:37 PM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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