The Gifts of Forgiveness

By Rungpat Roengpitya.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Buddhism, besides passing on dhamma (Buddha’s teachings) to another person, the act of forgiving is considered the highest giving of all types (Somdej Phra Yannasangwora 2006). Forgiveness is an intangible act, when compared to the general tangible giving act. In Buddhist teachings, the act of forgiveness has different levels and can be expressed through different Buddhist words e.g. ‘apayadāna’ meaning ‘to grant the forgiveness, to forgive’, and ‘ahosikamma’ meaning ‘no-longer-resultative conducts’ (Dhammapidok P.A.Payutto 2004) or ‘to forgive wholly (the supreme forgiveness)’. Some major questions arose of why forgiveness is difficult to conduct and of how one can psychologically develop the ways to reach the supreme forgiveness. This paper presents the theoretical Buddhist concepts and examples of forgiveness, based on the Pali Canon, and the psychological analysis of the Buddhist examples, based on the trilogy of mind of Hilgard (1980; in Mayer 2001: 453-454). This paper includes the controllable and uncontrollable factors for developing the act of forgiveness and the types of forgiving (negation of forgiveness, neutral forgiveness, partial forgiveness, cumulative forgiveness, relapsed forgiveness, and supreme forgiveness). It is strongly believed that forgiveness, considered as a gift, can bring not only genuine happiness to forgivers, but also peace to our global society.

Keywords: Buddhism, Psychology, Gifts, Forgiveness, Thai

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 12, pp.39-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.191MB).

Dr. Rungpat Roengpitya

Lecturer, College of Religious Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Dr. Rungpat Roengpitya received her B.A. (English) from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and her M.A. and Ph.D. (Linguistics) from the University of California at Berkeley, USA. Currently, she is a lecturer of the Department of English, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Mahidol University, Thailand. Her research interests include linguistics, culture, Buddhism, and psychology.

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