Gem of Wisdom for Daily Reflection: 

Freedom from Guilt

Statue of Confucius

The fixation by which we perceive the world is what gives birth to the anxieties and turmoil we experience in our daily life. The practice of Buddha Dharma is about letting go of this fixation. Rather than being paralysed by guilt and take no real action to rectify our mistakes, we need to have the courage to acknowledge our errors and experience genuine remorse for what we did. Only then can we begin to develop the right resolve and determination to repair our errors.

In the Audio Teaching 'Freedom From Guilt', Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje encourages his students to take a proactive role to purify the stagnated afflictive emotion trapped within us due to the continuous presence of guilt. By means of feeling genuinely remorseful and taking refuge in the practice of confession, we bring dignity back to our body and mind, and begin the process to transform negative karmic conditions we are experiencing into the activity of virtue. Any attempt to bypass the feeling of shame will only cause us to remain subconsciously wallowing in guilt and create further causes of suffering in the future.

With the willingness, the determination, to change what is of non-virtue into virtue, afflictive emotions can of course be purified and the right kind of mindfulness will naturally increase. Ven. Lama Dondrup Dorje illustrates his point with the story of the 'Lane of Righteousness', which is an account of two house owners whose properties are separated by a lane of common passage used by the local residents. One of the house owners wished to extend the size of his garden and decided to move his fence closer to that of his neighbour and, in doing so, reduces the width of the lane in between. Rather than object and retaliate likewise, his neighbour simply moved his garden fence further back, and thus reduced the size of his own garden. Seeing this, the house owner was so ashamed of his act of selfishness that he too moved his fence further back to make his garden even smaller than before and in so doing, created a much wider lane between the two properties, a lane that came to be known by the locals as 'the Lane of Righteousness'.

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