A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Purifying our negative thoughts, speech and actions

This is one area I admit to finding resistance to practicing. However if we are to develop our bodhichitta nature, it is one we must put effort into. This is the fourth practice that helps us develop our pure bodhichitta. This is traditionally done at the temple on days of the new or full moon. We confess our evil deeds, our harmful or hurtful words, and our impure thoughts or mental afflictions. You don’t seek out a monk, or anyone  else, rather you are confessing these to yourself. It is not like the catholic confession where you get absolution from the Priest.  No one forgives you, rather you are looking at yourself honestly, confessing to what you know is wrong, and making a promise to yourself to work on these issues. This is partly so you can begin to leave the past in the past, but also to ensure that you are taking action in the present to avoid similar issues in the future. You might say you have 10 or 20 minutes for self recrimination, but then its time to get on with living.There are four parts to these confessions.

First we must regret what we have thought, said or done. (Regret)

Secondly we must vow to refrain and then actually refrain from those actions. ((Refrain)

Thirdly undertake an action to make things right, such as taking refugee in the Triple Gems, or reading the Vajrasattva mantra. (Remedy)

Fourthly is to promise not to repeat this behavior in the future. (Resolve)

So the formula can be summed up as regret, refrain, remedy, and resolve.


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