issue 22 Spring 04
15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | current

Beyond Rage ... Towards Forgiveness

Marian Partington's long-lost sister was murdered by perhaps Britain's most sadistic serial killers. The shock of that discovery tested her to the core and led her to Buddhism. The agony and the empathy describes her path through intense pain to a deep commitment to compassion.

Few of us have to face that degree of suffering, but Dharma Life contributors draw on a wide range of experiences in their reflections on how to follow the Buddha's path towards forgiveness. Learning to forgive is a profound spiritual practice, which involves letting go of anger and blame, even while the hurt persists.

Brad Warner channelled his adolescent anger into being a punk rocker with Zero Detox. Now a Zen priest, he explains, in Kill your rage, how abandoning anger means letting go of the ego altogether.

Leading insight meditation teacher Christopher Titmuss reflects on the fear and fury that followed the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and suggests that the reactive patterns of individual psychology are played out in war and politics.

Valerie Mason-John survived a childhood of abuse and insecurity to become a performer, writer and anger-management trainer. In Transforming poisons she outlines her painful journey towards resolution.

Psychologist and Buddhist teacher Caroline Brazier argues that if we are not caught up in our rage we can use it to address Burning issues, and fight for a better world.

For Bishop Richard Holloway, a radical cleric and one of Scotland's leading intellectuals, forgiveness grows from deeply understanding those with whom we are angry. Giving space in an arid world offers a key to spiritual life in a post-Christian world. And we hear testimonies to Nelson Mandela, a supreme exemplar of the triumph of compassion over suffering, and of forgiveness over rage.

When Karunadaka encountered the Buddhist practice of confession he discovered a way of dissolving resentments and opening up to others.

And Michael Montgomery, who grew up in Northern Ireland amid the Troubles, has learnt lessons through his experience of the army and Belfast underworld that have led him, too, to the Dharma.