No Need to Forgive

In Buddhism there isn’t much emphasis on overcoming resentment through forgiveness. Christianity is all about atonement for sin, and learning to forgive your trespassers, but Buddhists think of the very fact that one takes offense in the first place is the real problem. That’s where the error lies. Just as suffering has its origin in desire, so does the tendency to take offense come from something within us, something we’re in control of. So if you want to get all bent out of shape, that’s your call, but don’t pretend you’re not the one doing it.

Maybe that’s why so few people beep their horns at each other. I’ve never seen a driving action end up in a fight, nor have I heard one driver yell at another. For all their strange notions about driving and governance, I can’t help but admire this trait.


A Buddhist Temple Hidden in the Woods

In our crowded student ghetto, there’s a temple back here, tucked away in about five acres of dense woods. We live in an area that is clogged with apartment buildings, parking lots, with narrow lanes disgorging thousands of motorbikes an hour into the main streets, but curiosity got me to scope around close to the trees that extend all the way up the mountain. It’s called Wat Umong.

Some of the signs are in English, and they do quite a bit of meditation training and welcoming foreigners to study Buddhism. There are men’s and women’s dormitories, for guests, as well as a brand-new, air-conditioned meditation hall. There are also spooky tunnels.