Monday, July 14, 2008


Question: (unedited)
I want to know if there is any kind of repentance in buddha. and if it is, how and where it would be done?

My comment:
I think what you mean is whether there is such a practice like the Christian act of confession, and asking someone or some power to forgive your sins. Buddhism is about self realization and the willingness to practise the teachings of the Buddha for personal peace and happiness. The Buddha pointed out to us that we were responsible for all our actions, thoughts, and words. It is our untrained mind that leads us to behave and react in a wrong manner that results in problems. We have freedom to choose our course of actions; and we are fully responsible for our deeds. In this premise, since we have full control over our lives, we are not dependent on any agent to reward or punish us.

Buddhists believe in the law of kamma, or the law of cause and effect. This is the universal law of retribution, which deals with each action in complete fairness. If an act of misdeed is done, a corresponding "punishment" will be forth coming for that particular person. There is no escape. This is the natural law of retribution. It does not depend on an agent to carry out the punishment. The only repentance the person can mitigate is to realize the mistake and not to repeat it. No amount of punishment or forgiveness can vindicate the person if he does not want to change his behaviour.

In Buddhism, there is no necessity for any authority to punish or forgive anyone who commits misdeeds. In the first place, no one has the authority or power to forgive or punish another person's misdeeds. Secondly, Buddhists realize that the only way to repent is for the person to correct himself willingly. If he thinks some power can forgive his sins, this will give him good reason to commit the misdeeds again. After all, he can always fall back to that power to forgive him again.

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