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Harada Roshi


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In many traditions in therapy and in psychology there are various ways methods of reviewing ones actions and to let go of inappropriate patterns of actions and thoughts. How is Repentance done in Zen?


Repentance is about reviewing ones past mistakes and raising the vow to not repeat these mistakes.
It is not possible to purify ones past mistakes with ones own will and energy alone, but we have to entrust to the energy of the Buddha. Praying to this huge energy. The best way to pray for the support is doing zazen.
In Buddhism there is nothing to be thankful for outside of oneself. Like the words of Rinzai Zenji:
It is just in one instant of pure mind that you become a Buddha.
So we practice zazen, not leaving any thoughts behind, returning to that open and bright mind, the Buddha Nature. And from there, whatever deeds were done in the past, they can be purified. That is just half of the work and deciding to never do these sins again, that is the next step. By working for all beings, by working for society we can actually give life to this deep vow.
This is being expressed clearly in the Four Vows and these can be followed as a building block to receive strength from in daily life.


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