As we begin the fourth and final week of Zen teacher Ezra Bayda’s Tricycle Retreat, “Relationships, Love, and Spritual Practice,” Ezra addresses the crucial subject of forgiveness as it relates to finding genuine happiness in relationships,
Perhaps one of the most common places where all of us get stuck, and as a consequence most often prevents genuine happiness in relationships, is when we are caught holding onto resentment. If you think about it, if there is even one person you can’t forgive, it closes the heart in bitterness. This will present us from ever fully experiencing the genuine happiness of equanimity. What’s interesting is that forgiveness is actually an inherent quality of the awakened heart. The problem is that it does not always come to us naturally. Forgiveness is really hard work. Think about how tenaciously you can hold on to being right when you think someone has done you wrong. Even when we know that holding on to the bitterness is making us unhappy, we hold onto it anyway. It’s a perverse wiring.
In the teaching, Ezra continues by offering insights into how one might work with the “perverse wiring” of bitterness and the benefits that will surely follow. As usual, Ezra’s teaching is grounded, relatable, and practical. As one retreat participant notes in the Week 3 discussion,
One thing I like about Ezra’s approach is that he sees Buddhism in the broadest context. It is not just about “enlightenment” but about making yourself into a fine person.
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