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  • Forgive and Forget?

    Dear family,

    happy christmas and good new year to you all!

    I would like to talk about forgiveness..

    In my life recently, for reasons known to god alone, several of my close family and friends have let me down real bad. A wave of madness seems to have come from a mixture of hard drug addiction, mental health problems and crazy selfish human drama. I love these people, but am also very hurt and angry. I know I am no angel myself and to keep flowing on the shaolin path I must find a way to sincerely forgive them. The problem is they are tough forceful people and if I am too easy I know they will take my kindness for weakness.

    My big question is, how do we forgive without becoming a doormat?

    I know this kind of trouble comes to us all in different forms, please tell me how you have managed to forgive in your lives.



  • #2
    Hi Davie,
    Forgiveness is not an easy thing. If someone has hurt you, I think at the very least training the mind to not wish them harm is the first step. If you regret something you said or did, forgiving yourself is also an important first step.
    Eventually opening the heart and wishing them happiness is a powerful healing experience for yourself and sometimes for them. I think avoiding being a doormat is a combination of experience and internal force. If it's family I'm sure you have enough experience, and you have all the tools you need for internal force.
    The more relaxed your spirit is in dealing with them, the more effective you will be.

    I hope this helps.

    With well wishes,


    I pay homage to all the great masters of the past and the present


    • #3

      hey davie,

      this is a very important question you have asked, and i know exactly how you feel , Forgiveness is crucial to happieness , it is something that is learnt and needs to be practised before you can become proficient at it just like anything we do in Shaolin Wahnam.

      If i have a particularly deep trainging session i usually take the oppertunity to forgive someone or even more vital to forgive yourself, then send blessings to people or beings , being able to forgive yourself is just as esstenial as forgiving others.

      I myself was deeply hurt by my father who abandanded my family when i was just a child this had knock on consequences on the rest of my life. Only through my training have i found the strenght to genuinely forgive him and even to love him again as a parent even though we have not met for 15 years ! If you dont learn how to forgive then the anger and resentment will hold you back Spiritually and cause all sorts of other issues.

      Forgiveness starts in the heart and finishes in the heart and it must be genuine.

      if you can forgive someone and they see it as a sign of weakness then thats their problem not yours , if someone can seriously hurt you and you can genuinely forgive them ,then you are a hero.

      Compassion and wisdom are some of the highest ideals we hope to acheive in Shaolin Wahnam , forgiveness is a major part of this . We have all being wronged by someone at some point, learning forgiveness will help us in our lives and in our trainging .

      Again Davie , learning to forgive is like learning how to Smile from the Heart its just practise, practise, practise.

      many happy blessings,
      Zen is the Pure Land and the Pureland is Zen


      • #4
        Hi Davie

        You mention in your post that one of your friends/family is suffering from mental health problems. I would not consider someone with a mental illness as letting me down. You should consider that what they are going through is much worse than what you might be experiencing. They have little control over what they are doing. Without wishing to go into details...someone very close to me suffers from mental health problems so I can understand where you are coming from.

        It's not pretty and can be very frustrating. It's very easy to get angry and hurt but ultimately what gets me through is the knowledge that what they are going through is much worse than my situation.

        The best advice I can give is to reiterate what Ray has already written:

        Originally posted by Ray View Post
        opening the heart and wishing them happiness is a powerful healing experience for yourself and sometimes for them.
        I can only add that you need patience and do not be afraid of protecting yourself from harm. There is a fine line between helping others and being used as a doormat. What is the difference? That is up to you to decide.

        What ever it is you do decide you should not feel guilty if you feel you have made the right decision. How do you know if you have made the right decision? Your conscious and the Wahnam way will guide you. Have trust in both.



        • #5
          Dear Davie,

          I'm sorry to hear that you are having problems. Have good courage; your Shaolin training is sufficient for you to overcome them.

          You asked the question "How do we forgive without being a doormat?" You already know the answer to this: simply forgive. As far as being a doormat goes, protect yourself and your family. I seem to recall that you have two new children, correct? In that case, you are now the head of a new family. Focus on providing for your family and enjoying their company. In my opinion--take it or leave it-- you must distance yourself from drug abusers, the mentally ill and selfish people. Your responsibility as a father of two young children is just too great to be taking on those other problems at this time.

          I am the father of two young childen and have a somewhat similar family background. I have been able to forgive simply by following my Sifu's instructions. I send my forgiveness to whomever I need to during my standing meditation.

          I have also been through very difficult times and have found that praying to the Great Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin to be of tremendous help.

          I wish yo all the best and trust that you will overcome these hardships like a true Scholar Warrior.

          Please keep us informed.

          My thoughts are with you.

          With Blessings,

          Charles David Chalmers
          Brunei Darussalam


          • #6

            All I can relate is my own experience and I am no expert here!

            In early November I took a course from Sifu in Long Beach. During standing meditation Sifu told us first to choose a few people close to us to bless and later in another session to choose a few people to forgive.

            As soon as I forgave three people close to me I realized that forgiveness is both about you and the other person(s). Regarding you, it's about letting go. This is simple, but realized on a deeper level, I believe it's profound.

            It's also helped me to remain detached in realizing that our friends and family have good intentions, that unfortunately were not realized. People can only let us down when we have expectations of them. And when people do let us down, it's a call to realize that we had unrealistic expectations of them. Keeping in mind good intentions, for me it's a wake-up call to understand that those who let us down/hurt us/etc. are hurting inside. And it's a common habit for those who are hurting inside to take that hurt out on others—which can also include us.

            So for me when I change my expectations to realistic expectations and when I have compassion for those who attempt to hurt us it's liberating.

            I think intentions are key, as well. If you have the intention to be compassionate AND not be hurt in the process, you truly can.

            As Charles wisely pointed out, above all else you need to protect your family. And that means protecting yourself. We owe it to our family to be our best, and if others are successfully dragging us down, we owe it to our family to either change or remove that dynamic.

            For myself I can say that the two things have made me a better man are becoming a parent and learning the Shaolin Arts. In hindsight I can tell you that it takes a while to adjust to becoming a parent. I understand that you have twins, which is of course a greater challenge than one. I have two boys. How was it that our second son coming into our life was relatively effortless compared to our first? It's obvious: because my wife and I had already made the adjustment to parenthood. Keep in mind that you're in that transition stage right now.

            Charles also gave some good advice: our Shaolin training is more than sufficient to rise above our current challenges.

            With our training, I believe that challenges will ultimately make us stronger.

            Best wishes to you and your family. Your Shaolin family is behind you.



            • #7

              When I got into recovery it was suggested to me that I pray for people I was angry or resentful towards - that they should have everything I want for myself. When I learnt from Sifu, as other people have said, he taught me to forgive others and pass on blessings.

              As far as becoming a doormat is concerned there are some great suggestions in this thread. I have had difficulties with this in the past. Then I came to realise I was holding on to being a righteous martyr . Then I realised that to be a martyr required suffering. Not a wise life choice .

              If someone repeatedly tries to hurt me I can step to the side and ask them not to. If they carry on I can just wander off . Of course, it requires me not to be attached to needing/perpetuating that relationship.

              Hope everyone is well and happy,

              Last edited by barrys; 31 December 2008, 11:40 AM. Reason: Addition
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              • #8
                Dear Sihing,

                How do we forgive without becoming a doormat?
                If I may respectfully say so, I think that this gives the misleading implication that forgiving makes you a doormat, and that you have to ‘do something’ with forgiveness to make sure that you are not a doormat when you do it. I am not an expert at forgiving, but my own experience tells me that when we forgive, we rise above the entire situation, and therefore we cannot be harmed by it. You will only be harmed by the situation if you are attached to it.

                As an example, let us say that someone says unkind things about you. If you do not forgive, then you are becoming attached to the situation and are generating karma for yourself. If you do forgive, then you let go of the situation. You are now non-attached to the situation. This does not let the other person off the hook; in fact, it lets you off the hook because now you are no longer attached to the situation and making karma for it.

                As you probably experience with your Shaolin training, you can be much more flowing and powerful if you are non-attached, relaxed and focused. If you are non-attached to the situation, then you can gently focus on letting your Shaolin training come through and working for you to resolve any other issues, such as if the person is tough and forceful. As my Sihing Ray says, “The more relaxed your spirit is in dealing with them, the more effective you will be.”

                By forgiving and remaining non-attached, you also help the unkind person. Not only does the unkind person have their own negative thoughts, words and deeds to contend with, but by forgiving you give the unkind person no reason to continue his or her behaviour. You do not reinforce the negative spiral that they are on. By forgiving and rising above the situation, you demonstrate to them another way to live, a way to live that they can now see and can take up if they should so want. This might not happen instantly, but it can and does happen.

                As you say, trouble comes to us in all different forms, so the advice I’ve given you might not be quite the right advice for you at this time. I would encourage you to pray for guidance (if you are so inclined) or to take some time out to prepare yourself for dealing with this situation. The advice given by my brothers already in this thread is invaluable; use it.

                Best wishes, as ever,


                • #9
                  While following this thread, I recalled reading this the other day:

                  Sathya Sai Baba was discussing about loving and forgiving when an audience, who was sitting in a wheelchair, asked this question: "This morning while I was queueing in the canteen, suddenly somebody who was impatient pushed me from behind so that I nearly fell down. Baba, how could I forgive and love someone like that?".

                  Baba smiled: "What if that person pushing you was 'me'?"
                  Last edited by joko; 3 January 2009, 07:19 AM.
                  开心 好运气
                  kai xin... .......hao yunqi... - Sifu's speech, April 2005
                  open heart... good chi flow... good luck ...
                  Have we not opened up thy heart ...? (The Reading, 94:1)
                  Be joyful, ..and share your joy with others -(Anand Krishna)


                  • #10
                    Hi Davie,

                    These are issues that have caused me a great deal of personal struggle. I find there is an added level of difficulty when you are someone who self-cultivates and who works on their own self-awareness (as most Wahnam members do) - you become aware of another level of life that you wish to share, and you also become increasingly aware of the gap between where famliy members are, and where they could be.

                    Ive been practicing "allowing", "letting go", or respect for others' right to reap what they sow (albeit negative and destructive) for the last two years. However, only in the last week or so have I realised that in my concern for my own spiritual development I have been judging others according to my own standards - I may have become better at being physically relaxed and calm ...but at the same time Ive been sending what amounts to "psychic death" to people I supposedly "love".

                    The following passage was enlightening for me:

                    What is a healing contact? How do you make every connection a healing one? The first step towards healing connections is to forgive people as you come into contact with them. First, become aware of any resentment you may have had or had now towards them (even if it is only a picture that something about them is not up to your standards).
                    To heal, feel a sense of forgiveness for yourself for anything you have sent them on a thought or emotional level that has not assisted them in their growth. Ask yourself how you can assist them in their spiritual unfoldment. What communication could you give that would serve them? To find an answer you must leave your body and become a part of their reality. How can you appreciate them, acknowledge them and thank them? Those questions and thoughts will take you outside the narrow focus of your personality.
                    Give to others what you want to receive - love, support, appreciation, healing, and acknowledgement - and you will get it back.

                    - Orin*
                    I think the advice given previously in this thread is great, especially Sifu Charles' excellent point about the prioritisation of you own dependents.

                    Another Shaolin teaching of note would be the importance of saying "No". If someone, however close to you, is damaging or depreciating you then you have the right (responsibility even) to not spend time with them.

                    Despite all this good advice, on a personal level I must admit that when it comes to issues of this nature I am a coward. I have found it extremely difficult to break out of old patterns and to try and balance some family relationships. The expectations, emotions and resentments go deep and I worry about what sort of damage a loss of temper could bring about. I am continuing to work on the situation though and have some good news in that the advice in the above paragraph has manifested some beneficial changes already...

                    Wishing you all the best,



                    * If anyone finds this passage useful please see Personal Power through Awareness: A guidebook for sensitive people by Sanaya Roman
                    Last edited by Andy; 4 January 2009, 03:38 PM.
                    Sifu Andy Cusick

                    Shaolin Wahnam Thailand
                    Shaolin Qigong


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                    "a trained mind brings health and happiness"
                    - ancient wisdom


                    • #11
                      Dear family, thankyou that was some real, real good advice. Sometimes I`m blown away by the depth of the shaolin arts and by the genuine open heartedness, wisdom and real human warmth of the wahnam family. And thankyou for asking about the girls, they are doing well. Your words are all the more powerfull as I can see you have been in the same boat.

                      Also I would like to say, the questions are universal, I was not just asking about my situation, I know my life is a pleasure cruise compared to some.

                      And as for not being a doormat, I`m not talking about dealing with insults or something petty, I mean when people really hurt each other good and proper.



                      • #12
                        Hello Davie,

                        This is my first post here, so I hope you will not take offence with my 2p worth

                        Originally posted by davie View Post
                        how do we forgive
                        By realising people could not have done other than they have; the Tao is orderly. Enlightenment is not expressing the Tao, it is realising we express the Tao

                        without becoming a doormat?
                        By not lying down


                        • #13

                          hey everyone ,
                          came across this video today and was reminded of this thread , i thought i should share it , .

                          Zen is the Pure Land and the Pureland is Zen


                          • #14
                            To Err is Human, to Forgive Divine

                            Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

                            This week I was reading some Questions & Answers from Sifu and there was one question about forgiving. I then decided to search at the forum for threads related to Forgiving and found this interesting thread. Therefore I would like to bring it up to life again.

                            One of the most profound experiences that I have had in courses with Sifu like "Merging with the Cosmos" or "Cosmic Shower" is the part on forgiving. The feeling of forgiving always feels bright, life changing and incredibly liberating.

                            Some years ago I thought that I was good at forgiving but I realised that I was not as good as I thought. Would you agree with me if I say that forgiving is a skill?

                            Since that moment I have been cultivating this skill and realised that there were a big amount of things that I hadn't forgiven.

                            Some time ago I found this interesting video on forgiving. What do you think about how the speaker approaches forgiveness?

                            Is forgiving something that has changed your life too? I would love to read about your stories on forgiving.

                            The title of this Thread is "Forgive and Forget". Sometimes it can be confusing and hard to differenciate. What would the difference be between "Forgiving" and "Forgetting"?

                            In the coming days I will be posting some more interesting things that Sifu has shared with us over the years that are related to forgiving.

                            With Love, Care and Shaolin Salute,



                            • #15
                              Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

                              In my personal life, forgiving has greatly enhanced not only my practice but also my life. It has given me the opportunity to free myself from many issues that I was carrying with me for a lot of years or even decades. It has given me the gift of becoming more loving and more lovable.

                              As Archbishop Desmond Tut said on the video that I previously shared with you, I was abandoning my right of revenge, to pay back. And that, it really is a beautiful gift because I was opening again the door of opportunity to restore the relationships with the ones I love. I was opening the door of opportunity to a happier life.

                              During one of my Chi Flows some time ago one question came to my mind: Would your rather be at peace and happy or would you rather be right? I am not sure where that question came from but it cleansed something very deep in me.

                              I needed to make a choice. I chose to be at peace and happy. That choice has saved me from a lot of quarreling when I wasn't agreeing with other people.

                              Most of the times the hurt that others caused me wasn't even intentional on their side. It was just the way I perceived the situation. Sifu has a wonderful article on that: Perception is Often More Important than Reality

                              Before I finish this post I would like to share with you some wise words from Sifu:

                              Forgiving affects favourably the person who forgives, not the person who did wrong. The wrong, regardless of whether it was real or merely perceived, had been done, and the act of forgiving would not undo it. In fact the wrong doer may not even know he has been forgiven.

                              The harm resulting from the wrong action continues to hurt the person on the receiving end if he still harbours strong negative emotions regarding it, sometimes more insidiously harmful than the actual wrong deed itself. When he forgives, he terminates the harm. The wrong deed ceases to hurt him any more.

                              Further, the act of forgiving strengthens and nourishes his spirit. He becomes happier and more peaceful.

                              Forgiving is not an act of weakness or cowardice. On the contrary, it needs much courage and strength to forgive.
                              With Love, Care and Shaolin Salute,