Should we Apologise ?
I checked in the dictionary and there are two contradictory definitions !
1) to offer defensive arguments ,to make excuses
2) to acknowledge and express regret for a fault without defence.
And there is also the Apologist one who apologises for or defends by argument .
Eg. The argumentative defence of Christianity/ Buddhism / etc.
Then there is the English habit of saying sorry when you bump into them!
Recently there has been a couple of significant apologies in my life .
My ex called to ask for money! And without getting angry I reminded her of the generous settlement I made when we parted. The next day she sent an apologetic E mail. It felt quite healing ( does one ever really get over a divorce? ) .
And then the recent exchanges with another blogger , when I was accused of stuff that was completely unintentional.
But then that's what happens, people can take what you say in a way that you didn't intend .
In the evening Puja we chant for forgiveness, if we have caused any offence to the Sangha .
Just before the recently retired Abbot left for New Zealand , he visited me for tea and apologised for the time when he asked me not to attend the winter retreat ,as he knew that I got very upset over it. Believe me senior monks don't go around apologising to any old lay people . But that only shows the nature of the man.
My guess is that the more senior or powerful the individual the harder it will be to apologise. As to ask for forgiveness to another surely must require a letting go of the Ego , a recognition of the equal standing that we all have in the eyes of God , to use a religious terminology . Or in secular terms , that I offer you equal respect.
So what's stopping us from apologising? I understand that in the legal world this is now being introduced , where the perpetrator will apologise to the victim for his crime.
Perhaps it goes back to some childhood learning, the shame that we feel when we experience loss of face . My guess is that some kind of fear is behind the difficulty or reluctance to admit to ones misdemeanours . Perhaps you would be beaten if you owned up to something or fined or loose privileges.
Whatever it is , by coming to terms with your conscious is the only way to grow spiritually . All the knowledge in the world will not give you the peace of mind that comes from making an admittance , and experiencing the relief when your world doesn't if fact come crashing down. On the contrary you will feel closer and warmer to those around you .
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to make an apology after reading that lot