Guilt as a hindrance to compassion
- "Our Western psychology makes us feel, 'If I feel guilty for it, it
is not quite so bad, because I am making myself suffer. I atone
somehow through my suffering.' From the Buddhist perspective, that
doesn't work. A mind of regret is something else, if you look at
your own miserliness and say, 'I really regret I am so miserly.' But
guilt as a way of atoning doesn't work.
"It's not just a thing of guilt saying 'I am bad because I have
this', but taking the time to really see the disadvantages of that
attitude. What we tend to do mostly, is just feel guilty without
looking at the disadvantages. But the guilt doesn't make us
change. The guilt makes us get stuck. If we look at the disadvantages
of that mental state, we can see the disadvantages very clearly.
Since we want to be happy and we see how that mental state makes us
unhappy, that gives us some impetus to change it. So then it's acting
not based on guilt but on care for ourselves and others."
~ from a commentary on the 18 Root Bodhisattva Vows
by Ven. Thubten Chodron, www.thubtenchodron.com
May this be of benefit.