Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

The Dalai Lama, bin Laden and forgiveness ~

Lately I’ve been losing sleep (really) over the rhetoric on the news about bin Laden’s death. People are rejoicing, and somehow, that seems wrong to me. Although I understand it when it’s New Yorkers — after all, their city was devastated by 9/11 and bin Laden’s machinations. Many NYers still struggle w/ the aftereffects of that terrible day: illness, PTSD, the loss of family and friends.

And perhaps it’s because I don’t know how I feel about bin Laden’s death myself. He was, undoubtedly, a very  bad person. I don’t use the term ‘evil’ very often, but he has to come pretty close. Because love is such a big part of my spiritual path, I try hard to forgive people for what they do. I think that’s important. But forgive bin Laden? Wow…


Forgiveness is hard at the best of times. Probably one of the hardest things we can attempt. And when we know that the wrong-doer was incredibly, amazingly, horrifically wrong, the difficulty is compounded almost infinitely.

So it’s with deep relief that I bring you the Dalai Lama on bin Laden’s death. I felt so much better after reading this:

As a human being, Bin Laden may have deserved compassion and even forgiveness, the Dalai Lama said in answer to a question about the assassination of the Al Qaeda leader. But, he said, “Forgiveness doesn’t mean forget what happened. … If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures.” ~ Dalai Lama at USC, LA Times

Counter-measures. Somehow the very word implies more balance than I had felt previously. Thank you, Your Holiness, from an Okie still trying to make sense of this complex world. I don’t have to forgive bin Laden’s actions, or even him. I can go on to the next conundrum the world poses for me :).


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