The key part of this little lesson from the Buddha about Fools vs Wise is the WRONG DOING. Once a wrong has been done:
- Does the person who did the wrong see the error in their ways?
- Do others pardon them once they confess their wrongdoing?
This will tell you who is a fool and who is wise in each of these 2 situations.
So first of all, you need to see where you went wrong – because only then can you improve. IF you’re wrong but keep thinking that you’re right – then you’ll be stuck making that same mistake for weeks, months, years, even decades. Worse, you’ll be imparting the wrong knowledge to others.
You’ve attached to the pride of being right than acknowledged the truth.
Now once you’ve acknowledged that you were wrong, admitted and actually seen WHY you were wrong – then if people don’t forgive you – then it’s THEIR problem, not yours. As you’ve humbled yourself to being admonished by others and recognized where you went wrong – and are happy to take steps to rectify things. It takes a big man (or woman) to be able to humble himself and confess their wrongdoings. It’s not easy as you’ve got to overcome your own pride. For that reason – others should forgive you once you’ve done this – if instead, they attack you – then they themselves become fools.
And if someone has confessed their wrongdoings to you – then you yourself should forgive them too – otherwise you yourself become the fool.
This also serves the purpose of rewarding good behaviour. Confessing a wrongdoing is a good behaviour – so it should be encouraged and praised!
Imagine if someone humbles themselves enough to say sorry and confess their wrongdoing to you – and yet, instead of forgiving them, you blast them by screaming your head off at them. Does that encourage or discourage them confessing their wrongs to you next time? It discourages them! Do you think they’ll even WANT to confess their wrongdoings to you next time? Of course they wouldn’t want to!
The 2 Types of Fools
“Monks, these 2 are fools. Which 2?
- The one who does NOT see his transgression as a transgression, and
- The one who doesn’t rightfully pardon another who has confessed his transgression.
These two are fools.
So which 2 types of people are fools?
- Someone who has done something wrong and thinks they’re right – we see a lot of these people these days! So not even thinking that they’re wrong – they won’t admit that they’re wrong either. So they keep arguing how they’re right!
- The one who doesn’t forgive someone who has confessed and admitted their wrong.
2 Types of Wise People
“These 2 are wise people. Which 2?
- The one who sees his transgression as a transgression, and
- The one who rightfully pardons another who has confessed his transgression. These two are wise people.”
What are the 2 Types of Wise?
- One who recognizes their wrongdoing is their wrongdoing
- One who forgives one who has confessed their wrongdoing
Source: Bala-pandita Sutta