Saturday, January 8, 2011


What is the excuse for excuses? What is the difference between making and excuse and having a reason? One of the things about getting older is that there seems to be less necessity for excuses -- which is nice -- but there seems to be a growing concomitant irritation with other people's excuses.

Excuses are those explanations that seek to evade responsibility. Eg. I hate his/her guts because s/he is so malicious or idiotic. Or, I love him/her because s/he is so wise.

Reasons are those things for which anyone might take responsibility. Eg. I hate his/her guts... period. Of I love him/her ... period.

This is probably too broad a brush, but I was thinking about it and will chalk it up here to 'just noodling.'

The worst part is believing your own excuses, I imagine.


  1. Excuse is a funny word. It is one of those words that can be taken to mean almost the opposite of its various meanings. An excuse may be a clear apology or it may be just a rationalization in an attempt to not have to apologise. To give or grant excuse, that is to excuse someone's wrongdoing, is one of the greatest gifts we can give another who has transgressed against us. But our sense of comparison arises if we are offended that one person got excused and another person did not. And why does it seem that the rich are excused far moore often than the poor? This makes the whole idea of excuse seem suspect and we may turn in revulsion and say "Hang them all."
    On the other hand, since it is not for us to personally mete out the karma of another, we can be magnanimous and excuse everyone from their wrong doings as far as we are personally concerned and let karma take its course without our having to add to the condemnation of another living being.
    I think about Angulimala the mass murderer who repented and found refuge in the Buddha Dharma when a topic like this comes up. Buddha graciously excused Angulimala when he repented but even Buddha could not expunge Angulimala's karma. I take this a model for dealing with people who are perceived as transgressors. I have no problem excusing any human who comes to see the light, but I'm not aboe to expunge their karma so that takes care of itself based on their subsequent actions.
    Every day that I look at my own twisted karma growing from a beginningless past I can only hope to have a new beginning with each moment of awareness.

  2. "I have no problem excusing any human who comes to see the light..." ~ Alan Gregory Wonderwheel

    Wow, sure hope I'm 'onboard' come judgement day.

  3. Today is the day. Have you not heard Linji's saying?

    "Greatly Virtuous Ones, your ancestors knew the fundamental person who receives and plays with light and shadow is the root source of all the Buddhas and every place is a lodging place for Wanderers in the Way to return to. Indeed your physical body (rupakaya) of the Four Greats (4 elements) cannot understand and explain the Dharma and listen to the Dharma. The spleen, stomach, liver, or gall bladder cannot understand and explain the Dharma and listen to the Dharma. Empty space cannot understand and explain the Dharma and listen to the Dharma. Indeed, what understands and explains the Dharma and listens to the Dharma? Indeed before your eyes, all the way through to the bottom, is the solitary brightness that never has one particular piece of form. Indeed, this is the one who understands and explains the Dharma and who listens to the Dharma."

  4. Excuses are bullshit. Especially mine. They annoy me more than anyone's. Excuses are really attachments, or hooks onto which to hang attachments. You make one, then write it into your story and then you're done. You're limited by the excuse without even thinking about it. Pernicious things.