The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

by

Simon Wiesenthal

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Sunflower can help.

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness: The Dalai Lama Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Dalai Lama makes a succinct opening point: that one should forgive those who have committed atrocities, though that does not necessarily mean one should forget them.
The Dalai Lama, like others, makes a distinction between forgiveness and forgetting, arguing that these crimes should not be forgotten.
Themes
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Remembrance Theme Icon
The Dalai Lama points to the people of Tibet as an example, one fifth of whom have lost their lives following China’s invasion of Tibet in 1949-50. He argues that to be angry and to condemn people for brutality is “not the Buddhist way.” He cites another Tibetan monk who stated that while he was imprisoned his biggest fear was to lose compassion for the Chinese.
The Dalai Lama’s perspective is unique as one of the few Buddhist respondents to Simon’s question. He states that his religion is primarily about compassion (which he conveys by citing the monk’s story), and for him compassion equates with forgiveness in this situation.
Themes
Forgiveness and Compassion Theme Icon
Religion and Moral Truth Theme Icon