#565. A Radical Alternative to Revenge | sujatha baliga
Very often, when somebody pisses us off, our first instinct might be to plan some sort of revenge even if we rarely, if ever, actually follow through with it. Obviously, the trait of revenge seeking is counterproductive and it happens to also feel terrible. All the great wisdom traditions tell us that we should be forgiving instead and this isn’t just some sort of finger wagging from the morality police; it’s just straight up good advice. It’s in your best interest not to be coiled up inside endless revenge fantasies. Of course, this is all easier said than done.
Today, though, our guest, sujatha baliga, both says it, and does it. She has an extraordinary story: she was horribly abused by a family member, and then, after an encounter with his Holiness the Dalai Lama, learned how to forgive the seemingly unforgivable. What’s more, she now helps other people do that. Perhaps, starting now, even you.
sujatha baliga is a long time Buddhist practitioner and internationally recognized leader in the field of restorative justice. She was named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow and is working on her first book.
Content Warning: This episode includes multiple references to violent and traumatic experiences, including homicide and incest.
In this episode we talk about:
- Her personal story, including her early experience with sexual assault within her family
- Her life-changing encounter with his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and her experience with learning to forgive with the help of meditation
- Her experience working in the criminal justice system
- Her definition of restorative justice, why she believes we need it, and the three key questions it asks in each case
- Whether there is evidence that restorative justice works
- The limits of restorative justice
- What happens if someone who is the victim of a crime does want traditional punishment or even revenge
- How you can apply what she’s learned in her life — including her time in the field of restorative justice — to our own lives
- And a specific meditation practice that can help you do it
Where to find sujatha baliga online:
Other Resources Mentioned:
- Howard Zehr
- Impact Justice
- Gyuto Foundation
- Justice Robert Yazzie
- Eduardo Duran
- Braiding Sweetgrass
- Geshe Kunchok Tenzin
- Restorative Justice Toolkit