Workshop: Strategies to Enhance Disposition to Forgive and Reduce Aggressiveness

Posted: 29.04.2014
Updated on: 30.07.2015

8th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action


Session 2: January 6: 18:15 - 18:45

Strategies to Enhance Disposition to Forgive and Reduce Aggressiveness

Following presentations were made in this session:


The following significant points emerged:


  • Scientific evidence suggests that aggressiveness develops in early childhood promoted by unpleasant experiences by the child due to negligence or indifference by parents and care givers. This is more likely in nuclear families where both parents go to work. Identification of children with high risk of developing aggressive and anti-social behavior at an early age is required for effective preventive measures.
  • From the spiritual perspective, Jain philosophy postulates that the soul is contaminated by past Karmas which distort the expression of the attributes of the pure soul. Thus, in lay persons, the expression of unconditional, universal and spontaneous forgiveness (Uttam Kshama or supreme forgiveness), which is a natural attribute of the pure soul, is diminished. The deficiency in supreme forgiveness is manifested as anger and aggressiveness.
  • It can be hypothesized that the expression of forgiveness is directly proportional to spirituality and, therefore, the practices and techniques used to enhance spiritual purity would also enhance the disposition to forgive and thereby reduce aggressiveness. This interesting hypothesis should be empirically verified.
  • Samani Amal Pragya at the Jain Vishwa Bharti Institute (JVBI) has undertaken studies to investigate effects of Preksha Meditation on spirituality, forgiveness andaggressiveness on university students. Preksha meditation is a widely practiced spiritual method developed by Acharya Shri Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya based on Jain scriptures and on their own experiences.
  • A Pilot Study on Modification of Aggressive Behavior in Primary School Children by Preksha meditation has been recently initiated by Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra, New Delhi in collaboration with SDMC Primary Model School, New Delhi. Preliminary results, presented by the Principal of the school, Shri Pahuja, show that the practice of Preksha meditation by school children (age: 7-12 years) for 3 months (45 minutes for 3 days/week) could control aggressiveness (monitored by self-report questionnaire and observations of teachers) in more than 70% of aggressive children. The children became more disciplined, which created a peaceful environment in the school. After completion of the pilot study, a comprehensive report will be submitted to the Department of Education for evaluation and extending the study to other schools.

Concluding the workshop the following recommendations were made:


  • A “Forum for Forgiveness” should be established to spread wider awareness among the general public about the concept and practice of forgiveness and its various benefits in interpersonal and international relations.
  • Interdisciplinary theoretical and empirical research on the effects of spiritual practices on forgiveness and aggressiveness should be undertaken to develop an effective strategy for peaceful co-existence in a multi-cultured social environment
  • Training young school children to practice meditation should be implemented on a large scale, since this could provide an effective and realistic approach to reduce aggression and violence in the society.

The psycho-biological and spiritual aspects were reviewed by Prof. Suneet Verma of the Delhi University. He also stressed the importance of cultural and spiritual components in this context, citing examples from Vedanta and Kabir, which are still alive especially in the indian subcontinent.

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