Scott Knickelbine sent me this one, which he had spotted on Facebook. I’d seen it prior to myself, and also in truth I was certain I’d extended it on this blog, however reportedly not.

You are watching: To understand all is to forgive all french

Scott thought it was a quote by Spinoza, but it appears almost universally to be attributed to Madame de Stael. Wikipedia says:

Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, generally well-known as Madame de Staël, was a French-speaking Swiss writer living in Paris and also awide. She affected literary tastes in Europe at the revolve of the 19th century.

In the original French the saying is “Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.”

The quote just ever before seems to be “attributed” to her, though, and also it’s additionally often described as a “proverb,” which renders it unattributable. There’s no hard proof that Mme. de Staël actually sassist this. However, in a 19th century book, The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations, a comparable quote is given through a reference to among her books:

The even more we understand, the much better we forgive ; Whoe’er feels deeply, feels for all who live. s. Madame de Stael — Corinne. Bk. XVIII. Ch. V

And in truth that quote is in Corinne, but only in an English translation (by Isabel Hill and also L. E. Landon). In the original French we discover something rather different:

“Car tout comprendre rfinish très indulgent, et sentir profondément inspire une grande bontée.”

(“To understand every little thing makes one tolerant, and also to feel deeply inspires good kindness.”)

The Buddha doesn’t seem to have actually talked much about “forgiveness.” He talked a lot more about letting go of anger, as in these verses from the Dhammapada:

3. “He aboffered me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those that harbor such thoughts execute not still their hatred.

4. “He aboffered me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

223. Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; get over the miser by generosity; get rid of the liar by truth.

Clearly resentment is something to be let go of, even if the word forgiveness isn’t mentioned.

Forgiveness is more clearly stated elsewhere, for example in this sutta:

“Monks, these two are fools. Which two? The one that doesn’t view his transgression as a transgression, and the one who doesn’t rightcompletely pardon an additional that has actually confessed his transgression. These 2 are fools.

“These two are wise people. Which two? The one who sees his transgression as a transgression, and the one who righttotally pardons one more that has confessed his transgression. These two are wise people.”

The reason for forgiveness in Buddhism seems to be greatly associated via the destructive effect that anger has actually, and also the poor effect it has actually on us. The famous Buddhist scholar Buddhaghosa stated exceptionally eloquently just how our anger frequently harms us more than the perkid we’re angry through. They might not even be mindful of our anger!

According to Wikiquote, this quotation “appears to have initially come to be attributed to Gautama Buddha without citation of sources in Farm Journal, Vol. 34 (1910), p. 417


Oliver O’Donovan suggests that Mme de Stael’s comment is finest reversed: ‘to foroffer all things is to understand also all things’. We just start to watch others as world favor us when we forprovide, for just then carry out we live in a common world of imperfect people.

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