Buddha, Buddhism, compassion, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, illusion, Meditation, Mind, mindful, Practice, self, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q214. My husband was once unfaithful to me. I said that I would forgive him when he asked me for forgiveness. However, we have had a lot of trouble since, and now we are on the point of breaking up. What shall I do?

A. The point is not whether to break up or not, but whether you forgave him or not. True forgiveness brings peace and happiness to the forgiver as well as to those who are forgiven.

Ask yourself if you really forgave your husband. Are you sure that you forgave him? If you are not sure, ask yourself whether or not you happen to have any concerns about his unfaithfulness and your forgiveness in your mind, or feel that you did something very big for him and that he should be grateful to you for your forgiveness and recompense you for it. If you think even a little in this way, your forgiveness is not forgiveness at all but a penalty wrapped in the sweet-sounding word ‘forgiveness’. You actually didn’t forgive him but are demanding reparation for your suffering.



In Zen, forgiveness means to regard your husband’s affair as empty and think that there is nothing to forgive him for, and to realise that even your forgiveness is empty as well. If you can’t forgive him like this, try to see the situation as empty. Your effort to see your situation as empty will make your life peaceful and stable regardless of your husband’s reaction to your endeavour.

Don’t expect a quick reaction from him. A sick person usually takes time to return to what he was after his disease is cured. Likewise, it might take time for him to return to what he was because he still needs more time to forgive himself.

©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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