Buddha, Buddhism, compassion, desire, emptiness, empty, illusion, love, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, Practice, self, sex, sexual, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q236. I was unfaithful to my wife, and she wanted to get divorced from me. I apologised to her for my misdeed with all my heart and she promised to forgive me. We, as Buddhists, thinking that everything is empty, agreed to forget the matter. However, she still keeps bringing up the matter, which leads to arguments and we still talk about divorce.

A. To think that everything is empty seems to be a good way to solve your problem. Try to keep thinking that way even though you’ve not realised the truth and your life will gradually become more stable with your Zen practice growing mature. The most important thing that you should realise now is that if everything is empty, your wife’s attitude is also empty just like your misdeed is empty. Then, your situation is not a problem anymore.

You might think that she also should see your past deeds as empty and not be so angry with you, but she should take responsibility for her own behaviour. If she also viewed things as you want her to, it would be the most ideal solution. However, if you really believe that everything is empty, why does her attitude, rude or polite, matter. If you can’t accept her attitude as empty while saying that everything is empty, you are being self-contradictory after all.

Why don’t you think of her attitude as her struggle to forgive you. Her head may have forgiven you but her heart still might not since the latter takes longer to forgive you. She, I think, is determined to forgive you since she still loves you and wants to keep your family together, but she still feels suffering from the incident because her wound has not yet healed perfectly. It is your duty as her husband to comfort and help her to surmount her suffering and become what she used to be.



Seeing others’ suffering as yours is compassion.

Seeing your suffering as empty is wisdom.


©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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