Chapter 15: Of Justice
But prove that he has done something good to you.
Rather than answering his evil with good, Zarathustra advises, “Accept his evil and prove that he has done something good to you.” This is a totally different approach to life; certainly far more profound than any religion has ever reached.
If you can prove to the person that he has done something good to you, you have not only avoided doing evil to him, you have avoided him feeling embarrassed because you have done something good to him. On the contrary, by proving that he has done good to you, you have raised his status in his own eyes. Perhaps this may create the possibility that his enmity disappears.
It is very difficult to remain an enemy of a person who goes on proving your evil acts as good, as beneficial, as a blessing to him. He is very strange - his approach to life is strange, but his strangeness may change you. What the religions have been teaching does not seem to change anybody.
I have heard about a Christian missionary who was continually repeating this statement of Jesus in his sermons: “Give the other cheek, even if you have been slapped.” One man stood up and slapped the missionary. This had never happened before, and he has been preaching his whole life. A discussion followed, but this did not help; he was full of anger, enraged. But in front of the crowd he had to prove that he followed what he preached. So he gave his other cheek, reluctantly, hoping that this idiot did not hit him again. But that man was also not an ordinary man - he slapped him on the other cheek even harder!
Then, immediately there was a tremendous change in the missionary; he jumped on the man and started hitting him. The man said, “What are you doing? It is against your teaching!” The missionary said, “Forget all about teaching. because it was only about the other cheek. After the other cheek there is no teaching. I am free now! I follow Jesus Christ up to the point of his words - I don’t have a third cheek!”
Gautam Buddha made a statement which shows the futility of such teachings. He said, “Forgive at least seven times.” Seven times are more than enough, and a man who can forgive seven times would have gone through a transformation; otherwise how can one forgive seven times? But a man stood up and he asked, “What about the eighth time? I want to be sure. Seven times I will manage, but what about the eighth time? Am I free?”
Gautam Buddha could not believe his own ears, could not believe his own eyes. He said, “You have completely misunderstood me. Forgive me, I will make it seventy-seven times.”