The man said, “It makes no difference. I’m a wrestler. I can even tolerate seventy-seven times. What about after that? You can give me any number, but the question remains the same – what after that?”
If the question remains, then the man has not given forgiveness even at the first time. He is simply following a ritual, and collecting more and more anger, more and more rage for the moment when all the times that Buddha has said to be forgiving are finished – then he is going to see to this fellow.
Seeing the situation Buddha said, “I take my statement back. I will not say seven times, I will not say seventy-seven times. I simply say, ‘Forgive.’ I was wrong to give you numbers. I don’t give you any numbers; just forgive.”
But Zarathustra’s approach is not to forgive, because if you forgive someone he is not going to forgive you – ever. If you hit him back you are equal; the thing is finished. But when you have forgiven, the experience remains incomplete. You have embarrassed the man; he cannot forgive you. You have created a greater enemy by your forgivingness. Nobody except Zarathustra has looked from this angle of vision – that the real point is to destroy enmity, not to create it. Neither Jesus nor Buddha were able to give you a key to transform enmity.
Zarathustra says, “If you really want an enemy to disappear – and instead of enmity a friendship – then prove to him that he has given you a great benefit, something valuable, and you are so grateful to him that you do not have words to express it.” He will feel puzzled, because it was not his intention, but he will see one thing certainly: that the other side is not an egoist, a pious egoist, but a very simple and lovable man.
Better to be angry than make ashamed!
Everybody has been teaching you not to be angry, but whenever you are not angry you are making the other ashamed. He has fallen below; you have risen above – you are so compassionate!
Friedrich Nietzsche who has written this book Thus Spoke Zarathustra on the teachings of Zarathustra, says in one of his statements that Jesus, even at the last moment on the cross, was a great egoist, because his last prayer was, “Father, forgive all these people, because they know not what they are doing.” In his last prayer too he was praying only one thing: “I know, and nobody else knows, all these are ignorant people, forgive them.”
Zarathustra would say he is making them ashamed; what more can be…When they have crucified a man and at the last moment he is praying for them, “Forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” Still he remains the knower and others remain ignorant – subhuman beings.