What does your faith teach about revenge and forgiveness?

Maechee was born in Cambodia. When the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Phen she lost her husband, parents and many of her family in the killing fields of that ravaged country. She managed to escape with her two children and eventually made it to the USA. With great difficulty she educated herself and raised her children in North Dakota.

During the years immediately after the horrors she had seen and suffered, she was consumed by hatred. She would repeatedly visualize Khmer Rouge soldiers and imagine torturing them to inflict the maximum degree of pain possible. After sometime she realized how this hatred was destroying her and returned to her Buddhist roots for guidance. She started doing meditations of kindness on her self. "May I be free from anger. May I be free from suffering."

Again and again she would reflect on this theme. Maechee then learned to spread these ideas in wider and wider circles until, in her mind's eye, she could encompass all beings in all directions with feelings of kindness. Through much effort she was eventually able to forgive the Khmer Rouge.

Eventually, she returned to Cambodia and set up a refuge for women who were victims of torture and abuse. Finally, when the government had control of the whole country, she decided to visit a village in northern Cambodia where soldiers of the hated regime were still living. On arriving in one of these villages she arranged a meeting with some Khmer Rouge fighters. Her words to the soldiers, "Please forgive me for all the hatred I have shown you." The soldiers cried.

Maechee is peaceful now. She is a Buddhist nun living in the UK.

Ajahn Viradhammo

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