THE UNFAITHFUL WIFE - a Story from the Buddhist Sutra

Once upon a time, a beautiful woman was unfaithful to her husband and had an affair with another man. During those days, it is not possible to divorce one's husband by simply declaring "I don't love him any more" and remarried to someone else. So she devised a scheme to separate from her husband legally.
She had a friend who worked at the village funeral home. One day, while her husband had gone for a trip elsewhere, she created an "accident" at home and asked her friend to arrange a dead body of another woman to put in her home. Somehow the body was destroyed beyond recognition.
When the husband returned home, he was shocked to find that his house had an accident so severe that the body of his "wife" was destroyed beyond recognition. He was so mournful that, after he had cremated her body, he carried the ashes with him all the time.
The trick worked well and the unfaithful wife ran away with her lover to live together. But as time went on, problems and conflicts developed between the two. It did not have a fairy tale ending at all.
Gradually, the unfaithful wife learnt of what her husband did to "her ashes" and was moved by the love that he had for her. So one day, she decided to end the relationship with her lover and return to her husband. She found her husband on the street of the city and called out his name, thinking that he must be very glad to find that she was still alive after all.
"Who are you?" said the husband, when he saw her. "I have never met you before."
She was stung by the answer. "I am your wife." She tried to explain she was still alive.
"My wife is dead. Here are her ashes. I had been carrying it around with me after her death." replied the husband.
The beautiful woman was devastated. How came a husband who loved her so much that he carried her "ashes" around with him failed to recognize her? But no matter what she said, the husband refused to accept the fact that his wife was still alive.
To him, his wife had died. His love for her had also died when she lied to him.