Friday, February 20, 2009

Forbearance will overcome Hatred

Buddha was walking along the country-side begging for alms. He was
approaching a village. Many people in that village had a great
affection for Buddha. But just before he reached the outskirts of the
village, some young rowdies loitering along the road began to jeer at
him. A little surprised at this reception, Buddha stopped and sat
down on a rock. He said to them, "Well, gentlemen, what pleasure do
you derive from criticizing me?" Without giving any reason, they
increased their denunciation of Buddha. Buddha said, "Continue as
long as you want." They berated and reviled him to a point where they
got tired of their own invective. Buddha's forbearance was so well
developed that their hatred could not touch him. At first they were
having a good time, but finally, having exhausted themselves without
getting the reaction they wanted, they decided to go away.

As they were walking away, Buddha called out to them, "Children, I
want to tell you something. In the village just beyond here, there
are many people who love me very much. If they were to hear that you
have been denouncing me in this vile way, they would cut you to
pieces. In order to save you from that danger, I have stayed here on
this rock and allowed you to criticize me. In that way I have given
you a gift. Without spending a single cent, without making any
effort, I have been able to give you so much enjoyment by allowing
you to berate me. Rather than feel unhappy with your criticism, I am
glad because I have been able to give you some pleasure and spare you
from serious harm."

Then Buddha explained yet another important point to them in a way
that made an indelible impression on their hearts. "Suppose a poor
monk comes to your house and asks for alms. You bring some food out
to him. But suppose the type of food you are offering is ritually
impure and not acceptable by the monk. What will happen then? Since
he has not accepted your offer, you will have to take it back and it
will remain with you. Similarly, you are offering me all this
criticism. These are the alms you are trying to give me. But I have
not accepted your offerings. Well then, you will have to keep them;
they remain with you. So you see, all your criticisms are really just
being redirected to yourselves. You are not criticizing me at all!"

One can send a letter by registered post to a friend. If the friend
does not accept this registered letter, what will the Postal
Department do with the letter? It will redirect it back to the person
who sent it. If you are criticizing someone but this person does not
accept your criticism, then inevitably the criticism comes back to
you. Do not think that by voicing the jealousy and hatred you may be
feeling, that you will be troubling those to whom these odious
sentiments are directed. In truth, you will only be troubling
yourself. Jealousy and hatred will create great difficulties for the
one who is infected with them. Jealousy and hatred spring from egoism.

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