Monday, February 20, 2017

Abuse, Anger & Threats - Do We Have a Choice?

     “The Brahmins, the priest caste in India, were not very friendly toward the Buddha because he was undermining their livelihood. He preached that one didn’t need an intermediary between oneself and the gods in order to gain happiness, also that it wasn’t very useful to pour ghee over stone gods and offer flowers and incense. Since this was the livelihood of the Brahmins, although many of them did eventually become followers of the Buddha, there were others who dislike him thoroughly.
     One day one of the Brahmins who objected to the Buddha came to listen to one of the Buddha’s discourses and, while he was still speaking, walked up and down in front of him. Then he proceeded to abuse the Buddha, using quite rough language. He said the Buddha was the teacher of a wrong doctrine, that he should be chased out of the country, that he was breaking up family life because the young men were following him into monkhood, that the people should not support him; he reviled him in every possible way he could think of. 
     When he had finally run out of words the Buddha, who had been quietly sitting there listening, said, ‘Brahmin, do you ever have guests in your house?’ The Brahmin answered, ‘Yes, of course we have guests in our house.’ The Buddha said, ‘When you have guests in your house, do you offer them hospitality? Do you offer them food and drink?’ The Brahmin said, ‘Well, of course we do. Of course I offer them food and drink.’ The Buddha continued, ‘And if they don’t accept your hospitality, if they don’t take your food and drink, to whom does it belong?’ The Brahmin said, ‘It belongs to me. It belongs to me.’ The Buddha said, ‘That’s right, Brahmin. It belongs to you.’ 
     This is a good story to remember. Any abuse, anger, or threat belongs to the one who is uttering it. We don’t have to accept it.”

      Ayya Khema. “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere. Meditations on the Buddhist Path.” Wisdom Publications, 2016. 

Love Knows No Boundaries

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