The Story of the Angry Young Man and The Buddha
It is said that one day the Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him, saying all kind of rude words.
The Buddha was not upset by these insults. Instead he asked the young man, “Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”
The young man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, “It would belong to me, because I bought the gift.”
The Buddha smiled and said, “That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself.”
I wanted to bring this story here because I’ve recently had the occasion to experience something that proved me this is a very true and practical tool to apply in everyday life, not only a nice story. More on that, in a second.
Apparently the text above is a modern version of a real Buddha story, a fake “but not so fake Buddha quote” according to Bodhipaksa from fakebuddhaquotes.com, where I took it from. Sometimes we need to rephrase the original texts to make them more appealing to present day readers. But the authenticity of the exact Buddha story is not so important for the purpose of this post.
If Someone Is Angry and Rude He Must Be Suffering
The story I want to share with you next, happened in the same day that I was experiencing with the “How does it get any better than this” mantra. If you’ve read it you remember I was in a kind of a joyous flow, moving about with my day, experiencing little miracles along the way. In the middle of all those beautiful synchronicities, something dissonant and puzzling happened.
I just got out of that nice lady’s car and I had about 10 more minutes to walk to my next meeting. My inner state was good, joyful, I was grateful for her giving me a lift.
I was just walking by an administrative building when I saw a man in his thirties dressed in a suit and a long, black coat. I noticed he was starring at me. I looked at him briefly trying to figure out if I knew him from somewhere. He didn’t seem familiar, and I just continued walking in spite of him starring. The moment I passed by him and I couldn’t see him anymore I heard a very rude, sexual swearing.
We, Romanians, have a very colourful and rich vocabulary when it comes to swearing. I am not a prude, I like making jokes about that, but this one was really strong, out of the blue and the tone of his voice was very determined. He was not joking.
I didn’t stop or even look back. The first thoughts that came to my mind were : “He must be really troubled or nuts….he must be in a deep suffering if he just did that… God, please help him, cause he is obviously in great need.” And I admit, for a few seconds I was afraid he might follow me. But he didn’t.
As I continued walking I was wondering what was it in my energy that attracted this “gift”. He didn’t seem like a poor, drunk or drugged homeless person that you sometimes see in the streets yelling and swearing at everyone. He seemed like what we usual accept as “normal” working, person. But who knows? I will never know what his problem was. And I don’t intend to find out.
The thing I want to stress here is that , just like in the story of the Buddha, I didn’t accept his “gift”. I actually felt sorry for him. I didn’t feel like his words had anything to do with me, although he was looking at me and he addressed them to me.
And looking back he actually gave me something precious: he gave me the opportunity to experience for a tiny bit, what that Buddha story said. And I felt great noticing that I didn’t allow that to change my vibe, to change the joyous state I was in. I continued going about with my day, asking the Universe “How does it get any better than this” and I continued enjoying the little miracles that kept appearing in my way.
I feel that every day we have so many people around us, bringing us gifts that are sometimes hidden in an ugly package. Or some are nicely packed, but inside, there are rotten apples.
If it’s one thing I would like you to take out of this, is to remember that you always have a choice. You can accept or not accept these gifts. As simple as that.