Anger – a Buddhist story

If someone doesn’t accept your anger, to whom does it belong?

One day, Buddha was passing through a village when some local people came over and insulted him. They used all the terrible words that they knew. Buddha stood there, listened silently, very attentively, and then said, ‘Thank you for coming to me, but I am in a hurry.  I have to reach the next village, people will be waiting for me there.  I cannot devote more time to you today, but tomorrow coming back I will have more time.’

Those people could not believe their ears: this man had remained utterly unaffected, undistracted. One of them asked, ‘Have you not heard us? We have been abusing you, and you have not even answered!’

Buddha said, ‘If you wanted an answer, then you have come too late. You should have come ten years ago, then I would have answered you. But for these ten years I have stopped being manipulated by others. I am no longer a slave, I am my own master.

‘Now, it is your freedom to insult me, it is my freedom whether to take it or not. I don’t take it. You insult me, true. That’s your decision. I am free to take it or not to take it, and I say I don’t take it. What will you do with it?

‘Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?’

The crowd was surprised to be asked such a strange question and a man answered, ‘It would belong to me, because I bought the gift.’

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.

‘If you want to stop hurting yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving instead. When you hate others, you yourself become unhappy. But when you love others, everyone is happy.’


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