Today was a review class, so I get to write about whatever I want!
One of my favourite topics to write about are zen stories. Here is a favourite of mine starring Buddha:
The Angry Villagers
Buddha and his disciples were passing through a village one day. In this particular village however, there were many wise sages, some of whom were jealous of the buddha’s fame. He was approached by these men, who were all yelling and screaming at him.
Buddha just stood in silence, calmly and indifferently letting the men speak. To this sort of response, the men became even more upset!
“How can you stand there and not defend yourself? How dare you disrespect us so! Have you nothing to say for yourself?”
At this comment, a concerned look befell Buddha’s face. He said to them,
“In the previous village I was in, the people were overjoyed by my presence. They offered us many sweets as tribute, but since we had already eaten that day, and we do not take more than one meal per day from one place, we had to reject their offerings.”
The men who were screaming at Buddha were puzzled by this comment.
“What does this have to do with anything!?”
To this Buddha said,
“I wonder, what did the townspeople do with all the rejected gifts?”
“Is it really such a mystery?” said one of the men. “They must have distributed the gifts amongst the village and shared them!”
Buddha’s look grew even more concerning.
“This troubles me greatly. For in the same manner I had rejected their sweets, so to have I rejected your garbage. Will you now go home and spread this anger and resentment to your community? To your neighbours? To your family?”
Buddha and his disciples then passed through the village.
Anger is a concept I know all too well as a predominately pitta type. Too often I don’t deal with my emotions properly in the moment, and wind up taking them out on the people I care for most. It is far easier to drag someone down to your level than to rise above yourself and see these moments of anger for what they really are: opportunities.
Learning how to view the world from a perspective that is beyond good or bad, right or wrong, this or that – it is within that centre that the buddha nature is found. But if we let the ego take hold, then we will always be a slave to the polarizing nature of our thoughts and emotions.