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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. Here is a small example.