TO WHOM DOES THE GIFT BELONG

One day the Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him, hurling all kinds of rude words at him, intended to ridicule and demean him.

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.”

Source: A variation of a shorter story falsely attributed to Buddha

CONSIDER THIS

People can and will offer us their words, opinions and points of view. None of that can hurt us unless we let it first land in our heart and mind.

  • Holding on the anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. (exact source unknown)
  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned. (exact source unknown)

THE WORLD MIRRORS THE HEART

THE WORLD MIRRORS THE HEART

Su Dongpo prided himself on his wit and liked to debate Master Foyin. One day, over tea, he challenged the master. “Foyin, people think you are an enlightened monk, but to me you just look like a big, stinking pile of worthless dung sitting on your pillow all day long.”

Su Dongpo leaned backward and crossed his arms slyly.

Master Foyin placed his hands in prayer position, “My dear Dongpo, but to me you look like a Buddha.”

Su Dongpo grinned and bid Master Foyin farewell.

When Su Dongpo got home, he was wearing a triumphant smile. His sister asked him what happened.

“Today I outsmarted Master Foyin,”Su Dongpo replied, then recounted the events to her.

“Oh no, brother! I’m sorry to tell you this, but you lost badly,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you realize that the world mirrors the heart? Master Foyin sees you as a Buddha because he is a Buddha. You see him as a pile of dung. What does that make you?”

Su Dongpo turned beet red. Then, all of a sudden, he became enlightened.

Source: There are many versions of this traditional story, each with their own unique take on the tale. This is the version as told by Qigong master, Jihui (Robert) Peng, in The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love and Wisdom. (Sounds True, 2014) pages 223-224

CONSIDER THIS

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” —C.G. Jung

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” Hermann Hesse

“We discover in ourselves what others hide from us and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves.” —Vauvenargues

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GOD IN THE CRACKS

In a large temple north of Thailand’s ancient capital, Sukotai, there once stood an enormous and ancient clay Buddha. Over a period of five hundred years, violent storms, changes of government, and invading armies had come and gone, but the statue endured.

At one point, however, the monks who tended the temple noticed that the statue had begun to crack and would soon be in need of repair and repainting. After a stretch of particularly hot, dry weather, one of the cracks became so wide that a curious monk took his flashlight and peered inside. What shone back at him was a flash of brilliant gold! Inside this plain old statue, the temple residents discovered one of the largest and most luminous gold images of Buddha ever created in Southeast Asia. Now uncovered, the golden Buddha draws throngs of devoted pilgrims from all over Thailand.

The monks believe that this shining work of art had been covered in plaster and clay to protect it during times of conflict and unrest.

Source | Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart
(Bantam; Reprint edition, 2009) pages 11-12

CONSIDER THIS

Retrain yourself to see beyond the cracks to the beauty that lies beneath. It is unbreakable, has no concept of age and doesn’t conform to other people’s standards of perfection. Retraining yourself to see the perfection of imperfection, the image of God in the cracks of life, is an essential part of the path towards human liberation.

Saint Paul describes this experience in 2 Corinthians 4:7 as “treasures in clay jars”.