Listening to them for a time, Gautam Buddha said, “I have a question to ask you. Before I ask the question, I have to ask your permission…because I will not be able to give more time to you today. I have to reach to the other village; people must be waiting for me. But if you have something more to say, something more to convey, I will make a point of it that when I return, I will return on the same route and I will inform you ahead so you can be prepared. And then I can stay as long as you want.”
One of the men from the crowd said, “It seems strange, we are not conveying any message to you, we are simply abusing you – and it seems you are not affected at all.”
Gautam Buddha smiled and said, “If you want me to be affected, then you have come too late; if you had come to me ten years before, all of you would have been dead by now. But now it is too late – now it does not matter to me, and that’s what I was going to tell you.
“In the village that I passed before coming to your village, people had come with sweets, flowers, to welcome me. But I said to them, ‘We have taken our one meal – because only one meal is allowed to us by our discipline, and we are not allowed to carry food with us. So we are sorry – we are immensely grateful, thankful; we can see your love and your honor, but we are sorry – you will have to take your sweets, your flowers back.’ I want to ask you,” he said to the crowd, “what should they have done with the sweets and the flowers?”
One of the men said, “Is that a great question? They should have distributed the sweets in the village; they would have enjoyed eating them.”
Buddha said, “You are right. Now, what will you do? You have brought all kinds of ugly words. I don’t take them, and without my taking them, you cannot give them to me. You will have to take them back; just the way the other village people had to take their sweets back, you will have to take your presents back that you had brought to me. We don’t take presents – you will have to take them. What will you do?”
They looked at each other. Buddha said, “Simply do the same thing: distribute them to each other and enjoy.”
Wisdom acts in a fresh way.
Buddha turned to his disciples and said, “Remember, unless you take somebody’s insult, you are not insulted. You are insulted only when you take it, you are humiliated only when you accept it. If you don’t accept it, the person has to take it back; there is no way for him to give it to you. But I am not at all concerned with the people, I am concerned with you, because although you are standing silently behind me, I can feel the vibe of your anger.
“I can forgive those people because they are knowledgeable but ignorant. I cannot forgive you because you are meditators, and anger is not expected from you. Whatever the situation may be, you have to remain centered and silent, and radiate your meditation. Use the opportunity to radiate your fragrance.