The people of the village were also puzzled. They fell into a strange silence. Buddha said to them, “I am in a hurry to reach the other village, where people are waiting for me. If you are finished, I can go. Or if something else is still there in your mind, when I come back I will inform you ahead. At that time you can complete the whole thing. So am I allowed to go?”
Those people said, “We have been abusing you, saying all sorts of dirty things against you; many of them are lies, we know – but in love and war everything is right. But you are so cool and calm, as if we have just welcomed you, greeted you, and you are asking our permission to go ahead.”
Buddha said, “Whatever you have done, that is your problem. I do not react, I act. Nobody can force me to do something, nobody can influence me to do something. If I want to do it, nobody can prevent me from doing it. My actions are my actions – they are never reactions.”
When you act, that is response; when you react, that is not response. But to act you have to be very conscious so that nobody can push your buttons, so that nobody can manipulate you into a certain kind of action.
Everybody is being manipulated.
Our whole society depends on manipulating.
Parents are manipulating their children, politicians are manipulating the masses, priests are manipulating their congregations.
Even children start manipulating their fathers, their mothers…very small children. Even a child six months old starts learning how to manipulate. He knows that if he smiles he is going to get toys, sweets, hugs, kisses. He had no desire to smile, but he has learned a certain exercise of the lips. It is just there on the lips, an exercise – he just opens his lips. It looks as if he is smiling, but if you look into the eyes of the child you will be surprised – there is a politician.
A six-month-old child has to become a politician: What kind of society have we created?
He manipulates, and you go on rewarding his efforts of manipulation. Slowly slowly, he may forget that his first smile was false and all other smiles are just a continuation of his first smile. Perhaps his last smile when he is dying will be also just a continuity of the I first.
He may never discover what a real smile is – a smile that comes from within you for no motivation, not to ask something, not to be rewarded by something. It is not a business deal. You are so joyful inwardly that a smile spreads all over your body.
When a real smile is there it is all over the body. You may be able to detect it only on the lips, perhaps in the eyes, but it is all over the body. Every fiber of your being is rejoicing. So it is not a question of being rewarded. It is not a question of desiring something, bribing somebody…. But it is not only the smile, he learns to manipulate with everything else too.