I was reminded recently in some separate conversations with friends about something I had written years ago. The conversations involved the angry outburst at the Summit a few weekends ago. One friend was in my corner: when that happens,”I send my blessings, not my energy.” The other was incredulous. “Why didn’t you fight back? Why did you just sit there and take it? That just gives them more power!”
My answer, what I had written, is this: Violence is a parasite- it cannot live without a host. But unlike most other parasites, it cannot live in a host that refuses it. If I can continue to refuse to accept it when it is presented to me, it will have difficulty spreading and be significantly weakened, maybe even die.
And what I experienced was violence. Anger, hatred, shame, abuse (both physical and emotional-including gossip), greed and fear are all violence in thin disguise, and I don’t want them in me.
I was reminded of a story of the Buddha:
A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting the Buddha. “You have no right teaching others,” he shouted. “You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake.”
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 man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, “it would belong to me because I bought the gift.”
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.”
The rude man’s anger was converted by this loving and wise response, and he became the Buddha’s devoted follower.