When You are Hurt


When someone expresses his anger towards us, or speaks in a belittling way, what should we do? The answers to such questions can be found in this incident from the life of Buddha.

Once Buddha went to beg with his disciple Ananda. When they approached a house for food, the lady of the house, spoke harshly. ‘You lazy fellows! You are hale and healthy…why can’t you work for your food?’ she yelled and chased them away. The disciple was enraged at the woman she used such hostile words on his great Guru.

‘Please permit me to teach that woman a solid lesson…’ he pleaded with Buddha. But Buddha walked away in silence.
A little later, Buddha handed over his water container to Ananda and went to take rest.

Having rested for a couple of hours they resumed their journey. On the way, Buddha glanced at the water container and asked, ‘Whose is this?’ ‘It is yours, Guruji!’ said Ananda. Buddha took it and looked at it once and returned it to Ananda saying, ‘No, I gifted it to you a little while ago…it is yours.’

At night, Buddha pointed to the same water container and asked once again, ‘Whose is this?’ Now Ananda said, ‘Guruji, it is mine!’

Hearing this, Buddha said laughingly, ‘I asked you the same question earlier this evening and you said it was yours. Now you are saying, it is mine. How can the same container be yours and mine at the same time?’

Though Ananda was slightly confused, he replied calmly, ‘Guruji, you said that you have gifted this container to me and I accepted it. Hence, I said that it was mine. Initially, when you gave it to me I did not consider it as mine, because, even though you had handed over the container to me it was still yours!’

Buddha smiled at Ananda and said, ‘Similarly, I did not take the words the lady spoke harshly as mine; I did not accept them. So, even though the words were spoken at me, they still belong to the lady alone. That is the reason I said that there was no need to teach her a lesson.’

The advice from Buddha to his disciple expounds a very simple truth.

If someone calls us ‘lazy’ or ‘good for nothing’ we get affected by that word only when we take it to be ours. If we are clearly firmly and aware that we are not lazy or ‘good for nothing’, what that person says about us is just nonsense. ‘Nonsense’ would never affect us. In fact, we would not pay any heed to a person who speaks nonsense!

If someone calls us lazy and we are deeply affected, it only reflects on our true nature of being lazy. The quality in us is pointed out by others. This is the root cause for getting affected. This gives rise to blood pressure and rancor.

Now let us presume that a person is indeed very lazy. Would it be possible for him to change? Of course there would be a possibility! Take a look at the story…

There was a very successful businessman. He lived in plenty and prosperity. Unfortunately, his ship got caught in a storm and sank. His factory was closed due to labour trouble. His debts exceeded his assets and he lost everything in the process and became a pauper. For five long years, he worked very hard and gained back his lost status; constituted a bigger factory; acquired not one, but two ships; now he was richer than ever before! Learning about this turn of fortune, journalists came to interview him. They flooded him with questions about the secret of his success. His reply to them was, ‘I know that I failed in my business…but I never told myself that I am a failure…..that is the reason behind my regained success!’

Failing in an endeavour is one dimension and to treat oneself as a failure is yet another dimension.

This story could be an eye-opener to many.

You may feel lazy…lethargic and loose interest in work. But for heaven’s sake do not label yourself ‘lazy’ or ‘good for nothing.’ If you do that, you will become your own worst enemy, and prevent yourself from becoming successful.

Om Namah Shivay

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I can’t forgive you


Education breeds confidence.
Discuss and promote the importance of education to the youth in your community.
Remember one thing, you are responsible for your own happiness.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question which was inaudible).

You are love. Drop this guilt.
I want to tell you one story. This is the story from the life of Lord Buddha. It also includes forgiveness.

One day Buddha was giving a sermon and conducting a meditation. One gentlemen came from the back to the hall. He was very angry because his son did not join the business and instead joined Lord Buddha and wanted to meditate and propagate peace. So angry gentleman came in front of Buddha and spat on the face of Buddha. There were 10,000 people sitting in the hall, but then Buddha did not react and was just smiling. This man then went away. Just being in Lord Buddha’s presence brought a shift in this gentleman because he has always encountered anger with only anger. Here is a person who did not react and was smiling instead. And that one smile of Buddha did something to him. He could not sleep the whole night. His whole life transformed. He came next day and fell at the feet of Buddha and asked for his pardon. Buddha with the same smile lifted him up and said, “I can’t forgive you”.

Everybody else was shocked. This man is sobbing, crying, asking for pardon and Buddha is saying I cannot forgive you. Then Buddha tells him, “That man who was angry is gone and whom you spat is also not here now. They say, you cannot put your feet twice in the same river. Like that, the consciousness is also changing. The person who was there yesterday is no longer here now. So, if at all I met that person who spat and to whom you spat, I will tell him to forgive you”.

See life from a broad perspective. A mistake happens through you when you are not conscious, when you are in ignorance. So, you are not responsible, it is the ignorance that was responsible.

Om Namah Shivay

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Buddha, Sangha and Dharma

On the spiritual path there are three factors: Buddha, the master or the presence of the enlightened, sangha, the commune or group, and dharma, your true nature. Life blossoms naturally when there is a balance between the three.

The Buddha is a doorway, and the doorway needs to be more charming than what lies beyond so that people come to the doorway. If you are out in the street and there is rain and thunder, or scorching weather, you feel the need for a shelter. You look and find a doorway. Have you noticed that then, the doorway is more inviting and joyful than anything else in the world?

Similarly, the closer you get to the master, the more charm, newness and love you feel. Nothing in the world could give that much peace, joy and pleasure. It’s like depth without a bottom. This is a sign that you have come to the master.

Once you enter the door, you see the world from there, from the eyes of the master. Then in any situation you will think: How would the master handle this? See the world from the eyes of the master and the world looks so much more beautiful as a place filled with love, joy, cooperation and compassion.

Looking through the doorway there is no fear. From inside your home, you can look at the storm and the bright sun too; yet you can be relaxed as you are in the shelter. Such a sense of security, fullness and joy comes. That is the purpose of having a master.

Sangha is charming from a distance, but the closer you get, it pushes all your buttons and brings out all the unwanted things from within you. If you think a group is good it means you are not yet completely with the group. When you are totally part of that group, you will find that some bickering will come up. But you are the one who makes the group so if you are good, your group will also be good.

Sangha has a reverse nature to Buddha. Buddha makes your mind one-pointed; sangha, because it is of so many people, can scatter your mind, fragment it. Once you are used to a sangha, it loses its charm. This is the nature of sangha. Still, it is very supportive. If it were repulsive all the time, then nobody would be part of sangha.

Buddha uplifts with Grace, love and knowledge, Buddha pulls you up from above, and sangha pushes you up from below.

Dharma is to be in the middle. Avoiding extremes is your nature to be in balance, to smile from the depth of your heart, to accept entire existence totally as it is. Often you crave for Buddha and are averse to sangha, and you try to change; but by changing sangha or Buddha, you are not going to change.

The main purpose is to come to the centre deep within you, which means to find your dharma. A sense of deep acceptance for this moment, for every moment, is dharma. All problems and negativity are generated from our mind.

The world is not bad; we make our world ugly or beautiful. So when you are in your dharma, your nature, you will blame neither the world nor the Divine.

Dharma is that which puts you in the middle and makes you comfortable with the world. It allows you to contribute to the world, be at ease with the Divine, to feel part of the Divine.

Om Namah Shivay

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Are you Hurting Life?-2

You protect what you love, you naturally try to save what you love. If you hurt life, it stops belonging to you, it ceases to be your life. If given the choice, who do you think the swan would like to be with — Devadutta or Siddhartha? The bird would always be happier with Siddhartha, it would want to live with him because the prince tried to protect him.

Similarly, your life has a life of its own. If you love it, value it, protect it, it would want to be with you. It will becomes yours. But, if you are going to hurt it, it will fly away from you, far, far away. Be kind, be gentle like the prince in our story and the swan of life will come alive in your hands.

As you are hurt when the other person doesn’t appreciate your efforts, life is hurt too when you keep on resisting rather than appreciating what it’s doing for you.

Life is frightened and hurt, when you shoot arrows of jealousy, complaints and selfishness. Every time that happens, it distances itself from you. And, when your own life moves away from you, no one or nothing in the world can make you happy then. Not for long anyway. By life, I’m not talking about the physical breath, but the essence of life that is, a sense of peace and bliss. No point in mistreating or neglecting your life, because nothing hurts like neglect.

An overseas visitor met with a Zen monk who offered him tea. The handle of the tiny cup, paper thin, broke as soon as the visitor grabbed it.

“Why do you make your cups so delicate?” he asked the monk a little frustrated and embarrassed.

“It’s not that the cups are delicate,” the monk replied while sipping his tea. “You don’t know how to handle it.”

It’s all about how you handle life as opposed to how your life ought to be. Life is what it is. If you deal with it compassionately, gratefully, delicately, you will discover that it’s every bit beautiful, that it belongs to you wholeheartedly.

Learn to love life for what it is, for every bird sings a different song. Learn to listen to it and appreciate it. It’s funny but true that when you start adjusting around what life has planned for you, life starts to move according to you. If you keep hurting it and battling with it, life will ignore you completely and start to distance itself from you. As I said earlier, you feed life, love it, protect it and it’ll belong to you. It will move at your command then.

The answer to the question, “Why are you hurting me, Life?” begins with the question, “Why are you hurting life?”.

Don’t hurt what you want to keep. If you want to keep, that is.

Om Namah Shivay

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Are you Hurting Life?-1

Let me begin from the beginning, with a story from the life of Buddha, the Buddha, who was once known as prince Siddhartha before he renounced the material world.

Siddhartha and his cousin Devadutta planned to spend a day in the woods, resting under shady trees, playing in the pond and getting pampered by attendants and maids. A royal entourage was arranged for their comfort and safety. Devadutta also carried his bow and arrow even though they had agreed to not hunt.

While they lay near a natural pool, a swan landed nearby. Seeing golden opportunity, Devadutta immediately strung his bow and aimed at the bird. Siddhartha tried to stop him but he was adamant. A few moments passed and upon hearing the commotion the swan took flight. Devadutta was a good archer (unfortunately) and he let loose his arrow that found its target. Seeing the bird fall, Siddhartha leapt to it in quick strides.

Miraculously, the swan was still alive. But, it was going limp as life was fleeing out of the poor bird. Its eyes were closing, its wound was bloody. Gently, the prince pulled out the arrow and squeezed cool juice of some leaves on the wound to stop it from bleeding. He called one of the physicians in the entourage and applied medicinal herbs on the swan with his tender hands.

The frightened bird began to feel at ease as it slightly fluttered its wings. It was in much pain to fly away though. It lay there resting in Siddhartha’s delicate hands. Devadutta didn’t take it too kindly and felt robbed of his game.

“Give it to me!” he said to Siddhartha. “I shot it.”

“No way, Devadutta,” the prince replied. “I saved it.”

“That’s ridiculous,” he yelled. “It’s my bird, I brought it down with my arrows.”

“Had you killed it, it would have been yours,” Siddhartha said snuggling the swan, “But, since it’s alive, it belongs to me.”

When the argument couldn’t be settled, they consulted one of the king’s ministers who was a member of the royal escort and accompanied them presently. He suggested that a hermit lived in the woods nearby who was in a better position to give a verdict on the current matter. As was the custom, they took offerings of fruits and flowers, bowed before the sage and presented their case.

“There is no confusion,” the sage concluded. “A life belongs to the one who tries to save it. It cannot belong to the one who hurts it.”

“Therefore,” he added, “the swan belongs to Siddhartha.”

It’s a simple story, but then again wisdom lives in simplicity. In fact, it only lives in simplicity. Wise people are simple people. Personally, I find that the ultimate wisdom required to lead a beautiful life, a fulfilling and meaningful life is shining majestically like a crowned jewel in our story. Here, in one sentence:

Life belongs to those who love it.

Om Namah Shivay

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The Zen Mind-3

The way to abide in equanimity of the mind begins by being mindful of our thoughts. (Perhaps, Gisan too could have been more mindful with his words. Personally, I wouldn’t yell at or chastise anyone like that, no matter what the reason.) When you find yourself in a tug of war with your restless mind, simply pause for a few moments. Take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking right now?” Look around and become aware of everything around you. The room, color of the walls, paintings, doors, windows etc. Let your mind win. Let it take the rope. Battle no more. Instead, be mindful of its play. Just sit and watch how it generates thoughts. Become a spectator. It’ll slow down and then still itself. Like every drop of water counts even in a gushing waterfall, every thought matters in our ever-moving mind. Thinking is mind’s only occupation and it is a tiring one. Awareness of our thought patterns is the first step in calming the mind. And, awareness, I may add is not possible without attention.

An attentive mind, without exerting, in a natural state, free of mental, religious and intellectual constructs, is the basis of Zen. Effortless attention is the only way to be in the present moment. Zen is when mind is aware of its own presence. It’s an incredibly empowering and calming feeling — to be aware of your mind and understand it.

As D.T. Suzuki said, “The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows.” This sums it up neatly. Our life is flowing, it’s bubbling inside us, while we worry about how things could have been or should have been. We have all these ideas, notions and preferences on what kind of people we want and circumstances we want to be in. Perhaps, there’s nothing wrong with that. How about though, if we learned to flow with the river of life? What if we learned to enter into the temple of silence where the fragrance of awareness and light of wisdom add glory to every pinch of existence? That would be a Zen mind if you see what I mean. Just everything as it is. No interpretations, no judgments. When you get past the jokes of life, you understand its humor.

Let it be. Let us see. Simply, let it Zen.

Om Namah Shivay

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The Zen Mind-2

In the famous Zen monastery of Sogenji, the abbot, Gisan Zenrai Zenji, once asked his disciple for a bucket of water so he could take a bath. Gisan had led an austere life. He knew the importance of every drop of water, for he had grown up by saving rainwater and using it for survival on non-rainy days. The plants, trees and herbs in the monastery had been reared by Gisan like his own children in frugal conditions, surviving solely on careful harvesting of rainwater.

The new attendant brought a bucket of water which turned out too hot. Not wanting to be late for meditation by waiting for the water to cool down, Gisan asked for a bucket of cold water instead. From the well by the back gate of Sogenji his disciple brought more water. It took some more trips to get the water temperature right. Gisan told his attendant that no more water was needed.

Finishing the story in the words of Harada Roshi taken from Morning Dewdrops of the Mind, I quote:

Having been told this, the monk took the little bit of water left in the bottom of the bucket, threw it away nearby and placed the bucket upside down. Seeing him do this, Gisan Zenrai Zenji yelled, “You idiot! You just threw away that little bit of water on the ground and turned over that bucket!”

Gisan continued: “At the moment you did that you were only thinking of that as just a little bit of water and were therefore carelessly throwing it away, weren’t you? Why didn’t you go just one step further, especially knowing that this is the time of the year when there’s never enough rain? Why didn’t you put it on the garden’s trees or flowers? If you had put it on the tree it would have become the very life of that tree! If you had put it on the flowers it would have become the very life of the flowers and lived on. Why do you begrudge such a small effort as that?”

With these scathing words he severely reprimanded his disciple. Continuing, he said, “In even one drop of water, no matter how tiny a drop, the water’s great value doesn’t change at all! If you can’t understand this value of one single drop of water, no matter how hard you train you’ll never become someone who can give life to that training.”

Gisan had always lived on the few drops of water provided by the rain. The disciple changed his name to Tekisui meaning one drop of water.

Om Namah Shivay

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