The first of these texts is one we have been using for many years in our Living Differently workshops. It has helped many people understand the total subjectivity of our human experience, i.e that we create our own reality beyond anything we can imagine. Once we have grasped this fundamental truth, we understand that someone who e.g. insults us (as in the following story) is only expressing how they feel, just as someone who flatters us in an exaggerated manner, someone who deceives us, etc. These people are really saying: this is how I see you through the coloured lenses of my totally subjective experience. They are expressing publicly their manner of interpreting reality at that moment, which may have very little to do with what is really going on. When we have understood this, we will tend to feel deep compassion rather than anger. We will bless them rather than curse them.
Truly, the universe is superbly organized to enable us to progress at our own rhythm in the direction of the goal we will all achieve one day: the complete fullness of being.
The Buddha taught wherever he went. One day as he was so speaking in a village a man joined the crowd listening to him. He soon started boiling with envy and rage. The holiness of the Buddha exasperated him. Unable to contain himself, he started to hurl insults at the Buddha, who stayed completely unmoved. Eaten up by his rage, the man left the place.
As he walked along the rice paddies with long strides, his anger calmed down. The village temple was clearly visible beyond the paddies. The man became aware that his anger was born of jealousy and that he had insulted a sage. He felt so ill at ease that he turned on his steps having decided to present his excuses to the Buddha.
When he reached the place where the teaching was still going on, the crowd opened in front of him to make room for the man who had insulted the Master. In total disbelief the people looked at him returning. They nudged each other to attract the attention of their neighbours and a murmur followed his steps. When he was close enough, he knelt, begging Buddha to forgive the violence of his words and the indecency of his thoughts.
The Buddha, overflowing with compassion, came to raise him up.
- "I have nothing to forgive, I received neither violence nor insults."
- "But yet I threw grave insults and vulgarity at you."
- "What do you do if someone offers you an object you do not need or you do not wish to take?"
- "Well I evidently don’t extend my hand nor do I take it."
- "And what does the donor do?"
- "Well, what can he do? He keeps his object."
- "That is why you seem to suffer from the insults and coarseness you threw at me. As for me, I was not touched. There was no one to accept the violence you proffered."
(Our translation from: Au bord du Gange, by Martine Quentric-Séguy, Seuil, Paris)