25 July 2008

Let the gone be gone

Once it happened that a man spat on Buddha's face.  Buddha wiped His face quietly and asked the man, "Have you anything more to say?"

The disciples of Buddha were very much shocked.  His chief disciple, Ananda, said to Him, "This man has spat on you.  We all felt angry, but you are asking him 'Have you anything more to say?'  We don't understand."

Buddha said, "Yes, because this is his way of saying something - spitting.  Maybe the man is so angry that words are not adequate; that's why he has spat.  That's why I'm asking 'Have you anything more to say?'"

Now after spitting on Buddha, the man himself was shocked because Buddha's question is not his expectation.  He could not sleep that night.  Again and again he thought about it.  It was so difficult for him to absorb it: "What kind of man is Buddha?  I spit, and He simply asks 'Have you anything more to say?'"

In the early morning he went back, fell at Buddha's feet and said, "Sir, excuse me, forgive me.  I could not sleep the whole night."

And Buddha laughed, and said, "You fool!  Why?  I slept perfectly well.  Why should you get so disturbed about such a small thing?  It has not hurt me.  You see my face is as it was before.  Why did you get so worried?"

And the man said, "I have come to become your disciple.  I want to be with you.  But first, forgive me."

And Buddha said, "This is nonsense.  How can I forgive you? I have not even taken any note of it.  I was not angry, so how can I forgive you?"

Sitting on the bank of the Ganges River, Buddha continued, "Look at how much water has passed down the Ganges River in every second; that much life has passed in you in every second; that much life has passed in me in every second.  It is no longer the same Ganges after a single second.  In fact, you had never spat on me, I am not the same man, it was something else - a day has passed. And you are not the same man who had spat  ... so who can forgive whom?  Let the gone be gone." 

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