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Respond, Not React

Updated on July 10, 2017

Respond and React are two words that are often thought to be having same meaning. But it is not so. An incident in the life of Gautam Buddha is a great example to understand the difference.

Angulimala was a notrorious criminal in the forest in the vicicnity of which Buddha used to roam about for alms and preaching. One day Angulimal appeared in front of Buddha and tried to kill him with his sword. Buddha was undeterred by this action. He was calm and gentle as he always was. He said to the criminal in gentle tone, “ If you wish to kill me , Kill me. But wont you ask my last wish before dying? “ Angulimal found this most absurd but felt a propensity to listen to Buddha.

Angulima thought for a while and then asked Budha what was his last wish. Buddha said with a peaceful smile, “ Can you see that tree over there? Cut off a branch of that tree. “ angulamal accomplished this task which appeared rather frivolous to him. Then Buddha asked him to attach it again.

To this the criminal laughed and said , “ What stupidity is this? No one can do this. “ He laughed scoffingly at Buddha.

Buddha spoke , “ On the contrary, it is studpid of you to think that you are strong for you can injure, Destroy and Kill with your sword. A weak person destroys just like you. it is the work of the strong men to create and heal. “

Angulimal was astonished and speechless. He dropped him sword and transformation began to happen in his mind. He became a follower of Buddha and his faithful discipile. This was all because of the unique response that Buddha gave at the crucial time. Had he reacted with resistance and disapproval as anybody in his palce would have done, the result would be different. It was Buddha’s peace of mind that foudna channel in Angulimal’s mind.

We come across situations , in our dialy life, when we feel the impulse to react stromngly towards a person who insults us. We are provoked emotionally and we blinded by anger. Situations, words and action all have the potential to make us lose control. Once we react in outrageous manner , it is only damage tht is doen. Even when you know that you want to say is just , fair and important. You should say it in a calm and composed manner without offending the other person. This needs an ability to control your emotions.

Respond . Do not React. Be mindful of what you are offering to the person in front of you, in the form of words and action. This will make all the difference.


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