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Buddha, Nirvana State
A story of Buddha
Buddha was passing through a village. The people of that village were against him, against his philosophy, so they gathered around him to insult him. They used ugly words, vulgar words.
Buddha listened. Ananda, Buddha's disciple who was with him, got very angry, but he couldn't say anything because Buddha was listening so silently, so patiently, rather as if he was enjoying the whole thing.
Then even the crowd became a little frustrated because he was not getting irritated and it seemed he was enjoying. Buddha said, "Now, if you are finished, I should move - because I have to reach the other village soon. They must be waiting just as you were waiting for me. If you have not told me all the things that you thought to tell me, I will be coming back within a few days, then you can finish it."
Somebody from the crowd said, "But we have been insulting you, we have insulted you. Won't you react? Won't you say something?"
Buddha said, "That is difficult. If you want reaction from me, then you are too late. You should have come at least ten years ago, because then I used to react. But I am now no longer so foolish. I see that you are angry, that's why you are insulting me. I see your anger, the fire burning in your mind. I feel compassion for you. This is my response - I feel compassion for you. Unnecessarily you are troubled.
"Even if I am wrong, why should you get so irritated? That is not your business. If I am wrong I am going to hell, you will not go with me. If I am wrong I will suffer for it, you will not suffer for it. But it seems you love me so much and you think about me and consider me so much that you are so angry, irritated. You have left your work in the fields and you have come just to say a few things to me. I am thankful."
Just when he was leaving he said, "One thing more I would like to say to you. In the other village I left behind, a great crowd just like you had come there and they had brought many sweets just as a present for me, a gift from the village. But I told them that I don't take sweets. They took the sweets back. I ask you, what will they do with those sweets?"
So somebody from the crowd said, "What will they do? It is easy, there is no need to answer. They will distribute them in the village and they will enjoy."
So Buddha said, "Now what will you do? You have brought only insults and I say I don't take them. What will you do? I feel so sorry for you. You can insult me, that is up to you. But I don't take it, that is up to me - whether I take it or not." Buddha said, "I don't take unnecessary things, useless things. I don't get unnecessarily burdened. I feel compassion for you."
If a person is angry and you are present there, not with your past, you will feel always compassion. Reaction becomes anger, response always is compassion. You will see through the person. It will become transparent that he is angry, he is suffering, he is in misery, he is ill. When someone is in fever you don't start beating him and asking, "Why are you having a fever? Why is your body hot? Why have you got a temperature?" You serve the man, you help him to come out of it.
And when somebody is angry he also is having a temperature, he is in a fever, he is feverish. Why get so angry about it? He is in a mental disease which is more dangerous than any bodily disease, more fatal. So if the wife is angry the husband will feel compassion, he will try in every way to help her to be out of it. This is just mad - that she is angry and you also get angry. This is just mad, insane. You will look at the person, you will feel the misery she is in or he is in, and you will help.
But if the past comes in then everything goes wrong. And it can happen only if you go deep in meditation, otherwise it cannot happen. Just intellectual understanding won't help. If you go deep in meditation your wounds will be thrown, a catharsis will happen. You become more and more clear inside, clarity is attained, you become like a mirror. You don't have any wounds really, so no one can hit them. Then you can look at the person, then you can respond.
Response is always good, reaction is always bad. Response is always beautiful, reaction is always ugly. Avoid reactions and allow responses. Reaction is from the past, response is here and now.
Every person is carrying such a mysterious being but the being is closed to you. Every person can become the door for the divine, any ordinary person is extraordinary. Just behind the surface the mysterious is hidden, but you need a key to open it. And that key is moment-to-moment alert response. Not reaction -response. Reaction is always dead; you do something because he has done something. Response is totally different.