A Story About The Buddha And Compassion

Buddha was in an assembly, a gentleman came, he was furious. He thought Buddha was doing something wrong. He was pulling all the people away, and everybody was meditating now. The people were very calm and quiet, and he was a restless businessman. He found his children going to sit with Buddha and meditating for two hours every day. And he thought that if his children were engaged in business, they could make more money and be better off. What will they get, going and spending two hours with somebody, sitting with their eyes closed? So the father of that family was very upset, and he said, “I am going to teach this man a lesson!” So he came and looked at Buddha with furiousness.
He walked straight to Buddha, because he was a very well-known businessman of that locality. As soon as he came near Buddha, all his other thoughts disappeared, but his anger was still there. He was shaking, so he could not speak. No words would come out of his mouth, but he spat on Buddha’s face. Buddha simply smiled. All the other disciples around, were gripped with anger. They were all so angry, but they couldn’t react because Buddha was there. So everybody was holding their lips and fists tight. How dare he do this? But they couldn’t say anything. And this man could not stay longer. He spat and a few moments later, he thought, “If I stay longer, I will burst out.” So he ran and went away.
image credits: picturesofbuddha.com
When Buddha did not react or say anything, and just smiled, this man could not sleep the whole night. It was the first time in his life he met somebody who would just smile when he spat in his face. That man could not sleep. His whole body underwent such a transformation. He was shivering, shaking – I don’t know – he had an earthquake. The whole world was turned upside down. The next day he came and fell at Buddha’s feet and said, “Please pardon me, I don’t know what I did.”
Buddha said, “I cannot excuse you.” Now the disciples were shocked! Buddha was so compassionate, he always excused everybody. Now he said he cannot excuse him? Not possible! Buddha had to explain, because everybody was in a state of shock! He said, “Well, why? You didn’t do anything so how can I excuse you? What did you do? What wrong you have done?” He said, “Yesterday, I spat in your face. I am the same person.” Buddha said, “That person is not there now. If I ever meet that person on whom you spat, I will tell him to excuse you. So to me right now, to this person who is here, you are wonderful. You have never done anything wrong.”
That is compassion. Compassion is not saying, “Make somebody a culprit!” and then saying, “Okay, I forgive you.” That’s no compassion. Your forgiveness should be such that the person who is being forgiven does not even know that you are forgiving them. They shouldn’t even feel guilty for a mistake. That is the right type of forgiveness. If you make someone feel guilty about their mistake, then you have not forgiven them. That guilt itself is a punishment. It’s good enough.

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