This is a parable about a man who was taking his daily trip into the Indian market. Upon his arrival to the market, he noticed it was especially busy. He was used to dealing with crowds at the market but, this was an especially boisterous crowd. People who in the man’s eyes had no reason to be at the market, were causing congestion in the natural flow. They all seemed to be going to the same place and to the man, they seemed completely unaware of how they were creating chaos on his nice trip to the market. It didn’t take long before he started to feel the sensation of irritation rising within his body and mind.
His mind raced with thoughts validating his growing anger and the vicious cycle of feeding the brewing anger with upsetting thoughts ensued. Just as his anger rose to the top and his only release would be to give all his thoughts a voice, he opened his mouth to yell at one of the people stealing his peace. This person had been the final straw when he cut him off. Before he could get the sound out, another bumped into him causing him to drop most of his prized, produce onto the ground. He was now steaming with anger as he tried to pick up what had fallen only to witness it being kicked and trampled by others in the crowd.
Now, filled with and anger & fire, he was determined to see what was behind this disturbance. He gathered what he could from the ground and began to follow the crowd. As they made there way to a clearing just outside of the market there was a crowd of people unlike any the man had witnessed before. Still enraged and motivated by his anger he pushed his way through the thickening crowd determined to discover the source of his anger.
The more he pushed through the crowd, the more his anger grew until finally he made it to the front of the crowd. There he was met by the round, smiling face of the Buddha. The revered Buddha sat on a makeshift wooden platform, in the center of town wrapped in a white, loin cloth all around him were offerings of fruit and flowers. These were gifts from the many disciples hoping to receive a blessing from him.
Sensing this mans anger the Buddha leaned down and said “Peace doesn’t come from outside my son. It comes from inside. Because it is inside, no one can take it from you, only you can give it away.”
The man whose mind was buzzing with the story of how the Buddha had caused him pain and created his reasons for anger. He said “You stole my peace. I was fine until you arrived.” And he spit on the Buddha’s feet. He left that day feeling quite satisfied with his vengeful act.
The next day when the man woke his anger had cleared. Suddenly the man was stirring with an overwhelming sense of remorse. He was abhorred by himself as he thought about his actions. He knew that the only way he could forgive himself was to go to the Buddha and ask his forgiveness.
He hurriedly got ready and made his way back to the market. This time with his heart full of remorse and his mind set on forgiveness he made his way effortlessly through the crowd, greeted by smiles and assistance. Before he knew it he is standing in front of the Buddha once again. This time he is there with his heart wide open. Once again the Buddha greeted him with a message, “You must forgive yourself and remember, love is the only way.”
The man falls to his knees and touches the Buddhas feet “I do not deserve your kindness after what I had done yesterday. I do not deserve to be loved. I cannot go on unless you forgive me.”
The Buddha replied, “I am sorry my son, this is not something I can do. I cannot forgive you.” And he assists the man to his feet.
“Please. You must. I am begging you.” The man hangs his head in shame.
The Buddha lifts his chin and looks him in the eye as he says, “I cannot forgive you because the man who stands in front of me today is not the same man who was here yesterday. That man is gone, and this man has done nothing to warrant forgiveness.”
This story has such a powerful message. It touches on the power of the mind to skew the perception. The man had let one of the 5 enemies ‘agitation, take over his mind. Once agitation became his filter he started to blame everything outside of him for creating his anger. When he awoke his mind was pure again, free of the enemies and he instead felt remorse. He again tried to look outside of himself to validate his remorse and to make it better. The Buddha did not give him that satisfaction because that would have been stealing the mans power. The man needed to recognize that everyday is a new day and he can make new choices and one of those choices is the ability to let go of the story. Release the baggage and burdens of yesterday and choose today to forgive, accept and love.