The Buddha & the abuse story

Sometimes it's not up to us to 'fix' other peoples' issues.  How often have you given unsolicited advice?  Told someone what you think they should do?  Quoted a reference or source that you consider could be helpful?  Yes - I certainly have.  Here's the more important question ... did the other person want or ask for, your advice or opinion?  

It's very easy to see solutions to problems and issues when we're on the outside looking in.  We don't have the emotional attachment and the myriad of stories sitting behind the problem.  It's not easy to remember that we don't know the full story.  We only hear what the other person wants to share with us, and it's on that, that we base our well-intended advice.  

It's often the same with conflict as in the story below.  Depending on our own state it can be easy to be 'triggered' into someone else's problem or pain and take it on as our own, adding to our own concerns and challenges.  We can feel heavy, burdened, overwhelmed and stressed.  What would happen if we realised that it wasn't our problem?  What would it be like if we could remember that it's the other person's problem to resolve, not ours.  

There is a great story below to illustrate how we can take control of our own communication.  I hope you enjoy it. 

A tale is told about the Buddha, Gautama (563-483BC), the Indian prince and spiritual leader whose teachings founded Buddhism. This short story illustrates that every one of us has the choice whether or not to take personal offence from another person's behaviour.

It is said that on an occasion when the Buddha was teaching a group of people, he found himself on the receiving end of a fierce outburst of abuse from a bystander, who was for some reason very angry.

The Buddha listened patiently while the stranger vented his rage, and then the Buddha said to the group and to the stranger, "If someone gives a gift to another person, who then chooses to decline it, tell me, who would then own the gift? The giver or the person who refuses to accept the gift?"

"The giver," said the group after a little thought. "Any fool can see that," added the angry stranger.

"Then it follows, does it not," said the Buddha, "Whenever a person tries to abuse us, or to unload their anger on us, we can each choose to decline or to accept the abuse; whether to make it ours or not. By our personal response to the abuse from another, we can choose who owns and keeps the bad feelings."

Source unknown - story taken from: www.businessballs.com