CONTENTMENT AND PEACE
Gautama Buddha was going through a forest towards a town. On the way, he saw a cool stream where he washed his hands and feet and then sat under a tree in meditation.
The king of the town was going on horseback by the same way. As he was always at war with other kings to enlarge his own kingdom, his heart was full of hatred, fear, and jealousy. Seeing that a sanyasin was sitting idle with closed eyes under a tree, he got down from the saddle and started shouting angrily at Buddha, “Oh Sanyasin, open your eyes and see who stands in front of you. Even a king like me does not sit idle. You sanyasins feed yourselves on others’ labour and preach idleness to others as well.” Speaking in this tone, he went on pouring hot words of anger and abuse on Gautama till he himself felt tired and exhausted.
Gautama who was calm all the time slowly opened his eyes and, with a smile, said to the king, “Sit down, my son. Surely you are tired and thirsty. May I fetch you cool water from that stream?”
The king was stunned by these soft and sweet words of love. He immediately felt that this sanyasin must be the great Prince Siddhartha who had left the pleasures of the palace in search of peace and then become the Buddha or the Enlightened One. So, he fell at the sanyasin’s feet and said, “Please forgive my grave mistake. Tell me how, in spite of all my anger and abuse, you are so quiet and calm and even so loving towards me.”
“My son,” said the Buddha, “Suppose you offer a plateful of sweets to another and he does not accept it. Where does it go then?” Prompt came the answer from the king, “Of course, it goes back to the giver.” “Then, don’t you see that I have not accepted a single word of all that you said? How, then, can those words hurt me?”
The king now felt sure that this sanyasin was no other than the Buddha himself. Bowing down, he said again, “Oh Enlightened One, please show me the way to real happiness.”
Buddha’s eyes gleamed with the light of divine wisdom. “My son,” he said, “anger, greed, jealousy, fear, and all’ such passions rob man of all his happiness. Contentment, peace, and love are the basis of true happiness in life. He who has no contentment and peace is a beggar. He who does not help and serve others with love is an idler. He who always wears the crown of contentment, peace, and love for all is the king of kings because he alone has found true happiness in life.”
The king gratefully prostrated before the Buddha and said, “Accept me, Oh Buddha, as your disciple. From today, you are my Master. Lead and I will follow.”
- Why did the king get angry with Gautama Buddha? Was he right or wrong in abusing the Buddha? Give reasons for your answer.
- How could the Buddha keep calm even when the king was showering hot words of abuse on him?
- What was Buddha’s advice to the king?