Friday, 15 November 2019

'Being offended'??

There is the incident in Buddha's life that comes to my mind when I hear about the whole debate between 'freedom of speech' and 'no platform'.  One of the basic bones of contention in this debate is offense (giving and taking). 

On an occasion when there were people visiting the Buddha, there was a man who came in and started abusing the Buddha.  But he sat there very calm and quiet.  He never retorted nor got agitated.  After a while, the abuser got tired and left.  The disciples then approached the Buddha and asked him, why didn't he say or do anything when he was being insulted.  The Buddha replied, "When someone offers you a gift and you refuse to take it, whom does it then belong to?"  The disciples replied, "The giver." And the Buddha replied, "He offered me a gift and I did not accept it!  So why get worked up about what is not mine!"

Besides, I know not if there is anything called 'being offended' - no one can offend me, unless I let them offend me.  Furthermore, resorting to anything other than verbal dialogue or debate, in order to show difference of opinion or contest the other person's views, is already conceding defeat! 

Everytime I get angry or hurt, I ask myself why is it that I'm feeling this way.  So rather than merely shut the other person up by shouting or insulting, I merely listen.  I then merely present my side of the story.  And then leave it at that.  If the person merely wants to insult me, by feeling insulted, I'm letting him win, without a valid reason.  And if what he or she says has a point, then it is for me to ponder and respond appropriately (both the other and myself - in the reverse order!). 

The same is true of 'bad words'.  When someone calls out, "Peter" I don't respond.  That's not me. So why should I respond to someone who calls me a 'sob'?  If I do respond, then I'm accepting that title!  

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