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What Next?

Discussion in 'Queries on Religion & Spirituality' started by Thyagarajan, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: WHAT NEXT? :hello:

    Lord Buddha was sitting under an umbrageous tree talking to disciples when a man dart and spat on his face.

    He wiped spat off, and asked the man, “What next? What do you want to do or say next?”.

    The man was bewildered because he never expected that when you spit on somebody’s face, he would ask, “What next?”.

    He had no such experience in his past. He had insulted people and they had become angry and they had reacted. Or if they were cowards and weaklings, they had smiled, trying to bribe the him.

    But Lord Buddha did neither; he was not angry; nor in any way offended; nor in any way cowardly. But just matter-of-factly he said, “What next?”.

    But Buddha’s disciples turned angry, and they all reacted. His senior most disciple, Ananda, said, “This is too much. How can we tolerate this. He has to be whacked for it, otherwise everybody will start aping like this ruffian!”

    Buddha calm and collected known for his aplomb only softly said to Anand, “You keep silent. He has not offended me, but you are offending me. He is new, a stranger. He must have heard from people something about me, that this man is an atheist, a dangerous man who is throwing people off their track, a revolutionary, a corrupter. And he may have formed some idea, a notion of me. He has not spit on me, he has spit on his notion. He has spit on his idea of me because he does not know me at all, so how can he spit on me?

    “If you think on it deeply,” Buddha said, “he has spit on his own mind. I am not part of it, and I can see that this poor man must have something else to say because this is a way of saying something. Spitting is a way of saying something”.

    “There are moments when you feel that language is impotent: in deep love, in intense anger, in hate, in prayer. There are intense moments when language is impotent. Then you have to do something. When you are angry, intensely angry, you hit the person, you spit on him, you are saying something. I can understand him. He must have something more to say, that’s why I’m asking, “What next?”

    The man was even more puzzled! And Buddha said to his disciples, “I am more offended by you because you know me, and you have lived for years with me, and still you react.”

    Puzzled, confused, the man returned home. He could not sleep the whole night. He found it was difficult, impossible to sleep anymore the way he used to sleep before. Again and again he was haunted by the experience. He could not explain it to himself, what had happened. He was trembling all over, sweating and soaking the sheets. He had never come across such a man; Buddha had shattered his whole mind and his whole pattern, his whole past.

    The next morning he went back. He threw himself at Buddha’s feet. Buddha asked him again, “What next? This, too, is a way of saying something that cannot be said in language. When you come and touch my feet, you are saying something that cannot be said ordinarily, for which all words are too narrow; it cannot be contained in them.”

    Lord turned to Anand, added further, “Look, Ananda, this man is again here, he is saying something. This man is a man of deep emotions.”

    The man looked at Buddha and said, “Forgive me for what I did yesterday.”

    Buddha said, “Forgive? But I am not the same man to whom you did it. The Ganges goes on flowing, it is never the same Ganges again. Every man is a river. The man you spit upon is no longer here. I look just like him, but I am not the same, much has happened in these twenty-four hours! The river has flowed so much. So I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you”.

    “And you also are new. I can see you are not the same man who came yesterday because that man was angry and he spit, whereas you are bowing at my feet, touching my feet. How can you be the same man?

    You are not the same man, so let us forget about it. Those two people, the man who spit and the man on whom he spit, both are no more. Come closer. Let us talk of something else.”

    Slightly adapted from Buddha tales

  2. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Silver IL'ite

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    Frank Herbert's Dune Sci Fi novel described life when water scarcity was in the extreme. Spitting (sharing one's own moisture) is a complimentary greeting.

    The spitting on Buddha story reminded me of the SciFi story of Kurt V. and how people may be misunderstood.

    Kurt Vonnegut Jr. > Quotes > Quotable Quote

    “As for the story itself, it was entitled "The Dancing Fool." Like so many Trout stories, it was about a tragic failure to communicate.

    Here was the plot: A flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on Earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing. Zog landed at night in Connecticut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golfclub.”
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020

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