This is one of my favorite stories about the Buddha’s travels in India. I hope you like it.

In the countryside of India the Buddha is giving a talk on Dharma. Whenever the Buddha talks people gather from all around to listen to his wisdom. On this particular occasion there is a heckler in the crowd. As Buddha talks the heckler is always interrupting, trying to get a rise of anger from the Buddha. Over time the man become more and more abusive.

Finally after a long period the Buddha addresses the heckler. “Sir”, the Buddha asks, “may I ask a question of you?” The heckler laughs and replies, “Yes I would be happy to give you my wisdom”. The Buddha then says, “Sir if you have a gift to give a friend, but the friend refuses to accept the gift, who then does the gift belong?” The man thinks for a moment and states, “Well I guess the gift belongs to me. ” The Buddha smiles and looks at the man and says “Well sir, thank you but I cannot accept your gift of abuse.”

There is great wisdom in this story. Wisdom in that we need not accept criticism of others in our lives. We are free to chose how we feel from moment to moment, and no one has the power to change this. Remember this story next time someone says something to upset you.