I am a firm believer in a lot of Buddha’s teachings. But not a follower of his religion. A long time ago I came across a passage. I was really consumed in anger over a person’s actions. While I was reading a website this quote from Buddha caught my attention “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I walked away thinking to myself how true that statement was. So I went on a search and that thought process became expanded with the following:
Once while the Blessed One stayed near Rajagaha in the Veluvana Monastery at the Squirrels’ Feeding Place, there lived at Rajagha a Brahman of the Bharadvaja clan who was later called “the Reviler.” When he learned that one of his clan had gone forth from home life and had become a monk under the recluse Gotama, he was angry and displeased. And in that mood he went to see the Blessed One, and having arrived he reviled and abused him in rude and harsh speech.
Thus being spoken to, the Blessed One said: “How is it, Brahman: do you sometimes receive visits from friends, relatives or other guests?”
“Yes, Master Gotama, I sometimes have visitors.”
“When they come, do you offer to them various kinds of foods and a place for resting?”
“Yes, I sometimes do so.”
“But if, Brahman, your visitors do not accept what you offer, to whom does it then belong?”
“Well, Master Gotama, if they do not accept it, these things remain with us.”
“It is just so in this case, Brahman: you revile us who do not revile in return, you scold us who do not scold in return, you abuse us who do not abuse in return. So we do not accept it from you and hence it remains with you, it belongs to you, Brahman…”
I walked away with a different view after reading this. It was from that point in my life I started trying to return gifts of hate with love. Though last night after a wonderful day with our children. I thought it would be nice to let my Ex-partner know that the children would be singing in their school carols. My intentions soon became twisted when the person chose not to support our children once again. I let the anger fill my cup to the point it flowed out. I told the person how about next year the children come live with me full time so she could go live with her new partner who lives 3 hours away. I offered her every other weekend and half of the holidays. I would carry the responsibility of the children’s school and extra circular activities. That simple offer was met with vile anger and her response was met with my own. I allowed myself to spill forth the reasons for why she needed to do it. I told her of all the problems the children were having while in her care. At this point I just should have said no thank you for your anger and walked away from sending that message.
But in doing what I thought was right for my children she replied in hate and anger over the fact of the truth being presented to her. She chose to take target at many things but not least to the issue of myself being Trans. She also said “I always place my children first”. I then caught sight in my reflection and it startled me. It was a face from a long time ago, one who thought anger was okay to be met with anger. I relaxed and tried once more for the children and said “So we shall see you tonight for the carols” and I left it at that. I knew that she would not show, but I wanted her to show up for the kids sake. I had noticed that her lack of caring in regards to the children were starting to frustrate me. These messages were the perfect example. I was shocked that I was dealing with a Disneyland parent and I allowed it to anger me. I did not see the clear blessings as the anger clouded my eyes. I could not see that it was such a blessing to enjoy a picnic with our children without her interruption. But once I began to step away from her it allowed me to focus my energies to the children and what a wonderful blessing it was. We sat and listened to the music and all the smiles of so many parents enjoying their children’s wonderful singing. We ate and enjoyed our food without competition. This is the reason this part of the season is so magical.
I now come full circle to what Buddha said (pardon I am paraphrasing) The gift of love is love, the gift of returned hate is that it is not yours. I think to myself in hindsight I could have had such a wonderful day if I would have never bothered in trying to move the Mule. But even looking at it I notice it is okay to stumble from time to time it allows us to see the clearer path that we should be taking. Who knows what will happen in the future, but one thing is for sure that I will no longer waste any time or energy trying to get the other parent to focus on our children. in closing I will leave you with one last thought and a small little lesson to reflect upon.
“One’s mind finds no peace, neither enjoys pleasure or delight, nor goes to sleep, nor feels secure while the dart of hatred is stuck in the heart”