Indezine Stories: Buddha Teaches Ananda About Accepting or Not

Indezine Stories: Buddha Teaches Ananda About Accepting or Not

Created: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 posted by at 12:20 pm

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This post has nothing to do with creating presentations on the computer. Rather, this explores creating presentations in your mindspace, because you might find that being open and receptive is such an important part of any learning process.

This story was told by Sujita Khemka of Hero Motocorp before one of my presenting skills training sessions for their company. Sujita always starts any session with a story, and this is one of the several that I have heard her retell.

This story is about an event from the life of the Buddha. One day, the Buddha was on one of his rounds asking for alms along with Ananda, his trusted attendant. When they called out for alms outside a particular house, the lady of the house came out and abused the Buddha for coming to her doorstep and asking for alms first thing in the morning. Also, she was no mood to share food for alms with them. Thus, she hurled some unacceptable words upon him. Now, almost everywhere that the Buddha visited, people would give him utmost respect, and this was not a very pleasant incident. The Buddha remained calm and peaceful, but Ananda had not overcome anger as yet and was seething with fury. The Buddha calmed him, and they moved on.

Ananda was still furious, and the Buddha wanted to show Ananda how futile anger is, so he took his kamandalu (an Indian metal water bottle with a handle) and gave it to Ananda asking him to hold it a while. Soon thereafter, the Buddha asked him whose kamandalu he was holding? Surprised Ananda answered that the kamandalu belonged to the Buddha. The Buddha then told Ananda that from now onwards, he was gifting the kamandalu to him.

After a little while, the Buddha surprised Ananda again by asking him the same question about whose kamandalu he was holding? Ananda forthwith replied that this was his kamandalu because he had received it from the Buddha and accepted it as a gift.

Now was the time to make that point, and the Buddha told Ananda that there was not much difference in the abuses handed to them by the lady and the kamandalu that Buddha gave to Ananda. Both of them were gifts, but for a gift to be valid, there need to be two conditions: first, the giver should want to provide the gift, and the receiver should accept it. The kamandalu fulfilled both conditions since the provider and the receiver were both involved. But these conditions were not correct for the abuses they received from the lady. Why? Because there was only a provider in this case, and no receiver! So as long as the Buddha refused to accept those abuses, where was the need to get angry? Anger would only be a result of accepting the abuses.

Now Sujita’s point in telling this story was that the participants have to be willing to learn each technique that the trainer teaches them. Unless they are accepting, they will get no benefit from the gifts of knowledge provided by the trainer; isn’t it amazing how simple things can hold so much wisdom!



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