Gautam Buddha is passing near a village which consists of high caste brahmins only. They are very much against Gautam Buddha, they have all gathered outside the village to condemn him, to abuse him. He stands there listening to their abuse, their allegations, their lies. Even Ananda -- who has been with him all these years -- feels angry. Because they were born into a royal family: they were warriors, their whole training was to fight. But because Gautam Buddha is present, he controls himself; otherwise he would have killed one or two people then and there.
Gautam Buddha said to them, "You see that the sun is going to set soon, and we have to reach the other village before the sun sets. If you have not finished all that you wanted to say to me, I will make a point that when I return I set aside enough time to listen to you again. And in two days, I will be returning along the same route -- so it will be very kind of you if you can wait just two days."
One man from the crowd said, "You don't seem to be disturbed at all. And we are not just saying things to you -- we are abusing you, insulting you."
Gautam Buddha said, "You have come a little late. If you had come ten years before, you would not have gone back alive. I am also a warrior. There would have been bloodshed here; not a single man in this crowd would have gone back alive. But you have come a little late.
"In the village just before this village, people came with sweets and fruits. And we said, `We eat only once a day, and we have taken our food, so it would be very kind if you would take these things back with you. We are grateful.' What do you think they did with those sweets and those fruits?"
Somebody said, "They must have distributed them amongst themselves; they must have eaten them."
Buddha said, "You are intelligent. Do the same: whatever you have brought, I don't accept; take it back. Because unless I accept your insult, you cannot insult me; it is a two-way affair. It is your mouth, you can say anything -- but unless I accept it, you are just talking into the air. Just go home and say all these things to each other; enjoy. And I will be coming again after two days, so be ready."
They were shocked, and they could not believe -- what kind of man is this? When they moved on, Ananda said to Buddha, "This is too much. There were moments when I was going to jump and hit the man! Just because of you, I tried to control my temptation."
Buddha said -- and remember it -- he said: "What those people were saying has not hurt me.
What you are saying hurts me. You have been with me for so many years, and yet you are not aware enough to know what to take and what not to take? Can't you discriminate?"
I want you not to become missionaries; I want you to become messages.
And that is possible only if you are utterly selfish, so that before you start helping others, you have helped yourself; before you start enlightening other people, you are enlightened yourself.
That's what I mean by being selfish.
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