Buddha and the Angry Man

Once Gautam Buddha was traveling from a village. Everyone was happy to see him and heard his speeches with lots of dedication. However, one young man was not at all happy to see him in the village. He believed Buddha to be a fake master fooling the masses.


“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.”


While Buddha was delivering his speech, the man stood and started shouting in a very rude manner. Buddha did not pay any attention to him and continued speaking without bothering about him. This made the young man angrier.

He came in front of Buddha and facing him, he began insulting, “You have no right to teach anything to others. You are as stupid as everyone else. Stop fooling everyone. You are fake.!!”

The followers of Buddha tried to overpower that man. But Buddha stopped them and said, “It is not always necessary to counter aggression by aggression.”

Then he turned to the young man with a smile and asked, “Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”

The young man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, “It would belong to me, because I bought the gift.”

The Buddha smiled and said, “That is correct. And it is exactly the same as your anger.

If you become angry with me and I do not feel insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself.”

The man understood the message and he felt embarrassed.

-The Empty Boat-

A monk decides to meditate alone, away from his monastery. He takes his boat out to the middle of the lake, moors it there, closes his eyes and begins his meditation.

After a few hours of undisturbed silence, he suddenly feels the bump of another boat colliding with his own.

With his eyes still closed, he senses his anger rising and by the time he opens his eyes, he is ready to scream at the boatman who dared disturb his meditation. But when he opens his eyes, he sees it’s an empty boat that had probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake.

At that moment, the monk achieves self-realisation, and understands that the anger is within him; it merely needs the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him. From then on, whenever he comes across someone who irritates him or provokes him to anger, he reminds himself, “The other person is merely an empty boat. The anger is within me.”

Take time for introspection & search for answers: Empty boat is a famous & fabulous metaphor. Its value lies in its implementation.