Buddha was walking into the city market one day and near the city entrance an old bitter man was sitting on a box glaring at Buddha, who carried a bright smile on his face. At the sight of him this old man started cursing Buddha telling him how pretentious he was, how much better he thought he was, and how he did nothing worthy of the air he breathed in this world. But Buddha simply smiled and kept on walking to the market to get what he needed.
The Next day Buddha returned to the market and once again that old man was there, this time his cursing intensified, screaming and yelling at Buddha as he walked by, cursing his mother, cursing his father and everyone else in his life.
This went on for the rest of the week and finally as the Buddha was leaving the market the man came up to him, as his curiosity had simply gotten the best of him.
“Buddha, every day you come here smiling and every day I curse your name, I curse your family and everything you believe in” the old man says ” but every day you enter this city with a smile knowing that I await you with my harsh tongue, and everyday you leave through the same entrance with that same smile. I know by speaking to you now that you are not deaf, why do you keep on smiling while I do nothing but scream the worst things I can think of to your face?”
Buddha, with the same smile still on his face looks at the old man and asks “If I were to bring you a gift tomorrow morning all wrapped up in a beautiful box would you accept it?” to which the old man replies “Absolutely not, I would take nothing from the likes of you!” “Ah ha” the Buddha replies “Well if I were to offer you this gift and you were to refuse then who would this gift belong to?” “It would still belong to you of course” answers the old man. “And so the same goes with your anger, when I choose not to accept your gift of anger, does it not then remain your own?”