Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The gift of insults

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Zen Story The Gift of Insults
There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him. One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move. Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior's challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed. Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. "How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?" "If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it," the master replied, "to whom does the gift belong?"


  1. I love Zen tales of this sort. What comes to mind here is the sayings "don't take it on," and "don't take it personally."

    And I read somewhere (paraphrasing)that what someone else says or does defines him/her, not you.

    So if you walk down the street and someone behind you calls out "hey, stupid!" and you turn around, what does that say about you?

    Okay, don't know if this makes sense. I've not had my coffee yet!


    Miss Footloose

  2. Such a clever final comment in this story! A brilliant message!

  3. Well That's a great story and we should all try to take that advice from the old master! Thank you Marja! Thanks also for your nice comment! Yes New Zealand is great!!!

  4. This is an excellent story!! Thank-you so much for sharing. I always find it funny when people get aggravated because somebody calls them at an inconvenient time and they answer the phone. I often remind them that they did not have to answer the phone.

  5. Good One Marja. I have read a similar moral story years back. It said when a person speak with rage and anger to you, be silent. Silennce here indicated that you havent taken in nor has it affected you. So the words would just bounce back to the speaker itself :)

    I have tried this many a times and found it a nice way to respond.

    Have a good day!

  6. GREAT story Marja. I will share this one with my kids.

    thank you for posting it.


  7. There is a wisdom to this story that I'm afraid is lost on most people these days, especially Americans.

    Great post as usual Marja!

  8. I really liked this Zen teaching...thank you so much for sharing it...

    You a peaceful day!:)


  9. Really interesting and great story,Marja!Thank you for sharing!
    Have a nice daY!

  10. Ai.... wat een wijsheid, hier kan ik zelf wel iets mee. :-) Fijn weekend Marja. Ik ben druk bezig iedereen even te laten weten dat ik mijn best doe om weer terug te komen met een commentaartje. Bedankt nog voor jouw bezoekjes op mijn weblog. :-)

  11. Oh I love it!! Great story.


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