Lord Buddha had a devotee who was also his cousin. He was a brilliant man, and very devoted. In the beginning, Buddha’s sangha or communion was quite small, but in time it became bigger. So, the devotees close to Buddha became more possessive, and his cousin felt that he owned Buddha, but Buddha can’t be owned by anybody. You cannot say you own the ocean. So, because of this there were some misunderstandings and this cousin turned against Buddha.
When some people have their own opinions or some negativity, there are a few more people who will join them. This cousin of Buddha and a few people become a group, and one day when Buddha was giving a sermon, he went up the hill pushed a boulder from there towards Buddha. The boulder stopped just few centimeters away from Buddha, otherwise it would have killed him.
The other loyal disciples got so angry and upset. They said, “We have to punish him and teach him a lesson”, but Buddha stopped them and just smiled. He said, “It is karma. You don’t do anything. We will not react”.
Once, in the 90’s, I was in Washington D.C. I was giving a talk and there were 300 hundred people there. Suddenly, one tall hefty man came from the back to attack me. He said, “This is Satan and devilish”.
Everyone froze to their seats because nobody knew what to do. He could have lifted me in one hand, he was so big! I just looked into his eyes and said, “Wait!” It is not yet time for me to go. I have come here to do some work, let me complete my work. I didn’t tell him this, I just said, “Wait”, but in my mind I said, “I am not ready to go”. And then that guy looked at me and sat down in front of me and started crying. He came with so much anger and anguish, but then he just sat down and tears flowed from his eyes. To make the story short, he then joined a course and everything changed for him.
Why I am saying this is, every phenomenon that happens in and around us happens due to some karma. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that if something is fatalistic, you simply accept that everything is karma and you can’t do anything about it. No, that is a wrong understanding of karma. Karma is a phenomenon, and you have the power to change it in the future because life is a combination of freewill and destiny.
Your height is your destiny but your weight is your freewill. If you weigh 100 kilos, you can’t say, “Well this is my fate”. No, get onto the treadmill and do some exercise. When a phenomenon happens and you react, then the cycle keeps going on. Don’t react but act.
When someone pushed the boulder at Buddha, what the people did was they reacted, but Buddha asked them not to react and then he smiled, that is an action. When someone is against you, if you show love and compassion and if you turn the other cheek when they hit you on one cheek then they cannot hit you back. That is a bigger weapon! The principle of non-violence is also an action, a more intelligent and wise action, and not just a reaction.