There once lived a Brahmin whose wife was a devoted follower of the Buddha. At first, he was indulgent towards her admiration. As her faith in the Buddha increased, the husband began to feel jealous.
One day, he went to meet the Buddha with a plan to ask him a question which he thought the Buddha would be incapable of answering. That way, he thought, his wife’s reverence for the Buddha would diminish.
Face-to-face with the Buddha, he asked, “What is it that must be killed so that we may be able to live in happiness and peace?”
The Buddha replied: “To live thus, we have to kill anger, for it is anger that destroys happiness and peace.”
The Buddha’s words so inspired the husband that not only did his anger melt away, but he decided to join the order of monks. Eventually, he became an arahant or enlightened being.
His younger brother, on hearing about this transformation, became furious. He confronted the Buddha with a torrent of abuse. The Buddha sat quietly until he had finished. Then he asked the agitated man: “If you served food to a guest at your home and the guest went away without eating anything, to whom would the food belong?”
The Brahmin, caught unawares, replied: “To me, I suppose.”
Said the Buddha calmly: “Like the guest, I too do not accept your insults, so they belong to you.”
The Brahmin was left speechless. Like his brother, he realized his folly and joined the monkhood.
The other monks who had witnessed this could not contain their admiration for the Buddha’s ability to reveal the path of Dharma even to those who inflicted abuse upon him. The Buddha’s simple reply to them was:
“I do not return one wrong with another…”