I was reading about some thing called ‘Lojong’ in Tibetan Buddhism (which involves refining and purifying one’s intent and way of thinking through a set of proverbs) when I came across this short story about a teacher called Atisha, the originator of this concept. This happened when Atisha was planning to move to Tibet to teach there; the story is reproduced below from Wikipedia:
A story is told of Atisha that when he heard that the inhabitants of Tibet were very pleasant and easy to get along with, instead of being delighted, he was concerned that he would not have enough negative emotion to work with in his Lojong practice. So he brought along his ill-tempered Bengali servant-boy, who would criticize him incessantly and was awful to spend time with. Tibetan teachers then like to joke that when Atisha arrived in Tibet, he realized that there was no need after all.
Though the story brought out an instant smile, the depth was touching. How many people really think of the possibility of negativity around for his/own self development?
This reminded me of an article I read long ago. This was written by a person called Siddique (a film director from our state) about a person called Father Abel, the founder of an institution called Cochin Kalabhavan (this is group of performing artists with lots of emphasis on humor). Siddique recalled this incident about Father Abel, when the latter passed away .
When Siddique was a small boy, he along with his friends used to play football in a ground adjacent to the church. Father Abel used to walk to the church from his residence and back, along the road next to the ground. The children used to make fun of him, call him names and tease him, whenever he walked past. But he would never respond and would walk away walk away calmly as if nothing happened. Many years later, Siddique joined Cochin Kalabhavan as an artist and during a conversation asked Father Abel why he refused to react when the children made fun of him. Father replied with a smile: “ When we were in Rome for the priesthood training, people are employed to stand on roadside to insult us. This was done to increase patience and tolerance. When you boys were giving me that training free of cost, why should I get angry at all?”
In the corporate world, I have heard the ‘whether the glass is half empty or half full’ stuff more than a dozen times, and whenever people use that to talk of attitude, you could tell how empty the statements were. But to practice it to the extend where everything is simply a means to help you on the path, needs something more profound.
May be that’s why god need to exist…