The Lifeful Heart 

Beautiful Lesson on Forgiveness

Buddha's Story on how to meet challenging encounters.

“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”


The Buddha was sitting under a tree talking to his disciples when a man came in looking furious. Buddha had attracted a huge crowd of people who would just go to him and meditate. Including this man’s children, who he believed were wasting their time meditating when they could be engaged in business, making money, and ensuring their livelihood. With anger in his heart, this man walked to Buddha and spat in his face.

Buddha wiped it off peacefully and faced the man with an attentive smile.

Meanwhile, his disciples were furious. They could not believe someone would behave in such a disrespectful manner towards the enlightened one.

Noticing the agitation Buddha calmly turned to his disciples and said: "This man is a stranger. He didn't spit on me, because he doesn't know me. He seems to have seen or heard something about me who led him to form an idea of me. He has only spit on his idea of me. Yet, I can see that this poor man must have something else to say because spitting is a way of saying something.

Puzzled, confused, the man returned home. He could not rest or sleep, haunted by the experience. He had insulted people before, but they would either become angry and reacted or just smiled cowardly. But he had never come across such a man; Buddha's peacefulness shook his mind and heart.

The next morning the man went back and fell at Buddha’s feet. "Please Forgive me, I did not know what I was doing." - said the man.

To which Buddha replied: “Forgive? I can't forgive you because I have no grudge against you. How could I, if you have not done anything to me? The person to whom you spit upon is not here anymore. I look just like him, but I am not the same, much has happened in these past twenty-four hours!"

Buddha continued: “In fact, both the man who spit and the man on whom he spits are not here anymore. How can you be the same man, if you are now bowing at my feet? For me, the person who's right here in this moment, you are wonderful."

*Text Adapted from Dare to do Motivation's video entitled - The Time When Buddha Could Not Forgive.

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