Buddha was passing through a village and the people came and they insulted him. They used all the four-letter words that they knew. Buddha stood there, listened silently, very attentively, and then said, ‘Thank you for coming to me, but I am in a hurry. I have to reach the next village, people will be waiting for me there. I cannot devote more time to you today, but tomorrow coming back I will have more time. You can gather again, and tomorrow if something is left that you wanted to say and have not been able to, you can say it. But today, please excuse me.’
Those people could not believe their ears: this man has remained utterly unaffected, undistracted. One of them asked, ‘Have you not heard us? We have been abusing you like anything, and you have not even answered!’
Buddha said, ‘If you wanted an answer, then you have come too late. You should have come ten years ago, then I would have answered you. But for these ten years I have stopped being manipulated by others. I am no longer a slave, I am my own master. I act according to myself, not according to anybody else. I act according to my inner need. You cannot force me to do anything. It’s perfectly good: you wanted to abuse me, you abused me! Feel fulfilled. You have done your work perfectly well. But as far as I am concerned, I don’t take your insults, and unless I take them, they are meaningless.’
When somebody insults you, you have to become a receiver, you have to accept what he says; only then can you react. But if you don’t accept, if you simply remain detached, if you keep the distance, if you remain cool, what can he do?
Buddha said, ‘Somebody can throw a burning torch into the river. It will remain alight till it reaches the river. The moment it falls into the river, all fire is gone; the river cools it. I have become a river. You throw abuses at me. They are fire when you throw them, but the moment they reach me, in my coolness, their fire is lost. They no longer hurt. You throw thorns, falling in my silence they become flowers. I act out of my own intrinsic nature.’
Source: The Book of Understanding by Osho