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Why do bad things happen to good people? & how to get rid of it. Buddha's monk and snake story.

The nature of this reality is duality. Anything in extremes leads to the opposite. Extreme non-violence at the level of actions leads to violence. Extreme compassion at the level of actions leads to cruelty. These are states of being. Not, states of doing - Anamika D.

There are many people who come to us and say that people take advantage of them, and they feel used. They say they are so compassionate and everyone told them, as per the law of karma, if you do good deeds, then only good will come to you. They don't want to be angry, they don't want to show their anger. They want to talk calmly and all the time be in a calm state. But, being calm is an inner state or an outer one? Can being calm inside and being angry outside co-exist? At least when it's required and needed.

If we try to be good always, or we are afraid of taking harsh actions outside. Doesn't that show us that we are still attached to an image? Trying to be something, rather than simply being, not becoming one thing or another.

For one to meditate, both determination and surrender are required. If one only becomes determined, one becomes attached and loses the balance. If one only surrenders, they become lousy/disconnected and lose their balance. Non-doing is not, not doing anything. But it is a state of being where you are not attached and on the outside, you act according to how you are needed to act. Without getting disturbed from the inside.

This story from Buddha gave me a lot of clarity in this regard. Read it till the end to understand this better. Once upon a time, Gautam Buddha was sitting with his disciples. At the same King Ajatashatru reached there and asked Buddha,” Oh Lord, ever since I became your follower, everyone has been exploiting me”. They are taking undue advantage of my calmness. Before I became your follower everyone was afraid of me because I was very cruel.

I would not think twice to punish anyone with a death sentence. But after becoming your follower, I do not feel like punishing anyone, nor do I get angry. I have become peaceful and I look at everyone with compassion. But some people are taking undue advantage of my calm conduct; This has also put the people of my country in some kind of danger. Due to this, I am facing a lot of problems in the governance of my country. Please tell me what should I do now.

Hearing this from King Ajatashatru, Buddha tells him a story. And the story goes like this. Once there lived a venomous snake in a hole under a large tree. The tree stood in a corner of a field near a village. The snake attacked people at even the slightest provocation and many people died because of the snake's deadly bite. People were afraid to go near the tree due to their fear of the snake.

One day a monk was passing through the village and saw this beautiful tree. He decided to meditate under its shade before he moved on. Some villagers who were driving their cows back home saw the monk and warned him about the snake. They told him that this snake is so dangerous that whoever goes near him, he bites him. The monk smiled and continued to walk towards the tree. The villagers left from there.

As the monk sat down to meditate the snake came out from his hole with an angry hiss, and ready to bite.

The monk chanted a mantra looking straight into the snake's eyes and miraculously snake starts a conversation with him. The snake says to that monk, 'oh man, don’t you fear me? Don’t you know that this is my area and no one dares to come here?'

The monk said with compassion, “my dear friend what is there to fear in this?” I am not afraid of anything, I do not fear death, nor do I desire to live. Why should I fear you? In fact, you are afraid that no one should kill you, and that’s why you bite others. The snake was astonished to hear this from the monk. Till now he had met only such people who tried to kill him or ran away in fear of him. But he had never met a person who would not fear him. Hearing this, the snake wraps itself at the feet of the monk and said, ''O Lord, you are right, whatever I have done till today, I have done to save my life. If I don’t do this, people would kill me” The monk said,” you are right but my dear friend remember one thing that life will end one day, therefore it is not appropriate to kill others to save it, give up this attachment of your life and be filled with love for others.

After saying this the monk left from there. The snake was influenced by the words of the monk, and he decided that from today onwards he will not bite anyone. He gives up his angry nature and stops biting others.

But the result of it turns out to be the opposite When people saw that the snake has stopped biting others. Now they started taking undue advantage of this. Those who used to fear him and run away from him now started catching him. Now people would tease him, scratch him, and hurt him. Now the snake was always wounded and hurt. He was very sad. He was having the hardest time of his life.

One day that monk once again came to that village and sat under the same tree. Just then he saw that snake. He was very surprised to see him in such a pathetic state. He asked him, “oh my friend, how did you get in such a pathetic condition? Who has injured you? “The snake replied, ”O, blessed one, You told me to give up my angry nature and not to bite others, Ever since I left my violent nature and adopted peace. Since then people have started misbehaving with me, and now no one is afraid of me, people come, hurt me and leave me in a miserable condition. life has become very difficult for me. Hearing this from the snake, the monk said,” My dear Friend, It seems that you have misinterpreted my sermon.” I told you not to bite others unnecessarily, but I did not stop you from hissing for your self-defense.

After telling this story to king Ajatshatru Buddha asked him,” King, what have you understood from this story?” Are you taking my sermon in the wrong way as that snake did? I told you to give up your cruel nature, but not to give up the duty of the king, You have to fulfill your duty to be a king by being tough from the outside. So that you can discipline everyone in your kingdom. You have to maintain the process of justice in your state by being tough. o that people can live peacefully in your kingdom and they don’t feel any kind of insecurity. Therefore you have to rule like a monk from the inside and like a king from the outside.

Moral: If we see the world around us we will find that this often happens to good people. People often try to take undue advantage of their goodness. And because of this, those who are good, have to face many difficulties in their life. Doing good deeds is not a problem, but not to the extent that people start taking advantage of you. One needs to learn how to remain undisturbed from the inside, yet act outside in a way where people don't take you for granted. If you have to get angry to keep things in discipline, then you should do it. You can do it without disturbing your inner peace of mind. An actor is one who is acting to be angry in a play but from inside he is not angry. Because he knows that it is just a part of the play. Similarly, you have to behave smartly in this world to keep things in control. This is the art of doing non-doing. This is the art of being.

Where, nothing is done, yet nothing remains undone. This is the paradox of Wu Wei. It doesn’t mean not acting, it means ‘effortless action’ or ‘actionless action’.

It means being at peace while engaged in the most frenetic tasks so that one can carry these out with maximum skill and efficiency. It means being one with what we are doing, in a state of profound concentration and flow. There is a lot of activity happening outside, yet nothing is disturbed inside.

Thanks for reading! Love, Anamika


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