Angry Buddha – A Zen Buddhist Spiritual Story
“When I make Pa angry, he growls at me,” Little Hosh had big tears in his eyes. “When he makes me angry, nobody growls at him.”
“Anger is punishment in itself,” whispered Isha as she hugged him silently. “We are punished enough by our own anger.”
“It’s so unfair,” Hosh wasn’t convinced.
“Do you think he feels happy when he has growled at you?” she asked. “He suffers. And sometimes, you can also be so annoying you can upset Buddh Amitabh (बुद्ध अमिताभ).”
“Who is Buddha Amitabha?” asked Hosh.
“Amitabh, in Sanskrit means Infinite Light (अमित आभा – Amit Abha).”
“Amita Buddh is probably the best known Buddhas in many Asian countries. He is also called Amitayus (अमित आयुस, also meaning Infinite Life in Sanskrit), Amida (Japanese) or Emituo Fo (Chinese).”
“He is considered to be a saviour and one of the five ‘self-born’ buddhas (dhyani-buddhas, ध्यानी बुद्ध) who are said to have existed eternally.”
“According to Mahayana Buddhism, he appeared as the historical Gautam Buddh (गौतम बुद्ध, Gotama) and as the bodhisattva (buddha-to-be) Avalokiteshvar (अवलोकितेश्वर).”
“In his book Being Peace, Thay tells the story of a woman who practiced reciting Buddh Amitabh’s name daily for 10 minutes to awaken the Buddha in her and get peace. All of us have the same potential as Buddhas to awaken, and some people chant to touch the Buddh in themselves.”
“They believe that as one chants and becomes absorbed in the sound of the name, worries and distractions gradually fade and are replaced by serenity and joy. Thay however, advocates mindfulness as the way.”
“Who is Thay?” asked Hosh.
“Thich Nhat Hanh is a famous Vietnamese Zen master, affectionately called Thay. Thay also means Teacher or Master in Vietnamese. He is over 70 years old and is probably the second most influential Buddhist monk living on earth at the moment.”
“Who’s the first?” asked Hosh.
“Dalai Lama,” replied Isha.
Hosh nodded knowingly. He had heard of Dalai Lama from his father.
“Thay was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Isha continued, “the year your father was born. He is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Miracle of Mindfulness.”
“Miss Nuyen, Thay writes, started her daily practice by lighting incense, hitting a little bell and then chanting ‘Namo Amitabh Buddh’ (नमो अमिताभ बुद्ध) for 10 minutes.”
“Although she had been doing this practice for over 10 years, she was still quite mean and shouted at people all the time.”
“A friend wanted to teach her a lesson. So one day, just as she began her recitation, he came to her door and called out: ‘Miss Nuyen’.”
“As this was the time for her practice and she didn’t want it interrupted, she ignored it and continued her chanting: ‘Namo Amitabh Buddh, Namo Amitabh Buddh’.”
“But this visitor was insistent. He called out to her again from outside her door, ‘Miss Nuyen. Miss Nuyen!’.”
“A little annoyed, she raised her voice so he could hear her loud and clear: ‘Namo Amitabh Buddh, Namo Amitabh Buddh’.”
“To her frustration, he raised his voice too so she could hear him loud and clear: ‘Miss Nuyen. Miss Nuyen!’.”
‘This is the time for peace and prayer,’ she said to herself, ‘not anger. Let him wait until I’m finished.’
“Namo Amitabh Buddh,” she carried on.
The visitor didn’t appear to be in any mood for waiting. He persisted: “Miss Nuyen. Miss Nuyen!”
Miss Nuyen started bubbling over with anger, but years of ritualistic practice held her down.
“Namo Amitabh Buddh, Namo Amitabh Buddh…” she continued, trying to hurry through the 10 minutes frantically.
“Miss Nuyen. Miss Nuyen!” came the hurried counter chant from outside.
As this went on and on, she became more and more oppressive. She struggled against it, severely tempted to stop her recitation, and go and give him a piece of her mind.
“NAMO AMITABH BUDDH, NAMO AMITABH BUDDH…” she shouted, trying to drown out his cries.
“MISS NUYEN. MISS NUYEN!” The man shouted back from outside.
Then she could stand it no more. She jumped up, slammed her door open, ran to the front gate and yelled at him, “Why do you have to behave like that? I was doing my practice and you kept shouting my name over and over!”
The friend smiled at her and said, “I just called your name for 10 minutes and you were so angry. You have been calling Amitabh Buddh’s name for over 10 years. Just imagine how angry he must be by now!”
The author of this story is unknown and greatly appreciated!