A man once came and spat on Buddha’s face.

His disciples were enraged.

Red hot with anger, Ananda said, “This is too much!

Permit me to show this man what he’s done!’

But Buddha simply wiped his face and said, “Thank you, sir. You created a context in which I could see whether I can still be angry or not. And I’m not, and I’m tremendously happy. You also created a context for Ananda. Now, he can see that he can still be angry. Many thanks, we are grateful! Whenever you can have the urge to spit on someone, you can come to us.”

This was such a shock to the man that he couldn’t believe his ears!

He’d expected to anger Buddha, and failed.

He couldn’t sleep the entire night.

Tossed and turned.

The idea haunted him --- his spitting on Buddha remaining as calm as he’d been earlier, as if nothing had happened, wiping his face and thanking him...

He remembered the incident again and again.

That face.

That calm and quiet face, those compassionate eyes.

And when Buddha had said thank you, it had not been just a formality, he’d been really grateful with his entire being.

So cool, so loving, so compassionate.

The man couldn’t forgive himself.

What had he done? Spitting on a man like Buddha!

Early the next morning, he rushed back, fell down at Buddha’s feet and said, “Forgive me, sir. I couldn’t sleep the whole night.”

Buddha said “Forget it. There is no need to beg forgiveness for something that’s already passed.”

Buddha was sitting on the bank of the Ganges.

He said to the man, “Look, each moment so much water is flowing down! I am not the same which was yesterday. Twenty-four hours have passed… Why are you still carrying something that no longer exists? Forget it.”

Then Buddha added “And I cannot forgive you because I wasn’t angry with you in the first place. If I had been angry with you in the first place I would have forgiven. If you really need forgiveness, ask Ananda. Fall at his feet—he will enjoy it!”