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Responding to Anger with Love: A Lesson from Rinzai

Renzai used to receive people at his place. One day, a man came to see him. The man was not in a good mood, and because of this, when he entered the room, he pushed and slammed the door very hard. Then, he removed his shoes and threw them away. As soon as he lifted his foot to enter, Rinzai said, "Wait, don't enter."

The man asked why. Rinzai replied, "First, go and ask for forgiveness from the door and from your shoes." The man said, "What are you talking about? I heard these things and people are mad, but I did not believe it. But now it seems true. What nonsense are you talking about? Why should I ask for forgiveness from the door and shoes? It looks so embarrassing."

Rinzai replied, "You get out right now and never come again. If you can be angry at shoes, then why can't you ask for forgiveness? When you are angry, you never thought it was so foolish to be angry with shoes. If you can relate to anger, then why not with love? When you slammed the door with such anger, you related to the door wrongly, immorally. That door has not done anything wrong to you. If you can slam the door with anger, then why can't you ask for forgiveness from the door? The relationship is a relationship. Anger is also a relationship. If you can't apologize, then don't come in."


Coming into contact with Rinzai's calm nature, the man also became calm, and he understood the logic of it. He understood that if you can be angry, then why can't you be forgiving? The man went and touched the door. Tears started to flow from his eyes, and he could not hold back his tears. Then, he bowed onto his own shoes, and a great change happened in him. At that moment, he turned and came towards Rinzai.


Rinzai took him in his arms and embraced him. If we see this in our lives, we will find that we may not be able to ignore what is happening, but what is important is how we respond to the situation. We always have a choice in how we respond. We can either react out of anger, or we can overcome and replace the anger with love.


There is plenty of anger and violence in the world. In every town, every village, and every home, one can find an abundance of anger. To respond to this anger with more anger will only fuel the flames. We do not put out a fire by fanning the flames. We have to smother the fire. Similarly, we do not put out the fire of anger by adding more fire to it. We smother the fire of anger with love and forgiveness.

It takes a lot of energy to respond in anger, and the response tends to deplete us and drain us. But if we use our energy to respond lovingly, we will not only bring harmony to the situation but we will also be energized by that love. When we act lovingly, we open the door for the Almighty's love to flow through us. We are energized and boosted by this divine love.


Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a situation where anger is taking place, try to respond with love instead of anger. You will find that responding with love will have a great effect both on the situation and on your own well-being. Let us bring harmony and peace to the world. Let us overcome violence with love. And in doing so, we will find that it will not be long before our environment, our community, and our society will become a haven of peace in this world.

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