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Metaphors for NLP & Teaching

72. Buddha and the Heckler

Buddha was giving a talk one day underneath a tree in front of a group of people. Many of the people were already believers, several were interested in hearing what he said with an open mind, but there was one man there who had already made up his mind that he was right and that Buddha was wrong.

All during the Buddha’s talk, the man interrupted and heckled rudely. The Buddha simply responded to each interruption calmly and quietly and despite himself, the man began to become impressed by the Buddha’s words and attitude.

After the talk, he went up to Buddha and congratulated him on a good talk. Then he asked,

“Why didn’t you respond to my heckling – usually people get very upset or start arguing back at me.”

Buddha smiled at him and asked the man a question in return.

“When a person offers you a gift and you refuse that gift, who does that gift now belong to?”
“It belongs to the other person.”
“That’s right,” said Buddha. “And so I left your gift with you to enjoy as you see fit.”

Main Uses: : Values, There is no failure, only feedback, Behavioural Flexibility
Also Useful For:
Submitted By: Brian Cullen
Source: Unknown
Notes: I heard this story somewhere many years ago and occasionally use it to help people remember that the map is not the territory. It is how we respond to events, and not the event itself, that is really meaningful.

Index of Metaphors

1 thought on “Metaphors for NLP & Teaching

  1. Sarah

    Hello Dr. Cullen,

    What a great list of metaphors! Thank you for creating this great resource for people to use freely. I was wondering if there would be any way to have each metaphor page set up with a link that says "printable version", or something similar, allowing for easy printing of a particular metaphor?

    Thanks again for setting this up. It is a really useful resource not only for me, but for my students as well.

    All the best to you,

    SJ Marubay

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