In Japan, in a village near the capital city, there lived an old samurai. One day when he was conducting a class for his students, one young warrior, who was famous for his rudeness and cruelty, approached the samurai. His favorite technique was provocation: he would make his opponent so indignant that, blinded by rage, he would accept the former’s challenge of a fight, and would then end up making a series of mistakes and ultimately lose.
Sure enough, the young warrior began to insult the old man: he threw stones at him, he spat at him and called him every name you can think of. But the old man remained calm and simply continued with the lesson. At the end of the day, the tired and irritated young warrior set off home.
The samurai’s students were amazed that the old man withstood so many offensive insults, and asked him:
“Why did you not accept his challenge of a fight? Surely you weren’t afraid of defeat?”
And the old samurai replied:
“If someone comes to you with a gift and you refuse to accept it, who does the gift belong to?”
“It’s former owner,” said one of the students.
“The same applies to envy, hatred and rude words. As long as you do not accept them, they belong to the person who carried them in their own mind in the first place.”