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Buddha and the Angry Villagers - Himalayan Footsteps

I just came across a nice story about a Buddhist view on dealing with verbal abuse and anger, that I would like to share with you:

It happened that one day, when Buddha was teaching in a village, a crowd of people came towards him and hurled abuses at him. Confronted with the angry words, Buddha remained calm and did not react at all, which made the crowd even more angry, and they abused him even more.

When they couldn’t think of more insults and became quieter Buddha turned to them and said: “You must love me very much, that you have left your work and come running to talk to me. Why otherwise would you get unnecessarily troubled with my life and problems?”

He turned to the people he was teaching and said to them and the angry crowd: “Some days ago I passed through a village where people presented me with sweets. As I don’t eat sweets, I did not accept these presents, so what do you think the villagers did with them?”

Someone replied: “They shared them amongst themselves.”

Buddha said: “That is correct. I did not accept their gift, so it belonged to them and they shared the sweets. So what are you going to do with your anger and abuses? I have not accepted them, as I don’t accept useless things. It is up to you to insult me – but so it is up to me not to accept the insults, as I don’t like to get burdened unnecessarily. By our response to abuse we can choose to make it ours or not, we can choose who owns and keeps the bad feelings.”