A Beautiful Buddhist Story As Told by Osho

“It happened in Buddha’s life: he was once accidentally poisoned, it was food-poisoning, but it was an accident. A poor man had been waiting for many days to invite Buddha to his house. So one day he came early, at four o’clock in the morning, and he stood near the tree where Buddha was sleeping so that he should be the first one to invite him – and he was the first. Buddha opened his eyes and the man said, ”Accept my invitation! I have been waiting for many, many days, and for many years I have been preparing. I am a poor man and I cannot afford much, but this has been a long longing that you should come and eat at my home.”
Buddha said, ”I will come.”
Just at that moment the king of the city approached with his chariot, his ministers, and a long retinue, and he prayed to Buddha, ”Come, I invite you!”
Buddha said, ”It is difficult; my disciples will come to your palace, but I have accepted an invitation – and this man was here first. The moment I opened my eyes he was the first to invite me, so I will have to go with him.”
The king tried to persuade him that this was not good: ”This man, what can he give you to eat? His children are starving, he has no food!”
Buddha said, ”That is not the point. He has invited me and I have to go.” So Buddha went.
What had that man done? In Bihar and in other poor parts of India, people gather many things in the rainy season; whatsoever comes up and sprouts on the earth they gather. A sort of flower, the kukarmutta – a white umbrella-shaped plant that comes in the rainy season – they gather it, dry it and keep it for the whole year. That is their only vegetable – but sometimes it goes poisonous.
So that man had gathered kukarmutta for Buddha. He had dried and prepared it, but when Buddha started eating it was poisonous, it was very bitter. But that was the only vegetable the man had prepared, and if Buddha had said, ”This is bitter and I cannot eat it,” he would have been hurt because he had nothing else. So Buddha went on eating and he never mentioned that it was bitter and poisonous. And the man was very happy. Buddha came back and the poison started working. The physician came and he said, ”It is a very difficult case. The poison has entered into the bloodstream and it is impossible to do anything – Buddha will have to die!”
The first thing Buddha did was this: he gathered his disciples and told them, ”This man is not ordinary, this man is exceptional. Because the first food was given to me by my mother, and this is the last food – he is just like my mother. So honor him because this is something rare! In thousands of years a Buddha happens, and only two people will have this rare opportunity: the first is the mother, to help Buddha enter into the world; and the last is this man, to help me enter into the other world. So go and announce to the people that this man is to be worshipped – he is great!”
The disciples were very much disturbed because they were thinking of killing “the man. When everybody had left, Ananda said to Buddha, ”This is too much for us to do, to respect that man. He is a murderer, he has killed you! So don’t say this – why do you say this?”
Buddha said, ”I know you, you may kill him – that’s why I say this. Go and pay respect to him. This is a rare opportunity that happens only a few times in the world: giving Buddha his last food.”
Poison is given to him, but love comes out. This is the alchemy: he feels compassion for this man who has almost killed him.
Even when poison is given to a Buddha, only love comes out.”


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