With permission from the monastery Abbott, a monk borrowed an old boat and rowed out into the middle of a lake for his afternoon meditation session. It was a truly peaceful place to meditate as the boat gently floated.
After more than an hour of undisturbed silence, he felt the bump of another boat bang against his. With eyes still closed, he could feel anger swelling within himself at the careless boatman who didn’t prevent the lake collision.
Upon opening his eyes, all he saw was an empty boat which he realized had obviously become untied from the dock and merely drifted out into the lake bumping up against his. Immediately, the monk experience a flash of enlightenment, one which would serve him well for the rest of his life. “The anger is within me,” he thought to himself. “All anger needs is a bump from the outside to be triggered and provoked out of me.”
From that moment on, whenever another person irritated him and he could feel even the slightest anger rising, he gently reminded himself: “The other person is an empty, floating boat. The anger is within me.”