Don’t Be a Pain in
Someone elses Ass!


day at a gathering where Gautama was expounding the Dharma,
this man stood up in the gathering and began to criticize
Gautama for having people around him who were so attached to
him, and on and on and on, just venting anger.

Gautama listened to this for awhile,
and then he said, “Excuse me for a moment. What if you gave
somebody a gift and the person refused it. To whom would the
gift belong?”

The guy said, “It would still belong
to me. If the person didn’t take it, it would still be

Gautama said, “Well, so it is with
anger. You are delivering a great deal of anger to me. You
are trying to make a gift to me of your anger, and I am
refusing it. So whose is it? You are just poisoning



“You are
suffering many things in your life

and others are
suffering you!”

Adi Da


“I remember talking to some people
the other day about the generation of my parents, the
generation who grew up early in the twentieth century, and
who reflected previous generations in the nineteenth
century. The social norm ingrained in you as you grew up,
and expected of you very explicitly as you moved toward
adulthood in that generation, was that you did not bother
others with your problems. You were even reticent about

When somebody asked you, “How are
you doing?” you said, “I’m fine. How are you?” If you were
suffering, in pain, in poverty, you exhibited the signs of
being able to handle it, of not needing charity, of not
needing a shoulder to cry on. You presented a positive face.
The limitation of that social norm is that it tends to
rigidify people and limit intimacy and even growth, but it
has a certain social value. It tends to promote a balance in
society in the contacts among people.

But after the first quarter of the
twentieth century, as you move into my generation and your
generation, a totally different norm has developed that is
the precise opposite. Now the norm is to bother everybody
with your problems at every possible opportunity, to
dramatize your problems, explicitly express every last
detail of your suffering, as if you are the only one who is

You are to be analyzed by everybody,
draw everybody into your case, infect your children with it,
infect your spouse, your family, your friends with it,
infect society with it, create a revolution every time you
open your mouth.

Everybody is poisoning everybody
else and fundamentally poisoning themselves through this new
social norm. The old norm is still operative – there is a
kind of general expectation that everybody is supposed to
calm down and behave – but the expectation does not cut very
deep. Basically, everybody is dramatizing and being
unstable. That is the new norm. Be adolescent forever. To be
a pain in the ass is how you stay young and energetic – keep
kicking ass, keep aggravating people, stay angry, stay
lustful, stay as vital as possible, and stay young. To live
this way is even felt to contribute to survival and

Social norms are thought to
contribute to survival, but clearly this social norm is a
counter-survival technique. It poisons you and it poisons
everybody who takes you seriously.”