PureInsight | July 14, 2003
[PureInsight.org] I have often wondered why some people are always generous, while others are not. I have considered it from various angles, such as personality, gender, experience, and education, but have found no correlations. One day, I realized that one's generosity is related to one's compassion or selfishness. If you are a kind person, even if you do not hold power, wealth, or fame you have much to give to others. But if you are a selfish individual, even if you own much, you have little to give and remain very possessive. Like the saying goes, "If one considers not himself, heaven and earth are wide; if one is filled with selfishness, one walks with a heavy burden."
To be compassionate is to give and to sow seeds, and it is considered generosity. It includes thinking first of others' worries before one's own worries, and to be glad when others rejoice. Someone with great compassion would make it his duty to bring happiness to other people. He encompasses everything. He accepts pain as joy, stands tall, and brings happiness to those in his present lifetime and for those in lifetimes to come hereafter.
When the compassionate one considers others' miseries, he is allowing other people to occupy his own space. The more he considers others, the greater he brings them in. Therefore, for the compassionate, one's road widens as he walks this path, and then he becomes one with heaven and earth.
The selfish one's motives are to take and hold. He covets what belongs to others. He hurts the public for his own good. He shifts his own problems onto others, and his desires are never fully fulfilled. The selfish individual's joy is in others' pain, and he grieves when others rejoice. He can neither eat nor sleep satisfied. Even in dreams he worries of losses to his profits and his dreams are filled with quarrels. He takes gratification in little gains that he took, and he feels pain in little things that he lost. He hurts mentally and physically, and he has no future.
A selfish individual always thinks about himself. He refuses his space for others, and takes others' space. But that shrinks his own space. His road narrows and his space becomes smaller as he walks in it. Finally, he loses all space for himself.
Like the old Chinese saying goes, "If you take a step backward, the sky will open up for you." This step is like a battle between compassion and selfishness. Compassion takes a step back, and selfishness takes a step forward. When you take a step back, it seems like you are losing ground, but in fact you are offering ground for others and gaining a space of your own, therefore you feel that the sky is opening up. If you take a step forward, it seems like you are gaining ground, but in fact you are taking others' space and shrinking your own space. Therefore you will feel gloomy and dark.
Compassion and selfishness are like heaven and hell for the mind. To be compassionate or selfish is a decision an individual makes, and it determines one's future. Decide on compassion, and you have chosen heaven! Decide on selfishness, and you have chosen hell!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/6/27/22257.html