Let Your Life Bask in the Brilliance of Compassion

Xiao Mei

PureInsight | August 11, 2003

[PureInsight.org] I met Jason shortly after I started to work for this chaotic laboratory, which is run by a married couple. The laboratory is nicknamed the “husband and wife store.” I am the only full-time employee here. Jason came to work here as an intern, helping with scientific research before he lands a fellowship as a medical doctor. He hopes that the research experiences here will help him build a foundation for his future career as a physician and professor.

My boss is a reticent man. If you are doing a marvelous job, you might get lucky and get as much as an “OK” out of him. But when he is only slightly displeased with your work, he won’t let it go with just a “not OK” response. It is truly a good opportunity for me to raise my xinxing (mind intent). But to say so is one thing; to do so is another. The job here does not challenge me. I can even say that I am highly proficient at my job. Hence, in my spare time, I would also voluntarily tidy up the cluttered laboratory. My boss seemed to be completely blind to my contribution and my extra work. He even continued to nitpick, his wife began to nitpick as well, and even Jason started to nitpick on me. Facing their constant nitpicking without any valid reason, I still maintained a tranquil heart, increased the capacity of my tolerance, and worked even harder so that everyone would acknowledge the quality of my work.

Once, while I was in a hurry to finish a batch of experiments, Jason suddenly asked me to immediately put the organic solvent into the ventilating cabinet. His attitude was extremely rude and curt. At that moment I was concentrating on adding some reagent into the test tubes and could not be interrupted. I told him, “in a moment.” As though provoked by my procrastination to comply with his request, Jason started to yell at me angrily. I felt that he was extremely rude, but forced myself to contain my temper and said to him firmly, “Please do not disturb me.” Looking extremely insulted, Jason did not know how to vent his anger right away. After a while he approached me and said a couple of horrible things to my face. He placed his face so close to me that I felt as if I was watching a close-up shot in a movie. I did not lose my temper; but I could hardly keep my hand that was holding the test tube stable. I stopped, looked into his eyes and said, “Good bye. See you tomorrow!” Jason left, utterly flustered and exasperated.

Why did Jason treat me like this? Why did my two bosses treat me like this? Was I frivolous in my work? Absolutely not! Besides the assigned experiments, I also volunteered to do many other miscellaneous jobs at the laboratory. I did everything with perfection. Contrary to my expectations, everyone would point their finger at me when they could not locate any of the laboratory supplies. Those miscellaneous tasks that weren’t in my job description had gradually become my official duties. I asked myself, “Was it wrong to work like a beaver? Why was I encumbered with so many tribulations? What did I do wrong? Perhaps I should act a bit tougher and rectify this unhealthy environment.”

I had another conflict with Jason. He was just as arrogant and rampant as last time, but this time I confronted him and said, “Jason, as an American, you should know how to treat others with respect. Do not be too self-centered.” My calm and dignified attitude made him hang his head with shame. I thought that I had finally corrected this unhealthy environment and taught him that a cultivator is not equal to a common person, to be bullied.

Afterwards, I shared this incident with a good friend. She said, “What you did was to bring up the wicked part of your colleague instead of responding to him with your compassion. He will probably find chances to retaliate.” Indeed, a few days later, my boss scolded me for something. I knew there must be a deeper reason for that. This time, I really searched within myself and discovered something. My boss and colleague knew of my diligence and excellent work habits. I had unconsciously sought for their approval and acknowledgement. As a practitioner, I had tried to harbor my desire of pursuit. As a cultivator, I should conduct myself according to the standards of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, and not how I can best win the approval of other people. When doing a good deed, a practitioner doesn’t do so to win the praise of others, but work for the benefits of others and elevate his xinxing (or mind nature) through his work environment. After I had discovered my attachment and eliminated my pursuit of approval, my speech and actions have naturally improved. Thereafter, all of my efforts at work became more naturally altruistic. Then I noticed Jason had also changed.

Jason stopped nitpicking at me. Occasionally, he would even volunteer to share common tasks sometimes. In one instance, Jason even offered to mix reagents for me. I thanked him immensely for what he did for me but he said, “That was nothing. You have also helped me do a lot of things!” I truly felt that my mentality and behavior had imperceptibly and unobtrusively influenced and changed the environment.

A year had gone by in a flash. Jason was about to leave for another place to become a medical doctor. Originally I had wanted to host an evening farewell party for him at my home, but unfortunately all of us were too busy to have time for the party. I then decided to cook him a delicious Chinese meal by myself.

On his last day at the laboratory, I presented Jason with a lunch box in lieu of a farewell dinner. I opened the box of food and explained every dish to him. “This is called Chinese Wonton, very similar to the dumplings we had last time, but you need to heat them up in a soup. When you get home, boil these Wontons with two bowls of water and the seasoning in this box. And this one is the oyster dish that you like. I prepared the oysters according to a Chinese recipe, so I am sure you will like it.” After I finished explaining these dishes to him, I raised my head to his eyes, red and moist with tears. It was obvious he was very touched. “Mei, you are too kind. You are really too kind,” he said.

The man in front of me right now was a completely different Jason than the Jason I had known before. Jason now looked like a child, looking ashamed and without any of the belligerence and aggressiveness that he once displayed. I was very happy for him that he had improved. Next he said to me, “Mei, I really do not know how you have put up with the working environment here. They (referring to the boss and his wife) have been impossible to work with.” I smiled and said, “That is nothing. If someone is unreasonable toward me, I don’t think he does it purposely. Everybody has a different temperament. I will try my best to forgive all such people.”

That day, I walked Jason downstairs to see him off. He said to me: “The boss has not even come to work today.” I knew he felt hurt, but I also knew that I ought to harmonize everything. So I explained, “The boss had to leave town today. Everyone has been very busy these days.” We walked downstairs and bid each other farewell. While watching this young American leave, I silently said, “Goodbye, Jason! Thank you for giving me a chance to understand the power of compassion!”

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/7/17/22562.html

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