Lessons from Life: Respect Stems from High Morality

Guan Ming

PureInsight | October 31, 2005

[PureInsight.org] The respect that one person feels toward another person is usually based on the other person's character, not on his money, wealth or power. One cannot use money to buy respect from others. Many profiteers and corrupt officials think that they would have everything if they had the money and power. Many of them even make a show of their wealth or power ignorantly and look down upon poor people. If they behave in such a way, they won't be able to obtain true acceptance and respect from other people, because true respect is earned when one is touched by the high morality and character of another person.

Once upon a time in ancient times, there was a profiteer who was very rich. However, he couldn't obtain the respect from others, which made him feel very bad. One day, when he took a walk on the street, he saw a beggar whose clothes were tattered. In order to obtain respect from people, he threw a sparkling gold coin into the beggar's bowl. To his surprise, the beggar even didn't give him a look, the profiteer couldn't help becoming angry, "Are you blind? Didn't you see what I gave you?" The beggar still didn't look at him, and said, "It's your choice to give me a gold coin. You may take it back if you are not happy." The rich man got very angry. He threw another ten gold coins into the beggar's bowl, but the beggar still didn't pay any attention to him. The rich man got so mad that he almost jumped up. "If I gave you ten more gold coins, would you show some respect to me?" The beggar answered in a very laid back manner, "It's your business if you have money, but it's my own business if I choose to respect you or not, you cannot make me feel that way." The rich man then said, "If I gave you half of my money, would you respect me then?" The beggar gave him a dirty look and said, "If you were to give me half of your money, I would be as rich as you, wouldn't I? If so, why would I need to respect you?" Finally, the rich man said, while gnashing his teeth, "If I gave you all of my property, you would have to respect me, right?" The beggar laughed heartily and said, "If you were to give me all your property, you would become a beggar and I would become a rich person. In that case, why would I respect you?"

Germany philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804 A.D.) said, "Two things fill the mind with wonder and reverence: the star-lit heavens above me, and the moral law within me." The statement indicates the position that gods and morality are held in people's heart, and their importance in human's life. Money can't buy everything. One cannot bring it along at birth or take it with one after death. You may use money to buy a house, but not a family; you may use it buy a bed, but not a good night's sleep; you may buy books, but not knowledge; you can buy medicine, but not health; you can buy a clock, but not time; you can buy a position, but not respect from others. Even though one may enjoy high social status, honor, wealth and many talents, if one doesn't have high morality, he will eventually be the same as that rich man in the story, one who cannot obtain the respect of people.

No matter whether a person is rich or poor, his charm is truly based upon his high morality and character, which has nothing to do with money and power. A person who has high morality has a great breadth of mind. He always treats others with compassion, put other people first in a selfless manner, and gives of himself to society. People enjoy being close to such a person, and naturally have high respect for him. So if one wants to obtain the respect of others, he must be generous and tolerant, open and aboveboard, and possess a magnificent heart.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/8/4/33315.html

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