Lessons from Life: A Compassionate Heart is the Noblest in the World

Guan Ming

PureInsight | November 7, 2005

[PureInsight.org] During my childhood I had always wanted to be a noble person. However, I didn't understand the meaning of being "noble." I thought that if a person didn't do bad things, and only do good things, then he would be a noble person. As I grew up, I gradually realized that being noble is not only manifested by how many good things one has done in the world. It is also manifested in how one does not get bothered by the wickedness of others and does not hold hatred in his heart.

A long time ago, there was a very rich merchant. When he became old, he decided to pass his wealth on to the next generation. He made his three sons to travel the world to conduct business. Before his children left, he told them, "One year from now you will return here and tell me the noblest thing you have done in this year. I don't want to divide up my fortune, because only when the whole fortune is together can wealth be preserved. A year from now on, the son who has done the noblest deed will receive my entire fortune."

A year later, one after another, the three sons returned home. The oldest spoke first, "In my travels I met a stranger. He trusted me a lot and gave me a bag of gold coins to take care of. Afterwards he sadly passed away. I didn't touch the bag of gold and gave it to his family." His father evaluated him, "Child, you've done well. However honesty is a moral character a person should already have. It cannot be considered a noble deed." The second son continued, "I came to a poor village in my travels. I saw a child had unfortunately fallen into the river and was drowning. I immediately jumped off my horse and jumped into the river. With total disregard of my own life I rescued the boy." His father acclaimed, "Child, you are really something! However, saving a person when he is in danger is a duty you should take on. This also cannot be claimed as noble." The third son hesitated a bit and said, "I have an enemy. He tried to bring harm to me using every possible way. Many times I almost died at his hand. During my travels, one night I rode my horse and reached the edge of a cliff. I discovered that my enemy was sleeping under a tree on the edge of the cliff. With a light kick I could kick him off the cliff. However, I didn't do it. I woke him up and told him to continue on his way. In reality this isn't that big of a deal…" His father enthusiastically replied, "My son, to help your own enemy is noble and holy. You have done it. Come, my entire business and estate all belong to you."

Indeed, only doing good deeds can entitle one to being called a good person, but it cannot count as doing the noblest deeds in the world. Using virtue to heal anger, not using evil against evil, and using benevolence to correct the enemy, that is the noblest deed in the world!

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/7/11/33051.html

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