Cultivate Tolerance First and Noble Character Comes Naturally

Guan Ming

PureInsight | April 23, 2006

[] The good
people on earth like to talk about cultivation and conservation of
virtue.  Cultivators often talk about how to cultivate their moral
characters.  Moral character has a lot to do with tolerance. When
one cultivates tolerance, one will acquire noble character. If one does
not fight back when beaten or sworn at, one's moral character has been
elevated quite high. People's characters can reach such a level only
through cultivation.

In ancient times, there was a young man with a hot temper, and he went
to the Great Virtue Temple to see monk Yi Xiu.  The minute he
walked into the temple, he told monk Yi Xiu, "Master, I have made up my
mind that from now on I will not fight with anyone, verbally or
physically. Even if someone spits in my face, I will wipe the spit off
quietly and not argue with him." Monk Yi Xiu smiled and said, "That's
very good, how about letting the spit dry on your face?"  The
young man heard that and had some resentment, and he then said, "You
are asking a little too much. Such an insult as being spat on and you
are asking me to let it dry on my face.  I am not that tolerant!"

Monk Yi Xiu shook his head and said, "That's not hard to do! If you
don't have any conflict with someone, and he still spits on you, then
he is no more than a housefly. A housefly is an insect, and it has no
reasoning ability. It acts irrationally, no matter how you reproach it,
it won't do any good! If such a ‘housefly-man' spits on you, it would
not be an insult. Thus, why should you get angry? After listening to
that, the young man asked," What if he punches me?" Monk Yi Xiu said,
"Treat it in the same manner." Surprisingly, the young man punched the
monk on his bald head, and looked at him as if nothing had happened.

The young man asked, "How about that? I hit you. Are you angry?" Monk
Yi Xiu laughingly said, "Ha, my head is as hard as a rock. You hit me
that hard.  Is your hand hurting?" The young man saw the monk with
not even a trace of anger, extremely at ease and graceful -- with no
pretense and with such tolerance.  The young man was so
embarrassed that he was speechless.

The young man understood at that instant that Monk Yi Xiu‘s broad mind
and noble character were far beyond his reach. True cultivators give up
the gains and losses in this human world.  Looking from a higher
level, the cultivators' mindset and behavior are inconceivable to
ordinary people. One has to step onto the path of cultivation in order
to understand the principles of the higher level, and then one can
elevate one's moral character.

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