Lessons from Life: Happiness Comes from Giving

Guan Ming

PureInsight | July 23, 2006

[PureInsight.org] In modern society, almost everyone is continuously pursuing happiness. But what is true happiness?

What is the source of happiness? People rarely seriously contemplate
this issue and very few understand what the meaning is. Some people are
willing to continuously hurt other people as an expense of pursuing
their own happiness. However they don't know that the result of
limitless pursuing and grasping not only stops them from obtaining
happiness, but it actually drives them further away from happiness.
This is because true happiness comes from giving oneself to others. If
a person sincerely gave himself to others as much as he could, it would
be easy for him to obtain happiness.

After my mom retired, she grew a little vegetable garden on a plot of a
deserted land in front of her little yard. She then planted all kind of
vegetables including spinach, onions and tomatoes. After a few months
of hard work including watering and fertilizing the plants, her little
garden was ready for harvesting. Her relatives and neighbors urged my
mom to bring vegetables that she couldn't finish eating to the market
for sale. Although the individual prices of vegetables are very cheap,
it could more or less provide some additional income for her. My mom
smiled after listening to the idea and said "those vegetables are very
delicious and I actually feel reluctant to sell them. I'd rather share
my happiness with her neighbors and relatives." Hence, my mother
started to give away the excess vegetables to the neighbors house by
house. My mom was very happy when she felt the joyful and grateful
spirit of the neighbors receiving the fresh vegetables. That happiness
is beyond any language and words.

Decades ago, there was this little town in the southern United State
where a young couple had just moved. Next door lived an old couple. The
young couple went to visit the old couple and found out the wife was
almost blind and paralyzed in a wheelchair. She could hardly move and
she had only her husband to take care of her. But the old man wasn't in
a good physical condition either. They had been taking care of each
other in such a way for many years.

It was almost the Christmas time of year and the young couple was
considering doing something nice for the old couple. After having a
thorough discussion, they decided to give a fully decorated Christmas
tree to them. Therefore they bought a little tree and decorated the
tree with lights and different ornaments along with some other gifts.
On the Christmas Eve, they gave the tree to the old couple. The old
woman couldn't help crying out of gratitude when she saw the sparking
little lights on the tree. Her husband then said, "We haven't had any
Christmas trees to look at and enjoy for several years" From then on,
every time the young couple went to visit the old couple, the old
couple would thank them for the Christmas tree over and over again.

From these two examples we can tell that people need not only outer
material enjoyment but also inner spiritual comforts. The young couple
in the story received a lot of happiness and satisfaction from giving
the old couple the little Christmas tree. After I took the cultivation
path myself, I got rid of my usual selfishness and always try to be
compassionate inside my heart. I set a strict standard for myself by
following  truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. To me, other
people always come first. When I gave my heart to others, I received
profuse happiness. We can turn every small thing in our lives into a
source of tremendous happiness as long as we sincerely love and care
for others. If we behave in such a way, we will benefit from the
process endlessly.

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