Reflections on Life: Enjoy Leisure by Looking Lightly on Fame and Wealth

Guan Ming

PureInsight | November 18, 2006

[] People in the
world all know that fame and wealth are merely worldly preoccupations.
But few people can avoid the enticement of fame and wealth. Instead,
most people spend their life time striving for and being entangled in
fame and wealth. If one always seeks fame and wealth, he will be unable
to maintain the purity of his mind. His life would be like Kua Fu's
race with the brilliant sun. He would never achieve what he pursues,
but exhaust his feelings and face endless frustrations. Actually, if we
observe this mundane world calmly, we can see that even without
painstakingly chasing after anything, the sunshine will still be with

Einstein and Mrs. Curie were two of the most famous scientists in the
world. They took fame and wealth, which most people aspire to, lightly.
There are many well-known stories about them. Einstein once said that
except for science, there was nothing that he was excessively fond of.
And also there was nothing that Einstein extremely disliked. Once when
he was on a trip, the captain of the ship specifically prepared a most
luxurious room for Einstein, but he turned down the captain's offer. In
Einstein's view, he was no different from other people, so he would not
like to accept this special treatment. His modest and sincere
personality made him become the object of admiration by many people.

After she found the radium, many people all over the world wrote
letters to Madame Curie, requesting to know about the method for
extracting it. Mr. Curie said calmly, "We have two choices. One is that
we tell them everything about extracting the radium without anything
left out." Madame Curie agreed with him and said, "Yes, of course." Mr.
Curie continued saying, "The other choice is that we can position
ourselves as the inventors and possessor of the radium extraction
method. But first we have to get the patent license for the technology
of extracting the uranium pitch mine and establish our exclusive right
in the radium industry all over the world." To obtain the patent means
that they would gain substantial money and an extremely comfortable
life. In addition, they could also leave a great deal sum of money for
their children to inherit. But on hearing this, Madame Curie said, "We
can't do that. If we did, we would violate our original intention for
undertaking the scientific research." Thus Madame Curie let go of the
fame and wealth that she could have obtained easily. During her
lifetime, she was awarded 16 medals of different kinds and 117 titles
of honor, but she didn't take it as a big deal. One day, a girl friend
of hers came to visit her. When she saw that Madame Curie's young
daughter was playing with a gold medal that the British Royal Academy
had just awarded to her, she was so surprised and asked Madame Curie,
"That medal represents a high honor. How could you let a child treat it
as a toy?" Madame Curie smiled and said, "I want my child to know that
honor is just like a toy. You can only play with it instead of
protecting it. Otherwise, you will accomplish nothing."

These two greatest scientists have established a mirror for people who
are exerting their utmost strength in pursuing fame and wealth. If one
maintains a pure heart and tries all his best in fulfilling his
responsibilities, his accomplishments will be apparent. He will gain
the honor that he deserves. Not pursuing fame and wealth and gain is
where people start off for a real success.

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