Realization about This Human Life: Do Favors, Seek No Return and Accumulate Great Virtue

Guan Ming

PureInsight | November 18, 2006

[] In the mortal
world only those with great wisdom understand the principle of "gain
without pursuit."   If someone is able to do favors without
seeking returns then he has far transcended the realm of thought of an
ordinary person.  Sometimes when I read philosopher Zhu Zi's
family precepts "do favors without a second thought, receive and never
forget" my heart is deeply moved.  If you can do favors without
seeking return and, when you receive from others, not forget for your
whole life and live these principles of being a good person, you will
accumulate enormous virtue in this world.  Some people, even
though they know it is good to be kind to others, after they do a good
deed they become discouraged and even doubt whether or not the
principle of "good and evil are rewarded in kind" is true simply
because they haven't immediately received blessings. This happens when
one's benevolence is not pure enough.

When famous Han Dynasty general Han Xin was young he was very
poor.  One day, Han Xin had nothing to eat; he had no choice but
to sit at the riverside outside Huaiyang city and fish.  At that
time there were many women at the river washing clothes.  One
woman noticed that Han Xin looked hungry and emaciated, as though he
hadn't eaten in a while. She took the initiative and gave Han Xin the
food she had brought with her to eat.  He ate for some two weeks
this way, day after day, one meal after another; he ate this food given
out of great kindness.  Her kindness moved Han Xin and he was very
grateful. He felt a great debt of gratitude for her kindness, thus he
said to the washwoman:  "In the future I will thoroughly repay
your kindness."  Unexpectedly, the washwoman responded in this
simple vein, "A real man ought to earn his own living. I have given you
food because I see you and pity you.  Were I to see others
suffering from hunger, I would do the same, so I do not seek any sort
of repayment from you."

After many years had passed, the washwoman did not know how much food
she had given away. She had long ago put out of her mind such a small
matter. Han Xin, however, did not forget her graciousness.  After
making a name for himself he returned to his hometown.  The first
thing he did was to find the washwoman of his youth and thank her with
a great sum of money.

In the Dao De Jing Lao Zi says that a truly pure kind person should be
like water.  Water benefits all living beings, it waters the
earth, it doesn't compete for superiority, and even less does it seek
repayment. This is most humble and most virtuous.  Doing favors
for others without seeking repayment is highly esteemed because it is
selfless. If those who do favors for others are able to think at this
level: to make generous contributions when they see others suffering
and to provide support when they encounter others suffering hardship
and afterward not care whether the person they helped can repay them or
not, and if, in such circumstances, their inner being is truly at rest,
without complaint or regret, then if they can do things this way, they
will definitely accumulate great virtue and thus certainly benefit
through eternity.

Translated from:

Add new comment