Thoughts about Life: Tolerance Brings Peace of Mind

Quan Ming

PureInsight | May 2, 2007

[] In our daily
lives, some people have a short temper, which can explode at anytime.
Some people are very kind and gentle, tolerant and courteous, and have
a good bearing of humility. Cultivating one's virtue should come before
cultivating one's heart, and managing one's anger is essential for
one's health. Some people might say, "Laughter, anger, sorrow, and
happiness are the way things should be. Living amidst all kinds of
conflicts in the world, who hasn't encountered something that would
make you angry?" However, anger is harmful to health and cultivation.
People in ancient China said, "By being tolerant, you gain peace and
calmness. By being humble, you reach a new horizon." If one is
magnanimous and can tolerate, and does not argue even when
misunderstood, then he will spared conflicts and have no worries, and
will enjoy a free and unrestrained life.

It said in Lunyu. Weilinggong, "Lack of tolerance for petty annoyances ruins great plans." In ShiJi
(Historical Records), Sima Qian said, "A little impatience harms a big
strategy." Among the common folks, there are sayings." "Tolerance can
bring in many blessings, and harmony can result in enormous good luck,"
and "By being diligent one can overcome any difficulties and by being
tolerant one can achieve supreme harmony." In the "Song of a Hundred
Tolerances," written by Zhang Gongyi during the Tang Dynasty, it is
said, "A compassionate person tolerates what everyday people find hard
to tolerate. A wise person tolerates what everyday people do not
tolerate. Tolerating hardships by being diligent yields surplus.
Tolerating loneliness by not being dissolute brings health."

The Imperial envoy Lin Zexu of the Qing Dynasty had also had a sign
that read, "Anger Management" hung in the great hall. This indicates
that the ancient Chinese people had already realized the harm of anger
since a long time ago. Lin Zexu was the Governor of Guangdong and
Guangxi Provinces. One day, irritated by a business matter he was
handling, he couldn't control his anger and smashed a tea cup on the
floor. When he saw the motto of "Anger Management" hanging in the hall,
he realized that he was wrong again. So he stopped the servant from
cleaning it up, and did it himself to show his regret. In everyday
life, if one loses his or her temper easily when dealing with people,
it is an indication of this person's lack of self-control. A person
having a bad temper should learn from Lin Zexu to gain some
self-knowledge, improve one's tutelage, pay attention to "anger
management," be peaceful, and convince others by reasoning. Never
indulge anger. It harms others as well as one's self.

From ancient Chinese medicine come penetrating elaborations on "anger."
It claims that anger comes from frustration, and anger and frustration
are twins. Frustration leads to the explosion of anger. That anger will
"consume vigor," result in "high liver heat," and "hurt the liver" are
all well known as common sense for Chinese people.

In daily life, there were many examples of people dying of anger. In an
old saying, "A bowl of rice cannot fill up one's stomach, but failing
to prove one's point can make one explode and die." Everyone knows the
story of Zhuge Liang frustrating Zhou Yu three times. Zhou Yu vomited
blood due to the frustration and died. Many people's anger comes from
greed and selfishness, such as fights between neighbors or arguments
between strangers in the street for a tiny gain or loss. If one can
treat fame and personal gain lightly, then one's anger will naturally
be reduced and one will not explode for a tiny loss or gain.

In a person's life, one will always encounter many irritating things.
But if we can turn our angry mentality to a thankful one, then we can
turn anger into harmony, and reach a high realm. Be thankful to the
person who has harmed you, because he has tempered your will. Be
thankful to the person who has tripped you up, because he has
strengthened your power. Be thankful to the person who has cheated you,
because he has enhanced your intelligence. Be thankful to the person
who has scolded you, because he has taught you how to endure. Be
thankful to all the sentient beings in your life, because their
existence has colored your life.

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