Reflections on Life: Kind People Don’t Argue; People Who Argue Are Not Kind

Guan Ming

PureInsight | October 20, 2009

[] In the past, I was acquainted with some people who were eloquent and glib in their arguments. At that time, I thought it was their skill. I didn’t think carefully about the relationship between eloquence and good and evil. Later, I met some cultivators who endured disgrace but didn’t argue or fight. Then I could tell the big difference between the two groups of people. One day, when I read the end of Lao Zi’s Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching), which said, “Sages do things but not fight for things,” I was suddenly enlightened. Clever talk and an ingratiating manner are not talents. Enduring disgrace but not arguing is the highest realm of life.

“Kind people don’t argue; people who argue are not kind” is from Chapter 81 in Dao De Jing. Chapter 81 says: “Honest words may not be pleasant to listen to; pleasant words may not be honest. Kind people don’t argue; people who argue are not kind. Smart people may not have a wide range of studies; those who are experienced and knowledgeable may not be smart.” Striving for virtue places value upon actions, not words. It is not necessary to debate the truth every day. An endless debate all day long wouldn’t necessarily argue the truth out. Every truth and righteous principle can only be comprehended through genuine and solid cultivation.

Confucius said in “Lunyu – Liren”: “Gentlemen are slow of speech but quick in action.” In “Lunyu – Xuer” he said: “Gentlemen eat but not eat their fill; they live but seek not an easy life; they are resourceful but cautious about their words.” It looks like people should talk less but do more. Both Confucius and Laozi agreed on this. So whatever we do, whether it is cultivation or social activity, we should do solid work without bluster and ostentation.

If we think about it carefully, a kind person with great abilities doesn’t need to argue with others. He wouldn’t use only words to prove he is right. Even in front of slander or personal attack, he can prove his innocence and be unsullied by his actions. Those who can endure the insults but not argue are usually those who work silently without publicity. They must have a mind that stands aloof from worldly success. On the contrary, those who argue everyday don’t really have capabilities, although when they argue they may seem to have great abilities. Kind people don’t need flowery words and cunning statements to win others’ praise. All talk and no deeds will achieve nothing.

The first thing to pay attention to in the cultivation of speech is to avoid loud and empty talk. Don’t criticize others from head to toe. Be sincere and kind to others. Don’t argue in front of and humiliate others. These are the things that upright gentlemen do.

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