At the Buffet: A Lesson in Ethics

Xin Wu

PureInsight | June 11, 2001

Today I saw an article on the Minghui website that really spoke to me. Below is an excerpt from it: "One day before the May 1 holiday, I was out with my sister-in-law. I took her to a buffet restaurant for lunch. (My sister-in-law is not a Dafa practitioner, but she has protected Dafa books and me.) At that time, I thought I should not be greedy, nor should I waste any food. I would take as much as food I could eat. We made our selections and carried our trays to sit down at a big round table. Soon I finished and left only a little soup in the stainless steel bowl. My sister-in-law had not finished yet, so I sat there and waited for her. At this time, a middle-aged man who was sitting on my left said to me, 'Elder sister (translator's note: People in Northeast China like to greet others as elder sister, brother, etc. to show affection and respect.), you are not an ordinary person. You are a good person.' I smiled, 'Brother, how come?' He pointed to my tray with his chopsticks and said, 'I saw that you had finished all of your food. Nowadays it is very rare! You see many other people have left so much food (pointing to trays of customers who had already left). From my point of view, all the other people having lunch here today are not as good as you. You see I also could not finish all food I took. I am ashamed. Elder sister, are you a Falun Gong practitioner? I know you are all good people. You must practice Falun Gong.' Upon hearing this, I said, 'brother, you are remarkable. You have not been fooled. You are great. I am a Falun Gong practitioner.' My sister-in-law was happy to hear our conversation. She said that this man really had the ability to tell good from bad."

We all know that the rule of a buffet is that the customer can take as much food and eat as much as he/she wants by paying a fixed amount of money. Therefore, many people walk into a buffet restaurant thinking to take as much as possible and to eat as much as possible, since he/she pays a fixed fee anyway. Due to people's greediness and selfishness, the result is that they usually take more than they can eat. A lot of food is thrown into the garbage every day.

I was such a person, too, before I practiced Falun Dafa. I did not sense anything wrong since everyone was like this. After I began to cultivate, I have gradually paid more and more attention to my speech and behavior to see if they abide by the standards of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Think about it: vegetables and other foods were produced by farmers' hard work. Not a single grain of rice comes easily. An ancient Chinese poem says: "working in the fields at noon, sweat dropping into the soil. Who knows about the food in the plate; every grain (of rice) came from hard effort." In addition, many people are starving in the world. This type of waste is equivalent to committing karma.

What moved me was not only that this lady did not waste food and was not greedy at all, but also that a stranger could tell that she was a Falun Dafa practitioner from her behavior. Everyone was careful about wasting things several decades ago when "be thrifty, prevent waste" was promoted in the 50's and 60's. Now this has become one of the hallmarks for identifying Falun Dafa practitioners. Everyone is now commenting that human morality has declined drastically, that the ethical standards in society are very low. No wonder more and more people practice Falun Dafa, because Falun Dafa truly teaches its practitioners how to be good people.

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