Enlightenment in Life: Virtue Brings Benefit to One's Descendants


PureInsight | March 9, 2008

[PureInsight.org] What should
parents leave to their children? Material wealth in the world will not
last forever. Children might squander away the money parents left them
and become beggars. If children cannot manage their inheritance wisely,
even a great fortune may be frittered away and they could become
penniless. When one leaves an inheritance to children, they may wind up
fighting in the court. Leaving the wisdom of being an upright person to
one's children will create wealth for them. When one accumulates good
deeds in life and leaves one's children the moral standards for being a
good person, the reward will last forever and brings benefit to one's

When Zuo Xongtang, a high official in the late Qing dynasty, retired to
his home town, Changsha, he ordered a large-scale construction project
to build a luxurious mansion for his descendants. He was afraid of the
craftsmen cutting corners in workmanship and thus personally went to
the construction site to oversee the construction. An elder craftsman
saw him so uneasy and said to him: "Your Excellency, you can rest
assured about my work. I have lived a long life and have built many
mansions in Changsha. None of the mansions I built have ever collapsed.
Instead, I only see frequent changes of ownership. Upon hearing these
words, Zuo Zongtang was ashamed. He sighed as he left.

Lin Zexu, also a renowned high official in the Qing dynasty, was wiser
than Zuo Zongtang in dealing with what to leave his descendants. He
once said: "If my descendants are like me, why do they need money? If a
virtuous person has much wealth, it might hurt his will. If my
descendants are not like me, again, why do they need money? If a
foolish person has wealth, it will only create harm for him."

According to historical records, there was a high official named Yang
Rong in remote antiquity. His ancestors operated a ferry for a living.
Whenever there were torrential rains they would cause disaster, destroy
houses, and people, animals, and goods would drift downstream with the
current. Other boat ferries would vie with each other for those goods.
Only Yang Rong's ancestors helped save people and never took any goods.
Fellow townspeople would laugh at him for being foolish.  When
Yang Rong's father was born, his family gradually became well off. Once
day an immortal, who changed into a Taoist, said to his father: "Your
ancestors had accumulated so many good deeds that their descendants
will enjoy wealth and high position. You may want to build an ancestral
grave for them." Yang Rong's father followed that advice and buried his
ancestors at the location he was told. When Yang Rong was born and when
he reached twenty, he passed the civil service examination and became a
high official later. The emperor even bestowed the same title on his
great-grandfather, grandfather, and father. His descendants also were
prosperous and many of them became prominent personages.  

The Book of Changes says: "A
family who gives kindness and charity will inherit good fortune. A
family who accumulates bad deeds will meet with misfortune."

Virtue is the most precious spiritual wealth for one's descendants. It
is like sun's radiating light, everlasting and unchanging.

Translated from:


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