Reflections on Life: Good Fortune is Born From Thrift, Virtue is Born From Humbleness

Guan Ming

PureInsight | October 31, 2009

[] In the human world, those who have virtue certainly receive blessings. Those who have little virtue, however, often have trouble getting the basic necessities like food and clothing no matter how hard they work. Ordinary people talk about accumulating virtue. Most ancient Chinese believed that accumulated virtue would be rewarded with good fortune. Therefore, those who followed the ancient Chinese customs were kind to others and didn’t do things that were against reason and nature. Cultivators, however, talk about guarding their virtue. They let nature take its course. They don’t insist on things unconditionally. Cultivators obey the Fa principles during cultivation and not do anything that damages their virtue. Virtue is born from humbleness. Thus, no matter if people accumulate virtue or guard virtue, they all understand that they need to maintain a humble mind in day-to-day life.

The sentence, “Good fortune is born from thrift, virtue is born from humbleness,” is seen in the “Lu Zu cultivation scripture,” as well as in “Zun Sheng Ba Jian” written by Gao Lian in the Ming Dynasty, and “Ge Yan Lian Bi” written by Jin Lansheng in the Qing Dynasty. In Chinese traditional ideology, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism all mention “good fortune is born from thrift, virtue is born from humbleness.” So from the perspective of self-cultivation, all schools have the same cultivation goal and realm. “Humbleness” in popular language is modesty and concession. Once a person understands modesty and concession, he can accumulate virtue. If a cultivator can abide by modesty and forbearance, he won’t lose virtue. If he can bear disgrace and cultivate diligently, he can become a man of great virtue.

A long time ago, I couldn’t help feeling aggrieved when others used bad language to insult me. It was only when I started cultivating that I finally truly understood “no loss no gain.” My boss changed moods unpredictably all the time. He always became very angry without any reason. My coworkers often came to my defense. Some thought I was too soft. They thought that I should defend myself when I was humiliated. However, at that time, I already understood that swearing at people or bullying people would cause one to lose virtue. When others treat us badly, we should not answer blows with blows. Instead, we should use humbleness and forbearance to solve others’ grievances, use sincerity, kindness and forbearance to change the other person. Day after day, the boss never got angry with me. During the course of my employment, I really felt the volume of my heart was increasing and my xinxing was improving.

One night when I was abroad, I received a call from a good friend. Out of goodwill he reminded me: “Some unknown people wrote many dirty words and slanders to attack you on your blog. This might damage your reputation. Please hurry to strike back.” At that time, I thought of the principle of “no loss no gain” as talked about in the Buddha School. Anything that happens during cultivation is not by accident. Rather than “an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth,” I would prefer forbearance and enduring the humiliation. Perhaps that would settle the gratitude and resentment in this life. Thus, I didn’t write back on my blog. After this incident, I felt my mind was cleaner and purer when I did writing.

Virtue is born from humbleness. Being overbearing and speaking rudely will cause one to lose virtue to others for sure. In tribulations, we should remind ourselves to endure disgrace and abide by modesty and forbearance. We should be kind to others in all things, persevere, and one day we will be able to reach consummation for sure!

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