Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Power of Kindness

By Zhi Zhen
Teaching with virtue and giving guidance with kindness can inspire others to be good. (Catherine Yeulet/
Teaching with virtue and giving guidance with kindness can inspire others to be good. (Catherine Yeulet/
Heaven bestowed on humankind a sense of virtue or conscience. It is the most beautiful part of the essence of human life. It allows human beings to maintain a heart of kindness and to continually elevate in morality—the most important human quality to strive for.
A true gentleman likes to read good books and do good deeds. He also promotes kindness and encourages others to be good.
He is able to move others and help others enlighten to the importance of kindness, thereby bringing peace and prosperity to the world according to the righteous principles of Heaven.
Thus there is an ancient saying: “The true gentleman is one who treats others with kindness.”
There are many stories of the ancients offering kind advice to others. One story is about a man named Wu Qianjin from the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644).
Wu was a strong and aggressive man who practiced martial arts. If anyone crossed him, he immediately retaliated with fists. He seized others’ property and money at will and everyone feared him.
One hot day, he went up to a terrace to cool himself. There were already several people on the terrace. When they saw Wu, everyone was terrified and fled, except for one elderly gentleman.
Wu said to the old man in a menacing voice, “Everyone has run away. Only you have still not moved. Do you not think my martial arts ability is formidable?”

Kind Advice

“You are lost and do not realize the error of your ways,” the old gentleman replied.
“Your parents raised you, hoping you would become a person who benefits your country. But as a martial arts expert, you give no thought to how to contribute to your country. Rather, you seem resigned to being a hooligan. The country has one fewer talented person. What a pity!”
Wu felt greatly ashamed. In tears, he said, “Everyone says I am a bad person, so I also regard myself as bad. Your good words today are like the sounds of the morning bell and evening drum, suddenly waking me up.
“But I have been bad for such a long time. Like an eclipsed moon that is hard to make round again, even if I wanted to mend my ways, can I ever become a true gentleman?”
The old man said, “If you truly change your heart and mind and cultivate your character to become a good person, how can you not succeed?”
From then on, Wu Qianjin changed his ways. He began to serve his country and later became deputy marshal of the army. He was highly respected and praised for his professional command and love of the people.

Changing People’s Hearts

There is an ancient saying: “It is human to err, but there is no greater goodness than to correct one’s error.”
When one teaches with virtue and works to bring about change with kindness, one can inspire others to reflect on the true meaning of life and other moral issues, such as how to care for and love others instead of being lost in desires and self-interest.
The power of kindness is enormous, because it is omnipresent and capable of changing a person’s heart from its very core.
Kindness can guide others in their pursuit and practice of truth, lead them back to conscience to make good and just choices, and dissolve everything that is not righteous.
Adapted from