II. Where Is the Mind? --- A Story of Loyalty and Forgiveness
"Where are you friend? Where are you friend?" "Here I am! Here I am!" "How are you today?" "Very well." "So long!" "Goodbye now!" Annie mimicked two different voices as she looked at her left and right thumbs. Now raising her right thumb and now bending her left thumb, she was happily engrossed in her play, and her clear, bright voice resounded throughout the house.
When Annie finished singing, her mother asked her, "Do you like making friends?" "Yes, I do!" "Do you know how?" "Yes, I must treat them well." "Right!" Mom patted Annie's head approvingly and said, "Before you ask where your friends are, you have to ask where your mind is. To treat your friends well is to keep them in mind. Always ask yourself, 'Am I selfish? Do I only want to benefit myself?' If so, there's no room in your mind for anyone but yourself! If you cannot bear others in mind, you will not have any friends." As she talked, Mother wrote the character "mind" (心) and another character "in" (中) above it. Excitedly Annie cried out, "I know that word--it's "loyalty" (忠)." Mother nodded,"Yes! So when you keep a friend in mind, you will be considerate of him, and willing to do your best to help hint. That is the meaning of loyalty. When you are devoted to others, they will be devoted to you. Are you still afraid you won't have any friends? On the other hand, if you do not keep friends in mind, and think only about yourself, then even if you shouted yourself hoarse, you still wouldn't have any friends!"
Just then, Annie's brother Peter came back looking upset. It turned out he had just had a fight with Dave, who had scolded him for "having no heart." When Mother found out about it, she said, "Has it occurred to you that if you dislike or cannot stand something, other people may also dislike it or not be able to stand it? If you put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they feel, you'll find that they are just like you -- they can also feel hurt, angry, and uncomfortable."
Looking at Peter, who had lowered his head in silence, Mother continued, "Where is your mind? In making friends, you will never have a true friend if you are not heart-to-heart. And you will never have true freedom because you keep piling other people's garbage in your mind." "Garbage?" Peter looked up, puzzled. "Garbage is dirty and useless, right? Instead of being considerate of others, if you only pick out their faults and shortcomings and remember those, isn't that just like heaping up dirty, useless garbage in your heart? How could you ever feel comfortable and happy that way?"
Mother then wrote the character "like" (如) above the character "mind" (心) and said, "Consider this word forgiveness (恕) : we should always be magnanimous in forgiving our friends. Constantly put yourself in another's shoes and observe people's difficulties. Don't give others anything you yourself wouldn't take. Then others will not give you anything against your will. In that case, wouldn't the world be at peace?" Peter stared at the word "forgiveness" on the paper as if he had just been enlightened, and stood up resolutely saying, "I understand now. It was my fault, and I owe Dave an apology!"
Just then the doorbell rang, and it was none other than Dave himself! In a while, the two boys were talking and laughing. Mother could not help but smile, and asked, "Peter, have you found your mind now?" Peter laughed and said,"I've found it. It's right here!" He patted his chest and then pointed to Dave's. "What mind?" asked Dave who did not know what it was all about. Peter picked up the slip paper with the character "forgiveness" and said with a smile, "Like mind."
Friends, upon reading this story, won't you reflect within and ask yourself:
A. Loyalty: Do you deal with people and things in a sincere and responsible way? Do you always keep others in the very center of your mind without being the least bit selfish and self-benefitting?
B. Forgiveness: When you deal with people and the world, are you generous and considerate? Do you always put yourself in the other person's shoes, without ever being mean and narrow-minded?