Some people in this world do not understand gratitude. They will never remember or return a favor. They simply do not understand that one must repay kindness with kindness. We must be thankful to the hand that feeds us and repay all debts with gratitude. When we rest under the shade of a tree, we should remember those who have planted it for our benefit. When we enjoy the richness of our history and culture, we should be grateful for the labor and accomplishments of those before us.
Without the seeds of the past, we would not have the fruits of the present. If no one fixed the roads and filled the potholes, travel would be treacherous. If the farmers did not cultivate the field and harvest the crops, we would not have food or clothing. Our very survival depends on the collective efforts of society. We must be grateful and look for ways to repay our debts to society.
Why should we be show filial piety towards our parents? Because they have toiled and suffered on our behalf. Why should we give to schools, hospitals, and fire departments? Because they have taught us, saved us, and protected us. Without them, we would not have knowledge, medical treatment or security. Appreciation and charitable donations are truly acts of gratitude.
Once, a wealthy man threw a party to celebrate the completion of his new mansion. He seated the laborers at the head of the table and relegated his children to another area. No one could understand the seating arrangement, so the guests asked the wealthy man for an explanation. He explained, “The workers are the ones who built the house, so we should remember their hard work. On the other hand, my children will one day sell this mansion, so they do not deserve the seat of honor.”
We must always be grateful for the favors we’ve received. We must repay all acts of kindness. Only then, will we acquire more favorable conditions. Only then, will others be willing to provide assistance. There are many stories in Chinese history of “repaying a drop of assistance with a flood of gratitude.” Zhuge Liang repaid Liu Bei’s kindness even after his lord’s death, assisting Liu Bei’s son. Some have dedicated their lives to individuals who understood them and treated them well. Some have been willing to die for their friends. Some have been willing to forgive a major offense for a small favor received. Some returned thousands for a dollar lent in a time of need.
If a person does not know the meaning of gratitude, then he or she is poor at heart. If a person knows what it means to be grateful, he or she will find wealth everywhere. In order to live a rich life, we must treasure good connections and count our blessings. We must return every favor that has been bestowed upon us. We must find some way to express our gratitude to those who have helped us. If we can be grateful at all times, we can transform the bad into the good. We can turn even the worst situations around.
Gratitude is the best cure for hatred and jealousy. It is the best way to eradicate defilement and discord. Not only will it improve one’s character, it can also change one’s disposition, bringing happiness and harmony to our everyday lives.