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365 Days For Travelers

One Must be Grateful

     Some people in this world do not know how to be grateful. They will never remember or return a favor they have received. They simply do not understand that one should repay kindness with kindness. What we must do is 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 with gratitude those who have planted it for our benefit. When we enjoy the richness of our history and culture, we should be thankful 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 were willing to fix the road and fill the potholes, travel would be treacherous. If the farmers did not cultivate the field and harvest the crops, we would not have food to eat or clothes to wear. Our very own survival depends on the collective efforts of society. Therefore, 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 a sense of security. Appreciation and charitable donations are indeed acts of gratitude.

     A very wealthy man once gave a party to celebrate the completion of his new mansion. He asked the workers to sit 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 be thankful and not forget their hard work. However, my children are the future sellers of the estate, so they do not deserve a seat at the head table."

     We must always be grateful for favors received, and we must repay all acts of kindness. Only then, will we acquire more favorable conditions. Only then, will others be more willing to provide assistance. There are many stories in Chinese history of "repaying a drop of assistance with a flood of gratitude." For example, Zhuge Liang repaid Liu Bei's kindness even after his lord's death by assisting Liu Bei's son during his reign. Some have dedicated their lives to the one person who understood and treated them well. Some have been willing to die for their friends because of their friendship. Some have been willing to forgive a major offense for a small favor received. Some have given a great deal of money to the person who loaned them a dollar when they were down and out.

     If a person does not know the meaning of gratitude, then he or she is deficient in his or her heart and not wealthy at all. If a person knows what it means to be grateful, he or she will find wealth everywhere. In order to live a life of abundance, 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 in one way or another. If we can be grateful at all times,we can transform the bad into the good; we can turn a bad situation into something better.

     Therefore, gratitude is the best medicine for hatred and jealousy. It is the best way to eradicate defilement and discord. Not only will it improve personal character, it can also change one's disposition and bring happiness and harmony to our everyday lives.

  • One Must be Grateful    5:15
      Recorded by Steven Chan   Toronto Radiant Subchapter