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The Compassionate Old Monk

We must be compassionate to everyone we meet, regardless of how our paths have crossed. We may have good or bad experience with a person in the past, however, we should still be kind and compassionate towards that person in the hope of enlightening or leading the person to the right path.


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(Photo credit to PEXELS)

We must be clear about our purpose for learning Buddhism. Our mind must not go against the dharma teaching at any point of time. We should not be disconnected with the society in whatever we do. When we interact with others, we will be able to enlighten those who cross path with us. We need to find ways to near people who have no affinity with us, as that is how we forge affinity and turn resentments into gratitude.

Long time ago, there was an old monk who went into the city to attend to works. The sun was setting when he was on his return journey. Suddenly, it started to rain heavily and the monk was without any place to shelter himself from the storm in sight. After walking for some time, the monk saw a mansion and he quickly went knocking on the door, hoping to get some shelter for a night.

However, the maid who answered the door told him to leave after asking for permission from the mansion's owner. The owner of the house had no affinity with the monk and was not even willing to allow him wait under the eaves of the roof. The monk had no choice but to continue with his journey in the rain. It was already way past midnight when he arrived at the temple.

A few years later, the mansion's owner married a young concubine who was very kind person and he adored her very much. The concubine had faith in Buddhism and asked the mansion’s owner to accompany her to the temple to pray for an offspring. At the temple, the mansion's owner was astonished to see a tablet with his name on the altar. Curious of what he saw, he then asked a young monk who was around tidying up the temple.

The young monk said, "I do not know whose name this is. Many years ago, my master returned to the temple soaking in rainwater one night. He told me that he did not have good affinity with a person he met and so he wrote his name on this tablet. He then prayed everyday with the hope of turning the bad affinity into a good one. The mansion's owner felt ashamed after hearing what the young monk said and started to embrace and support Buddhism from then on.

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Therefore, I often say that we should forge good affinity with people, follow the Buddha's paths and be compassionate towards all living beings. If we are acknowledged by others, be grateful. If we received antipathy, rejection or even negative comments, we should be respectful of others' opinions.

After being rejected a night’s shelter from the storm, the old monk opined that it was due to the absence of good affinity between him and the mansion's owner. He then strived to turn the bad experience into good affinity. The old monk’s broadmindedness is a good learning example for us all. We should be compassionate and open minded when we interact with people. No matter what kind of affinity was forged in the past between us and others, we should hope to have good affinity with them from now on in order to guide them towards the good path.