There are many illnesses of the mind in this world, which are often results of an extravagant social atmosphere. Due to people’s wants and desires, they are easily tempted and are thus unable to keep to their boundaries and be proper in their behaviour, causing them to be prone to such illnesses.
The poor tend to feel depressed and lowly when their desires cannot be fulfilled due to poverty, whereas the rich may never be satisfied spiritually and their hearts discontent, despite having an abundance of material wealth.
Most illnesses of the mind are caused by one’s unfulfilled expectations of others, too. Husbands want their wives to be gentle, while wives want their husbands to be considerate and caring. Parents want their children to be filial to them, while children want their parents to be less controlling. Mothers-in-law want their daughters-in-law to behave well and be courteous, while daughters-in-law want their mothers-in-law to nag less at them.
If we could tolerate others with the spirit of the Dharma and an infinite heart of compassion, and also put ourselves in others’ shoes, we would be able to reconcile and get along with others. Wouldn’t that make our lives better?
Having “loving-kindness” is to always maintain a happy state of mind in daily life and to bring joy to those around us. Having a sympathetic heart is being “compassionate”, having no mental afflictions and hindrances is being "joyful", and being able to teach others everything we know without reserve is “true giving”.
In order to stay healthy inwardly and outwardly, we need to balance and discipline our mind with ethics as well as the Four Immeasurables of “loving- kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity", and further promote this to our family and society. Then, the poor can feel spiritually rich in their hearts, the rich know how to give with joy, and those who bear grudges and resentment may dispel their hatred and dissolve their bad karma. In this way, our society will be harmonious.
Extracted from “Huan Xi Zi Zai”《欢喜自在》
Translated by the Tzu Chi Singapore translation team