Human nature is originally kind and good.”
There is a touching true story about a little boy who lived with his parents and grandmother in a small, humble village, with a Buddhist temple near their home. The child was an honest and straightforward person who was quite slow in response. His mother raised and nurtured him with love and educated him with the wisdom of a Bodhisattva. She patiently cared for him in his growing years.
But there were some thoughtless students at school who would laugh at him and bully him. Whenever they saw him, they would shout, "The nitwit is here! The nitwit is here!"
However, no matter how his classmates made fun of him, he would not get angry. He would just stay away from them and play happily by himself.
The boy liked to pick up small items, such as stones etc., put them in his pocket and bring them home. He would even sleep with the items next to his pillow at night. His mother was aware of this habit of his, and she always asked him happily what was in his pocket when he returned from school each day. He would then take out everything in his pocket and let his mother empty it before entering the house.
When he returned from school one day, his mother asked him the same question, “Is there anything in your pocket today?” The little boy reacted unusually by holding his pocket as he stepped a few steps back, refusing to let his mother see what was inside. His mother asked the same question again and put her hand into his pocket. She felt something soft inside and was shocked.
"What is inside your pocket? Take it out quickly!” she exclaimed.
The boy began to cry and carefully took out the item.
It turned to be a hatchling that he had picked up under a tree. The mother looked at her son and said, "Be careful not to hurt the little bird! We must not kill it; just take it back to (where you found it) and let it live freely."
The child nodded his head, and when he was about to turn and leave, his mother called out to him again and said, "Wait a minute. There is a hole in your shirt. Take it off and I will stitch up the hole for you.”
As she was sewing the shirt, she thought to herself: “Why don’t I just sew the pocket shut so that he will not put things in it again?”
After she was done sewing her son’s shirt, she called out to him again, only to find out that he had disappeared. She wondered where the boy had gone to, without wearing a shirt. After a while, her mother-in-law came back from the temple and said, “Buddha Bathing Festival is today. Why did you let your son go to the temple without wearing a shirt?”
She couldn't understand why her son had gone to the Buddhist temple without wearing a shirt, so she quickly went outside to search for him. When she walked to the back of the house, she heard noises coming out from the store. She gently walked over and opened the door quietly. She saw her son inside, carefully feeding the little bird with a bottle of water. The boy was even gently saying to the creature, "Come on, drink it. The Buddha will bless you to grow up quickly so that you can fly off to find your mother!"
He kept talking to the bird and carefully fed it by dripping water into its mouth. It turned out that the water was actually taken from the Buddhist temple; it was the water used for “Bathing the Buddha” during the festival.
The mother was very touched to see how his honest and straightforward son was caring for a living creature. She happily and gently walked over and said to her son, "Remember to put on your shirt after feeding the bird."
She also decided to open up the stitched pocket of her son’s shirt as she felt that the small pocket could be filled with the love and kindness of her son, allowing him to unleash his kind, innate nature.
The boy’s innocence and kindness had saved the life of a bird. There is an ancient saying that goes, “Human nature is originally kind and good”. Every person is inherently kind and compassionate. We should all return to our pure and kind nature, and be brave in giving of our love by respecting and caring for all living beings with love. Then, we will be able to exude the beauty of human nature.
Extracted from “尘尽光生” (Chen Jin Guang Sheng)
Translated by the Tzu Chi Singapore translation team