Let Us Forget the Kindness We Did
Henry enters his sister Betty’s room
Henry: Betty, I’m having trouble doing my English homework. Could you help me out?
Betty: I’m sorry, but I’m preoccupied with my report from university which is due tomorrow.
Henry: Don’t say that. Please spare me just ten minutes. Did you forget that I did you a favor of giving a ride to the station when it suddenly started raining?
Betty: Yeah, I appreciate that, of course, but…I will be sure to return the favor next time, but not today, sorry.
Henry: Oh, no. At that time I, too, was busy; however, thinking you were in much trouble, I sacrificed myself and gave you a ride. And yet…
Betty: Wow, you are being so stubborn. Now that you start rubbing it on my face, I am going to ask you too: When I helped you with your homework before, did you ever express your thanks to me?
Father Eugene comes
Eugene: Hey, what’s the matter with you two? I heard your loud voice even from the living room.
Henry: I’m asking her to help me with my homework, but she is obstinately uncooperative. That’s why I’m ……
Eugene: OK. I will help you with your English on behalf of your sister. I may not look it, but I’m good at English.
Henry: Really? Hooray!
Eugene: It seems that Betty has finished her report; so let me give a talk about emptying the three wheels taught in Buddhism.
Betty: Emptying the three wheels? Eugene: Yes, it is the Buddha’s teaching that we should forget three things when we do kindness to others.
Henry: Forgetting three things? What does that mean?
Eugene: Those three things include “I did…”, “To whom”, and “What I did”. Emptying means forgetting.
Kate: That means when you do kindness to others, you should forget “I did”, “to whom”, “what I did”, right?
Betty: I see. But then how come we should forget those three things?
Eugene: Think of that incident you had a while ago. Why did you get upset when she didn’t help you with your homework? Wasn’t it because you were holding onto the thought that you did her a favor even though you were busy?
Henry: But if someone does you a favor, isn’t it natural to return the favor?
Eugene: Yes. Indeed when someone does a favor to us, it is important to return the favor. But Sakyamuni Buddha taught that if the person who did the kindness expects something in return, what he or she did is not real kindness anymore.
Kate: Do you know what real kindness is? It is something you do while wishing the person’s happiness.
Henry: Eh…, you should not look forward to anything in return? I feel like I made a loss if I don’t get anything in return..
Eugene: But, Henry, if you do kindness looking forward to something in return, you will experience dissatisfaction when your expectation is betrayed. You will end up committing bad deeds.
Henry: Oh, I see. Now I understand that if you forget the kindness done, then you won’t get upset if you don’t receive anything in return.
Betty: As a matter of fact, I was holding to the thought that I DID that kindness to him and as a result I expressed my anger at him for not showing me any gratitude. I learned a lesson.
Eugene: If you plant a good seed, the good result will surely come to the person who planted it. You will not lose anything. What is important is doing good while wishing someone’s happiness.
Betty: OK, I will keep that in mind from now on.
Eugene: By the way, it’s fun to help someone with their assignments. All right, now let’s continue our English lesson. I’ll give you a crash course, Henry.
Henry: What? Now? Oh no, he’s not going to let me go to bed tonight.
Eugene: Doing kindness to others we will end up planting bad seeds if we get upset complaining that we haven’t received anything in return. We should never remember a kindness done and never forget a kindness received.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #25 | 2013, Conversation of Family Members The Key to Happiness
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