Benevolence means that what we think, speak and do won’t create suffering for ourselves or others. True benevolence and evil hinge on our heart.
Our heart is similar to a landscape. When the land is healthy and organic, it gives birth to organic trees, fruit and plants. Our thoughts, words and actions are the “fruit” growing from our heart. If the heart is evil, no matter how beautiful our words are, they are poisoned, sweetened water, which will eventually poison both ourselves and others.
When an apple goes bad it turns brown on the inside, even if the outside still looks good. It’s the same with a person—when the heart is polluted, fancy clothes, kind behavior or a high level of education will bring only suffering to himself and others.
A husband is seeking to divorce his wife because of being suffocated in their marriage. Every day, the wife checked up on where he was going, with whom he was speaking and what he was doing. “I do this because I love you, and want to know you,” she claimed, yet couldn’t understand why her husband doesn’t love her anymore.
When did the relationship become controlling, with possession and manipulation disguised as “love?”
Have you ever had similar feelings? You’ve tried hard, and done a lot to maintain good relationships with the people you love. But they don’t seem thankful, and sometimes complain about your problems—even to the point of slandering you. You may even begin to question yourself: “Am I evil? Am I doing the right thing? Where’s the problem?”
Some people try to fix problems through changing their words or behavior. Will this work? Maybe yes, for a while. But if the apple has already gone bad on the inside, it’s only a matter of time until it shows on the outside.
How to change this, and be truly benevolent? There’s a Chinese saying: “The sea of suffering is boundless; yet turn back and the shore is at hand.” The shore is our heart. When the heart is pure, our thoughts, words and actions will be naturally benevolent, because the land has been purified.
I have a pearl in my heart,
long covered with dust and hardship.
When cleaned and restored,
it will brighten the entire world.
Lighthouse of heart
It’s necessary to purify our heart from dust and hardship—negative energies such as hatred, anger, controlling, attachment, emotions, enmity and contention. The lighter our soul, the brighter our life will be.
Russell once said: “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.” When a soul sees others in suffering, he naturally wants to help and liberate them from suffering. This is true benevolence.
Living in this world, everyone is bound from womb to tomb; everyone is responsible for the future we’re creating now; everyone’s positive changes matter to the world. As long as someone is suffering, we cannot say the world is at peace.
Through different eras, history has granted us the responsibility of upgrading our civilization. 700 hundred years ago, the Renaissance promoted an intellectual movement—humanism, which emphasized the dignity of man while looking forward to a rebirth of the lost human spirit and wisdom. It aimed to free us from mental strictures imposed by religious orthodoxy, inspiring free inquiry and developing human thought and creation.
“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they,” claimed Rousseau, advocating that everyone was born equal, and should be free instead of being slaves. Kant said that “Enlightenment is man’s release from self-incurred immaturity.” Maturity refers to our body, but also our mentality or wisdom.
Different times, different people, different cultures, but the same truth: we need to work together to forge the brilliance of our humanity.
Benevolence awakens both ours and others’ souls from material indulgence and pleasure-seeking. Benevolence alerts our conscience to stop harming others for our own benefit.
Benevolence means shouldering the responsibility of purifying our body, mind and soul, as well as that of others.
Changes are inevitable. The world is already changing. Are you ready to join in?
Thanks for reading!