Bai Juyi (772-846 AD) was a famous poet who lived during the Tang Dynasty. One day Bai Juyi went to Zen Master Niao-Chao Daolin to enquire about Zen. When he saw Master Daolin he asked him, “What need to be practiced faithfully everyday in order to be in accord with the Tao?”
Master Daolin replied, “Avoid doing evil, do as much good as possible.”
Bai Juyi protested: “Even a three years old child knows this!”
But Master Daolin told him, “Though it is true that even a three years old child knows this, yet even a man of eighty fails to live up to it!”
Many adults try to teach their children to be honest and upright. But what happens when they are faced with the chance to have huge commercial profits gained through less than honourable means? How many adults remain honest and upright?
I often hear the concepts “Democracy” and “Human Rights” debated in Western countries. They seem to be of great importance and highly valued. However, how many western politicians have been able to stand fast when China’s government has enabled them to gain huge commercial profits? Why does it appear that so many politicians only demand democracy and human rights from small nations?
Harvard University’s motto is: “Let Plato be your friend, and Aristotle, but more let your friend be truth. VERITAS.” How many of Harvard’s alumni still stand firm and steadfast to this motto when they are presented with worldly advantages?
I read a research article a while ago from the UK titled “Babies Not As Innocent As They Pretend” (July 4, 2007, Vasudevi Reddy, Portsmouth University). The research says babies can lie starting at six months of age. So lying may be a natural human instinct for survival.
Just as there is always a dark side and a bright side in this world, we all have virtue and evil in our heart. How to avoid doing evil and do as much good as possible is a life lesson we all have to think about.