(Clearwisdom.net) The Kingdom of Zhongshan was a small kingdom during the Warring States Period. One time, the king invited all the well-known officers in the capital for dinner, and Officer Sima Ziqi was among the invited guests. Because Sima Ziqi was the only officer who was not served with a pastry made with sheep's milk, he became very angry. He went to the Chu Kingdom and persuaded the king of Chu to invade Zhongshan.

The Kingdom of Chu launched an attack against Zhongshan, and the king of Zhongshan fled. He then noticed two armed persons following him closely. The king of Zhongshan asked them, "Why are you following me?" They answered, "Our father once nearly died of hunger. You gave him a bowl of food. Our father told us, 'If the king ever encounters any danger, you must give your life for him.' Thus, we have come here just to die for Your Majesty."

Looking at the sky, the king sighed and said, "Giving is not judged by how great or small, but according to need. Hatred is not judged by how deep or shallow, but by how much a person is hurt. I lost my kingdom because of a sheep's milk pastry and gained two warriors for a bowl of food."

Due either to negligence or lack of attention, a pastry cost the king his kingdom. From this incident, we can easily understand that matters, great or small, and words, strong or weak, both can hurt people. How can we not be careful about what we say and what we do during our daily lives? A small, good deed may be the "warm coal in the snow" for the people who are in need. We, therefore, must "never overlook doing a small good deed and never commit a small bad deed."

November 8, 2005