Traditional Culture: Gentlemen Cared Little About Loss and Gain
(Clearwisdom.net) In ancient times, gentlemen looked down on power and profit, and personal loss or gain, and therefore anything they lost would not cause them much worry.
In the Chunqiu Period (770-476 B.C.) of the Chu State (1100-223 B.C.), Lingyi (equal to Premier) Ziwen was assigned the position of Lingyi three times, and was also dismissed three times from the Lingyi position, but he never appeared unhappy or angry at any time. Another gentleman Liu Xiahui (720-621 B.C.) from Lu State (1100-256 B.C.) was also dismissed three times from his job, but he never had any hatred. These two gentlemen knew their destinies, so they could behave calmly, without worrying about loss or gain, and they did not let happiness or anger show on their faces.
In the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), Mr. Liu Gongquan's (778-856 A.D.) silver cup was stolen by his servant. When asked, the servant said he did not know anything about it. Liu Gongquan smiled and said, "The silver cup must have ascended when it became a deity." In the Liang Period (502-557 A.D.) of the Nan Dynasty (420-589 A.D.), Zhang Shuai sent his servant's ship home with three thousand pounds of rice. When the rice arrived home, only half of it was left. The servant told him that the birds and mice stole half of the rice. Zhang Shuai smiled, and said, "Those birds and mice are very capable!" Liu Gongquan and Zhang Shuai ceased looking for their lost property, which helped them to avoid conflicts and trouble, manifesting a great amount of tolerance.
Everything has components of loss and gain. This is a common rule. If one always worries about even a small amount of loss and gain, it would make others think that he is short-sighted, with a narrow mind, and add more trouble to one's life. With either blessings or bane (1), loss or gain, we should always maintain a peaceful mind.
(1) This is a famous fable in China: Near China's northern border lived a man well versed in the practices of Taoism. His horse, for no reason at all, went to the territory of the northern tribes. Everyone commiserated with him.
"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said his father. After a few months, his animal came back, leading a fine horse from the north. Everyone congratulated him. "Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a cause of misfortune," said his father. Since he was well-off and kept good horses, his son became fond of riding and eventually broke his thigh bone falling from a horse. Everyone commiserated with him. "Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said his father.
One year later, the northern tribes started a big invasion of the border regions. All able-bodied young men took up arms and fought against the invaders, and as a result, around the border, nine out of ten men died. This man's son did not join in the fighting because he was crippled and so both the boy and his father stayed safe.