Doing Good Deeds to Gain a Good Reputation is Only Fooling Yourself
(Clearwisdom.net) Once there was a man named Ye Tongshan who was responsible for the distribution of grain supplies. He was replaced by another person for unknown reasons. His replacement found 3,000 gold pieces. Under general procedures, that gold should belong to Ye Tongshan. Alas, Ye refused to accept the gold, saying that his conscience would not allow him to accept the gold.
On Ye Tongshan's return to his village, he was very poor and had difficulties to support his family. One day the little servant boy lost a big fish, and Ye lamented and sighed. His wife laughed, "You could give up 3,000 gold pieces, but not a fish." Ye laughed and clapped his hands.
Ye Tongshan was an honest man with high moral standards, yet another principle is shown in this story.
Mencius said that people who sought a good reputation could give up a large country, yet this did not mean that they were generous, unless they were also able to give up a small plate of food. Think about this, if a man cannot give up a small plate of food, how can he truly give up a huge country?
There is another story about a man who did many good deeds, but Hades, the god of the underworld, wanted to punish him after he died. The man was at a loss, so Hades showed him a record of his good deeds. It clearly showed that the good deeds were done because he wanted to be of good repute or to gain some personal interest. The man was silenced immediately.
In reality, when you do good deeds to help others or to accumulate virtue, you should know that the heavens know your every notion and every thought. When you do good deeds only to earn a good reputation, others would think that your are a hypocrite.