(Minghui.org) Confucius once said, “A gentleman helps others to realize their good qualities, rather than their bad. A petty person does the opposite.” This shows the importance of kindness and generosity.

Throughout history, harmony, kindness, and empathy were cherished. People believed such values could bring blessings to a person, prosperity to a family, and strength to a country. Here are a few examples.

The Selflessness of Bao Shuya

When Duke Huan of Qi during the Spring and Autumn Period was getting ready to appoint Bao Shuya as chancellor, Bao selflessly recommended Guan Zhong for the position. “Guan is a rare talent. He is better than me in at least several respects: his use of generosity and kindness to keep the peace, his ability to cover the basics in managing a country, his integrity that has earned him the people’s trust, and his leading by example the good manners and polite behavior that everyone should follow,” he explained.

So Duke Huan appointed Guan as chancellor. Because of Guan’s abilities and integrity and Bao’s selflessness, Qi was well managed and became one of the most strongest countries at the time. This is consistent with what Confucius said, “A gentleman helps others to realize their good qualities...”

Two Scholars

Zheng Xuan, a renowned scholar in the Han Dynasty, was writing annotations for Zuo Zhuan (The Zuo Tradition) but had not yet finished.

Zheng was taking a trip and stayed at the same hotel as another scholar, Fu Zishen. The two had never met. Outside the hotel, Zheng overheard Fu talking to others about his understandings of Zuo Zhuan. Zheng listened for a long time and realized that Fu’s understandings were similar to his own.

So Zheng approached Fu and told him that he had been writing annotations for Zuo Zhuan but had not yet finished. Since their understandings were so similar, he wanted to give Fu what he had written so that Fu could finish it. With help from Zheng, Fu was able to finish the book and became famous. Zheng’s selflessness is also well remembered.

Traditional Values

Emperor Taizong, the founder of the Tang Dynasty, once summarized four reasons why he would succeed. First, he was not jealous and appreciated others’ talents as if they were his own. Second, he appointed officials based on their strengths and avoided their weakness. Third, he respected people’s abilities and forgave their mistakes. Fourth, he focused on encouraging positive behaviors instead of punishing bad ones.

Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty told his children not to be jealous. “Living in this world, one should be generous and forgiving. When we see other people succeed, we should be happy for them; when we see other people fail, we should be sympathetic.”

But such traditions are long gone since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power decades ago. Influenced by the CCP Party culture, people compete fiercely for their own interests, even at the price of harming someone else. This not only harms others, but also hurts oneself in the long run. By cherishing kindness and generosity, we will help ourselves as well as society.