Rejoicing in Alms Giving
Once someone said to me: “Ms. Ma, it’s good of you to give
to those in need—you will surely accumulate good fortune.
When I am as rich as you are, I‘ll do the same.” If that’s
what he thinks, this person will never reach his goal of
Parsimony is the root of poverty—it’s a form of selfishness.
These people fear that giving before they become wealthy
will cause them financial harm: their focus is gain and
loss. But the more they focus on gains, the more they
lose. Lao Tseu says, “He who holds it, loses it”. To become
rich, a person must be broad-minded. Whoever we are, if we
sow the seeds of wealth, we will reap that fruit; according
to Tao Te Ching, “He lives for other people, and grows
richer himself; he gives to other people, and has
plenty”. The greatest blessing is the gratitude of people
on the verge of despair. This carries great weight. Some
help others as the price of doing business, and at the same
time, they calculate their gains. There is no merit in
helping others for those reasons. Some assist others in an
arrogant fashion: I am helping you and show mercy to you—so
you must treat me well in the future. If that’s your
mentality, beggars will not feel gratitude. Inside, they
will belittle you. If we help from the bottom of the heart,
and with no strings attached, we can experience the true
returns of charity. We can also help others in so much more
ways than material assistance.
A poor man asks Buddha: ‘Why am I so poor?’ Buddha answers:
‘Because you never help poor people.’ The poor man then
says: ‘I don’t have money, so how can I help others?’
Buddha answers: ‘Even if you don’t have money, you can still
help others in many ways: you can smile, spread joy, praise
the qualities of others, prayer for them, and respect them.
These are all ways of helping others.’ This world we live
in is a chaotic world. The coexistence of yin and yang means
that we live with the binary effects of good and bad,
kindness and cruelty, dignity and corruption, wealth and
poverty. Whoever we are, we are all creatures, and all
creatures are us. We need to stop believing that what we
think and do does not matter.
According to the popular theory, a
butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, and a chain of
uncertain events follow that end in a tornado in Texas a
month later. The slightest change to the initial condition
of a system can cause great changes to the whole system in
the long run.
Without warmth and love, we can never properly exist in this
world. Empathy for others helps us. Please don’t
underestimate the smile you give; your words of
encouragement to a child; or the small, kind deeds – taking
care of plants and animals. All this counts.
Those asking for assistance are the disciples Buddha sent to
test us—so that we can be saved from ourselves. As for the
highest state of helping others, the Vimalakīrti Sūtra has
the answer. If we help those in need because we wish to
accumulate future blessings, we are beggars ourselves; but
if we see the Buddha within them—and feel grateful—then we
will find a way out of the human maze.
We help those in need with gratitude.Not mercy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, a Cure for Diseases, for
People, for the Country
Ancient medicine has come to the fore during the Covid-19
pandemic. Dr. Xia, from Wutongshan, and his volunteers, are
a TCM rescue team organized with the financial aid of the
Wanmingzi Philanthropic Foundation of Guangdong (funded by
our company). This volunteer team has made great strides in
the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 in Wuhan. I have
always believed that TCM is not only a medicine, but a
philosophy. There are many things that cannot be explained
on a purely physical level: perhaps modern medicine and the
ancient principles of healing can achieve a closer
Conventional medical treatment is unable to standardize the
effects created by healing techniques—at least not in a way
that it can measure according to its own definition of
healing. Each system can learn from the other’s strong
points to offset its own weaknesses. Western medicine can
provide traditional Chinese medicine with testing procedures
and standards, while traditional Chinese medicine can
explain its holistic treatment protocols to the West. This
binary approach will benefit the planet.
Western medicine is a hammer that sees everything as a nail.
It kills viruses if there are viruses; it deploys
antibiotics where it finds infections; it treats the head if
the patient has a headache; it removes organs that are no
longer functioning. TCM takes the patient as a whole into
account and aims to reach a balance of yin and yang. In
nature, all must undergo the process of birth and growth and
the dual effect of opposite forces at work simultaneously.
If balance in the patient is achieved through the promotion
and restraint of these opposites, and between the five
elements, then disease can be treated successfully.
It is the worldview of the Chinese that people do not exist
alone, and that all lives are associated with all other
lives. They exist together in a close association with the
For example, Huangdi Neijing believes that there is a system
of channels in the human body: twelve main and collateral
channels corresponding to the twelve periods of the day. If
we can live our daily lives according to the rhythm of the
twelve periods of the day, we will be endowed with energy.
This is how Tao follows the way of nature in the simplest
way. But the simpler things are, the more difficult it is to
follow them. For example, sleeping early and eating little
are good for the health, but modern people often do exactly
Why is a simple thing so difficult to do? It is because
“although the mind hopes to be calm, desires keep
distracting it’. TCM hopes to nourish good health, and the
highest state of health is achieved by nourishing the mind.
That’s why ancient medicine cures people.
Emotions can do great harm to a peaceful mind. Mental
disturbances hinder the channels from running normally,
which results in disease—literally, dis-ease. Therefore,
when you do get sick, the first thing to do is to calm your
mind. In that state, vital energy flows smoothly, the blood
circulates freely, and good health is restored.
The disconnect between people and nature—and other people—is
the root of our personal, social and ecological problems. In
a broad sense, traditional Chinese medicine is also the cure
for what ails a country. Government is the process of
dealing with the relationships between individuals and
society, between people and nature, and between it and other
countries. That’s why the ancient Chinese said: “Be a good
doctor if you cannot be a good prime minister.’” The way of
curing people and the way of governing the country are both
connected. The same methodology is employed.
An old German professor regained good health thanks to
ancient Chinese medicine. He recounted his experiences of
over sixty years. He stated that it was not only a system
belonging to the Chinese people but a treasure belonging to
mankind. It represents a metaphysical formlessness that
connects the universe; it is a tool with specific features
that can cure; and finally, it is an outlook, the world view
of a culture—the art and philosophy and values of daily life
in the Orient—a lifestyle that conforms to Tao.