Stories From Ancient China: ‘Suffering loss is a blessing’
Stories From Ancient China: ‘Suffering loss is a blessing’

Nowadays, many peoples’ greatest fear is suffering a loss, and many would rather see others suffer than be made to endure themselves. Older Chinese generations tried to convince their children and grandchildren that there is nothing wrong with suffering a loss. In the course of history, many virtuous people have required themselves to take losses lightly, and they also instructed their children and grandchildren in this manner.  

When going through the difficulty of suffering a loss, tolerance can only develop from magnanimity. One must be able to endure humiliation and have the ability to correct adverse situations. In the old days there was a Shangshu (an official rank in past times) with the name Lin Tuizhai, who had both much luck and virtue, as well as a house full of children and grandchildren. Before he died, his descendants kneeled in front of him and asked for instructions. Lin Tuizhai told them: “I don’t have much to say. As long as you learn how to forgive, that will be enough. In history there were lots of heroes who failed only because they were not able to accept any loss! In ancient times there were also many heroes who accomplished a lot, because they could endure humiliation and take losses lightly! Han Xin, for example, endured the humiliation of crawling between the legs of a criminal. But later he became a well-known general and was appointed to Sanqi-King by Liu Bang, even though he had been humiliated as Liu’s subordinate in the early days in Huaiyin.”   

The ancients considered the ability to endure loss the difference between heroes and villains. Teacher Wei Xi from the Qing-Dynasty once said: “I don’t know what a gentleman is, but I appreciate someone who can endure every loss just like a gentleman. I don’t know what a villain is, but I think that someone who only wants to win is a villain.”

In ancient times there was a proverb called: “Suffering loss brings blessings.” The true meaning of enduring loss is that bad karma can be transformed into virtue. The things people accomplish in their lives are possible through exchanging virtue. When one’s actions cause harm to others, it creates karma and brings loss of virtue. Looking at it from this point of view, suffering loss is indeed a blessing!

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