Humbling Ourselves and Expanding Our Hearts


Take joy in the accomplishments of others, for regarding the success of others as our own is the spirit of a Bodhisattva. When we always strive to benefit others, life will be full of joy.

Ordinary people are unenlightened because they are narrow-minded. Our fear and afflictions in handling matters come from our short-sightedness. On the other hand, a noble person’s heart is vast and open, without obstructions. The hearts of saints and buddhas encompass the universe and the boundless worlds within it. The only difference between ordinary beings and noble beings is the expansiveness of their hearts. Buddhist practitioners must expand their hearts to embrace all sentient beings in the world with love.

There was a resident doctor in the U.S. one hundred years ago. He was studying at the hospital’s affiliated medical school and did clinical work. One day, through dedicated research, he succeeded in finding a use for local anesthesia. He reported it to the director with joy, but unexpectedly, the director only smiled and nodded after quietly listening to him, showing no surprise.

“Director, what do you think? Do you have any guidance or comments on my discovery?”

The director said, “I believe in its effectiveness.”

The resident doctor asked in shock, “You’re saying that you already know that local anesthesia is possible?”

“Not only did I know, but I had already discovered it over ten years ago. I once taught a dentist to use local anesthesia to extract teeth.”

The resident doctor was like a deflated balloon after hearing this. Someone had already made the discovery over ten years ago, but he had only just discovered it now.

He asked the director, “Why didn’t you write and publish a paper to let the world know about this?”

The director responded, “I have been very busy, so I haven’t published it. Also, I believed that as long as this method could help patients and technicians could assist in carrying it out, it was enough to use it in clinical settings.”

The young, discouraged resident said, “I already sent out the paper.” This director looked at him compassionately and patted him on the shoulder to encourage him. “You should publish it. I don’t have the time to do it, so you should do it. Besides, you have researched it longer than I have. When you publish, you will let everyone in the medical field know about this method. In this way, it can have the greatest effect in benefiting patients and reducing their pain!”

The resident was very grateful for the director’s guidance. The doctor had already discovered the method and had been using it for more than ten years, but he was now encouraging the resident to publish a paper about it.

The publication of the paper changed the entire medical field, and the young resident became famous. This young doctor’s success was the result of the director’s expansive heart.

It is truly difficult to find someone who is able to help others succeed. More than a hundred years later, in the present day, although the medical field is advancing day by day, the capacities and cultivation of people’s hearts and minds are still inferior to those before us.

Only when everyone devotes their innate potential to supporting each other with compassion and love can we achieve a world that is pure and beautiful. This is how we can transcend the ordinary to become noble beings.

Master Cheng Yen

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

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