Monday, 18 June 2007

Ancient Wisdom

Cheng-Li got married and lived with her mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li found that she could not get along with her mother-in-law. She was often angered by many of her mother-in-law's habits. In addition, Li was constantly criticised by her mother-in-law.

Days and weeks passed. Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation even worse was that, Li had to obey her every wish as a family elder.

One day, Li decided to do something about the unbearable situation. She went to see her father's good friend, Huang, and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, "Cheng-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you."
Li agreed. Huang gave her a package of herbs, telling her that quick-acting poison could not be used because that would cause people to become suspicious. She would need to use herbs that will slowly poison the mother-in-law. Every other day she would need to prepare some delicious meal and put a little of the herbs in her serving. And to make sure that nobody suspects her upon her mother-in-law's death, she must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. "Don't argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen, " was Huang's directive.

Li was so happy. She thanked Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.

Weeks and months went by, and every other day, Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother.

After six months, the whole household had changed. Li had controlled her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She had not had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because the old lady now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.
The mother-in-law's attitude toward Li changed, and she began to love Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter.

Li's husband was very happy to see what was happening.

One day, Li hurried to see Huang and asked for his help again.
"Please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law," she implored Huang. "She's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her."

Huang smiled and nodded his head. "Cheng-Li, there's nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all remedied by the love which you gave to her."

An ancient Chinese story of love overcoming hatred that still holds true today. Hatred is not overcome by hatred but by love. How many a time have we been so wrong by just piling up our heaps and heaps of hatred until we bury the love. How many a time have we just focused on the wrong or irritable tendencies that we do not see the good. It is the negative imprints in the mind that obliterate that inherent good or positiveness of our subject of hatred or anger.

Has it ever occurred that the one we abhor for whatever reason could be adored by someone else? That couldn't be the one and the same person. But it is!

It is the negative imprints which can be removed, layer by layer. All it needs is effort and just like Cheng Li, we can turn hatred into love, with the right effort. I have tried and I am beginning to see the wonders of it.

As in the parting words of the gem of the person who sent me this story of ancient wisdom:
"The person who loves others will also be loved in return."