What we mean by benevolence is 仁, which is a word precisely defined in our dictionary as “spending the time or elements, with another, like sharing or self sacrificing.” It’s like I have a lunch box, I give half to you and half left for myself, that is 仁“benevolence”. The word shows you a character of “2” on the right side, 二. That means you must give MORE THAN half of what you have to be benevolent, and that is not as easy or simple as “just wishing someone well” as what most westerner thinks in their standard.
What are You Giving?
Benevolence 仁 is about giving, but what are you giving? It doesn’t always have to be money; it can be giving your time too. If you spend the whole hour watching a movie with someone while you don’t enjoy that movie, but you stayed because of them. That is a virtue of being benevolent. You already gave your time (more than half) to them by staying and not doing what you wanted to do yourself.
The amount of what you are giving should not be measured, like calculating how much is 50% etc. It could be felt, because true benevolent is done out of your heart, which means you have to feel in the position of others. If you care about their feeling, and sacrifice yourself without limit, that is true benevolent. Once you started to count, measure, just like love – it is all gone. You cannot measure love, and once you try to measure it, it’s all gone already. Imagine the wife say she was loving the husband because she bought this for him, then the husband argues back he also loved her because he bought this for her too, and the fight can go on and on – the more you count the more you lose, and love is gone as they fight.
That is why the word 仁慈 was used to be more specific. Not just benevolent, but also 慈 meaning you put the feelings into the action you do, making impact to the heart.
How to be benevolent as a Taoist?
You must remember that you are giving, and sacrificing, for the Tao, the lineage and the master without measuring, limits, and counting how much you have given etc. In return, they also do the same to you because of your virtue. Together, you will build a good relationship between you and the Tao, lineage and masters, and that is only going to lead to a brighter and happier future for you.
What are you giving to the Tao? You should be always giving your heart, your faith, to the Tao by being with the Tao. Feeling good being with the Tao, being a Taoist. If you lose your pride of being a Taoist, you are already cutting this part out.
What are you giving to the lineage? You should be always giving your trust the lineage, but acting according to what you have promised - such as the 5 virtues, 10 commandments and so on. Show everyone that you are following the Tao's rules everyday is giving back to the lineage, everyone will see and follow because of you.
What are you giving to your master? You should be always giving your masters your determination. By showing and demonstrating to your master that you are strong, not giving up no matter what hurdle is challenging you. Being determined means you won't give up.
Ordain today to learn more about these virtues and how to improve your virtues to become a better person!