How little things can make you a better person, according to Mengzi (300 BC)

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First Steps, after Millet, by Vincent van Gogh

“Does Your Majesty know about sprouts?” the sage Mengzi asked the king. Strange question, but an excellent one. The king was not good, but he had goodness in him. Mengzi could see it.

One day the king spared a sacrificial ox and Mengzi came to see him. This was a most promising sprout.

Mengzi said, “This heart is sufficient to become King.”

Thinking about it, the king laughed, saying, “What was this feeling, actually?”

And so they went into it.

“There is no harm,” Mengzi said. “What you did was just a technique for cultivating your benevolence.”

The king was pleased and quoted from “The Odes”, the meme generator of the day. …

About

Indi Samarajiva

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca

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