There once was a man in ancient China who was always jealous and couldn’t stand seeing good things happen to others. Consequently, bad things started happening to him. When he stopped being jealous and started doing good deeds, however, his life began to turn around.
Jiang Yuan was an official in the state of Song during the Zhou Dynasty. He had 10 sons, one hunchback, three with crippled limbs, one insane, one mentally challenged, one deaf, one blind, and one mute. The last son died in prison.
A man named Zigao asked him: “What have you done to deserve such bad luck?”
Jiang believed that he hadn’t done any major harm in his life.
“I am just always jealous, I guess. I hold grudges against those who are doing better than me. I am happy when I’m flattered. I am suspicious when I hear people do good things, and easily swayed when I hear evil. I feel that I’m losing out whenever other people gain something; schadenfreude is my bread and butter.”
“Your mind is so skewed! This will cost you more until your family is ruined. The high-level spirits can see people for who they are. If you could change the way you think and be truly compassionate, things will turn around. It’s not too late,” said Zigao.
Jiang kept the lesson in mind and stopped being jealous. He began to promote those who were capable and talented. In a few years, his children got well.
Jealousy comes from a narrow mind and selfishness. It makes you feel terrible and angry when others perform better than you, and drives you to defame and hurt others. There are consequences.
Take Jiang Yuan, for example. His jealousy put his sons’ lives in jeopardy. After he turned his thinking around, his troubles were gone, and he was rewarded with a happy family.
A person must know how to respect and embrace others—this is how to truly treat others kindly.
As it says in The Classic of Change: “A family that does many good deeds will have blessings to share.”
The story is adopted from a Chinese classic, De Yu Gu Jian (Ancient Stories for Moral Education)