By Nhat Quan
Charity is a deed that brings legitimate benefits to you and those around you. Good deeds always come from the unity of the interests of the majority. Being useful to the community is considered a good deed, no matter how big or small the benefit.
Evil deeds are deeds that cause negative consequences for everyone around. Evil deeds can be of great benefit to you, but adversely affect those around you. When acting, usually each person has the ability to perceive his or her actions as good or evil. You can also define the purpose of what you do. Of course, sometimes you do wrong by accident or ignorance, but those are just isolated cases.
In this extremely complicated life, there are very thin lines, between good and evil only a hair apart. If you don't have a firm stance and resilience, it's easy to slip into the whirlpool of life. So whatever you do, no matter how big or small, you must pay attention to the consequences of that. In Buddhist Ethics, the Buddha taught:
- All evil should not be done
But do all good deeds.
The above sentence refers to the common relationships of real life, that is, the relationship between nature and phenomena: Being good or evil does not depend on how big or small it is, but on its nature of it. If it is an evil deed, big or small, it is evil. Stealing a vegetable or a motorbike is still called a thief. If it is a good deed, even finding a needle to return to a lost person, showing the way to a lost person, or saving a life is also a good deed. Therefore, when doing something, you should have a definitive attitude, only doing good, not doing evil, no matter how big or small. This statement is meant to warn those who always make excuses for their own actions. When you want to do something, especially when you don't know whether to do it or not, you often make excuses for yourself. Chopping down a tree in the forest, the first time you feel it doesn't affect anyone, but ten times you do it and you will cut down an entire forest. The same goes for doing evil, maybe for the first time, you see nothing happens, so you continue doing it until the consequences happen, you will know that you did wrong, and it's too late.
The existence and development of society always have a parallel between good and evil. Evil can never be erased, but if each person is always aware that only doing good should not do evil, then surely society will improve more and more. So, don't see small good deeds that you don't do, don't see small evil deeds that you do is very meaningful advice for everyone. Because most of you make this mistake of often ignoring small good deeds and doing small evil deeds. If it is a good deed, it should be done, big or small, for example, taking an old man or a child across the street is as precious as participating in a charity event, but people often overlook small and good deeds around you. Doing good deeds, the most important thing is not to do big or small things, but in the heart of the person. The precious thing of a person who does good deeds is to have a heart of love for fellow human beings, care, and share hardships with those around you. Doing good is not calculating profit or loss, is one of the Ten Mindfulness things that the Buddha taught:
- Help people not to ask for something in return, because asking for something in return is still a plan.
Doing good deeds impartially will not only bring good things to others but also give you a peaceful, clear mind. And doing evil, no matter how small, will not only harm others, but also make your conscience torment, worry, and lose your own peace. No one can rest easy after doing a bad deed. Small evil deeds torment the conscience, great evil deeds are feared and haunted. So as an admonition, this statement unequivocally states that:
Don't do evil, do good.
This is not new thinking, but it has a profound practical significance. You are also aware that you should not do evil but should do many good things, but you cannot do it, because in your mind you are always making excuses for small evil deeds expressed in this saying:
- Little things don't matter.
Meanwhile, small good deeds that are worth doing are ignored, but doing things that are harmful to others, seeing little harm is being done. There are people who enthusiastically participate in charity events, but inadvertently in front of hungry wandering children, these are the acts that make up great crimes.
You are daily, hourly mobilizing people to participate in charity activities, but you are still indifferent to the small things around you. Things like putting garbage in the right place, the yield of the way, and giving up seats in public places for the elderly and children are really good deeds that no one cares about. Meanwhile, ready to pick fruits, break branches, steal public property...
Remember that many small drops of water can form a stream or a river, and the waters of a hundred rivers and streams can form an ocean. No matter how small the good deeds, when gathered together can become a huge amount and help people achieve a lot. Doing good brings change, step by step, bringing people to a more peaceful world. Don't pass up the opportunity to do a small act of kindness just because you think it's too small to make any difference. Compassion brings hope and helps you become a better person. That's why the ancients used to say:
- Literature is reviewed regularly, and martial arts must be practiced regularly.
So for a student to not forget a subject, you have to review it every day. Continuity is the most important factor, what Buddhists call diligence, whether it's math, painting, dance, martial arts, positive thinking, or meditation… One of the simplest and easiest ways To practice positive thinking, kindness, and compassion are:
- One good deed every day.
In fact, you often do more than one good deed every day, but you just don't think about it. Every day is a good deed, either for yourself or for others, because you are not paying attention, and you think you are not doing anything. There are many good deeds big or small you can do every day in your daily life such as:
1- Do good deeds for yourself:
- Abstain from smoking a cigarette when you have a craving.
- Wanted to lie down a bit longer, but got up to do housework.
- Take a short walk after dinner.
- When you are angry about something, turn on soft music and listen to it and take a nap to forget your anger.
2. Doing good deeds for others:
-  Yield a chair to a woman on the bus.
- Take an old man across the street.
- Give a beggar some money.
- Lend a neighbor an object to use.
- Thought of scolding someone, but swallowed and smiled.
- Thinking of doing something to make the other person suffer to relieve your anger, but you recite a Buddha's name and then decide not to do it.
- Pick up a piece of trash and put it in a nearby trash can.
- Someone is about to fight, you can say a few words to dissuade.
Sort of like that. Good deeds abound around you, with just a little kindness, you will have a lot of opportunities to do it, without spending any of your efforts.
Every day a good deed has great influence and benefits for yourself and your family. Your good deeds have a direct impact on 3 groups of people:
1- The person you help:
Either they receive a good thing from you, or they don't accept a bad thing from you, that's all good for them. And they will think:
- Well, there are still good people in this world.
Such thinking is positive energy in one's mind. There is a chance it will be multiplied by many people.
2- For yourself:
Consciousness and action of:
- One good deed every day
It is a very effective way to practice positive thinking and meditation. Perhaps there is nothing as effective as this, for it is a practice by living action.
3- Those who hear/see your good deeds:
Like passersby, seeing you helping an old woman, they will think:
- Well, there are still good people in this world.
Can you see the power of this positive energy in your world if you only do one good deed a day, and so on for a lifetime?
Please pay attention to remind yourself, and pass this message on to your friends, inviting everyone to participate in their own personal projects; so your personal projects are already a social project, for the city, the country, and the world you live in.
Nothing great. But you should remember that the sound of a fingernail can vibrate countless worlds. A small good deed you have done, and share the idea with your other friends it will spread all over the world. This is not a movement that lasts a few months, it is a project of a lifetime. And you've done it all the time, nothing new, just more systematic thinking. That's all.
          American writer Elbert Hubbard once said you can be a miracle worker. Anyone who is intelligent understands this truth that is:
- The only way to help yourself is to help others.
          And through that is a sample of a story imbued with human love:
A company has a tradition of holding a Christmas party every year, and there is a lottery, whoever wins the name, that person will be rewarded. According to the rules of the sweepstakes, each participating member must contribute 10 USD as a fee. The whole company has 300 people, and the reward is the total amount of 300 people combined is 3,000 USD. Whoever is lucky will get to take all the money home.
 On the day of the draw ceremony, the atmosphere was more jubilant than ever, everyone was looking forward to the time to try their luck. Each person was given a piece of paper to write their name on before placing it in the lucky draw box. And while preparing to register, a young employee suddenly pondered:
 - The cleaning lady Sarah has the most difficult family, her children have many diseases, and she does not have money to operate on her children. It would be great if she got this amount of money, but where did she get 10 USD to participate?
After thinking about it, he decided without hesitation to write Miss Sarah's name instead of writing his name on it. Although he still knew the chance was too slim, only 1/300 chance, he still wished for luck to smile on her.
When it was time to prepare for the draw, the atmosphere was equally tense. Everyone looked up at the stands when the company's director chose the lucky ticket. Below, the young man kept praying to God, asking God to help Sarah…
          The director slowly unfolded the piece of paper… Tick, tick, everyone held their breath and waited until the ticking of the clock could be heard. When looking at the name on that lucky ticket, the director involuntarily smiled… then he read it aloud. And… the real miracle happened! When Sarah's name was called, incessant applause filled the hall. Sarah was both happy and surprised because she didn't know she could participate. As she stepped up to the podium to receive the award, she profusely thanked:
- I'm so lucky, with this money my child is saved, thank you, everyone, thank you, everyone!
The party took place in the voices, laughter, and people toasting each other. The young employee kept thinking about the happy outcome of Christmas Eve because everything happened like a miracle. He walked around and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Accidentally passing by the ballot box, he pulled out a sheet of paper with his hand, and… strangely, on that piece of paper was Miss Sarah's name. He couldn't believe his eyes, so he quickly pulled out another piece of paper, and another piece of paper, all with Miss Sarah's name on it.
Emotion welled up in his heart, like a tidal wave rising violently. His eyes were red, and tears of happiness were constantly flowing. He realized one thing, this world really exists as a miracle on Christmas Eve, only that miracle did not fall from the sky, but it was created by honest-hearted people around the world.
You have to know, kindness is like a blade of grass, even if you just start it with 10 dollars or a bunch of crushed vegetables, it will spread and you will be surprised to see a whole green lawn of the love, empathy, and sharing that you can have for each other. And this world will become Earthly Bliss without you having to be great people to build it. Sometimes you will find that what you give is so small, that you see whether you do it or not, it doesn't matter. That's why the Buddha advised that:
- Don't see small good deeds that you don't do.
 Because if one person gives out $3000.00 dollars at one time, it's too big, they won't be able to do it, but $10.00 dollars can do it, and so if they want to get $3000.00 dollars, a gathering of 300 people is not difficult at all. And because even an old tree begins with a tiny green sprout. As long as you sow and take care of it, after a while it will become an ancient tree. As long as you start with a blade of grass, the world will become a field of brilliant flowers, just as you start with a small good deed, this whole life will become a paradise on earth.
In life, sometimes you have the heart to do a good deed, but because of unfavorable circumstances, with many reasons to prevent it, you keep making appointments until tomorrow, then tomorrow. The thing is, tomorrow you won't have another chance. Here is another sample story:
When Shakyamuni Buddha was alive, there was a Brahmin named A Small Shirt. So-called because he was so poor that he only had one shirt underneath, and so was his wife. Two people share the same outerwear, so every time A Small Shirt or wife goes out the door, the other must stay at home.
One day, everyone told each other that the Buddha was going to teach the Dharma at the Jetavana Vihara. Both husband and wife A Small Shirt wanted to listen to the Dharma, so they agreed:
- She goes during the day and he goes at night.
Sitting in front of Shakyamuni Buddha, A Small Shirt was overjoyed. He listened attentively to the words of the Tathagata preached as if he wanted to swallow every word; he immediately wanted to make offerings to the Buddha. However, A Small Shirt has only this jacket as the only valuable item. If it was offered to the Tathagata, he and his wife would have no more to wear; Then how will these two wretches manage?
When in his heart there are thousands of selfish thoughts that do not want to offer robes, there is a devotional thought that wants to offer robes. The two sides argued with each other until the first hour passed, A Small Shirt had not yet been offered to the Buddha. The second watch came again, A Small Shirt still hesitated to offer it to the Buddha. Towards the end, A Small Shirt thinks:
- Two hours have passed, if I continue to struggle, if I persist in being selfish like this, I will forever lose the opportunity to get out of the three sufferings.
So he determined to offer the Tathagata the only outer garment of the couple. Thinking to do it, A Small Shirt took the shirt and placed it at the feet of Shakyamuni Buddha, A Small Shirt cried out three times:
- I won!
During the Dharma lecture that day, there happened to be King Pasenadi of Kosala; When the king heard A Small Shirt shout like that, he was very surprised. When knowing the situation, the king rewarded A Small Shirt with many clothes. A Small Shirt used the entire reward of the king to offer to the Tathagata. The king was very grateful, so he gave A Small Shirt four elephants, four horses, four thousand gold coins, four women, four maids, and four best villages.
Hearing the above story, the monks discussed it in the Dharma hall:
- OH! A Small Shirt's work is amazing! He received gifts of four of each kind very quickly! As soon as he did a good deed, the reward came immediately.
By chance, the Buddha was passing by the Dharma hall, listening to the discussion of the monks, so the Buddha taught that:
- Bhikkhus! If A Small Shirt made an offering to Me in the first watch, you would have received a gift of sixteen each. If A Small Shirt was offered in the middle, he received eight each. But since it was until the last watch, he only received four of each.
And the Buddha encouraged:
- Those who want to do good deeds should not hesitate but must do it immediately. A delay in meritorious deeds that brings good results is also delayed.
- If you want to do good deeds, you must do it as soon as you have an urge in your heart.
Again, in life, sometimes you have the heart to do something good, but because of unfavorable circumstances, with many reasons to prevent it, you keep making appointments from day today. The thing is, I'm afraid it won't be in time tomorrow. So that:
- If you want to visit your elderly parents, pick up the phone immediately today, because no one knows if your elderly parents can still wait for you forever?
- If you want to forgive someone who has hurt you, forgive today, because tomorrow you may not have the opportunity to see them again.
- If someone is being deceived by lies and deception, tell them the truth today, because when the sun rises tomorrow, they may lose the opportunity forever.
The sky is high and the earth is wide, with the infinity of the universe, a hundred years of human life is like a blink of an eye. If you do not take the opportunity to do good, fear that once you lose your body, the only thing left is unrelenting regret. Ancient says:
- To do good deeds, which is precious in that it is done immediately, persistently, and tirelessly. From small to big, little by little accumulation gradually becomes more.
Indeed, for example, in a 9-story castle, the first floor must also be built and then gradually built higher. In the same way, the journey, even if it is a thousand miles, is at the beginning from your step-by-step feet. So when you know it's a good deed, you have to do it immediately; Moreover, it must be done seriously, diligently, and persistently.
Having determined that a good deed must be done with all its might. If you can change for good, you can also make up for the damage you have done in the past, reduce guilt and increase retribution. If you are always hesitant to do, do not listen to the right words, can't control yourself, it will cause guilt, it's too late to have regrets.
In addition, have you ever heard that doing good or evil affects people's lifespan?
You may be surprised, but these are scientific conclusions obtained through research. Through a survey and research investigation by Yale University and the University of California with over 7,000 people living in Alameda County, California. Along with the results of a follow-up investigation by the University of Michigan Research Center on 2,700 people, over 14 years of non-stop, the study came to the same conclusion:
- Doing good deeds really affects health and longevity
The simple reason is that when the mind often helps others, does good deeds, and other positive energies, it will help your mind to be comfortable, and happy, naturally will have health and longevity.
And researchers on the topic: How social relationships affect human mortality have shown that:
- People who are always happy and sociable, and willing to help others often have a longer life expectancy, especially it is more prominent men.
- People who are calculating, selfish, always holding negative thoughts, harming people, and not getting along with people often have a mortality rate 1.5 to 2 times higher than that of ordinary people.
- People who are taciturn, lonely, and do not want to participate in social activities also have a higher mortality rate than normal.
Therefore should:
If you meet a good deed, do it immediately, don't hesitate.
However, I would also like to remind you, that in dealing with people, you need to keep an honest heart, but not all kindness always brings sweet fruit. Many things are considered good but hide a potential great disaster. Example:
- Some people release living beings but hire someone to catch birds and fish to sell to let them free...
So true honesty must have the wisdom to understand everything. Humans have to understand the human mind and the world, and at the same time have to be transparent about the operating rules of heaven and earth. Actions that do not violate the laws of nature can help people get rid of suffering. This is true kindness.
In short, in dealing with people, you need to always keep an honest heart, when others are in trouble, you should not cross your arms and watch, but should come and lend them a hand. To do this, first of all for the people around you, you should get to know them, if you don't understand them, you'll just see them as crazy, stupid, mean, ugly, disgusting... an excuse for you to be cruel, you never see them as pitiful people.
You should know, that every person around you, everyone has a good part that deserves to be cherished and loved. Life always has ups and downs that make you feel the need for an honest heart, a place to lean on. And when you are struggling in the middle of life, if there is a hand ready to lift you up, give you a fulcrum, and help you overcome difficulties, that kind heart will be a source of strength to help you overcome through all the storms of life.
In fact, in this life, not only one heart is needed, but ten thousand hearts and more are needed to share the suffering of the poor and lonely. To make life less sour, people's hearts less sour and easier to come together to love each other more, to live together in love for fellow human beings, to lead each other to the end of life, like drops of water of a hundred rivers and streams, not discriminating against each other, but accompanying each other to the sea. 
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