The Beauty of Magnanimity

Throughout history, there have been great men and women who have forgiven their enemies because they have understood and appreciated the beauty of magnanimity. It is out of generosity and kindness that they have chosen forgiveness over resentment.

Therefore, we cannot criticize them as being ignorant of the differences between right and wrong or good and evil. Instead, we should strive to be more like them by releasing our hatred and replacing it with compassion.

During World War II, Japanese soldiers mercilessly murdered the people of Nanjing during the now infamous Nanking Massacre. Although fifty years have passed, many Chinese people still harbor some form of hostility toward the Japanese people because of their unwillingness to offer a formal apology. The World War II exhibits at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California offer a cruel reminder of how one man’s hatred can lead to the loss of six million lives. It is an undeniable fact that hatred has been the main source of unresolved conflicts and war throughout the world, past and present. If an ounce of forgiveness can be found anytime or anywhere, it would be possible for peace to replace animosity in the course of human history; for magnanimity can melt the coldness of hatred like the spring sun can melt the winter snow.

However, few people in the world today are willing to practice the art of forgiveness in appreciation of the beauty of magnanimity. Instead, they choose to take their anger out on innocent victims or severely punish those who have wronged them. If a parent cannot forgive a child’s wrongdoing, how can there be love in the family? If a teacher cannot react properly to a student’s mistake, how can there be respect in the classroom? If a judge cannot decide a case justly and swiftly, how can there be faith in the legal system? If a policeman cannot be fair and honest, how can there be trust in the police force? How then can we dissolve hatred and animosity?

It is only through loving-kindness and compassion that we can find room in our hearts to forgive others. It is only through our willingness to let go of resentment that we can find a way to magnanimity. 

Words alone will not bring about change. It is only with hearts that are both tolerant and forbearing that we can inspire others to follow our lead and realize the beauty of forgiveness.

In order for a person to rectify his mistakes and to turn his life around, he must be given a second chance. Without the pardon of the law and the people, all is useless. Only when we are willing to accept his apology and forgive his wrongdoing, can we truthfully steer him in the right direction and give him a new lease on life. Therefore, in being magnanimous, we not only bring benefits to others, we also benefit ourselves.

“Those who cannot forbear in small matters will spoil great undertakings” is an old saying that we should take to heart. In order for society to have peace and harmony, each and every one of us must practice the virtue of forbearance and learn to appreciate the beauty of magnanimity.

We must not harbor any grudges toward others; we must not turn every situation into a court case. If we can have a heart of forgiveness for our families and friends, our employers and employees, and our government and society, the world will be a wonderful place to live in, a place of goodness and kindness.

Although the decision “to forgive and forget” can occur in just a thought, it has enormous power to transform the negative into the positive. 

By being magnanimous, we can turn violence into peace, hostility into friendship, and disagreement into accord. However, we must put forth all our efforts into cultivating the virtue of magnanimity and inspiring others to do the same. Otherwise, the ideal world of genuine affection and affinity will never be realized.

From All in a Thought, written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

Image from Pixabay.

More Featured Articles

In this modern world, people are constantly saying, "Life is too stressful!" Why are people so stressed out? How can we rid ourselves of stress? Students feel stressed because of heavy schoolwork; parents feel stressed because they have too many chores and family obligations; policemen feel stressed because they have Read more
It is my hope that our Buddhist monks will all become monks who give support in all directions and not become monks who live off all directions. Whoever it may be, the monastic followers or the lay disciples, although we have not yet attained enlightenment, we can still broadly make Read more
Though the worlds that we see are fundamentally a product of our own minds, they usually do not appear this way to us. Like images in an intense dream, our perceptions appear to be wholly real to us, and not to have been generated by our own mental activity. For Read more
The first realization of The Eight Realizations of a Bodhisatttva Sutra is concerned with what is generally called the Buddha’s view of this world. This first realization is a description of the basic features of the world we live in. The points made in this realization are made in many Read more
Humans are thinking animals! Since the beginning of time, there have always been people who fantasize, who have delusions, who dream—and many who have ideals. When we lie in our beds at night, we should be free from worry. Yet thoughts about our lives often arise then; thoughts about family, Read more
In the past, during the feudal period of Chinese history, men were respected while women were thought of as being rather contemptible. The birth of a son was compared to fashioning an ornament as precious as jade, which not only made everyone happy, but also raised the status of his Read more
What are people supposed to do when they are troubled by afflictions? Some people are troubled by very specific things, others encounter poverty, and many have poor relations with other people. Some individuals are disturbed the moment they hear even the slightest comment they do not like, or they become Read more
The analysis of the mind in Buddhism is both multifaceted and sophisticated. As a spiritual practice, Buddhism contains numerous descriptions of the nature and function of the mind and instructions on how to search for, abide with, and refine it. In this regard, Buddhist psychology has much to offer, as Read more
Within the faith of Humanistic Buddhism, there is no opposition between time and space, nor is there any worry about life and death. What we seek to attain in passive terms is the absence of fear, confusion, and degradation, as well as the inability to become broken; in active terms, Read more
In the Sutra of Forty-Two Sections, the Buddha asked his disciples, "How long is one's life?" One of the monks replied, "A few years." The next one answered, "A few days!" Another one said, "Less than one day!" Another responded, "Between meals!" Finally, the Buddha said, "Life lasts for the Read more
If someone who holds firmly to the name of Avalokit­esvara were to find themselves in a fire, no matter how big, they need not fear being burned by it because of the Bodhi­sattva’s awe-inspiring spiritual powers. Specifically the passage describes one who “upholds the name.” The Chinese character chi (持), Read more
One of the biggest weaknesses in today’s society is that we have developed the habit of not saying we are sorry. Once we grow up and rise in status and knowledge, apologizing becomes harder and harder. But human beings are not perfect sages and we all make mistakes. Being able Read more