The Giver should be Thankful

Seisetsu, master of Engaku in Kamakura (Japan), once felt the need for larger quarters, since those in which he was teaching were overcrowded. Umeza Seibei, a merchant of Edo, decided to donate five hundred pieces of gold called ryo, towards the construction of a more commodious school. He brought this money to the teacher.

“All right. I’ll take it,” Seisetsu said. Umeza handed over the sack of gold to Seisetsu, but was dissatisfied with his attitude. One might live a whole year on three ryo, and the merchant had not even been thanked for five hundred.

“In that sack is five hundred ryo,” hinted Umeza.

“You told me that before,” replied Seisetsu.

“Even if I am a wealthy merchant, five hundred ryo is a lot of money,” said Umeza.

“Do you want me to thank you for it?” asked Seisetsu.

“You ought to,” replied Umeza.

“Why should I?” inquired Seisetsu. “The giver should be thankful.”

Our ego dictates that if we give, we must be thanked. Actually, it’s the reverse. We should derive satisfaction and fulfilment by giving. The giver should always be thankful. Zen teaches us to cut off our identification from our ego. Ego makes us believe and anticipate. Once we release the ego, we can move with the flow of energy, moment by moment.

As a technical writer, do not allow your ego to come in the way of doing quality work. Discard your ego. Your ego is insignificant. Write as naturally as you would walk. Have you ever been conscious of your walking? Your writing should also be natural and graceful. Ditto for your life. Be happy!

We are never thankful for the opportunity our seniors, our colleagues, or our company has given us. We always expect and anticipate gratitude from others. The first step towards humility is to thank each sentient being in this universe.

If life and your work have given you an opportunity to serve, it is one of the greatest opportunities. What greater achievement or satisfaction can you derive than the satisfaction of serving others. When the manual or the on-line help we author is read by a confused user and when s/he ‘gets’ it, you have solved a problem for him. You have been given an unique opportunity to ‘help’ others. Thank the universe for that!

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