Loyalty Versus Individualism
In the Qi 齊 country, there was a man who was an official in the king’s court. He was bestowed land, riches and titles and was very well off. When the Qi king was in danger, he refused to sacrifice his life to save the king.
One day, he met an old acquaintance who saw him in astonishment, “I thought you were dead!”
He calmly replied, “No, I’m still alive as you can very well see. I was a subject of the Qi king because it was beneficial. To die along with him is of no benefit, so I refused to die with him.”
His old acquaintance said, “If you are like that, how could face your ancestors?”
He immediately retorted, “So you really believe that after you die, you will get to see your
In ancient times, if one receives favors from the king and yet one is not willing to die for him, then that is great disloyalty.
In modern times, that logic is considered outdated. We look at relationships as mutually
beneficial: you give me something then I’ll reciprocate.
Which is reasonable? It depends on where you come from. If you yourself act as judge, then of course it is reasonable to behave like the disloyal official because the ego does not like to take a loss.
In my personal case, I was miserable and evil before I met my teacher, Great Master XuanHua. He accepted me and taught me how to cultivate. Because of cultivation, I totally changed and became the opposite person of what I was. Therefore, I owe my life to my late Master. As a result, I don’t look at it as loyalty but I committed the rest of my life to help continue his work in order to pay back his act of kindness. For me, it’s about paying back your debts.