One of my students texted me and complained that I often took her for granted and that she felt that I did not appreciate her contributions at all.
I texted in reply the following:
“I am very sorry you feel that way. But that is just life.
“For example, as monks, we open our doors to everyone old or young, man or woman, white or colored, Buddhist or atheist and so forth. Therefore, quite often people come and take advantage of us repeatedly.
“As a result, we learned to expect no reward, no gratitude or even the slightest form of appreciation. It is no big deal because so many people in other fields also give and serve their communities freely and generously.
“Not only do we feel that our contributions to society are insignificant and pale in comparison to other’s generosity, we have also learned to forget our good deed immediately after it is performed. Why? Because people who are suffering and in pain really have no strength or clarity of mind to be grateful. Or those who habitually take advantage of others do it because they feel that is the way of life: if you do not seize the opportunities, others will.
“Therefore, you should learn to live and accept that most of those whom we help are ungrateful. My students seem to be afflicted by this and that is why I taught all of them to forget any good deed as soon as it is done.
“Personally, I like to “retaliate” the ungrateful by in turn being to those who are attached to their good deeds in the hope of helping detach quickly. That is merely the spirit of true Mahayana giving: we see no one who gives, no one who receives, and nothing being given.
“Finally, you do know that I appreciate you more than I show so that you are less attached to my recognition.