October 29, 1973 Monday evening

On a Reward More Precious Than the Gift

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua

What we’ve been talking about reminds me of something that happened in the past. What took place is very clear. It could have happened yesterday, or last year, or two years, three years, four years, five or six years ago, or even a hundred years ago--that part is indistinct. At the time, I had some dictionaries, but not single-language dictionaries. They had English, Chinese, Sanskrit, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German--probably that many languages. Those dictionaries were like precious jewels to me. However, some of my fellow students didn’t have those dictionaries, and when they saw me consulting my dictionaries, their faces would drop, and they would even shed tears. I don’t know if it was from jealousy or admiration or what.

The first day I didn’t think anything of it, nor, the next. But by the third day I began wondering, “What’s wrong with them?” And I realized, “Oh! It’s because they don’t have dictionaries.” From that point on, I no longer wanted the dictionaries—which were like precious treasures—for myself. I gave them away for everyone to use. After that, I no longer needed to look words up in the dictionary to know what they meant. I recognized them without a dictionary. I myself didn’t know why, and I still don’t

Timely Teachings, page 209