慈濟傳播人文志業基金會
Smile at the Mirror

We often judge others too quickly, but do we reflect on ourselves enough?

It was late afternoon when I arrived at the train station and went to the window to buy a ticket to Hualien. I was going to visit the Jing Si Abode, the Buddhist convent founded by Master Cheng Yen.

“A one-way ticket to Hualien,” I said to the clerk.

The clerk looked glum—she didn’t seem the type that warmed easily to people. I thought, “Come on, give me a smile.” Then it suddenly occurred to me: I must not have looked too cheerful myself.

After I received my ticket and change from the clerk, I smiled at her and said, “Thank you.”

She seemed surprised at first, but she quickly returned my smile and answered, “You’re welcome.”

As I turned around to leave, she added, “Take care.”

I gave her another smile, said “Thank you” again. “Bye-bye,” I called out with a wave of my hand as I turned to leave.

“Platform No. 2.” She called after me again to remind me of the right platform.

I thanked her again and then happily proceeded toward platform No. 2.

This small moment, an everyday exchange between two strangers, illustrates the deep wisdom of Master Cheng Yen when she says, “Smile at the mirror, and the image in the mirror will smile back.”

Summer 2017