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I have this little granddaughter, not yet two, Hyang-ji. She
comes once a month to pay a visit to her old granddad, and every time she
comes I am struck by how much she has grown, not only in body but in heart.
This time when she came, as we were sitting eating supper around the table in the living room of my flat, my wife and her mother feeding her or she feeding herself as she moved around on their laps, suddenly up the little rascal stood, crossed to the sideboard, pulled a sheet of tissue-paper from the box lying there, toddled across to her granddad, and proceeded to wipe away the drops of sweat that had gathered on my nose!
From what I have heard, they say that humanity began to evolve two thousand million years ago from single-celled organisms, and we had become fish by about one thousand four hundred million years ago, by which stage affection was already being exercised, then by about four hundred and fifty million years ago we had become animals, with affection being extended to the young of the species, then about one million years ago when humanity appeared, at last affection was extended to other people and even to other kinds of creatures.
'Humanity': that kind of affection extending both to other people and to other creatures! That is precisely the 'barometer' indicating the difference between people and all the other animals, it is love, mercy, benevolence, so there is nothing special about the teaching of the sages who tell us that we should manifest such 'humanity' concretely.
Having experienced our Hyang-ji's flawless humanity, I have been deeply moved and happy now for several days. And I feel ashamed of my own humanity, dulled through lack of use, like the affection of the beasts.