True Charity Leaves No Trace (善行無轍迹)
18 X 75cm in Cursive Script (草書)
The phrase originated from the 27th Chapter of Tao Te Ching
(道德經) written by Laozi (老子) around 6th Century B.C. (1
), and serves as an opening for discussion of the true nature of a good person (善人).
Text translation and Personal Comments
It is translated here as "True Charity Leaves No Trace" because this chapter of Tao Te Ching focuses on discussing the true nature of a
good person who does charity to help others: a good person who does good should not consider him or herself doing a good deed, since usually the cause of a good act is merely to correct something originally bad. Specifically it argues that "What is a good man but a bad man's teacher? What is a bad man but a good man's job?" ("故善人者，不善人之師；不善人者，善人之資。", translation by S. Mitchell)(2
). Therefore, "a good person should not be proud to be an example for a bad person to learn from, as a good person does not want a bad person to be a source for good acts" ("不貴其師，不愛其資").
Original Chinese text of the 27th Chapter of Tao Te Ching:
For Catholics, one should not feel any pride when helping others and, more importantly, should not believe that one is essentially better than others when doing good deeds. It is your duty and responsibility to do good and serve others, and all glory belongs to God, not you. As such, pride is considered as a capital sin in Catholicism(3).
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