Selflessness: The Best Quality

In the chapter “Best Quality” of the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Jing Mei’s mother Suyuan gave the jade pendent as her appreciation of Jing-Mei’s sense of selflessness.  It was during their New Year celebration that Suyuan invited her longtime friend s Lindo Jong and her family. Suyuan cooked eleven crabs for eleven of them and one crab among them had torn off leg. During the dinner time, everybody chose the best and the plumpest, and the last two crabs with faded orange color and torn off leg was left. Jing Mei chose the crab with the torn off leg sacrificing the other one for her mother. Thus, Suyuan realized that her daughter’s thinking was different from others.  She had the sense of selflessness, which can be considered as the best quality a person can possess.

From my point, I also believe that selflessness can be one of the best qualities for a person, but we all are human being, so we somehow tend to choose the best one for ourselves. The greed in us never allows us to forfeit something for someone else. Only few people can sacrifice for other beings. For instance, if we are given a chance to choose a gift, everybody will choose the loveliest one. We will never choose the worst one so that the good one can be taken by the other.  Except in the case of mothers, they are the epitome of altruism. A mother’s love is unconditional and selfless.  They sacrifice everything for their children. For instance, in the chapter “Magpies” of the same novel, An-mei’s mother who was the third concubine of Wu-Tsing sacrificed her own life for the sake of her daughter. Wu-Tsing promised her to give her own household, but his plan was chopped by the second wife. Wu-Tsing was afraid that her mother’s spirit will come to take revenge, so he promised to nurture An-mei and the other son as his own child.

Moreover, I am a Buddhist follower and according to my religion, selflessness is the one of the most fundamental key to attain enlightenment. Desiring for something and selfishness is considered as a sinful act. Therefore, whenever we pray and offer butter lamps, we never pray for our own benefit, we always pray for all living beings to rest in peace. Thus, I agree that Suyuan that selflessness is the best quality a person can ever have.


3 Responses to Selflessness: The Best Quality

  1. rstha says:

    Hi Tshering,
    I agree with you that selflessness is one of the best qualities of humans. Jing-Mei’s nature of selflessness is worth counting because she was surrounded by greedy and selfish people. They selected best grab for themselves and their close one’s without thinking about others. Her this act of selecting crab with torned off leg also proves that she is less influenced by Chinese culture beacause no Chinese would accept to have such crab knowing that it was a badluck to have such crab. However, it surely reflects her selflessness because she sacrified for her mother. In addition, i really liked your point where you have said that Buddhism focuses in selflessness. Indeed, it does. Budhha has said that there is nothing that we came with and will go with after this life is over, so we should live without greed. lets keep our humanity alive human by thinking about others rather than thinking for yourself first.

  2. iratahmid says:

    hi Tshering,
    I too agree with you that selflessness is often the best quality. however, almost all people doesn’t have this sense of attribute. they simply desire for themselves and never tend to sacrifice a small thing for others. You say mothers are true epitome of selflessness. Yes, I totally agree with you. My mother also sacrifices everything for me and my other siblings. throughout the novel, the mothers are selfless for the benefits of their daughters. however, because of communication gap, they couldnot understand each others love and care.

  3. ztandee says:

    Hey Tshering,
    I totally agree with you. Selflessness is the best quality. If only everyone were selflessness right? But we don’t have to worry about everyone, we can be those unselfish ones. I really loved the way you explored the ideas, it was insightful. Let’s try to make this world a better place to live. Let’s take little steps and live an altruistic life. Let’s make a difference and like rstha said, “live without greed.”

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