What is charisma? It is the ability to captivate an audience with moving compositions or beautiful paintings, win praises with magnificent buildings or brilliant speeches and attract the attention of other people.

Everyone has charisma, and everybody is charismatic in his/her own way. A woman might use her graceful figure to show her beauty, and a man might use his gentle manners to exhibit his culture. Wherever there is charisma, there will always be great interest and the focus of the spotlight. Charisma is a captivating quality that can arouse popular devotion and enthusiasm. Most people think that being beautiful is the same as being charismatic, but true charisma lies within a person's spirit and his/her ability to endure and persevere. For example, a charismatic speaker can delight his/her audience with charm and wit. A charismatic teacher can hold the attention of his/her students with extensive knowledge and ex- citing experiences. While some people are charismatic because they are good at reading another's mind, others are friendly and considerate. There are also those who are so dignified that others are willing to follow them in whatever they do. They have the charisma of leadership.

Although charisma is a natural endowment and an innate quality, we should not be discouraged if we are not as charismatic or as capable as others are because there are ways for us to reveal our charisma. For example, we can show our charisma in our resolve to benefit other beings. We can enhance our appeals through compassion and good relationships. We can also improve our attractiveness through dignity and composure. While charisma may be an innate quality, it can still be acquired and cultivated. We can be profoundly influenced by the body language of a Chan master because every gesture of his body and every glance of his eyes can rid us of our ignorance and expedite our enlightenment. That is the charisma of a Chan practitioner.

The sun is warm, the flowers are fragrant, the air is fresh, and the world is harmonious. So as long as we have the intention to improve ourselves and our relations with others, we can show our charisma in any way we want. If we work hard, we can gain the appreciation of our boss and thesupport of our co-workers. When we volunteer our time and energy to help others, we will be respected by our peers and loved by our friends. However, we will lose our appeal if we are full of complaints and resentments. We will not be very attractive if we spend our time telling lies and sowing seeds of discontent. Even a scholar of profound knowledge can lose his/her charisma if he/she indulges in rude behaviors and malicious criticisms.

Historically, who, then, has had charisma? We need not look any further than George Washington, Mark Twain, or Winston Churchill. The sense of their humor, wisdom, kindness and tolerance under all circumstances have set them apart from the rest of the world.