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Response to 'When Helping Becomes Harming'

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  • NamoAmituofo
    ... Response to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheDailyEnlightenment/message/621 ... Response to When Helping Becomes Harming Q: The article seems to
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2008
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      Response to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheDailyEnlightenment/message/621

      Response to 'When Helping Becomes Harming'


      Q: The article seems to discourage helping?

      A: It is about helping properly; not about "not helping" at all. It does not discourage the Bodhisattva path; it encourages greater wisdom while practising it. The intention was to motivate others to help with better and thus wiser intentions, which would be likelier to have effective results. It is about being more mindful not to be harming when helping. Wanting to help is compassion. Helping properly is wisdom. Skilful means are skilful only when they have both compassion and wisdom. Those aspiring to be Bodhisattvas work at improving both qualities while they help. "Sometimes, the best way to help is not to help." This also means that other times, the best way to help IS to actively help.

      Q: The article seems to be concerned only about the receiver of help, not its giver?

      A: If there is no concern for the giver, there wouldn't be this article about the possible harm of not helping properly. Not helping properly might harm ourselves in the long run too - such as burning out. E.g. If there is no compassion for Doraemon (though fictitious), there wouldn't be thoughts about how he should rethink his helping.

      Q: The article seems to forget that many helpers do helping - but are never thanked?

      A: That was not the focus of the article. While the world should thank the helpful, the sincerely helpful do not yearn to be thanked. Wanting appreciation on the Bodhisattva path is a form of egoistic craving. Bodhisattvas are heroic because they do not yearn to be honoured. All Bodhisattva-wannabes should work towards that.

      Q: If "the best of intentions should end with the best of results", the result of my reading it is displeasure. How do you explain this?
      A: "… should… " - it is an ideal. This is different from saying "the best of intentions WILL end with the best of results". Even the Buddha in his time could not please everyone. There are people in the Buddha's time who had different views from him - but that doesn't make him any more wrong. Technically, the truly best intentions are enlightened ones – with perfect compassion and wisdom – which cannot go wrong. What goes wrong would be the way the thoroughly unenlightened see these intentions. The path of practice works towards making our intentions based on compassion and wisdom better and better.

      Q: The article seems to neglect the feelings of the less confident who wish to help?

      A: The article's focus was on not neglecting the cultivation of wisdom. With more wisdom, there is more confidence naturally. The practice of helping is not perfect at first – that is why practice and perseverance is needed.

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