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Response to "Picking Up Other People's Baggage"

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  • NamoAmituofo
    For www.TheDailyEnlightenment.com ... Replies to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheDailyEnlightenment/message/470 ... Response to Picking Up Other People s
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2005
      For www.TheDailyEnlightenment.com
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      Response to "Picking Up Other People's Baggage"

      Certainly, I choose a world where everyone cares about everyone'ss happiness. While we may be sure of our own good intention and the goodness of compassion, isn't it more important that we act with wisdom. Sometimes we could be overwhelmed by the former, and the result may not ultimately be one of compassion for all other beings..  

      For example in the story given, it brings to mind the frequent announcement at MRT stations on reporting unattended bags found. With good intention and compassion for the owner, one could act as cited. However given some thought, perhaps one could be more compassionate to even greater number of people. What if this "Other People Baggage" holds what is most fearful as in frequent terrorist warnings. By not carrying the baggage around to the next station, you are having compassion for even a bigger number of beings. Not to mention the possible negative karma resulting from your action should you carry it to the next stop? Even if it really belongs to a good fellow who has genuinely left behind, how are you to confirm whether that person would be at the next station and whether you are comfortable to confirm that he is the rightful owner. The same also in the case of carrying other people's baggage at Immigration clearance. Should we help to carry baggage of strangers at Immigration clearance? Could we rely just on good intention and compassion and be selfless?
      thoughts... L

      Hi L,
      Thank you for your email :-]
      Yes indeed, wisdom should always be coupled and balanced with compassion best we can. If you look at the story, it is an analogy in the setting of "an unsupervised train station". This is defintely not somewhere like Singapore :-] with its tight supervision. It is also set in a world that is literally "in the middle of nowhere" with a "one way track", with no people, not even any relevant "authorities". The setting was designed so as to help better bring out the morals of the story.
      In Singapore, any careful person would have informed the folk at station control immediately, or called the police. It would also be the immediate lost-and-found counter for unclaimed baggage. The story's setting had no such conveniences. In the Singapore context, there would be no point at all in bringing it to the next station. (Immigration crossing is another mattter altogether. In the context of the story, how do we know who is the owner? The one who knows what is inside and has the key.)
      I have to admit I wrote it in the idealistic context of a "normal" bomb and terrorist-free world, which unfortunately does not exists today... as yet. The idea was a much more neutral setting. I do hope Singaporean readers do not go against the advice of the Singapore subway announcements :-]
      Amituofo, shian

      Hello Shian,

      Thank you for your detailed explanation!. Well, this shows how on our experiences often shape how we think, our preception and response.
      Best regards, L

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