#27: Altruism, the mother of superior intention

3 August 2010 - 1:31am Comments Off

Become a doctor for the sake of other people's ills...become a Buddha!


May everyone be happy,
May everyone be free from misery

It is easy for us to wish for all sentient beings to be happy or to recite a verse of prayer as above, wishing all sentient beings to be free from suffering. However, there is a big difference between us merely wishing and actually doing something about it.

If it is just about verbalising aspirational prayers for them to have effect, well, even parrots can do that!

If we have developed true love and compassion (which you should, by now, if you have been taking this e-Lamrim series to heart!), it would not be possible for us to remain passive. It would not be possible for us to not express that concern by way of bodily actions, accompanied by a sense of earnestness. At this juncture, if our concerns are genuine, we would come to the humble realisation that we cannot really do much to benefit others. This is due to our limited capacity, in terms of knowledge and skills.

Let’s face it, when someone is dying, how much can we help them? What about when hundreds are trapped in a mine?

It does not mean we become inert and use our inabilities as an excuse to justify not lifting a finger. We should do whatever we can, to the best of our abilities and resources, to help those who are in trouble. However, we should also be motivated and inspired to go beyond mere limited help or providing temporary relief.

We should take personal responsibility to acquire perfect skills and power to help everyone completely eradicate suffering and its causes.

It is not enough as logic and karma tell us that the suffering will return or increase. We should take personal responsibility to acquire perfect skills and power to help everyone completely eradicate suffering and its causes. It is the most meaningful and best thing we can do to repay the kindness of all our mother sentient beings. If we don’t do it, who will?

We cannot wait or rely on others to achieve such skills because this will mean we have no control. When our loved ones fall ill, we don’t wait for a doctor to come, we go to the doctor. If we want to be the best engineer in the world to harness the forces of nature to benefit mankind and to build wonderful structures, we study to become one. We don’t wait for others.

If we want to see our loved ones not have to go through the suffering of illness, old age, death, encountering nasty people, situations they don’t like, being separated from people or things they love and constantly unhappy and disappointed due to unfulfilled wishes, we don’t wait for a super healer to drop by. We cannot be sure if one will come along in time or have the necessary skills. The surest option is to become the doctor of all ills ourselves – to attain Buddhahood.

NEXT: Why Buddhahood?

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