Web Inspirations

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There is actually a reason that we need to help others. If a blind person is in danger of falling down a cliff because they cannot see and you have eyes to see that person's life is in danger and arms to hold them, it doesn't matter if that person doesn't ask you to help them. Your help does not depend on their asking you for it. Just having the capacity to help is itself enough reason for us to run to that person and grab them before they fall down the cliff. 

We have the same need to help other sentient beings--and it doesn't depend on their personally asking for our help. We should help them simply because we have the capacity, or potential, to help them now.

And even if we don't have the capacity to help them now, we can develop it by increasing our compassion and wisdom so that we can benefit others more and more deeply. The more compassion and wisdom we are able to develop, the more power we will have to liberate others from all suffering and its cause, which is within them, on their mental continuum. The cause of their suffering is their karma and delusions, their mistaken ways of thinking, and the negative imprints left by them on their mental continuum. We have every opportunity to develop our capacity, our compassion and wisdom, and be able to help others. Because we have the opportunity, we should help others.

The basic reason that we need to help others is simply that others are suffering and need our help and we have opportunity to help them now and to further develop our potential to help others. 

This is the reason that I normally give as to why we need to help others. It is a clean-clear pure reason: it is simply that a sentient being is suffering and needs our help. Of course, you incidentally get a lot of benefit from helping others. You get skies of benefit when you help others sincerely from your heart, by knowing that the meaning of your being born as a human being at this time is to serve others. The purpose of your life is to serve others. When we serve others with this knowledge and with compassion, our everyday life brings us so much peace, happiness, and satisfaction. Our inner life is then full rather than empty. 

In this world there are billionaires and other wealthy people whose attitude to life is not one of serving others but of using others for their own happiness. Their main aim is to make themselves happy and to avoid problems for themselves, but rather than searching for satisfaction from within their own mind, they look to achieve satisfaction from outside themselves. Even though they might be very comfortable externally, their inner life is miserable and filled with dissatisfaction. Their inner life is sad and empty. 

There needs to be a total change of mind by thinking, "The purpose of my life is to serve others. Why have I been born a human being, with this rare and precious human body? I have received it to serve others, to free others from all their suffering and to bring them all happiness: the happiness of this life and of future lives and the ultimate happiness that is free from all suffering and all causes of suffering (karma and delusions, or negative emotional thoughts), especially the highest happiness of enlightenment. To bring them all this happiness is the purpose of my life." 

Serving others with a sincere heart brings us so much peace and satisfaction every day. When we do the work sincerely, it gives us so much peace, happiness and fulfillment. We feel happy, and we see our life as meaningful. It fills our life with happiness and satisfaction now and also ensures that we have the best future. 

By serving others with a sincere heart, we have the best future. Helping to look after people who are sick and dying is itself the best preparation for our own death. By taking care of others--whether one or many--we collect so much merit and purify so much negative karma, and this means our death will come easily and without fear. Fear of death doesn't come from outside, but from within our own mind, because of our delusions and negative karma. Fear is the result of attachment and other negative emotional thoughts and of the negative karma collected in the past. By serving others with a sincere mind in our everyday life, we purify so much of those negative karmas and develop a good heart.


Excerpted from a talk Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave to the workers at Cittamani Hospice Service, April 2000. Edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron. You can read the entire talk here.

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