Question: When we were driving here today, there was a man standing by the side of the road saying he needed food and I felt bad. I didn’t know what to do. When I think about bodhichitta and taking the bodhisattva vow, I realize that I can’t even make these things work in my own life in small situations. So I would like to know, how can I help myself and others?
Answer: In general, in these kinds of situations it’s important to act according to your personal capabilities. However, we shouldn’t give excuses about our capabilities in order to not do anything. Try to have enthusiasm for helping others and then do what your capabilities allow. Do a little bit every time, and do as much as you can. Don’t try to do big things immediately. Just do what you can in the minimum way—simple things done with love and compassion can help achieve something much bigger in the future. Try to always have more courage and more enthusiasm for beneficial activities. The main point is to utilize your capabilities. It’s not good to try to do big things immediately and then stop everything. Then there would be no continuation or progress. Question yourself and examine your capabilities to determine what you can do. If you try to do too much, it will bring discouragement and stop your progress. Always try to develop the aspiration to help, sincerely recite aspiration prayers with a good heart and good thoughts, and then do whatever you can to help others. That is called bodhisattva practice. You cannot immediately remove everyone’s troubles, but whatever you can do to help really moves you in the right direction.
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Uprooting Clinging: A Commentary on Mipham Rinpoche’s Wheel of Analytic Meditation (pgs 139-140)
Photo of Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche at Padma Samye Ling in July 2019.
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