Deng Ming-Dao on Caring
There are times in life when we are called upon to help others typically when people we care about are suffering and in pain. At these times we feel obligated to give of ourselves and we should, however we should never be asked to give beyond what we can, to the point of doing harm to ourselves, Deng Ming-Dao says it better.
Don’t go out looking for good deeds to do
But if one comes your way, do not refuse.
If you meet someone who is suffering,
You must help them
What good is self-cultivation and wisdom if you just keep it for yourself? Knowledge is meant to be used, and if you can use it on behalf of others, you should.
There was once a man who prayed daily to a particular god among many of the temple. Eventually, he noticed that the incense he lit drifted all over – other gods were getting the benefit from his efforts! He built a paper cone over the incense burner so that all the smoke would be directed right at the nose of his god. Unfortunately, this turned the face of his god black with soot.
Those who follow Tao believe in using sixteen attributes on behalf of others: mercy, gentleness, patience, nonattachment, control, skill, joy, spiritual love, humility, reflection, restfulness, seriousness, effort, controlled emotion, magnanimity, and concentration. Whenever you need to help another, draw upon these qualities. Notice that self-sacrifice is not included in this list. You do not need to destroy yourself to help another. Your overall obligation is to complete your own journey along your personal Tao. As long as you can offer solace to others on your same path, you have done the best you can.