“I am very grateful for your help.

Regardless of the outcome,

thank you very much.”

When someone asks for our help, we may hesitate.

What if something goes wrong?

What if the outcome is not what she is hoping for?

Will we somehow get blamed?

If we’re spending time and energy on such concerns, we’ll have less for the project itself. But what if we know she deeply understands karma? Understands that the project’s fulfillment or failure depends on her conditions. What a relief! With our own understanding of causes and conditions, we won’t hesitate to help out. Not being plagued by worries over the outcome, we can focus all our energy and brain power on the task.

If the outcome is not as hoped, it’s not our fault.

If it does work out, it’s not to our credit.

With such thinking, we eliminate our ego and self-centeredness from the equation. Who wouldn’t want to help someone so at ease with conditions?

Who wouldn’t want to help us if we were too?



I will be teaching and leading a retreat at Buddhist Insights in New York City from May 10th to 14th. For information please see



People with great authority

need great wisdom. 

Those of us who do not wield much influence over others should be grateful. And immensely relieved. Saying or doing something inept, any harm we do is limited in scope. And so at least the damage we could do is minimized.

But consider those who, due to position and wealth, do affect the lives of untold numbers of people.

Terrifying! Unless they act from empathy and wisdom, from the heart of selflessness, they will act from arrogance. And intolerance. And fear. These are not the qualities of greatness; they are the instruments of discord.

The more far-reaching the authority, the more extensive the harm, the more intense the pain. At such times, and indeed at all times, we each need to blink, step back, and then examine what lies at the heart of our own actions.

Discerning the possibilities that lie within our own small sphere of influence, we can then join the ranks of those who alleviate, not inflict, pain.