No one leaves a confrontation unscathed. (Click image for video)


Are we learning Buddhism to benefit ourselves? 

Or others? 

The response depends on how far along we are on the path.

Let’s say it’s early days. We’re just getting a handle on rebirth and all those different paths including the hells and hungry ghosts. Then there’s causality, pervasive and timeless. What karmas have we sown, we wonder. We also realize that suffering could be just one step away, lurking behind current happiness.

It should come then as no surprise that, at first, we learn Buddhism to benefit ourselves. Who wouldn’t want to end their suffering and improve their future lifetimes! As time passes, and with further cultivation and learning, we begin to look anew at those vows of helping others that we read of. Yes, it’s not only about helping ourselves! We help ourselves so that we can help others. That’s our ultimate goal. And if we don’t know how to help ourselves we certainly won’t be able to help others.

So, don’t worry. Yes, we start with “ourselves.”

In time, we graduate to “others.”



It’s time to clean out the attic! (Click image for video)


Giving a possession can be easy. 

Giving of oneself takes true generosity. 

Dropping a box of clothes off at Goodwill or St. Vincent’s, buying some cans and packages of food to put into the food bank bin at the grocery store, writing a check to our town’s animal shelter, donating online after a disaster—all are quick and easy.

Taking the time to help someone is an entirely different matter.

Most of us don’t have an endless supply of time and energy. (At least not yet. We will when we become Buddhas.) So committing to help—and then actually doing so—can feel daunting. Easy or otherwise, the wise person gives to others, especially when it’s daunting. Especially of themselves.

An object or some money is one thing. Our energy is another. That’s personal! And that’s what makes it so special. Giving of ourselves is selfless. But we’re more used to selfish. Giving selfishly locks up our heart.

Giving selflessly flings open the doors of our heart and enables us to step outside of ourselves. Where fresh air awaits.