I feel stressed about not being able to help people

Oct 16, 2023

 

QUESTION

Dearest Robina,

 

I am thinking about the fact that sometimes I can’t help people which makes me really sad. There’s been multiple people I couldn’t help in life – my mother, my father, friends.

 

I’ve tried to help a friend based on what he wanted, which isn’t wise and doesn’t actually solve his problems, but I realized the other day that his problems stem from the way he thinks.

 

I think it’s the case that I can be supportive and positive, and a friend, but that I need to accept that there’s only so much I can help someone. It’s the same with my family, I can see things in a way they can’t but I can’t change what they see, and in the same way am limited in how I can help them.

 

I think the logical conclusion is that the only way I can really help people is to be a buddha and that just now, my best isn’t enough for some people, but it’s how to deal with that in the meantime that’s challenging.

 

Much love,

B

 

ANSWER

Dearest B,

 

Of course we can help everyone, every single being we meet!

 

But we can’t make their problems go away.

 

There’s a massive difference.

 

Your attachment wants their problems to go away, that’s why you’re miserable.

 

How can you help everyone? According to your capacity to help and their capacity to be helped. If all they’re ready for is a cup of tea, that’s what you give them. If they want spiritual advice, that’s what you give them.

 

But the long term is the point. Bodhisattvas think in terms of aeons.

 

Each being we meet, apart from doing what we can now, we are glad we have made a karmic connection with them because that is the cause for our meeting them again in the future. Bodhisattvas happily go from life to life to life, perfecting the first four perfections in relation to sentient beings, hooking them, one at a time. And when they’re ready we’ll be able to lead them to enlightenment. (And they perfect the last two in their meditation.)

 

Instead of despairing, they have enthusiasm and, indeed, think in terms of aeons, never giving up. That’s what sustains them.

 

Look at His Holiness! For countless lives he has hooked each one of us — in our case, those who like him — by using peaceful methods. He hooked us! And now we can see and hear him. He must have used wrathful methods to hook the Chinese Communists — they can’t stand him! But he got them!

 

Bodhisattvas will do anything to hook us, ensnare us, get us. Then they can help us.

 

Think like that, B! Have a big, big mind! Forget about attachment!

 

Rxx

More Q & A

How to decide what’s best?

QUESTION Dear Venerable Robina, I had the pleasure of watching several of your teachings and have, of course, been watching your discussions and Q&As on YouTube. My family have been listening to you and your straightforward manner has put them at ease that I’m not...

Help your father be peaceful, that’s all that matters in his old age

QUESTION Dear Venerable Robina, Hoping this finds you well. I’m having a hard time dealing with something. My mother passed recently. We’ve just discovered that she gambled away all the family money in bad investments. My father is old and refuses to acknowledge this....

We don’t know who anyone is, so don’t judge

  QUESTION Dear Venerable,   I hope that you are well.   I know that sometimes my mind has a tendency to kind of lean toward being distrustful, so I'm working on that.   There has been a couple of times in the last year or so when I have heard a...

I’m struggling to find employment

QUESTION Dear Venerable, I hope you’re doing well. I attended your teachings during your recent visit. The topic on that occasion was “Karma and Afflictions” and this is exactly the reason why I have finally got the courage to contact you. I’m really struggling to...

Share this article