Friday, December 28, 2012

Help And Self

In the forest, a wonderful escape from the busyness of Chom Tong. How easy to forget about the world in a place like this. How lucky to be here, how unlucky to have such a short time to stay.

It is naivite, I think, to believe one can sincerely help others and still enjoy this sort of mundane peace and quiet so completely. One must choose, prioritize, or at least measure out the dosages of each carefully. It is always heavy on the mind, this dillema of trying to help oneself while yet supporting similar good intentions of others. Some people are cold enough to dismiss compassion as a sort of sickness weak people are stricken with, as though it were a sign of weak constitution. I am not cold enough for that... maybe I'm still too warm hearted, in the sense of wanting to help others too much.

I can't see another option besides either responding to the pleas of others with a sincere intention to help or crushing their hopes with cold cruelty. But I can see where helping others become an addiction in itself... after all, it's easier to talk the talk than walk the walk. Still, I've always found it amazing how easily other people can ignore their potential to help others become free from suffering.

I'm not a bodhisatta, I have no intention of becoming a Buddha... I have a sincere aspiration to become an arahant, and am clear in mind that that will be the end of that, and yet the impulsion to help those who are seeking the same seems rather undeniable.

I suppose the problem is in getting carried away with what is meant by 'help'. I would guess that the key lies in helping without stepping out of line, helping others as a part of one's own spiritual development. Certainly, part of the reason for starting a meditation centre is to be thereby constantly surrounded by meditators. At any rate, it is clear that what I would do if I didn't see the potential to help others and what I do seeing the potential are quite different things.

Just some thoughts as I consider the near future and all those people who have tried their best to join me in my wayward quest on this ancient path. I've never thought myself worthy of being a leader, I've just seen that I can be of benefit and that's always been enough to shrug off any thoughts of being not ready to teach or run a monastery. It may be a little shortsighted to just keep teaching and supporting other meditators without cultivating a stable situation as teacher, but I think there is something self serving in such shortsightedness, in a good way. If one were to strive for such stable position, one would have to dedicate oneself to teaching to an extent above and beyond working for one's own salvation. I think it would also easily serve to hide impermanence, suffering and nonself from one's mind.

The balance seems to lie in helping without becoming a helper, teaching without becoming a teacher. Maybe, in that sense, one should meditate without becoming a meditator... giving up that label might free more Buddhists up to actually help each other along the path we share.


  1. manjula01231:23 AM

    Thanks for the update.
    As lay people we are always behind you with revisiting and remembering your valuable teaching. What ever status (salvation) you gain as per your wish, you are an holy Bodisathva for us who tangled this samsara.
    Have a great year ahead!
    May the triple gem bless you!!!

  2. Nagybanya6:08 AM

    Dear Yuttadhammo, you have helped me so much this year, as I have learned about reality and truth, to which I have been blind previously, just like so many other people.
    I wish and hope your new monastery plans are going to go ahead and work out well.
    When I read that you are planning to do it sooner rather than later, it made me very happy. I hope to see you in Ontario in 2013. I think even if you don't call yourself a teacher as such, we still do. Thank you again.


    "Self help is the best help there is."

    "People want a support system."

  4. cindy ravenmoon11:07 PM

    You are a wonderful man, and teacher. You have answered questions that I have had for many years. Your videos have helped so much. I look forward to seeing more of you in the coming year..... Be well.

  5. Bhante. I am a career counselor in Seattle, and have observed your development carefully. I think you are doing a remarkable job or sorting things out for yourself, expecially within the past year. If you ever wish to contact me, please feel free to do so at Much love and very best wishes. -a

  6. Of course, due to professional ethics in the career development field, all conversations are entirely confidential.