Reply To: Instructions to Rahula – Ambalaṭṭhikarāhulovāda Sutta


Siebe said: ‘Becoming so concerned with not creating suffering to oneself and others, that itself is a kind of suffering, a burden.’

Siebe, when one develops intense compassion and wishes for the welfare of all sentient beings, it will be an even much greater burden not to be concerned with relieving the suffering of oneself and others.

Ways we can deepen our compassion for other sentient beings would be to realize that throughout this beginningless samsaric cycle, all sentient beings are likely to have been our father, mother or other close relative whom we had cared deeply for at one time or other. They would probably have taken great care of us, and suffered when we suffered, etc.

We can also imagine that when someone is hurt by our actions or words, we could very well have been at the receiving end of such hurt had circumstances changed. Just as we very much would not like to be hurt, in just the same way, other sentient beings, too, would not want to be hurt. Thus we become better able to understand the plight of others.

Due to the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature of samsara, it is inevitable that there will be a burden even when we try to act compassionately. However, when true compassion arises in us, we will gladly undertake this burden without hesitation.

After all, even the Buddha was not able to stop all sufferings of others who were near him. He chose to keep quiet when a butcher was slaughtering pigs next door, so that the butcher would not develop a much greater akusala kamma for bearing ill will towards the Buddha, had the Buddha admonished him against taking lives.

Hence there is much anicca, dukkha and anatta in this world. We should not aim for an ideal perfectness which can never arise. Instead we should make do with what we can. When enough of us do this, we can create astounding changes in this world. However, even then, we should understand that perfectness would still not be realistically attainable.

Siebe, perhaps these situations could be an opportunity for you to contemplate upon anicca, dukkha and anatta?