By Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
Question (Helen): For months at a time, I can be tremendously active and capable of helping others. Inevitably, a difficult situation arises, and I despair of ever making any difference in the world whatsoever. I realize that good heart is the way to go, but how can I deal with these periods of burnout?
Answer (Rinpoche): Ideally, we serve others with pure heart, not expecting gratitude, payment or recognition. We accept complaints with equanimity and patiently continue, knowing that people don't always see the purpose of what we're doing. Though our actions may seem insignificant or unproductive, if our motivation is pure and we dedicate the merit expansively, we generate great virtue.
Though we may not accomplish what we set out to do, auspicious conditions and our ability to benefit others in the future will only increase. No effort is wasted; when someone witnesses our loving-kindness, he sees a new way of responding to anger or aggression. This becomes a reference point in his mind that, like a seed,will eventually flower when conditions ripen. Then when we dedicate the virtue, our loving kindness will extend to all beings.
We mustn't become discouraged if someone we are trying to help continues to experience the results of her negative karma and, in the process, creates the causes of future suffering. Instead, because she doesn't have enough merit for her suffering to end, we must redouble our efforts to accumulate merit and dedicate it to her and others. We're not out to accomplish selfish aims. We are trying to establish the causes of lasting happiness for all beings. By purifying our self-interest and mental poisons, we develop a heroic mind. The process of going beyond suffering and helping others do the same is the way of the Bodhisattva."
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