November 17 : Trying to Help

I remember once when Lama Yeshe came to the Centre where I was living and he started to ask me about what one person was doing. I did not think it was so good, but I thought, “I don’t want to talk badly about this person behind his back, especially to my teacher, because he is going to think all I am doing is criticising somebody behind their back.” I just kind of waffled and expressed my discomfort. Lama called me on it, and he said, “I need to know what is going on so that I can help these people. If you do not tell me what is going on, I will not be able to help them.” That was a big thing for me to learn. There are situations where you should say that somebody did something negative to someone who actually wants to help them. We do not just let bad situations keep going on and on out of fear of ourselves looking like we are gossiping, creating disharmony, or criticising. We should get our own motivation clear about why we are saying this about somebody else, or why we are asking questions about somebody else. If our motivation is clear, and it is to benefit somebody, then we need to communicate about certain things. We should be very clear that there are certain situations when we have to say things, and by not saying things, it is damaging.

We have to be wise in this and not go to the other extreme and just talk, “This person is negative about this, and this person is…, and they all have problems, and they are all screwed up,” and the result is that I am the only sane one who is the best of all. No, that is creating disharmony. It is also idle talk.

We must watch this because sometimes it is very tempting, especially if a small group of people gang up on one person. It can happen in the workplace or in the family, where everybody talks negatively about that one person behind his back to get everybody else together. That certainly is not good for anybody. If your motivation is to get the person you are speaking to, to turn against someone or to separate people, then it would become a non-virtue of creating disharmony.

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