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Q289. Why should we give without expecting anything in return?

A. When you give help to someone, you should not expect anything in return for it but rather forget it. If you do expect anything, then it is not help but business disguised as help. This may result in your harming yourself later.


If you remember the favour you bestowed on someone and expect something in return, you are more likely to feel disappointed, or even betrayed by his refusal when you ask him for help than you would be if you did not give him any help. You are also likely to be less grateful when you are helped because you are apt to take his help for granted, rather than thank him for it, while thinking of it as repayment of the debt he owes you for your help. In the end, your help will cause you anger or unhappiness, or deprive you of happiness. It’s like your hurting yourself.



So, ancient masters always advised people to do without doing. When you realise that everything is empty and think that your help is also empty, you can be said to help without helping. As an expedient means to teach how to do without doing, they would say, “Don’t even let your right hand know what it did, not to mention your left hand.”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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