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Q: I already feel burdened by my own problems. Won’t helping others just make me feel more burned out?

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A: By helping others become happy, we, too, become happy. This is also a tenet of psychology. How can those who have lost the will to live under the weight of inconsolable suffering or deep emotional wounds get back on their feet? All too often, the more they dwell on their problem, the more depressed and discouraged they become. But by going to support and help someone else who is also suffering, they can regain the will to live. Taking action out of concern for others enables them to heal themselves.

There are many people in the world who feel that working for others’ welfare is not worth the effort. Some even view the merest mention of charity and compassion with derision. Such arrogant disregard for others causes untold suffering in society. …

What is left at the end of our lives? It is our memories, the memories that we have engraved in our hearts and minds. …

Everything passes. Both the soaring joys and crushing sorrows fade away and seem but like a dream. However, the memory of having lived one’s life to the fullest never disappears. …

Surely all that remains and adorns our lives in the end is what we have done or contributed to the world in our lifetime in terms of how many people we have helped become happy, how many people appreciate us for having helped them change their lives for the better. (Ikeda Sensei, The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 1, revised edition, pp. 241–43)

Bridging Generations

Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming