If we want to care for others, we have to start by understanding their point of view. Lots of newcomers to Buddhism instantly find the idea of compassion quite appealing, but if the object of compassion is far removed from our everyday lives, then it’s not genuine compassion. Under Buddhism teaching, compassion starts with your own family, and it’s said that “Charity starts at home.” Only after understanding someone’s problems and perspective first, is it possible to be truly helpful and caring. So if someone says, “I’m very concerned about you,” you should ask, “But do you understand me?” Indeed, caring without understanding is ineffectual.
By Khangser Rinpoche