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. For Buddhism teaches that compassion starts with your own family, and it’s said that “Charity starts at home.” If someone asks you what sort of difficulties you are having, you need not give it too much thought. But if someone asks you what sort of difficulties your family is facing, you should give it some serious consideration before answering. This is because we spend lots of time thinking about our own problems, but very little time thinking about those of others. Only after first understanding someone’s problems and perspective 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.

~Khangser Rinpoche~