About faithfulness and loyalty

A friend just called to tell me that her son has cancer. He is a single father of a four-year-old. The news has hit him hard.

Yet his mother is strong and there for him and for her grandchild. Without a support system, without our friends who love us, life would be impossible—at least this is what I believe. We have responsibilities towards those with whom we co-exist.

According to the Living Buddha, “For human beings, as social animals, it is quite natural for us to love. We even love animals and insects, such as the bees that collect pollen and produce honey.

I really admire bees’ sense of common responsibility. When you watch a beehive, you see that those small insects come from far away, take a few seconds’ rest, go inside, and then hurriedly fly away again.

They are faithful to their responsibility. Although individual bees sometimes fight, there is basically a strong sense of unity and cooperation. We human beings are supposed to be much more advanced, but sometimes we lag behind even small insects.”

Loyalty is rare. We are too often happy to be friendly with those who make us feel good about ourselves or who financially provide for us. But when the good times come to a screeching halt, do we stay loyal?

His Holiness, the 13th Dalai Lama says, “When our fortunes rise, even without friends, we can manage. But when they go down, we need true friends. In order to make genuine friends, we ourselves must create an environment that is pleasant.

If we just have a lot of anger, not many people will be drawn close to us. Compassion or altruism draws friends. It is very simple.”

Look back over your experiences. How did you become friends with certain people? Did you create a pleasing environment when you were together? Did you put yourself second and the friend first?

Or did you like this person simply because he or she catered to meeting your needs?  Perhaps you are someone who uses people to your own advantage.
If that’s the case, it’s unlikely that you have friends to call on in difficult times.

“All of the world’s religions emphasise the importance of compassion, love, and forgiveness,” Dalai Lama emphasises. “Each may have a different interpretation but, broadly speaking, everyone bases his or her understanding of their own religion on brotherhood, sisterhood, and compassion.

Those who believe in God usually see their love for their fellow human beings as an expression of their love for God. But if someone says, “I love God,” and does not show sincere love towards his fellow human beings, I think that is not following God’s teaching. Many religions emphasise forgiveness. Love and compassion are the basis of true forgiveness. Without them, it is difficult to develop forgiveness.”

Happily, both the mother and her son have many friends. And as true friends do, all are working together to uplift the family, to provide the day to day support that is needed and maintaining a positive attitude.

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