Home » Letters » How & Why Do We Comply With Others’ Wishes?

Question: What does ‘compliance with sentient beings’ (恒顺众生) mean basically, and how do we practise it in daily life? It seems difficult, especially when dealing with children.

Answer: In terms of complying, this is to go with the flow of others’ preferences. However, it has to be done with compassion and wisdom; in compliance with the moral precepts too.

For instance, a father who is poor should not break the second precept against stealing by shoplifting a toy for his child who wants it badly. He can promise to get the toy and work hard to get the toy legally, taking the opportunity to show the child what it means to get what one wants with integrity.

Likewise, a mother should not keep providing her child with unhealthy snacks attached to by the child. She can offer a little at first, if it is harmless, but eventually get the child to be interested in better food. Such compliance is a skilful means to welcome and receive the welcome of those we wish to reach and benefit with the Dharma eventually.

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