Home » Features » Are You Affected by the Bystander Effect?

The fully awakened
stand up fully,
at the forefront.

— Shilashanti

The air-conditioning is way too cold in the waiting room.
But all the strangers in it endure it for no good reason.
No one complains to anyone.
No one does anything about it.
Not even when they see one another sneezing.

The Bystander Effect:
when many witness a problem together,
when all assume each other knows better what to do,
when each chooses to push personal responsibility to others,
when everyone is too self-centred, fearful and/or prideful to act,
when the problem goes unsolved.

Although everyone’s problem,
it twistedly becomes as if nobody’s problem.
Do we have to wait for a problem to aggravate,
to more adversely affect the individuals,
before anyone becomes part of the solution?

The Buddha was not a bystander,
who chose to suffer Saṃsāra gladly,
who chose to let the masses suffer blindly.
He intervened with Compassion and Wisdom.
He actively sought and found the solution to suffering.
He actively shared it with the world.

Are you a mere bystander in Saṃsāra?
If you are not part of the solution,
you are probably part of the problem –
as one more apathetic bystander
who needs to be shaken awake?

The unawakened
only ‘stand by’,
by the sidelines.

— Shilashanti

One Response to “Are You Affected by the Bystander Effect?”

  1. great article

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