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Self-Aid is World-Aid

If the world seems wrong to you, if it seems full of sorrow, full on sin; if you are inspired by the sublime idea of diminishing that sorrow, of helping to allay that sin, of liberating others or yourself from all the thralldom of not knowing and not understanding what has made earth's woe; if you aspire to lighten the burden of the world, to bring humanity a little nearer to the Peace it creates: -a start right at home, and strive to free, ennoble, to purify yourself, your own life, your own heart's aspirations, -for in all the worlds there is no greater help to render or greater service for the sake of all mankind. And why? Because each man is an integral portion of humanity, because each though of love, each effort after purity man makes or thinks is gain to all, because it is but the Illusion blinding us that bids us think "I am one soul, one mind, one life, and these my brothers are without, and separate from me." All life is one in very truth—the ant and man, glory of sun and star, and the vast gulf of space are one, one and no other, save that the darkness of our vain self-hood hides. We know this true of the material world—how every particle of our bodies came yesterday from another life, will pass tomorrow to form part of yet another being or thing—surely it is also true of thought as well, and it should be our greatest aim to send forth into the universe each thought that comes to us a little purer, a little grander, a little more potent for good than when it rose within our minds. If then a man aspires to aid the world, let him first aid himself—if, like a star in heaven shall seek to guide his brothers through the trackless ocean of existence—first must he gain the Light of Wisdom for himself, which must shine in his own heart and life in all the radiance born of inward purity and love and peace.

From "The Faith of the Future" in Buddhism


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