Is caring is a bad thing according to Buddhism ? Because as I experience caring leads us to suffering. But caring can come in so many levels such as we do help a person normally as a result of our caring towards that person/ animal. And in a relationship we do caring on very tiny things even by checking the other person has reached home safely etc. But in the big picture finally we get reasons to suffer due to our caring. It seems like we can get rid of most of the sufferings if we do not care. So is it not appropriate to care ? Otherwise how can we avoid suffering ourselves while caring ?


6 Answers 6


@Iresha Rubasinghe, I understand that caring for others is very much a part of you, but the question that you have is how to avoid having to suffer while caring. You seem to have a lot of good traits that an adult would like to see in the present day youth. It is interesting to note that you are somewhat of the same age as my own son, and is in the same field of Software Engineering. If I am to have a fervent wish for this coming New Year 2017, it is to see in the present day youth, a new breed in the making, who are compassionate, caring, trustworthy and well-disciplined. Young couples who earlier spent time on film halls and botanic garden shrubs, who would begin to observe Sil with their partners. Then start helping with charities, and became respectable citizens as a by-product of this endeavour. Some of the most fortunate amongst them, who have a special calling, because of their past meritorious deeds, to get to shed all their bindings to the mortal world and became Anagaarikas & Monks.

A law of the universe is the more one gives away, the more one gets. You would not believe it, (that's why you asked this question) yet it is a law of cause and effect. Always believe it and act accordingly, but keep in mind that it will only be effective if the giving is done in purity. We can give our time, our caring, our concern for others' well-being. We have the immediate benefit of happiness in our own heart, when we see the joy we have given to someone else. This is about the only satisfaction we can expect in this life which is of a nature that does not disappear quickly, because we can recollect the deed and our own happiness.

Those who are of the selfish kind would never know of this complete satisfaction, contentment and peacefulness. For them life would only be about getting up, eating breakfast, washing, dressing, thinking and planning, cooking, buying things, talking to people, going to work, going to bed, getting up... over and over again. Is that enough for a lifetime?

We are all concerned about how to change our mind from enmity, hurtfulness and unhappiness, to their opposites. It possible to change the mind, but we have to work towards it, it will take time, and only gradually will we come to this stage over time. The body doesn't change overnight, to become athletic, and neither does the mind change instantly. But if we don't continually train it, it's just going to stay the same it has always been, which is not conductive to a harmonious and peaceful life. This willingness to change our mind should make it possible to live each day meaningfully, which is the difference between just being alive and living. We would do at least one thing each day, which either entails spiritual growth for ourselves or helpfulness and consideration for others, preferably both. If we add one meaningful day to the next, we wind up with a meaningful life.

  • Thank you so much for the really helpful realistic words ma'am. yes that's true, but still mind expects kind of appreciation from the other party to whom we care/ help. Not exactly an appreciation but the thing is its hurtful when that what we care is getting changed. Yes what we should train is to love and care without any attachment which is really hard in practising...
    – user7658
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 3:48

Ordinary caring can lead to suffering but caring with wisdom does not lead to suffering.

We avoid suffering ourselves while caring by developing wisdom.


is caring is wrong?

It's not wrong to "care for" someone who is sick or dying: even if they (or you) ultimately die.

The monks were instructed to care for each other -- see for example this story from the vinaya.

Monks, you have no mother, you have no father, who might tend to you. If you don't tend to one another, who then will tend to you? Whoever would tend to me, should tend to the sick.

Otherwise how can we avoid suffering ourselves while caring ?

To avoid suffering perhaps it's wise to avoid attachment to a particular outcome, result.

It's a complicated question: "how to avoid suffering ourselves?" is a central question of Buddhism, and so the answer might be as big as the whole of Buddhism.

A good beginning, according to the Theravada doctrine, might be to develop the brahma viharas:

These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings (sattesu samma patipatti). They provide, in fact, the answer to all situations arising from social contact. They are the great removers of tension, the great peace-makers in social conflict, and the great healers of wounds suffered in the struggle of existence. They level social barriers, build harmonious communities, awaken slumbering magnanimity long forgotten, revive joy and hope long abandoned, and promote human brotherhood against the forces of egotism.

The Brahma-viharas are incompatible with a hating state of mind, ...


Misunderstanding leads to suffering! Also if you want to care just for some benefit is misunderstanding as well. Every our action has consequences so to act rightly we need wisdom, we need to be very careful. We have to learn and open our minds. If you want to care you need to know how to do it. You need to know what consequences your action might bring. Don't regret what you've done wrong as long as what you did was done with compassion. As long as you want to help and expect good results of your action you should help/care. But suffering is always present. Another aspect of caring is transforming ourselves. You should transform your mind and realise how bad is the world that we live. Realising this you should generate even more compassion to others. You can't get rid of suffering of the world, but you can develop 'armour' to protect you from result of suffering (spiritual path, wisdom). You might still suffer in traditional meaning but you can be happy anyway (when you achieve high enough level of spiritual development or wisdom). Just be a good observer of the world, people, emotions (also yours). Remember when things happen I try to figure out the relationship between them. Knowledge with compassion eventually will bring wisdom. That's what I think about it and believe in it.

  • I really like @user10547 answer. I'd like to add something. 1 - people have to be aware of cause and effect all the time. We should know, or at least think of it, what consequences would bring what action, and what action could cause what we experience. 2 Ego - most of the time we want what we want, and we don't think about others really. It's not about relationships with others, but the difference between our attitude towards ourselves and other people. 3 - we have to be honest with ourselves, we have to know what we want. If we know we want to help others, then the problem's solved :)
    – user10547
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 10:04

It's wrong to cling, not wrong to care. Isn't there a difference? Wrong in that it will lead to suffering. This is why there is the Brahma Viharas. Loving-kindness, compassion, appreciating the success or wellbeing of others and equanimity, they show us how to care with the way lit by mindful insight. Dissolving away the sense of self so one is truly selflessness and caring for others.

To care for yourself it can be very helpful to care for others. It helps to drop the selfishness. A love for everyone is all that remains when one finds themself aware that there is no boundary to selfless emptiness.


I think that caring is right, good and human. The only people that do not care are evil people, psicopaths or dead people. Hate and evil can only be overcome with love and care. Care is also the basis and precondition of cure. Care is pure friendship. True care means love with wisdom and without attachment

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    Is this a Buddhist answer or totally your own opinion?
    – Hugh
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 23:40

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