How far should lay followers go, to help others?
There is no denying that we all have innate desire to ease suffering of others, but when it’s done without right understanding it may lead to a higher suffering to the assisted person. On the other had if it’s done with right understanding and with the aim to assist the others to grow in Dharma then it is fruitful.
As an example, let’s say your friend is grieved for not being able to celebrate New-Year in Paris with his fiancée because he wasn’t able to save up enough money. If you restore in relieving his grievance you could give him money, but this could be adding fuel on fire. A true teacher of the Dharma will correct his view and relieve him from clinging, however, most of us don’t have that kind of ability: we are in a dark, trying to correct our own view, and the virtues we call virtues are but a guess work.
The point that I’m trying to get at is that on some cases the so-called suffering which we trying to prevent on other people could be a wake-up call or a learning curve, and by preventing it we could be hindering the person from realizing the first noble truth.
Sometimes these so called virtues extend even further in the name of compassion and we find ourselves teaching and arguing about Dharma to correct other. There may be many other cases as well. So how should we curb our act not to hurt others and ourselves in the name of virtues?