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If I am with someone in person or talking over the phone, they are engaged and care about me. But what happens when I am not with them? Why would anyone care about me when I am not around them? What makes people care about you behind your back? What makes people care, at all? Essentially why anyone would do anything without any reason, why anyone would unconditionally care?

Little Background: I have never been a compassionate person, I don't understand compassion.

(edit) Or like why would a Buddha care about me? I provided nothing to them, they even never met me, but I feel still they will care about me. Why? How?

(will this question suit better in any other StackExchange?)

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  • You can get a Buddhist answer here. For an answer from the perspective of general interpersonal skills, try Interpersonal Skills SE.
    – ruben2020
    Apr 1, 2023 at 1:44
  • It is not appropriate for Interpersonal Skills
    – user24784
    Apr 1, 2023 at 20:06
  • do you feel pity for your own suffering? or are you reluctant there as well?
    – blue_ego
    Apr 1, 2023 at 22:23

4 Answers 4

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Why would anyone care about me when I am not around them? What makes people care about you behind your back? What makes people care, at all? Essentially why anyone would do anything without any reason,

No one would do anything without a reason. There are many reasons for caring.

  • Desire (Lust,Love,Material gain ...etc)
  • Anger (Hate, Revenge, Jealousy, Fear ...etc)
  • Competitive attitude (class-mates, business competitors, in war)
  • Views (Religious views about beings, people, friends, relatives)
  • Well-wish (friendship, loving-kindness)
  • Kindness
  • Joy about your achievements (like parents)
  • Equanimity (like parents have and hermits have)
  • Gratitude (your children, students, whom you helped)

... and many more.

why anyone would unconditionally care?

  • To accumulate good Kamma.
  • As a path factor of Noble eightfold path (Samma samadhi)
  • To develop meditation subject (Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Upekkha)
  • Due to natural feelings (of parents and relatives)
  • Expecting protection from others (Mettanisamsa sutta)
  • Expecting comfortable sleep (Mettanisamsa sutta)
  • To go to Brahma realm (by the jhanas of four brahmaviharas)

You can find many genuine advice on how to develop four-unconditionals in Visuddhimagga: Chapter 09 Brahmavihara Niddesa.

May The Triple Gem Bless You!

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  • I agree with your first question answer, but disagree with the second. I looks like a formality that one has to do, something that do not come naturally
    – user24784
    Apr 4, 2023 at 20:33
  • Virtues comes naturally, only after developed it purposefully, at least in previous lives. If something doesn't come naturally we have to develop it formally.
    – Blake
    Apr 28, 2023 at 20:43
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💚The best way to be selfish is to help someone else because truly, the assumptions are all that separate us. I don't know what compassion is either until I practice compassion meditation. Cultivating kindness, compassion & forgiveness is very good for the individual & society.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ― Rumi

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This is obvious as you will be only cared if u have something to provide and that also more than what the other person giving out to you. More like an investment they are making to get more from you.

Same as in case of love the other being wants something from you but when they tend to have unconditional care for you that makes their expectations less of getting but at the same time want exists there.

Yuvy

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    I disagree. There are people who unconditionally care. People rescue animals with no hope of getting anything in return, help fellow humans with no intention to get anything back.
    – user24784
    Apr 1, 2023 at 14:49
  • How is this answer related to Buddhism?
    – ruben2020
    Apr 4, 2023 at 12:26
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I'm not sure if this answers your question but I'll try.

But what happens when I am not with them?

When I was younger, my future wife asked me to think of her and phone her during the day when I was at work -- and I didn't understand, because when I was at work, then I was only thinking about work.

So that's kind of like what you're talking about, i.e. there's a proverb in English, "out of sight, out of mind".

I guess that accords with the Buddhist theory of dependent origination, i.e. that "perceptions" and "feelings" arise as a result of "contact" (see phassa).

Why would anyone care about me when I am not around them?

Nowadays I think about my mother sometimes -- "How is she, still alright? Is it time to phone again?" A Buddhist explanation for that might be "attachment" (see upādāna).

There might be other Buddhist explanations for that too, including ethics ("There are duties to mother and father"), and the Brahmaviharas more generally (and partly a result of her karma, her being kind to me made it easier for me to reciprocate).

Buddhism does teach that "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation" -- so if "caring" for someone originates (with "contact") then perhaps it's not surprising that is ceases too.

Perhaps all I can do is care, when and while I'm in contact -- in person, on the phone, or even day-dreaming. Perhaps you might care, reliably, every time you are in contact -- i.e. "continually" even if not "continuously".

Essentially why anyone would do anything without any reason, why anyone would unconditionally care?

The question "why without any reason" doesn't quite make sense, so I think this might be more accurately phrased as three questions:

  1. For what reason would someone care?
  2. For what reason would someone care unconditionally?
  3. For what reason would someone care universally?

I think (though I don't know of a canonical reference) that there are several reasons to care:

  • Training (parents and others teach us to)
  • Self-image (we want to "be good" or "behave well")
  • Reward of peace (it's more pleasant to experience harmony than emnity)
  • Sympathy (I feel upset if I perceive you as being unhappy)
  • Ethics

In summary I think it's to avoid some of the "suffering" that might otherwise be experienced by self and/or others, or to experience some of the "reward" for good behaviour -- including the "absence of remorse" which is said to be the basis (see What is the basis?).

As for "unconditionally" I think that means "regardless of the other's behaviour". The classic example in English is that parents' love is described as "unconditional", meaning they love their children even when the children misbehave or are annoying. A reason for that is ethics again, or strong attachment perhaps, but I think it's also perfectly rational and sensible -- if for example my wife were angry with me then it would be unwise of me to respond to that in kind, i.e. with anger instead of caring.

As for "universally" I think that means "regardless of contact or nearness". There's a Buddhist meditation practice called "Metta bhavana". "Metta" means (approximately) "caring for", and "bhavana" means (approximately) growth or development or practice. Classically (for example according to these instructions), the "caring" or "well-wishing" is something which you first apply to yourself -- then towards those near and dear to you, your teacher, your family, your friends -- then towards those who are perhaps more neutral -- then towards any so-called enemies -- and at last, universally.

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  • Can you tell me more about when a parent loves their children unconditionally even when the children misbehave. Yes there can be ethics, can be attachment also, but think like this, what if the parent is a Buddha, in that case how will you understand the unconditional love?
    – user24784
    Apr 4, 2023 at 20:37
  • No I don't think I know how to say more about that. The parental thing is a generalisation, I suppose some parent feel no love. My dad though for example told me that he suddenly (and unexpectedly) felt love when I was born. And as for the Buddha, Wikipedia here it talks about Bodhicitta -- possibly that's a good explanation.
    – ChrisW
    Apr 5, 2023 at 6:33

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