Monday, March 14, 2011

If You Can, Help Others

Found another great 'gentleman' quote today, this one by the Dalai Lama:

If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.

This repeats the messages of philanthropy, manners, and hints at the ethic of reciprocity. It also reminds me of the traditional message we have gotten from mothers and teachers throughout our lives: 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.' Not to mention a kindness spin on the modern 'Put up or shut up.'

I love how just two words out of there can really define and be the code of the gentleman: help others. This is because it can be taken on many layers. Start simply with just helping people you meet everyday - open the door for someone with their arms full or with a cart or carriage. Expand to helping people you don't know through work with charities and philanthropy. And as the saying goes you can't help others if you aren't able - physically, emotionally, fiscally - start really by helping yourself.


The Lama has many great quotes, and many that represent the code of the gentleman. He, like others before hum such as Gandhi, is a truly inspiring gentleman. Of course he is an inspiring man in general, but specifically in his words and actions he is perhaps the ultimate modern Gentleman.

I should save these for future posts, but listing them all here is powerful and almost a guide to being a gentleman.

  • It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.
  • Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
  • I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
  • If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
  • In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
  • It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.
  • Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
  • Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
  • The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.
  • The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
  • Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.
  • We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.
  • With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world.
This gives me an idea - I should develop the code of the gentleman all with quotes by others. May have to make a separate page on the blog for that - would make a great book.

Update: New page created with info on the Virtues of the Well-Met Gentle Man's Code.