How to Support Your Friend Going Through a Difficult Time

(Photo above by Andres Ayrton / Pexels)

We should never feel that we need to have all the answers. And if we get caught up in worrying about sounding clever or making a good impression, we can easily lose sight of the purpose of encouragement from a Buddhist perspective.

In encouraging others, it is important to first listen closely to try and understand what the person is going through. A helpful guide may be to listen 80 percent while speaking 20 percent.

The Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda says, “Dialogue begins with listening in earnest to the opinions and ideas of the other person” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 9, p. 198).

The key to encouraging another person starts with our own heart of compassion, which we develop through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the happiness of the person we are encouraging and by racking our brains to find the best way to help them deepen their conviction in the greatness of their life.

Dialogue begins with listening in earnest to the opinions and ideas of the other person.

- Daisaku Ikeda

When we do our best to support others, we are also deepening our own compassion, empathy and humanity. Developing a strong and ever-growing network of mutual encouragement and support is the purpose of Nichiren Buddhism and the Buddhability community.

Ultimately, what’s most important is our desire to see that person become happy and to continually support them until they overcome their situation. When we do so, we can experience as much joy as if we had overcome that problem ourselves. And this becomes fuel for encouraging yet even more people.

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