The Principles Explained

The Eastern approach to this principle has very stringent guidelines as to the practice of compassion. It speaks of showing mercy through the purification of the mind in charitable activities and the cultivation of strong moral character. It suggests that benevolence is displayed through pious worship and through unfailing respect for seniors, parents, Heaven and Earth. In other words, the practices of mercy, charity, sympathy, respect and simple kindness cultivate a compassionate heart. But since we know that helping others is part of the basis of spirituality, we must also realize that it is just as important to extend this generosity of spirit to ourselves as it is to extend it to others. We must learn to be tolerant of our mistakes, of failings and of flaws . . . to have goodwill, inwardly and outwardly. You might try to understand it this way: When you help other people you are offering yourself. If you don't like and care for yourself, how can you fully offer that self to others?

The literal translation of this principle tells us a loyal person is honest, straightforward, reliable, credible, caring and sincere. It says that by showing faithfulness, respect, and fairness, we deepen our relationships with our selves and our families, and develop genuine friendships with others. This means that, as with all of these principles, we must be willing to apply loyalty in our everyday life as well as in our spiritual life. And, as with all of the principles, we must be willing to apply it inwardly, as well as outwardly.

On a day-to-day basis we must be loyal to our families, our friends, and our own belief. Trying to be a good human being or to lead a spiritual life is a constant battle. We can't just have good intentions some of the time. We don't just believe in things or in people only when it's convenient. We must be steadfast and strong no matter what and live according to our beliefs, especially when it is difficult.