If there is a friend or relative who wishes to borrow money from us, how should we act?

If there is a friend or relative who wishes to borrow money from us, how should we act? If we don’t have anything to give, they will feel discouraged. If we lend them money often, we will be in distress. https://dmc.tv/a3522

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Dec 18th, 2004 ] - [ read : 13633 ]

Question:
If there is a friend or relative who wishes to borrow money from us, how should we act? If we don’t have anything to give, they will feel discouraged. If we lend them money often, we will be in distress.
 

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku
 

When we have a friend or a relative, what we must remember is that they must be able to seek refuge in us when it is necessary. When it is necessary and they aren’t able to seek refuge in you, then who would want to be your friend or relative? This is the first thing.

The second thing is we must look at ourselves as well. We may have a crisis, even though we think that we have prepared ourselves for it. Sometimes, we may have a shortage. This is similar to when a lion has to seek refuge in a mouse. We must understand this first.

Therefore, when a relative or friend comes to ask for help, my dear child, the nature of a good person, a person who wishes to prosper, must be prepared for this all the time. When your friend or relative comes to see you and ask for help, do not allow them to leave empty handed. You must remember this. Now, whether you will help them a lot or a little is another story. If you really can’t help, you must give them at least the fare to return home. If you don’t, then they’ve wasted their time. They had hoped to receive help from you, but they didn’t. And now, their mood is ruined.

Nonetheless, in providing a little or a lot of help to someone, you should think about this first.

Look at our preparedness, our knowledge, our ability, and our strength. How much refuge can they seek in us? You must look at this first. You should help anyone you want to help. But do not give more than you have. You must hold onto this basis well. Anyone that should be given help, you should help. But do not give more than you have.

Now, let’s look at the person who comes to ask us for help, whether it is a relative or a friend. How do you look at this? First, you look at how much they need it. If they don’t really need it, and they’ve come just to take money, then, just treat them to one meal. And then give them the fare to return home. Do not waste your time with this type of person.

However, if they do have a need, if they truly have a need, such as being sick themselves or their parents died, their children got into an accident, etc., that is not a feigned story. This does not mean they did not prepare. Here, we must help, whether a lot or a little. We must help as much as we can, and with whatever we have.

In particular, if that person has been good to us in the past, for example, we have been indebted to them, when we were in trouble, they helped us as much as they could, in that case, when they are in trouble, my dear child, we must help them as much as we can. In the case where their parents are seriously ill, they have been treated badly, they have been cheated out of money, they have been given a sentence and need bail, otherwise they will go to jail, they need to go to court, anything like this, think about the necessity and think of your relationship from the past.

The Lord Buddha taught Buddhists that a good friend, in a situation like this, must find a way to help to the best of their ability. This is not only for those who beg for help and then you would lend them whatever they ask for. Since they are a good person, and have always been very considerate, when they are asking, it has already taken a lot out of them to even ask.  Thus, the Lord Buddha taught that in this situation, you should give twice as much. You should give them twice as much as they’ve asked for, because they are a good person. They have been good to us before. And this time, they are truly in need. But in practice, if we are by ourselves and we don’t have a family to worry about, in this case, we can be bold and give them everything we have. This is a nature we should adopt.

In a more general case, where you are only acquaintances and you are not sure about their nature, you should see if they are drowning in vices. If they are drowning in vices, if you lend them money, aside from it being unbeneficial and fruitless, it is a way of promoting bad deeds. In this case, do not give. If they are alcoholics, drunks, and they reek of alcohol. Don’t give. Let them be angry. If you give to them, they still won’t have a chance to change their habits. Let them be angry. Do not give to them.

However, if they are a person who has good intentions, seem to have good habits, if you give to them, and it doesn’t appear fruitless, in this case, you should give to them appropriately, if it is not a lot. You must prepare yourself if you lend them money, and they don’t return it, or if they return it but not on time and it will cause you to be in distress. Here we should help, because they do not have a history of not returning money. We should help but not beyond what we have.

And when you have given, and when they return the money as promised, in this case they have left behind a good history. If they are in trouble again, and they come to see you again, you can give to them again, because they have a good history with you. We can give, because when we give, they will return it. If they return it, we can give again, whether it is more or less than last time. If it is not a lot, you can still give.

But if there are people who you have already given to and they do not return it, if they ask for some more, you probably won’t be able to give to them. If they do not return the money to you, then you will not be able to give more money to them. When they come to ask for money again, don’t give to them. If they don’t return it to you, don’t give it to them.

The second thing is, if it is a case where they are a good person, they have good habits, but they are experiencing trouble and are now crippled. They may have gotten in an accident or gotten hit by a car, or anything else, you already know that if you give, they won’t be able to return the money. This is because today, they can’t even help themselves. In this case, prepare yourself. Why do you have to give? Give as long as you won’t be in trouble. Give whatever you can, because they are a good person. But they have bad luck. They are not a bad person. In this case, you must give, even if they won’t be able to give back. Just think about if you are in trouble and are experiencing what they’re experiencing, whether it is a car accident making you crippled or blind or deaf, or making you not able to make a living. You are without. We don’t know when we could encounter this ourselves.

Therefore, if you can give, then give. If you give, and they don’t return, just give to them. When you give to them, whether they are able to give it back or not, when they come again, you should give again. You pity them. If we are in trouble, there will probably be someone there to help us. It is because of the merit we have made with this friend or that relative.

To make it good, accumulate merits starting today, as much as possible. When the time comes for us to be wealthy, we will have a lot of wealth. If anyone needs our help, we can help them a lot. We are like a large branch that many birds or crows can live on. This is good.


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