April 19 2018

Altruism Guides Karuna-Shechen’s Actions

Altruism requires careful investigation and discernment in order to be effective.
It is similar to the Buddhist view of compassion, which implies that compassion without wisdom is blind and wisdom without compassion is sterile.

Peter Singer, author of The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically, writes, “Effective altruism is based on a very simple idea: we should do the most good we can. […] Living a minimally acceptable ethical life involves using a substantial part of our spare resources to make the world a better place. Living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good we can.”

Matthieu Ricard: “When you feel emotionally moved by the suffering of others and you want to help, it is important not to get hijacked by intense sentimental reactions. For sure, an emotionally empathetic response can spur you to intervene in some way; however, if you carefully examine all possibilities, your help can be maximized for manifold effectiveness.”

This vision of a carefully considered and effective altruism guides our decisions at Karuna-Shechen. To implement it and respond to the actual needs of the populations we serve, we consistently evaluate how to use our resources to most effectively address the greater good.


Karuna-Shechen Mobile Clinic, Nepal

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