Some said that consequences of helping others are unpredictable, and if the recipient of help would later commit wrong doings, then the helper would also share responsibility according to the law of causes and consequences, and hence one should not help others readily.
In fact, our understandings of worldly matters are mostly only superficial. If we were supposed to wait till we are familiar with each and every detail to render help, then we could not even engage in raising offspring because we would not be able to foretell how children would turn out as adults. Thus we can see that the argument above is invalid.
If one is sincere in helping the poor, the sick, the elderly or the feeble ones, and does good accordingly, then whether one knows the facts or not, or whatever the past or future deeds of the recipient of one's help were or will be, as far as one's share is concerned, there are only good causes, and hence those would lead only to good consequences. If the recipient of one's help would commit wrong doings, the punitive consequences should fall only on the wrongdoer. How could there be any bearing to the innocent and unintentional helper?
Laws of causes and consequences are not easy to grasp clearly, and instead were misunderstood and mistakenly cited as excuses for not doing good. Today a Buddhist raised this puzzling point and asked for clarification, so I wrote my replies down to spread the clarification to more people.
Written in Chinese and translated on May 13, 2004
El Cerrito, California