We have Dilbert checks that consist of four different pictures from the famous cartoon strip by Scott Adams.

Today, when I opened the checkbook to pay another bill, I noticed this quote from Dogbert: “Did you know that pretending to care looks just like caring?”

It made me think.

Is there a difference between pretending to care and actually caring? And does it really matter?

Religious traditions differ in many ways, sometimes significantly. But there’s a common thread that runs through them: intention, change from the inside out, that leads to “good works” (in the Christian tradition) and loving-kindness, which leads to Right Action (in the Buddhist tradition).

In Buddhism, this is addressed in the second of the Noble Eightfold Path: Right Intention (also known as Right Thinking, Right Thought, or Right Aspiration).

Right Intention precedes right action, an idea expressed in the first three lines of the Dhammapada (translation: Thomas Byrom):

We are what we think
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.

The idea that outside changes are proceeded by inside changes is a thread that runs throughout the New Testament of the Bible, the result of which appears most notably in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)

To embody and exemplify the fruit of the Spirit, according to the Christian tradition, Continue reading