‘What does planting roots of goodness mean? It may be briefly set forth as follows:
It means wholeheartedly supporting the buddhas and following their teachings, while always being respectful and obedient to bodhisattvas, spiritual friends, teachers, parents, old folks, experienced worthies, and venerable elders. This is called planting roots of goodness.
To develop an attitude of mercy and compassion toward all beings suffering because of craving, not conceiving disdain for them, giving them what they need according to one’s ability – this is called planting roots of goodness.
To be gentle and tolerant with all bad types, treating them affably and not provoking them, causing them to develop a sense of joy, and stop being stubbornly perverse – this is called planting roots of goodness.
Not killing or harming living beings, not cheating and not despising them, not defaming and not disgracing them, not riding or beating them, not eating their flesh, always acting to their benefits – this is called planting roots of goodness.’ (Commentary on the Diamond Sutra)
I have always taken great comfort in the fact that Buddhist teachings, even when they come from half a world and a different culture away, and from many centuries ago, still speak to essential human foibles and qualities.