There was an interesting incident while I was in the retreat where I observed that there is a tendency for everyone to just follow the actions of others without really questioning it because the mind is not alert enough to question the wholesomeness of the action. Its like the saying " Monkey see, monkey do". This comment is not to degrade anyone because I noticed that it applies very much to how I just follow others without questioning too.
The incident that popped this insight is when I observed that there were some people following the teacher around on his alms round in the village. While the teacher was receiving the alms from the villagers, some of those following were giving out sweets or biscuits or corn to the village children. I can see that the giving can come from the perspective that these villagers do not have much and they should be helped. On the surface level, it seemed all innocent and perfectly compassionate because its a good deed. I do question in the mind on "What could be wrong with this action?". I did not see the other side of the situation until it was pointed out to me that the people in the village comes out to give alms to the teacher when he goes round their village out of their faith in the teachings.
But when we follow and give to the children food constantly without the permission of their parents, it seems that we are teaching the children that when they see foreigners, there is expectation of receiving some form of goodies from them. Hence their attention is no longer in the alms round but on the expectation of goodies.
From this, I pondered deeply that there are many occasions that I do things because "I" think its correct and wholesome in my perspective and not even bothered to question or look on a wider perpective. Sometimes, I know this is because the wisdom in the mind is not present and also because there is not enough information or just too driven by the desire to do good.
From here, I realised that its important for me to know my intention when I wish to do a good deed and see if the intention is from wisdom or ignorance.