The essence of Buddhism has always been the same throughout infinite time and space. No matter what plane of existence that it is found, no matter what language that it is taught in, and no matter what culture that holds it, the essence has always, and will always be wisdom and compassion.
“My message is the practice of compassion, love, and kindness. These things are very useful in our daily life, and also for the whole of human society these practices can be very important.
“Basically, universal responsibility is the feeling for other people’s suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our own enemy is motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration.
“At the heart of Buddhist philosophy is the notion of compassion for others. It should be noted that the compassion encouraged by Mahayana Buddhism is not the usual love one has for friends or family. The love being advocated here is the kind one can have even for another who has done one harm. Developing a kind heart does not always involve any of the sentimental religiosity normally associated with it. It is not just for people who believe in religions; it is for everyone who considers himself or herself to be a member of the human family, and thus sees things in accordingly large terms.
“The rationale for universal compassion is based on the same principle of spiritual democracy. It is the recognition of the fact that every living being has an equal right to and desire for happiness. The true acceptance of the principle of democracy requires that we think and act in terms of the common good. Compassion and universal responsibility require a commitment to personal sacrifice and the neglect of egotistical desires.
“I believe our everyday experience confirms that a self-centered attitude towards problems can be destructive not only towards society but to the individual as well. Selfishness does not solve problems for us, it multiplies them. Accepting responsibility and maintaining respect for other will leave all concerned at peace. This is the essence of Mahayana Buddhism.” ~ 108daysofcompassion.com
Implicit in Buddhist compassion is a genuine awareness and deep acceptance of things as they truly are, painful as that may be. From this soil of clarity and connection, compassion is said to arise of itself. ~ Allan Hunt Badiner, “Is the Buddha Winking at Extinction?”
We should be compassionate to all. But compassion sometimes has to be harsh. How else can we pinpoint where the problem really lies? Hatred’s hold on us is so strong. Simple coddling will not do the job. ~ Nawang Gehlek Rimpoche, “The Real Enemy”
English: Picture of Sharon Salzberg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the things that most nourishes true compassion is clarity—when we know what we are thinking and know what we are feeling. This clarity differentiates compassion from shallow martyrdom when we are only thinking of others, and we are never caring about ourselves. ~ Sharon Salzberg, “A Quiver of the Heart.”
To bow is to no longer hold ourselves apart from the unpredictable nature of all of our lives; it is to cultivate a heart that can unconditionally welcome all things. We bow to what is, to all of life. ~ Christina Feldman, “Long Journey to a Bow”