We live in a time when science is validating what humans have known throughout the ages: that compassion is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our well-being, resilience, and survival.
Many of us think that compassion drains us, but I promise you it is something that truly enlivens us.
Compassion may be defined as the capacity to be attentive to the experience of others, to wish the best for others, and to sense what will truly serve others.
Compassionate action emerges from the sense of openness, connectedness, and discernment you have created.
I've worked in the prison system, on death row and maximum security. I did that work for six years. I've worked with some of the most difficult people in our society. Buddhism was accessible and helpful for these individuals.
When I first was exposed to Buddhism in the mid-1960s, I said it was so practical and utterly pragmatic. That's what attracted me to Buddhism.
Developing our capacity for compassion makes it possible for us to help others in a more skillful and effective way. And compassion helps us as well.
For me, Buddhism is a psychology and a philosophy that provides a means, upayas, for working with the mind.
If compassion is so good for us, why don't we train our health care providers in compassion so that they can do what they're supposed to do, which is to transform suffering?
Compassion has enemies, and those enemies are things like pity, moral outrage, fear.
My work has been in the field of engaged Buddhism. That is my own practice, which began in 1965 that formed the base for the work I was doing in the civil rights and anti-war movement.
Most of us are shrinking in the face of psycho-social and physical poisons, of the toxins of our world. But compassion, the generation of compassion, actually mobilizes our immunity.
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