Compassion is the way of life

This could explain why there are so many cruel and wicked people in the world. Perhaps they have not yet evolved to a state of awareness that we are all interdependent. But according to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, compassion has many levels.

He says that we can learn to be more and more compassionate if we put the needs of others before our own needs. But why would anyone want to do this and, actually, how could it be done? For instance, if you work for a company, wouldn’t the needs of the company take priority over the workers you might supervise?

The Living Buddha says, “The most essential point (in our spiritual transformation) is the development of bochichitta, the altruistic intention to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings….

As a means to enhance our practice it is advised that we should constantly apply it (the altruistic intention to help others before ourselves) in our daily life and to our behavior as a whole—physical, verbal, and mental.” Therefore, as a practitioner of Buddha’s teachings, you would want to integrate compassion into your day-to-day life for the benefit of all of those working with you.

Obviously, to be of benefit to others and to yourself, it could only be done in a mindful, purposeful way. It is not enough to seek enlightenment for one’s self; this view remains a selfish way of working towards the goal of freedom from the cycle of births and deaths—at least in the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.

However, the Embodiment of the Compassion of Avilokiteswara, teaches, “The development of bodhichitta is the core of the Buddha’s teaching, and the main path. 

Once the development of bodhichitta has taken place, the practitioner endeavors to apply the altruistic principle throughout his or her life.

This leads to what are known as the ‘bodhisattva ideals,’ including the ‘six perfections’—the perfections of generosity, morality, patience, enthusiasm, meditation or concentration, and wisdom.”

At the stage where the bodhisattva ideals are a part of one’s life, there will be no other way of behaving other than with compassion....Being generous, moral, patient, enthusiastic, wise, and meditating and concentrating will no longer be practices, they will be part of your very physical, verbal, and mental behavior.

Your thoughts, words and deeds will agree.  On this subject, His Holiness remarks, “The point I wish to make here is that the practice of compassion is at the heart of the entire path. All other practices are either preliminary to it, or a foundation for it, or they are subsequent applications of this core practice. I would also like to point out that there is a consensus between all Buddhist schools on this, in both Mahayana and non-Mahayana traditions. So compassion lies at the root of all the Buddha’s teaching.”

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