Compassion is the fuel of spiritual progress, but is it a sad or a happy state of mind? The Buddhist scriptures all say it is a peaceful, happy mind, but how does it feel in our own experience? How is it even possible to be happy or calm when caring about the horrible suffering of others? It seems crucial to know this if we are going to put any energy into contemplating suffering as opposed to digging our heads into the sand or switching channels.
I first decided to explore this subject when I was with Ralph the kitten. This is what I wrote down at the time.
Today, two days after his death, tears still spring to my eyes when my mind alights upon any details of his final hours. I even miss meditating with him (nothing like having a helpless kitten on your lap to help you meditate.) I managed to meditate for 30 years without him, but today I missed him all tucked up in my overalls.
But this sadness, though moving, is not unhappy, if you know what I mean. I am not averse to it. It is mixed with a sort of smile.
There is a part of me that misses him out of attachment, but I also know that this is looking backward rather than forward, and the past does not even exist. I am missing a non-existent kitten. There is no point in that. There is no point in even wanting him to still be a kitten, healthy or not. Better to think of him in the present, wishing him all happiness wherever he is, with any luck out of his limited cat body and in the Pure Land.
Two days earlier, in the ER waiting room:
I don’t know if I want any cats now. (I was planning on rescuing a couple in the Fall). Where is that coming from? A friend of mine lost her beloved cat recently in a nasty freak accident and it crushed her. Right now I understand why she said she didn’t ever want another cat. My mother always resisted our having pets and would say it was because her beloved guinea pigs were eaten by rats when she was a kid. (The more obvious reason was that we were continuously traveling around the world, but for some reason she’d usually play the guinea pig card). It slightly irked me when she did this, as I really wanted pets and had to make do with collecting ants and cocoons; but I understand her reluctance better now.
But cats still need homes. So do guinea pigs and other animals. American comedian George Carlin said that getting a pet is a tragedy waiting to happen, as they always “go away”, unless we are 80 and get a tortoise. But we do it anyway. And as they say:
“It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Everyone “goes away” — we’ll have to watch all our loved ones go away, if we don’t go away first. I think we have to be brave enough right now to accept a certain amount of sadness when the people we know are suffering. This is part of our training. One day our compassion will be bliss, but even if it is now mixed with minds that cause some sadness – such as fear, worry, and attachment – it is still better not to shrink away from getting involved with others.
Back to today:
However, at the same time we can work on removing the sad and worried part and increasing the happy and blissful part, and, starting in this article, that’s what I want to look at (with more help from you and my Facebook friends!)
Waves of worry
We worry about ourselves (and loved ones) all the time. Parents can worry about their children every single day. In samsara, worries are waves on an ocean – there is never an end of things we can worry about because everything can go wrong. We think short-term: “Oh it’ll be alright if he just gets a job! Or if his sickness is cured!”, but it still isn’t alright. Perhaps a brief respite, but then a new worry rolls onto the shore.
So we have to go deeper for both our own and others’ sake. We have to want us all to have real, lasting freedom. Where does this come from? Only from peaceful and controlled minds. If we wish that for them, in this wish we discover there is peace. There is also some peace to be had in accepting that we cannot control their minds for them, nor their karmic path.
I think realistically that our wish for them to have real freedom by overcoming the delusions and impure karma is more attainable than our wish for them to be free from one samsaric problem at a time! The waves of suffering cannot end until the ocean of samsara — created by delusions and impure karma — is dried up. Focusing on this doesn’t mean that we don’t take the cat to the vet, but it does mean we keep things in perspective, which helps a great deal.
A practical thing to do on a daily basis is to catch those worries as they start to roll in and transform them into bigger and better non-worries! For example, a friend of mine lost her job quite a while ago and is still finding it hard to get another, despite great efforts. I feel sad for her every time I think of how disappointed she feels. (And she is not alone, of course — finding someone who never has any financial concerns is almost impossible.) However, if I go deeper and wish for her to have complete freedom from this and all worries by drying up the entire ocean of samsara, immediately there is some mental peace. The same goes for worry about a loved one’s cancer results, or a cat’s infected eyes. “May they be free from ALL suffering and its causes. I will make this happen.” This wish galvanizes us and we have some control again.
More ideas coming in the next article.
Your turn: In your own experience, do you find compassion to be happy or sad?
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My experience of generating the mind of compassion is . Having renunciation knowing that samsara is the nature of suffering and contemplating the suffering of mother beings can make me cry but then I generate a strong wish that they become completely and permanently free from all suffering and it’s causes and this mind of compassion is a virtuous mind and therefore peaceful and happy 🙏❤️🌈
In my experience compassion without faith is really difficult because when I don’t conjoin the two I believe I have to come up with a way to free another from their suffering by my own devices (where burnout comes from). With faith I can see beyond this ordinary world of suffering and realize the real solution is to realize emptiness and free all living beings from suffering permanently. Rely on Buddha, my Spiritual Guuide. When I apply compassion and faith together I feel very empowered, it spurs me on in my Dharma practice. That’s why I need to increase my faith every day along with compassion. Then when I see a loved one suffering or encounter a tragedy instead of getting overwhelmed by believing I need to free them from suffering on my own (inherently) I think, “I need to REALLY help them. I need to attain enlightenment”. Genla Khenrab asked once why our Tantric lacks power? He replied because our compassion is weak. That really struck me and has stuck with me. Without strong compassion even our Tantric practice lacks power. I suppose that is why Geshela tells us as Kadampa Budhdhist it is our main practice. It purifies ourind and when our mind is pure we will inhabit a pure world. Having found the methods I owe it all suffering beings. Of all virtuous minds compassion is supreme.
I’ve read everything here and given it a lot of thought. In the beginning, when I first met this tradition, I couldn’t accept that compassion was a happy mind, I protested a good deal about this. Contemplating the suffering of others would always feel painful and I would cry, I still cry. I remember a fine teacher telling an attentive class how our mind of compassion was an indication to us, even evidence for us, of our Buddha-seed. That was a wonderful revelation to me. So, now when I am in touch with this mind and I remember this view, two types of feelings or two levels of feeling, follow. The first feeling that arises is uncomfortable, it observes the suffering and it doesn’t like it, it wants to reject this painful reality and it can feel powerless to take it away…so that’s one level. At another level, I know that this compassionate mind is my Buddha potential being activated. This is an instantaneously joyous feeling and can create an immediate sense of having connected with an array of fully accomplished Holy Beings whose compassion is devoid of pain, devoid of fear and perfectly developed to know precisely what is needed. The joy then moves to a more relaxed, peaceful state. From there, practical action can happen or prayer, or a meditation like Pawo suggested.
I choose to believe that with practice, that seed of compassion will grow and as it does it will become increasingly filled with peace and joy and the painful aspects will eventually diminsh all together. Only then will I actually experience what it means to speak of compassion as a happy mind.
Lovely comment, shows the very great hope we all share. And it is the case that if we know that compassion is our Buddha nature, who we actually are, and we tune into that, we are tuning into all Buddhas because our Buddha seed is not a different nature to their enlightened minds. In this way we are receiving blessings to ripen that compassion very fast.
You are not alone. I have cried many times because of the suffering
that others go through, and my inability to really take their
suffering away. It is my understanding that this is okay and a step
in the right direction. We are beginning to see others and that they
suffer just as much, if not more than we do and that’s a great
understanding to develop.
So now, with some knowledge, gaining wisdom and compassion from
experience of our Lamrim meditation, we can do a very profound but
simple meditation that combines three ‘great scope’ meditations into
a simple mediation on taking and giving.
Here we are going to take on the suffering of all living beings and
in return we are going to give them inner peace, perfect happiness.
“HANG ON” says our self cherishing “your going to do WHAT!!”
Our self cherishing goes crazy when it hears this. “We are going to
take on the suffering of all living beings” and “in return we are
going to give them inner peace, perfect happiness”. “DON’T BE STUPID”
it it shouts.
It (our self cherishing) thinks this is crazy.
Since beginingless time it has been doing exactly the opposite. It
has been making `others’ suffer in order that `it’ may be happy, and
as a result `we’ have been stuck in samsara since beginingless time.
The meditation is quite simple, a visualisation, via imagination
We imagine in front of us all living beings. For auspiciousness we
imagine them all in the aspect of humans.
We imagine we are going to take responsibility for all of this
suffering, and we are going to take it upon our self.
We imagine that all their suffering arises in the aspect of black
smoke, and we breathe in this black smoke, the suffering of all
living beings, which absorbs into the mind at our heart. We imagine
that this black smoke now destroys our self grasping / self
cherishing mind. We imagine that we have taken all the suffering from
all living beings and their bodies become bodies of pure light and
their minds become pure.
Then with a compassionate mind of wishing love, derived from
affectionate and cherishing love, and through our superior intention
to free all living beings from suffering, we imagine that the mind at
our heart transforms into a wish granting jewel that radiates
infinite pure white light as we breath out, that bestows perfect
inner peace upon all living beings in front of us.
We imagine all living beings are now pure and are experiencing the
bliss of perfect inner peace, completely free from all suffering and
its causes, contaminated body and mind.
This is very simple, and we repeat with every breath, but it is very
We take responsibility because all living beings are created by our
mind and their suffering is created by our self cherishing mind.
We take in their suffering in the aspect of black smoke, returning it
to its source, the self cherishing mind, thereby destroying it,
completely removing its power to cause suffering.
Now through the power of love and compassion we give perfect inner
peace in the aspect of pure white light that bestows perfect
happiness. We believe we have the power to do this because Buddhas
have the power to bestow inner peace through the power of their
“But”, you say, “what use is this, it is just imagination, when I
arise from mediation, I still see suffering beings, they still appear
to my sense consciousness, nothing has really happened has it”?!!
Indeed, but nothing ‘really’ happens at all does it? We must realise
that there is no difference to objects appearing to mental
consciousness and objects appearing to sense consciousness, all are
mere appearances to mind arising from causes and conditions.
All objects of sense consciousness are arising from actions that were
originally mental actions, imagination. All actions arising from
imagination come from mental factor intention. All apearence to sense
awareness arise from intention.
So from superior intention, pure happiness of all living beings,
eventually will arise, it will eventually appear to our sense
Through taking on the responsibility of the suffering of all living
beings and destroying our self cherishing through imagination we will
eventually actually eliminate our self cherishing mind and gain the
actual power to bestow inner peace upon all living beings, this will
be our actual experience. We are creating causes for this to actually
Through meditating upon taking and giving, we are creating very
powerful mental actions, that not only are very powerful purifying
actions, but are actions that are creating the causes, planting the
seeds, for us to actually experience these effect in the future,
where we will actually liberate all living beings from suffering and
bestow upon them perfect inner peace.
Wonderful, wonderful comment, thank you.
Ultimately, my mind definitely experiences deep peace, perhaps joy and hope. Peace is experienced in knowing that there is no separation between myself and those suffering. Joy fills my mind when I relax into the profound interdependence and connection. Hope arises when I remind myself that my purpose is to become enlightened so that I can help others escape this bizarre and torturous cycle called samsara. However, that all being said, my first response to seeing, hearing and/or thinking about the suffering of others is absolute heartache–painful, gut wrenching heartache. It is the precursor, the indicator that my compassion is stirred and then automatically I move into an action. Sometimes it is prayer, taking and giving (always) and, when possible, accompanied by directly doing something to help. When I start the action, the painful feelings diminish and evaporate in the light of the action. It is then that my mind becomes the “happy” mind of compassion. I look forward to that elusive promise of blissful compassion.
Good to read this, knowing how much you do for animals, including umpteen ferals in your care. Apparently the cats and ducks follow you around the neighborhood, according to a mutual friend 🙂 You are also featured in the next article, about to go up…
I believe the the mind of compassion is a powerful mind. The winds of karma are calmed by our compassionate intentions. We harm others do to the ripening of negative karmic seeds coming together with certain causes and conditions. We create the causes for our enlightenment through the gateway of our innate compassion. We purify our mind through our realization of great compassion. We need more compassion and more objects of compassion not just those close to us or suffering animals we come upon. All living beings are suffering every moment of every day – except when they are generating a mind of compassion. The deeper our compassion the more this is true in my experience. The tantric Buddha Heruka is the Buddha of bliss. Is he not representative of our compassion? I first understood meditative bliss by wanting to replicate the immense crying I do in sad movies. It was embarrassing dating my wife when we were teenagers and crying in the Disney movie Bambi. For me, tantric meditative bliss begins with a deep connection with the suffering of others – even a cartoon deer.
In the summer of 2005 Geshe Kelsang gave a commentary on Powa practice – ” It is only due to the potentialities of different actions that different experiences develop….. if you want to know what you will experience in future lives, you should judge your present actions and mind. If you are maintaining a virtuous mind continually, performing virtuous actions now continually, we can predict that in future lives we will experience happiness,”
Only a very powerful mind could create the karmic cause for our future happiness. This can only be done through purification of impure and non-virtuous thoughts. When I shared Dharma with inmates in one of the state of Florida’s prisons I told them, “You are here because your ignorance and delusions of the mind harmed others. Your compassion for your victims,their families, your cell-mate, your fellow inmates, the correction officers and yes, the warden, will help purify your mind and help you to gain mental freedom even in this place of little compassion and poor conditions.
Luna, thank you so much for the post and I look forward to your future articles on compassion and/or happiness. Hard to have one without the other, I think.
Beautiful comment, Ike. It is true, too, that in Tantra compassion is bliss. Thank you. xx
Hi everyone. I’m a new member to this Buddhism in Action Group. This is a wonderful question to contemplate. The trick for me is to be able to feel the pain of other beings without shutting down, closing my heartmind to it. I think that when we are really capable of being compassionate, it may be neither happy or sad. It is the ability to have a totally open, broken heart and still function with skillful means.
Hi Honora, nice to meet you. The question is how we are going to feel the pain of others without shutting down, which may not be possible while we still have self-cherishing and other delusions. We’ll be looking more at these in the next couple of articles.
When I came across Dorje, dying in a cemetery, for a brief moment my mind was filled with pure compassion. With the power of Vajrayogini and Tara to help me, I recited many mantras with him near, covered in ants and fleas with the rain pouring down on us. When we really, really want a living being to be released from suffering, all the buddhas enter our aggregates to help (i.e. my usual impure self left for a while).
…….Then I took him to the vet and have since spent a lot of money and time and experienced lots of scratches since.
While I do these important external things and while i wish to end the suffering of all beings, I recently received Medicine Buddha empowerment again from Gen-la Kunsang. When i recite this for all living beings, Dorje lays next to me, peaceful and creating the cause to end his samsara.
Compassion is a happy peaceful mind, wishing to engage in virtue to free others from the disgusting filth of samsara.
I will do it this time :)))))
Thank you again Luna.
Our pets really do help us a lot, it seems to me!
Interesting comments about the distinction between praying for everyone to be free from suffering and praying for particular people to be free from suffering.
I am currently practising for a recently deceased family friend and another friend in America who is very ill. I am doing a Tara puja ‘without particulars’ except imagining that they are also doing the puja with me. It does seem that Tara’s powerful rays of blessings during mantra at the end are for all living beings, not a subset – it seems impossible to limit or direct them in any way, and it’s best to imagine them reaching everyone. But at the end during dedication I make requests for the people I am practising for.
When I do pujas ‘normally’ without specific prayers I stay with the ‘general approach’ completely. Conclusion – generally it’s best to stay general, but sometimes I can be more specific with dedications and making requests for others. Requests for oneself should be made sparingly and only when really necessary.
I think with our prayers we can be both general and specific at the same time, as dedication increases our merit, and it will not run out even if we double-dedicate it 🙂
A very tricky balance, indeed, as I am discovering on quite a very strong level at the moment. Our extraordinarily kind-tempered cat, Charlie, had an operation to remove two cancerous lumps and some surrounding tissues on Monday, and just over two weeks before had one lump removed on its own. So that’s two surgeries in three weeks, plus an extra visit to the vet’s to give him staples and antibiotics yesterday. Knowing that I can’t physically remove his suffering at the moment is heartbreaking and witnessing his suffering on Monday night and my constant concern for his welfare kept me from sleeping. I can see your point in wishing him to be free from all suffering makes more sense, but witnessing this dear little being’s suffering so acutely has brought me to tears so many times sometimes I don’t think I have any left.
It is getting better, though. This experience has been a teaching on many levels. I accept the fact I cannot change his karma – whatever that may be, and I (and others) have done many dedications for his peace, comfort and well-being; and that many, many suffer in this world, but it’s quite a way for this compassion I feel (and I do want him to be free from suffering) to feel blissful all the time.
Incidentally, I was also thinking about Dharma and my mind for a related, although a slightly different reason on Monday night as, although I was using what little Dharma I have to be an effective carer for him, I found the whole situation quite shocking at first – it was about 2 in the morning before I actually felt anything (I was really trying). How does one get past that?
Hey Jill, I’m very sorry to hear about Charlie and will also remember him in my prayers.
I wasn’t entirely sure what you are asking in the third paragraph — sorry about that, could you spell it out for me?
Love, L xx
Sorry the first time wasn’t clearer.
I was talking about the initial feeling of shock when witnessing any sort of acute suffering. When I saw Charlie’s surgical wound on Monday and thought of everything he had been through I just felt numb. It took awhile for me to get past the numbness and open my heart; quite a few tears came when it did. I moved my actions towards compassion when I brought him home, but I would have liked to do so with more of an open, loving heart. I wondered at this at the time, and I had to really push my mind to get past it. It did, finally at 2 am.
Incidentally, Charlie is currently sacked out on my husband’s down sleeping bag, and looks blissfully comfortable. 🙂 (The husband has been camping out with him in the living room as he’s not allowed to jump on the bed at the moment.)
Thanks so much again.
Thanks, Luna, for yet another wonderful article. We need compassion so much for our world and hearts/minds (never mind the deceptive duality). And when we mix our mind with compassion, it really puts things in perspective.
I’m not sure about your sentiments… I think it’s great to wish for others to have ultimate freedom from suffering… However, I think it’s important to have that deep compassion which cannot bear others suffering and to feel genuine love for others which moves us to give practical support and care.
Otherwise I think that maybe we can drift off into a blissful dream but not actually becoming a Bodhisattva who remains in this world being of real (temporary and ultimate) benefit to others.
Yes, they need not be contradictory, and Bodhisattvas work on both levels — bringing temporary and lasting benefit. There is more coming on this subject in the next two articles as well.
Good! Look forward to those articles.
Very interested in compassion in action…
Thank you Luna for a truly excellent article 🙂 (As I have no Dharma Centers anywhere near me it’s wonderful to have this online sangha community.)
From my experience, when I first tried to generate compassion it had a grasp-y ‘isn’t it awful’ quality to it which was not peaceful and had little or no wisdom. I think this comes from being unable to see or believe in the solution to the problem of suffering. As you say, the solution is simply peaceful minds, which isn’t far-fetched or unattainable. As a result of thinking in this way the compassion which comes is very peaceful, it knows the solution while being aware of the problem. This is definitely a happy mind.
This article has been a great guided meditation for me, leading me directly to it’s object.
Thanks again! 🙂
Hi Guy, Thank you. I enjoy thinking about, writing on and discussing this subject, as it seems so important, and I have a few more articles on it lining up.
I agree with you that knowing the solution of the problem is what takes away the grasping at particular results, and I like the way you put it.
I love this article and the question it poses. I particularly like the image of the kitten tucked into your overalls, by the way, so thanks for that. I also really appreciate that it prompted me to think about what we mean when we go on about happiness. Happiness, I suspect, has a lot more dimension than tend to assign to it.
First I should confess to a strong bias against so much emphasis on what we conventionally understand as happiness, mostly because I doubt the authenticity of it. Feels a bit happy clappy and maybe even like a recipe for denial. But like I said, it’s a strong bias so clearly my issue. In answer to the question, though, I don’t see compassion as a happy mind in the conventional sense at all. However, if the definition involves what can awaken in us when we face the full spectrum of experience, and regard another person’s suffering with an open heart, that’s a different thing entirely. While these experiences can produce pain and tears and sadness, they also force an opening and sense of intimacy that’s profoundly hopeful to me. This is dimension of happiness I want to experience.
Thank you for another thoughtful comment. I agree that happy clappy (I’m alright Jack!) is not what we’re aiming for, and it is good to clarify that.
I’m hoping that with a few more articles exploring the subject, we’ll have more of a sense of what is meant by happiness. As Matthew and I were discussing (below), we’re not talking about excitement, but we are talking about pleasant as opposed to unpleasant feelings.
Hi L, thanks for your answer and reference. On a technicality, I would say that “compassion causes us to experience happiness” is different from saying that compassion is a happy mind. To give a practical example, a mother who runs into a burning house to rescue her baby is not happy although she does have compassion. However, clearly her compassion is the basis for her future happiness. M x
Yes, but I don’t think that future happiness from karma is what is intended here, which I think is clear from those few pages in Ocean of Nectar. The mind is peaceful, and a peaceful mind is a happy mind.
It does bring up what we mean by happy, and here in the case of compassion we’re not talking about excitement or even the pleasant feeling that comes from changing suffering. However, compassion possesses pleasant feeling.
I think when we’ve got real compassion our mind is filled with blessings, it feels empowering – like although we see suffering we know it will end and they will experience everlasting peace and happiness one day. When compassion is mixed with ordinary view it’s not as powerful and the mind feels weighed down and painful. That’s why we need to connect with Buddhas and make strong prayers.
Definitely a point worth making, thank you. Geshe Kelsang once said at Madhyamaka Centre that there are two ways to become close to the Buddhas: (1) compassion and (2) blessing offerings! In both cases, we are being more like the Buddhas, and so become close to them from our side. And I think this fits in with naturally receiving their blessings.
Hi Luna, hope you are well. What is the reference in the Buddhist scriptures for compassion being a happy mind please? I agree that compassion is not an unhappy mind and that it is peaceful, but I struggle to describe compassion as happy. It has a poignancy about it which seems different from happiness. Kind regards, Matthew
Hi Matthew, Ocean of Nectar page 21 for example says: “Compassion causes us to experience happiness because once we generate it our disturbing minds such as pride, jealousy, anger, and attachment are pacified and our mind becomes very peaceful.” It seems to me that it is happy not in an excited way but actually in quite a deep way, a peaceful way. Love, L x
You know…I keep asking questions and keep getting answers from the Sangha Jewels in my life so thank you for this very practical question.
Ive been pottering along the path for a few years now and so keep getting Teachings from daily life all the time. Last year I rescued a young crow after it was hit by a car. I took him home and with the help of friend’s, the vet’s (free) advice, supermarket minced meat and kills by local cats, I got him back reasonably strong and healthy. I had to let him go as he was starting to get really frisky. I took him back to where I found him (I believe his mother saw me pick him up), scattered the place with meat and called in a passable crow imitation to his nearby crow family. I was very concerned for him. Indeed I couldnt sleep that night for thinking about him. How would he get on? Would he starve?Should I have kept him captive? I travelled back the next day to drop food in case he was around. No sign of him. I called, like a an old crow! I went home and cried. He had gone back to his animal life and his chances were probably very slim. Geshe Kelsang’s teachings had woken me up to the suffering of animals and I knew in my heart I had little power to help him. My compassion made me act but it was blind. For me, it was another wake up call. Lower realms are like a ‘vast wasteland’. My limited ability to help wasn’t good enough. For that I need to be a bodhisattva.
On other occasions when compassion hit me with full force, I have also wept. Recently, it was quite unexpected when I saw a very old dog slip and its owner yank his lead forcefully unaware (probably with no intention to be cruel). You will also recall that ‘Liberation from Sorrow) starts with the description of the birth of Arya Tara as ‘born from the tears of the Protector of the Three Worlds’. Maybe I think, compassion should move the mind like this, that it’s quite correct to feel sadness.
Im no great practitioner so maybe Im missing the point so would like some help with this.
Thanks again, Luna.
When we are very moved and we cry, are our tears always sad, as in painful?
As for your crow, I think you did the right things given the circumstances. I wonder, would you not do the same thing next time, but with the additional intention to become a Buddha as well?
Just a quick note Jan, to say that I cry over things like that as well. I haven’t got the wisdom of compassion yet; but I do know that these animals were fortunate to have that connection with you, and will have benefitted from it. Even with our limited capability to help them, our prayers to the Buddhas definitely bring good results. We’ll also be able to help them in the future when we ourselves are more advanced. Like you say – a good reason to become a Bodhisattva 🙂
Thanks Luna.Yes,in contemplating the event,I realised my abilities to help were limited by my lack of clairvoyance.That would have enabled me to help him with more wisdom.Enlightenment is the only real answer especially when having the power to help
the kind beings in the lower realms.Perhaps the crow helped me realise how our compassion really functions to push us towards enlightenment.We realise we have to start to take responsibility.
Thanks, Baku. Its almost like the ‘powerful opening of the heart’ started to happen in a very real way. I couldnt stop it! Hopefully my practice will become more skilful and powerful. Also, I can always think how wonderful my Guru is to teach me this way and so on. That the compassion comes from the blessings of my Guru. With that thought, the mind is happy! Janx
Yes, the Guru does have skilful means, doesn’t he. With this mind we are sure to progress! I am glad your mind is happy.
My experience is that I need to have two thoughts in my mind at the same time to develop compassion. I need to have a balance of love for suffering beings and the contemplation of their suffering. If I focus too much on their suffering I feel sad. If I focus too much on love I don’t wish them to be free from suffering very strongly. If I get the balance right and have strong love at the same time as strong recognition of their suffering, strong compassion arises.
I think it is true that the love in our mind protects us from the pain.
Compassion is a virtuous mind, and as such is peaceful/happy.
* I don’t even understand that intellectually, let alone feel it! A welcome article.
I am going to try looking at the bigger picture now though – wishing others to be completely free from harm, rather than just out of their current predicament (ready to fall into the next…) It’s a good point that wishing for others to be ‘free from one samsaric problem at a time’ is never really going to work, or bring any peace to anyone. Much more sensible to act on something we can control – our mind.