A praise of compassion by Lama Zopa Rinpoche:
I have tried my best to embody compassion in my life. But this Saturday a simple act of compassion truly touched my heart. And this act came not from me but a dear friend.
I was prepping for a party at my place. Just before the party a dear friend of mine and I decided to grab a quick bite at a local Indian restaurant. As we ordered our food and waited, we spent the next ten minutes watching a man promote a local pizza place across the street from us. We were facing a glass window. The man was dancing with the pizza promo board in his hand. We were amazed at his skill, his energy and his dedication to his job, a job neither of us could ever comprehend doing.
My friend watched the man across the street with great appreciation, love and compassion in his heart. After about 5 minutes, he just got up and said to me, ” I am going to go and let this man know what a phenomenal job he is doing and offer him some money. ” I watched my friend leave the restaurant and wondered how I was unable to offer the same compassion, love and appreciation my friend did. His generosity and compassion for this man across the street melted my heart. How many of us will do something like this? The act was truly selfless and soaked in compassion.
“Nirvana may be the final object of attainment, but at the moment it is difficult to reach. Thus the practical and realistic aim is compassion, a warm heart, serving other people, helping others, respecting others, being less selfish. By practising these, you can gain benefit and happiness that remain longer. If you investigate the purpose of life and, with the motivation that results from this inquiry, develop a good heart – compassion and love. Using your whole life this way, each day will become useful and meaningful.”
“Every human being has the same potential for compassion; the only question is whether we really take any care of that potential, and develop and implement it in our daily life. My hope is that more and more people will realise the value of compassion, and so follow the path of altruism. As for myself, ever since I became a Buddhist monk, that has been my real destiny – for usually I think of myself as just one simple Buddhist monk, no more and no less.”
“Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion…is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.”
So let us all not be so absorbed and preoccupied with materialism and selfish act of instant gratification. We are all busy and have many responsibilities. Can we not find a moment in my life on a daily basis to offer compassionate care and love to others and to ourself? There is such beauty in giving compassion. Just watching someone offer compassion made my day richer and beautiful. Can we all not play a part , even a small one, to relieve the suffering of others, establish greater justice, and assert the dignity and equality of human beings?