BENGALURU: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” - Dalai Lama. It can be motivation for practice as well as the result.
As one’s inner freedom grows, one’s capacity for compassion increases; as one’s compassion increases, so does the importance of freedom. Liberation supports compassion and compassion supports liberation. They both benefit when they go hand in hand. There is no virtue more needed in our world today than compassion. We need to nourish our children with compassion and you need to know how to teach your child compassion in a changing world.
Compassion can help us and the generation of children we are here to teach how to find love for everyone including ourselves, community, and a meaningful life. ‘Com’ (with) and ‘Passion’ (strong feeling, enthusiasm); to be with another in strong feeling and with enthusiasm. Then, it does not require sadness, sorrow or even the desire to help, though it could include all these things. It simply means being fully present with someone no matter the circumstances of his or her life. It suspends judgement and takes each circumstance equally - each as a moment of life to be lived in its fullness.
All possible emotions, feelings and behaviours of which we are capable are inherent in every moment, in every circumstance. And so, compassion comes with no preconceptions. It has no attitudes. It has no special face or tone of voice. It is not bound by rules of behaviour, decorum, expectations, though it may be guided by all of these things. It is not afraid to be fully present, hopeful, or lighthearted.
Compassion is prepared to meet others wherever they are, recognising that the circumstance or challenge they now face is as much a part of their life as any other part of their life. It can cry or laugh, joke or commiserate, be curious and inquisitive, chatty or silent. It does not turn away. It is never afraid to see beauty or find humour or share a fractured heart. It creates its own result.
Passion keeps you tethered to earth, to mud and you never become a lotus. You start rising above the muddy world of desires, greed and anger. Compassion is a transformation of all our energies. All our energies keeps on going down the drain. When all these energies are no longer being wasted they start filling your inner lake, your inner being. You become full. A great delight arises in you. When you start overflowing you have become a Lord Buddha and you have come upon an inexhaustible source.
Compassion is not an attribute of any one religion. It is a universal principle for happiness and peace. In a world torn by conflict and strife, where violence and not love dictates people’s actions, what every person, at every level, of every age needs to learn, is the art of nurturing compassion within.
Be it a homemaker fulfilling the many needs of her family; an entrepreneur meeting people and clinching deals for his family; a politician passing bills in the legislature that can change the destiny of millions or an autorickshaw driver bargaining for higher rates with his passenger - whoever you may be, you need compassion.
True and deep compassion, it may be pointed out, is much more than the formal exercise of writing letters, making phone calls or even giving monetary assistance. It goes beyond physical presence too. It is the ability of a person to feel fully the grief and suffering of another. So powerful is it that it initiates the process of healing, paving the way to recovery. The giver too feels this healing power.
Thus, compassion is not the armour of the weak; it is the weapon of the strong. It is irresponsible to think, believe and preach that anger and violence can solve our problems. Problems at micro as well as macro levels arise because lack of understanding and love between people. Problems that are situation-based are very less compared to those that are emotion-based. Situation-based problems need better strategy and skill to solve them but emotion-based problems need people who are involved in moving out of those negative emotions that are causing them. That is why, any constructive change can never be effected through anger and violence.
Compassion is the answer
Let us nurture the noble virtue of compassion consciously with dedication. Let us see the faces of people who walk into our world with smiles, tears, affection and wrath. Let us meditate on their feelings to let compassion blossom.
This article is an Ashirvachana’ given by Sri Balagangadaranatha Swamiji, 71st Pontiff of Sri Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Math