Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Follow us!

Follow us on social media sites, using RSS, on a Kindle, or on our iPhone app.


Blog

The Buddha (and his disciples) on compassion (Day 34)

100 Days of LovingkindnessAfter 34 days of blogging on mindfulness and compassion I’m getting a little tired of the sound of my own voice, so I’m plucked some sayings from the Pali canon. The Pali canon is part of the oldest strata of teachings that we have available to us. It comprises of teachings that were memorized and passed down orally for several hundred years before being written down. The Pali canon was just one of many such bodies of teachings, which existed in numerous languages. Sadly, the Muslim invasions of India resulted in the destruction of the bulk of these other canons, and the Pali canon is the only complete collection available to us. It happened to survive because the Pali texts had been exported to Sri Lanka, which wasn’t subject to Muslim invasion.

I’ve indicated with each quote who the speaker is, and linked the name to the original source, so that you can see the quotes in context.

  • The Buddha’s disciple, Vangisa: “Well taught are the Four Noble Truths by the Seeing One, the Awakened One, the Kinsman of the Sun, out of compassion for living beings.”
  • The Buddha: “Rightly speaking, were it to be said of anyone: ‘A being not subject to delusion has appeared in the world for the welfare and happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare and happiness of gods and humans,’ it is of me indeed that rightly speaking this should be said.”
  • The Buddha: “Out of compassion for beings, I surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As I did so, I saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace & danger in the other world. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses — born & growing in the water — might flourish while immersed in the water, without rising up from the water; some might stand at an even level with the water; while some might rise up from the water and stand without being smeared by the water — so too, surveying the world with the eye of an Awakened One, I saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace & danger in the other world.”
  • The Buddha: “In five ways, young householder, the parents … show their compassion [for their children]: they restrain them from evil, they encourage them to do good, they train them for a profession, they arrange a suitable marriage at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them. In these five ways do … parents show their compassion to their children. Thus is the East covered by them and made safe and secure.”
  • The Buddha: “In five ways, young householder, do teachers … show their compassion [for their students]: they train them in the best discipline, they see that they grasp their lessons well, they instruct them in the arts and sciences, they introduce them to their friends and associates, they provide for their safety in every quarter. “The teachers … show their compassion towards them in these five ways.”
  • The Buddha: “Friends and associates .. [of] a clansman show compassion to him in five ways: they protect him when he is heedless, they protect his property when he is heedless, they become a refuge when he is in danger, they do not forsake him in his troubles, they show consideration for his family. The friends and associates [of] a clansman show their compassion towards him in these five ways.”
  • The Buddha: “Ascetics and brahmans [i.e. homeless and householder spiritual teachers] [of] a householder show their compassion towards him in six ways: they restrain him from evil, they persuade him to do good, they love him with a kind heart, they make him hear what he has not heard, they clarify what he has already heard, they point out the path to a heavenly state. In these six ways do ascetics and brahmans show their compassion towards a householder.”
  • The Buddha: “An individual keeps pervading the first direction [East] — as well as the second direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with compassion. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around, everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with compassion: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that.”
  • The Buddha: “Whatever is to be done by a teacher with compassion for the welfare of students, that has been done by me out of compassion for you. Here are the roots of trees. Here are empty places. Get down and meditate. Don’t be lazy. Don’t become one who is later remorseful. This is my instruction to you.”
  • The lay-follower Dhammika, to the Buddha: “Having investigated all knowledge and being compassionate towards beings you have announced the Dhamma, a revealer of what is hidden, of comprehensive vision, stainless, you illuminate all the worlds.”
  • The Buddha: “The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, ‘I will speak out of compassion.’”
  • The Buddha: “Develop the meditation of compassion. For when you are developing the meditation of compassion, cruelty will be abandoned.”
  • King Pasenadi of Kosala, having received weight-loss instructions from the Buddha: “Indeed the Buddha has shown me compassion in two different ways: for my welfare right here and now, and also for in the future.”
  • The Buddha, to his disciple Kassapa: “Very good. It seems that you are one who practices for the happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, and happiness of beings human and divine.”
  • The Buddha: “In this community of monks there are monks who remain devoted to the development of good will: such are the monks in this community of monks. In this community of monks there are monks who remain devoted to the development of compassion: such are the monks in this community of monks. In this community of monks there are monks who remain devoted to the development of appreciation: such are the monks in this community of monks. In this community of monks there are monks who remain devoted to the development of equanimity: such are the monks in this community of monks. In this community of monks there are monks who remain devoted to the development of unattractiveness: such are the monks in this community of monks. In this community of monks there are monks who remain devoted to the development of the perception of impermanence: such are the monks in this community of monks. In this community of monks there are monks who remain devoted to mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.”
  • The Buddha: “When this concentration [of lovingkindness] is thus developed, thus well-developed by you, you should then train yourself thus: ‘Compassion, as my awareness-release, will be developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken.’ That’s how you should train yourself. When you have developed this concentration in this way, you should develop this concentration with directed thought and evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought and a modicum of evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought and no evaluation, you should develop it accompanied by rapture… not accompanied by rapture… endowed with a sense of enjoyment; you should develop it endowed with equanimity.”
  • The Buddha: “The Buddhas radiate compassion on the world.”
  • The Buddha: “When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop compassion for that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.”
  • The Buddha: “And as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, and who does not periodically experience mental clarity & calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a sick man — in pain, seriously ill — traveling along a road, far from the next village & far from the last, unable to get the food he needs, unable to get the medicine he needs, unable to get a suitable assistant, unable to get anyone to take him to human habitation. Now suppose another person were to see him coming along the road. He would do what he could out of compassion, pity, & sympathy for the man, thinking, ‘O that this man should get the food he needs, the medicine he needs, a suitable assistant, someone to take him to human habitation. Why is that? So that he won’t fall into ruin right here.’ In the same way, when a person is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, and who does not periodically experience mental clarity & calm, one should do what one can out of compassion, pity, & sympathy for him, thinking, ‘O that this man should abandon wrong bodily conduct and develop right bodily conduct, abandon wrong verbal conduct and develop right verbal conduct, abandon wrong mental conduct and develop right mental conduct. Why is that? So that, on the break-up of the body, after death, he won’t fall into the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, purgatory.’ Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.”
  • The Buddha: “Here someone, abandoning the killing of living beings, becomes one who abstains from killing living beings; with rod and weapon laid aside, gentle and kindly, he abides compassionate to all living beings.”
  • The Buddha: A person renowned for his bounty,
    Compassionate towards all beings,
    Distributes alms gladly.
    “Give! Give!” he says.

    Like a great storm cloud
    That thunders and rains down
    Filling the levels and hollows,
    Saturating the earth with water,
    Even so is such a person.

    Having righteously gathered wealth
    Which he obtains by his own effort,
    He fully satisfies with food and drink
    Whatever beings live in need.

PS. You can see all the 100 Days of Lovingkindness posts here.

Like it? Share it!

Share on Google+Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Read other articles on:

Related articles

About Bodhipaksa

avatar

Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, and a published author. He founded Wildmind in 2001. Bodhipaksa has published many guided meditation CDs and guided meditation MP3s.

He teaches at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire. You can follow Bodhipaksa on Twitter, join him on Facebook, or hang out with him on .

Read more articles by .

Comments

avatar

Comment from Melody Peters
Time: May 15, 2013, 4:24 pm

wonderful…sometimes I feel I can get a sense of the syntax of the language from the best translations. It helps to understand the culture better and to understand how and why the Buddha would have spoken thus. These are precious, thank you.

Leave a comment