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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: compassion

Bodhipaksa

May 20, 2013

Compassion can be joyful (Day 39)

100 Days of LovingkindnessFor most of the 25 days in which we focused on Metta Bhavana, I felt like I was swimming in joy. About two thirds or three quarters of my meditations were positively blissful, and in my daily life I felt cocooned by lovingkindness, as if I was inside a bubble of joy that stress was unable to penetrate.

Then, on day 26, I switched to the karuna bhavana (developing compassion) and that all ground to a halt. I didn’t find the practice actually depressing, but it did feel sober. There was a feeling of having a weight in the heart.

But after just over a week of karuna bhavana I …

Bodhipaksa

May 19, 2013

Why are we so hard on ourselves? (Day 38)

100 Days of LovingkindnessWe can be very hard on ourselves, can’t we? It’s as if, sometimes, we’re watching out for any tiny hint of a mistake, and then we pounce on ourselves, getting angry, or frustrated, or ashamed.

I suspect it’s because we can be. When people are allowed or encouraged to be cruel, they often will be. There’s some inherent cruelty in all of us (to varying extents) and this is kept in check by social norms. Change the social norms so that cruelty is encouraged, and it soon emerges. The Standford Prison Experiment and other similar studies shows that that cruel streak is there and can easily be brought out to …

Bodhipaksa

May 17, 2013

The Heart’s Wisdom double CD — 90% off!

hearts-wisdomWe’re just over a third of the way into our 100 Days of Lovingkindness, and to celebrate we’re all but giving away my double CD of guided lovingkindness and compassion meditations, The Heart’s Wisdom.

As far as I’m aware, the Heart’s Wisdom is the only CD set offering a guide to the four practices known as the “immeasurables” or “brahmaviharas.”

The four meditations on the CD set are:

  • Developing lovingkindness
  • Developing compassion
  • Developing empathetic joy
  • Developing equanimity.
  • You can order the double CD here.

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

    And if you’d like to support the work we do, which seeks to change the world through the promotion of mindfulness …

    Bodhipaksa

    May 17, 2013

    Compassion and causing pain (Day 36)

    100 Days of LovingkindnessThe other day I wrote about “Idiot Compassion,” which I described as ‘…avoiding conflict, letting people walk all over you, not giving people a harm time when actually they need to be given a hard time. It’s “being nice,” or “being good.”’

    Idiot compassion, a term Chogyam Trungpa adapted from Gurdjieff, lacks both wisdom and courage. We don’t want to jeopardize being thought of as a “nice person” and so we’re unwilling to be direct with people when that’s needed. We’re afraid to say ‘no’ to our children, for example. This is the lack of courage.

    And we lack the ability to …

    Bodhipaksa

    May 16, 2013

    Self-compassion is not selfish (Day 35)

    Lotus, isolated on whiteIn his book, Living Ethically: Advice from Nagarjuna’s Precious Garland, Sangharakshita has some advice for those who feel guilty about wanting to be happy. I have to confess that I’d forgotten that it was possible to feel this way…

    “How can we wish for the happiness of others if we are alienated from our own desire for happiness?

    “Unfortunately, many of us in the West were given to understand when we were young that it is selfish to want happiness for onself, and we therefore feel unnecessarily guilty about wanting it. As a result, we can feel guilty even about BEING happy. ‘After all,’ the perverse logic goes, ‘with all my

    Bodhipaksa

    May 15, 2013

    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 …

    Bodhipaksa

    May 14, 2013

    How not to practice “idiot compassion” (Day 33)

    100 Days of LovingkindnessChogyam Trungpa borrowed from Gurdjieff the very useful notion of “idiot compassion.” Gurdjieff, a rather fascinating spiritual teacher of the early to mid-20th century, had said that we are all idiots of one kind or another, and his extensive lists of the various types of idiots included “the compassionate idiot.”

    Compassion is wishing that beings be free from suffering. Idiot compassion is avoiding conflict, letting people walk all over you, not giving people a hard time when actually they need to be given a hard time. It’s “being nice,” or “being good.”

    It’s not compassion at all. It ends up causing us pain, and it ends up causing others …

    Bodhipaksa

    May 13, 2013

    Developing compassion: instructions from an ancient source, plus commentary (Day 32)

    100 Days of LovingkindnessSo far I’ve just been advising people to do the metta bhavana (development of lovingkindness) practice while bearing in mind the sufferings of others, but karuna bhavana (the development of compassion) is a practice in its own right. I thought I’d take an opportunity to geek out by looking at an early source of instruction on this practice.

    The “Path of Liberation” (Vimuttimagga) by Upatissa is the oldest meditation manual that I know about. It was probably written in the 1st century, several hundred years after the Buddha’s death. It’s from India, but the text has only survived in Chinese translation.

    The scriptures of the Pali canon, which contain records …

    Wildmind Meditation News

    May 12, 2013

    Buddhism’s big week: Dalai Lama’s visit shines light on its many flourishing forms

    Like many Westerners, Mary Bennett turned to Buddhism when the faith of her childhood stopped working for her.

    She still wanted a spiritual practice, but one that valued questioning.

    “Buddhism encourages you to investigate every piece of information you’re given, and that really appealed to me,” said Bennett, who works in Madison in the field of health care advocacy. “All of us want to be good people, but how? Buddhism provides a path and instruction on how to gain wisdom and compassion.”

    It’s a big week for Buddhism in Madison — one of many in the last four decades because of the…

    Read the original article »

    Bodhipaksa

    May 12, 2013

    What is suffering? (Day 31)

    100 Days of LovingkindnessIn cultivating compassion we’re responding, with kindness, to the suffering we encounter in life — especially others’ suffering. And the essence of compassion is wishing that beings be free from suffering.

    But what do we mean by suffering?

    There’s an unfortunate tendency for us to think of suffering in grand terms: the person with terminal cancer or a broken leg, the refugee, the starving child in a third world country. So suffering seems to be a special event. But actually, all beings suffer. We all suffer, every day.

    • When you’re worrying what people think about you, you’re suffering.
    • When you feel resentful, you’re suffering.
    • When you’re impatient, you’re suffering.
    • When you’re embarrassed, you’re suffering.
    • When