We cannot be a compassionate person just by saying words

We say to wish all sentient beings be able to avoid sufferings. But thinking is not enough, we have to put [words] into action. Internally, we’re thinking about others’ happiness, but externally we should be very careful not harm others. But at our level, we are not able to do so all the time. Because of our [negative] views we sometimes harm others. We sometimes are selfish, we have no understanding. In this case, our action is harmful to others. When you are being very selfish that means you are not doing any [good] things, but just harms, to others. This is a very common problem that often happens with us.

In the teachings of Buddha and great masters they say we have to remember what kind of action we cannot have, and what kind of action we should have. So, to be mindful always is the first thing to be compassionate to others. To take care of one’s conduct of body, speech and mind is the first condition to be a good, a compassionate Dharma practitioner.

It’s not easy to be a compassionate person, because the kind of compassion described in Buddha’s teaching is of a very high level. Somehow everyone can be kind to a few, to certain people, but [real] compassion means to be kind to all sentient beings. That kind of compassion is described by Buddha in the Mahayana teachings. To establish that, we must put a lot of efforts, actions and interest into it. Also we have to try to work very hard. It is not just something that arises in your mind by wishing, but by putting a lot of efforts like Buddha himself who worked very hard to establish such genuine compassion.

Therefore, whoever really wants to do this must understand the necessary conditions to develop this mind and then try to do so. We cannot be a compassionate person by just words, but we have to be compassionate in reality. Therefore, we have to try very hard. Also, we have to be patient to really establish this kind compassion in mind. This is not easy. It is something that takes a lot of time. It took Buddha many aeons to develop bodhicitta.


Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche, Foundation of Buddhism

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