Wishing others to be free from sufferings is not enough - we have to put wishes into actions
What is compassion? Compassion means to wish, to have genuine wish that others are able to avoid or reduce sufferings. Compassion means you really wish, from the bottom of your heart, that any sufferings of others will diminish.
We wish beings be able to reduce their sufferings. That’s one thing. Suffering is the result, and there are the causes [of sufferings]. So there are two parts. Ignorance, anger, attachment, and jealousy are negative emotions – causes of sufferings. Actions that go along these negative emotions are called karmas. So, we not only wish to reduce sufferings – the results, but also wish to diminish the causes of sufferings. It is how to develop genuine compassion.
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.
Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche, Foundation of Buddhism