“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. If one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved.”
“That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone.”
Genuinely compassionate people always have a lot in common. Regardless if somebody is a Buddhist or Christian or atheist, they tend to speak a similar language.
Genuine compassion is never just a lip service, designed to build one’s image in front of the others. Its test are the actions that we take to benefit others. it is always surpassing the narrow frame of I, me and mine and opening the horizon across time and space.
There are various ways to live one’s compassion – one might choose to focus on environment, another one on socially discriminated groups, poverty or lack of opportunity, another one on animals… There are as many ways as there are injustices in samsara and all are beneficial. My choice is to engage in providing opportunities for people to study dharma in depth, starting with my own study. (Each serious engagement starts with apprenticeship.)
Like other forms of compassion, also my path grows from seeing the larger perspective, in my case of contemplating the infinite lifetimes that we have been wondering in samsara, and yet we have not been liberated from its gnawing jaws. I cannot think of anything more compassionate than bypassing all the cosmetic changes to tackle the root of the problem – the way we think and interpret ourselves and the world around us.
Whatever one’s path is, actions are always a sign and a measure of one’s compassion. We cannot judge others – we see only a tip of the iceberg of their lives, at best – but we can always check our own lives and develop our own compassion. The Buddha said: from virtuous actions come happiness, from non-virtuous comes suffering, so true compassion benefits everybody at the end.
P.s.: Full quote of HH Dalai Lama: “It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. There are two aspects to action. One is to overcome the distortions and afflictions of your own mind, that is, in terms of calming and eventually dispelling anger. This is action out of compassion. The other is more social, more public. When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved.”
Full quote of Michelle Obama: “So, it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis who said, “When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.” That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone, for all our kids.”