AdvaitaJ wrote:It occurred to me a few weeks ago reading a thread Retro started, that I probably have a compassion problem. Then again tonight, I was confronted with a situation that has made clear to me that I have more compassion for small animals than adult human strangers. Children? I'm there, how can I help. Small animals? What's needed. But adult human-type people I don't know? Forget about it. Everybody gets what they deserve. As you sow, so shall ye reap, etc. If something bad happened to them, they probably did something (stupid or otherwise) to deserve it.
More and more, I'm thinking this is going to be perhaps the most challenging area for my practice. On the other hand, if I feel I know you, even a little, I'm likely to be on your side. We'll work it out, find an answer, etc. There are people I know that I've written off for a variety of reasons, but generally, if I get to know you, there's some compassion there if needed. Is this the problem I think it is or am I making a mountain out of a mole-hill?
genkaku wrote:Dear AdvaitaJ -- Would you say a little about what you -- you personally -- think compassion is?
This is very close to my default mode except that I don't usually go on to the "sorry about the pain" part unless I know the person.Sometimes, when somebody gets a tough lesson in life, I think about the learning that will arise from this, on the other hand, I am sorry it has to be through pain as the teacher, and not through insight.
That's tough. I think my compassion gets really confused with my ego. I honestly don't know how much of my "caring" for helpless creatures comes from genuine compassion and how much comes from an ego-based desire to be "the hero". And, let's not forget the near-enemy, pity. That's an easy trap for me as well. In many ways, I suspect I only know this is an issue at all because of my practice over the last months, so this is progress. (Ya gotta know it's broke...) To answer your question, my definition of compassion is feeling a genuine caring sensation for someone experiencing difficulty.
genkaku wrote:But was it 'compassion' in the moment? Wouldn't 'compassion' just get in the way of your natural compassion? Do feelings really enter here?
termite wrote:genkaku wrote:But was it 'compassion' in the moment? Wouldn't 'compassion' just get in the way of your natural compassion? Do feelings really enter here?
Small animals make it easy. They don't put any feelings in the way, or expect any in return.
I got "buzzed" by a flying squirrel last night, on the back deck. I'm hoping it was as good for him as it was for me.
genkaku wrote:Do feelings really enter here?
At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said: "From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find...A being who has not been your father...your brother...your sister...your son...your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.
"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on.
genkaku wrote:But sometime you may notice this: You are walking down a crowded sidewalk and two or three feet in front of you an elderly person stumbles and falls. And even before you rouse up anything like a "genuine caring sensation," you move to where the person has fallen and bend down to lend a hand.
Don't go giving me hope, now...We may not need to feel compassionate to be compassionate.
That's probably a big factor. Parental alcoholism was the major factor in my factor in my childhood and, as a consequence, trusting an adult is very difficult if not downright impossible for me.Like, let's say, you felt wronged, somehow, by some humans, whilst small animals never hurt you but made you happy?
Ben wrote:genkaku wrote:Do feelings really enter here?
Hi Genkaku, AdvaitaJ
Good point. My point of view is that we often confuse the psycho-somatic experience of 'feelings'/'sensations' with a particular mental quality such as 'compassion' or 'loving kindness'. We may not need to feel compassionate to be compassionate.
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