Acceptance of suffering does not mean we should not do everything in our power to solve a problem whenever it can be solved. However, acceptance of the suffering that we are already undergoing helps us not to make it worse with the additional burden of mental and emotional suffering. For example, there is not much we can do about old age. Far better to accept our condition than to fret about it.
Once you shift your focus from yourself to others and extend your concern to others, this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out. The practice of cultivating altruism has a beneficial effect not only from a religious point of view but also from a mundane point of view; not only for long-term spiritual development but even in terms of immediate rewards.
Being altruistic does not mean totally rejecting our own interest or neglecting ourselves, this is a misunderstanding. In fact, the kind of altruism that focuses on the well-being of others arises from a very courageous mind, an expansive attitude and a strong sense of self confidence - so much so that the person is capable of challenging the self-cherishing and self-centeredness that tends to rule our lives.
Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If a person shows anger to you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. In contrast, if you control your anger and show its opposite - love, compassion, tolerance, and patience - then not only will you remain in peace, but the anger of others also will gradually diminish.
Insofar as the destructive effects of anger and hateful thoughts are concerned, one cannot get protection from wealth nor education. The only factor that can give protection from the destructive effects of anger and hatred is the practice of tolerance and patience.
When our intentions toward others are good, we find that any feelings of anxiety or insecurity we may have are greatly reduced. We experience a liberation from our habitual preoccupation with self and paradoxically, this gives rise to strong feelings of confidence.
One of the most effective ways to overcome anxiety is to try to shift the focus of attention away from self and toward others. When we succeed in this, we find that the scale of our own problems diminishes. This is not to say we should ignore our own needs altogether, but rather that we should try to remember others' needs alongside our own, no matter how pressing ours may be.
For healthy mental and emotional growth, we need a gentle, skillful, balanced approach, avoiding extremes. If we are becoming arrogant and self-important, the antidote is to think about our own problems and sufferings, to bring us down to earth. But if we are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, helpless and depressed, it's important to reflect on our positive qualities or achievements to uplift our minds.
As long as we observe love for others and respect for their rights and dignity in our daily lives, then whether we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in the Buddha or God, follow some religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.
Since we desire the true happiness that is brought about by a calm mind, and such peace of mind arises only from having a compassionate attitude, we need to make a concerted effort to develop compassion. We must use all the events of our daily life to transform our thoughts and behavior.
Hatred, jealousy and excessive attachment cause suffering and agitation. I feel compassion can help us overcome these disturbances and let us return to a calm state of mind. Compassion is not just being kind to your friend. That involves attachment because it is based on expectation. Compassion is when you do something good without any expectations – based on realizing that “the other person is also just like me”.
Feelings of anger and hatred arise from a mind that is troubled by dissatisfaction and discontent. So you can prepare to deal with such occasions by constantly working to build inner contentment and by cultivating kindness and compassion. This brings about a certain calmness of mind that can help prevent anger from arising in the first place.
I feel that the moment you adopt a sense of caring for others, it brings you inner strength. Inner strength brings inner tranquility, greater self-confidence. Because of such attitudes, even when things going on around you seem hostile and negative, you can still sustain your peace of mind.
Any idea that concern for others, though a noble quality, is a matter for our private lives only, is simply short sighted. Compassion belongs to every sphere of activity, including, of course, the workplace
It is my fundamental conviction that compassion - the natural capacity of the human heart to feel concern for and connection with another human being - constitutes a basic aspect of our nature shared by all human beings, as well as being the foundation of our happiness. All ethical teachings, whether religious or nonreligious, aim to nurture this innate and precious quality, to develop it and to perfect it.
Compassion and love constitute non-violence in action. They are the source of all spiritual qualities: forgiveness, tolerance, all the virtues. They give meaning to our activities and makes them constructive. There is nothing amazing about being rich or highly educated; only when the individual has a warm heart do these attributes become worthwhile.
There is a common perception that compassion is, if not actually an impediment, at least irrelevant to professional life. Personally, I would argue that not only is it relevant, but that when compassion is lacking, our activities are in danger of becoming destructive. This is because when we ignore the question of the impact our actions have on others' well-being, inevitably we end up hurting them.
The world's major religious traditions all give the development of compassion a key role. Because it is both the source and the result of patience, tolerance, forgiveness and all good qualities, its importance is felt to extend from the beginning to the end of spiritual practice. Even without a religious perspective, love and compassion are clearly of fundamental importance to us all.
A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir - a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. This mind can also be likened to a seed; when cultivated, it gives rise to many other qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength, and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity.
Compassion is like a sense of caring, of concern for others’ difficulties and pain. Not only family and friends, but all other people, even enemies. If we think only of ourselves and forget about other people, our minds occupy a very small area and even tiny problems appear very big. When you develop concern for others..., your mind automatically widens; your own problems, even big ones, will not be so significant.
When we develop a genuine appreciation of the value of compassion, our outlook on others begins automatically to change. This can serve as a powerful influence on the conduct of our lives. When tempted to deceive others, our compassion for them will prevent us from entertaining the idea. When we realize our work is in danger of being exploited to the detriment of others, compassion will cause us to disengage from it.
A compassionate attitude opens our inner door, and as a result it is much easier to communicate with others. If there is too much self-centered attitude, then fear, doubt and suspicion come and as a result our inner door closes. Then it is very difficult to communicate with others.
While people are often content to criticize and blame others for what goes wrong, surely we should at least attempt to put forward constructive ideas. One thing is for certain: given human beings' love of truth, justice, peace, and freedom, creating a better, more compassionate world is a genuine possibility. The potential is there.
I am especially encouraged to see that thinking of consumerism as an end in itself seems to be giving way to an appreciation that we humans must conserve the earth's resources.
There is no denying that consideration of others is worthwhile and that our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others. There is no denying that if society suffers, we ourselves suffer, and the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill-will, the more miserable we become. We can reject religion, ideology, received wisdom, but we cannot escape the need for love and compassion.
The modern world is such that the interests of a particular country or community can no longer be considered to lie within the confines of its own boundaries. Cultivating contentment is therefore crucial to maintaining peaceful coexistence because discontent breeds a sense of acquisitiveness that can never be satisfied.
At a fundamental level, as human beings, we are all the same; each one of us aspires to happiness and each one of us does not wish to suffer. This is why, whenever I have the opportunity, I try to draw people's attention to what as members of the human family we have in common and the deeply interconnected nature of our existence and welfare.
Some people think that cultivating compassion is good for others but not necessarily good for themselves, but this is wrong. You are the one who benefits most directly since compassion immediately instills in you a sense of calm, inner strength, and a deep confidence and satisfaction, whereas it is not certain that the object of your feeling of compassion will benefit.
Despair is never a solution, it is the ultimate failure. In Tibetan we say, “if the rope breaks nine times, we must splice it together a tenth time”. Even if ultimately we do fail, at least we will have no feelings of regret. And when we combine this insight with a clear appreciation of our potential to benefit others, we can begin to restore our hope and confidence.
Alongside our natural ability to empathize with others, we also have a need for others’ kindness, which runs like a thread throughout our whole life. It is most apparent when we are young and when we are old, but we have only to fall ill to be reminded how important it is to be loved and cared about, even in our prime years.