Author Topic: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?  (Read 3973 times)

icy

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Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« on: September 28, 2012, 01:47:09 AM »
If it's because we would simply like to be wise and compassionate, we are off course, because the "I" cannot attain wisdom and compassion. Wisdom and compassion can only be revealed once the "I" has disappeared. When we reach this level, we will be able to benefit others. In the meantime, it is the blind leading the blind. All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound. In Buddhism, it is called the unconditioned, the unborn, the deathless. You can call it anything you like. You can call it atman. You can call it anatman. You can call it God. The fact is, there is a subtle level of consciousness which is the core of our being, and it is beyond our ordinary conditioned state of mind. We can all experience this. Some people experience it through service, others through devotion. Some even think they can experience it through analysis and intellectual discipline. Buddhists usually try to access it through meditation. That's what we are doing. Breaking through to the unconditioned in order to help others break through to the unconditioned. But we have to start where we are, from right here. We start with these minds, these bodies, these problems, these weaknesses, and these strengths.

Tenzin K

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 03:21:18 PM »
The Buddha taught that to realize enlightenment, a person must develop two qualities: wisdom and compassion. Wisdom and compassion are sometimes compared to two wings that work together to enable flying, or two eyes that work together to see deeply.

In the West,they're taught to think of "wisdom" as something that is primarily intellectual and "compassion" as something that is primarily emotional, and that these two things are separate and even incompatible. We're led to believe that fuzzy, sappy emotion gets in the way of clear, logical wisdom. But this is not a Buddhist understanding.

The Sanskrit word usually translated as "wisdom" is prajna (in Pali, panna). I understand this word could also be translated as "consciousness," "discernment," or "insight." The many schools of Buddhism understand prajna somewhat differently, but generally we could say that prajna is understanding or discernment of the Buddha's teaching, especially the teaching of anatta, no self.

The word usually translated as "compassion" is karuna, which is understood to mean active sympathy or a willingness to bear the pain of others. In practice, prajna gives rise to karuna, and karuna gives rise to prajna. Truly, you can't have one without the other. They are a means to realizing enlightenment, and they are also enlighenment manifested.

Compassion as Training

In Buddhism, the ideal of practice is to selflessly act to alleviate suffering wherever it appears. You may argue it is impossible to elminate suffering, and maybe it is, yet we're to respond anyway.

What does being nice to others have to do with enlightenment? For one thing, it helps us realize that "individual me" and "individual you" are mistaken ideas. And as long as we're stuck in the idea of "what's in it for me?" we are not yet wise.

In Being Upright: Zen and the Bodhisattva Precepts, Soto Zen teacher Reb Anderson wrote, "Reaching the limits of practice as a separate personal activity, we are ready to receive help from the compassionate realms beyond our discriminating awareness."

Reb Anderson continued, "We realize the intimate connection between the conventional truth and the ultimate truth through the practice of compassion. It is through compassion that we become thorougly grounded in the conventional truth and thus prepared to receive the ultimate truth. Compassion brings great warmth and kindness to both perspectives. It helps us to be flexible in our interpretation of the truth, and teaches us to give and receive help in practicing the precepts."

In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote,

"According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It's not passive -- it's not empathy alone -- but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and lovingkindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is lovingkindness)."

vajratruth

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2012, 05:34:20 PM »
Wisdom and Compassion cannot be separated in the true pursuit of Enlightenment. They are the two essences of the Buddha’s teachings and operate as a unit. Trying to isolate them in our approach to Dharma in fact corrupts our understanding. For example, “wisdom” on its own can be defined as something similar or close to “cleverness” but wisdom in union with compassion often yields a result that seems foolish from worldly perspective, but on the other hand, very wise from the perspective of practicing Dharma in pursuit of Enlightenment.

If you take Compassion out of the equation, Wisdom on its own become worthless platitudes. Without Compassion, Wisdom becomes intellectual escapism that becomes entangled in dogmas, theories and concepts. This is in fact detrimental to one’s spiritual journey.

If you take Wisdom out of the equation, Compassion itself may even be destructive as in the instance of parents loving their children to the point of spoiling them by giving everything to the children leaving them without any knowledge of values. Wisdom gives Compassion its direction.

Without Wisdom, Compassion lacks the strength to detach itself from a subject in order to get a proper perspective and to generate constructive support. Wisdom gives the compassionate person the strength to act against her own personal interests and desires and so enables Compassion to a commitment to constructive support and not just a feeling. We may have strong feelings of pity towards suffering beings but it is Wisdom that tell us that we need to translate that feeling into actual effective support if it were to be regarded as true Compassion.

dondrup

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2012, 10:29:30 AM »
The highest state of being is the fully enlightened mind of a Buddha. To accomplish that state we need to develop two qualities – great compassion and wisdom.  It is like the two wings of a bird.  We can’t have one without the other. Without wisdom, we can’t help sentient beings wisely even though we have compassion.  If we have only wisdom but without compassion, we won’t help sentient being even though we understand the need to help sentient beings.  A fully enlightened mind of a Buddha has perfect wisdom and perfect compassion to help sentient beings.  Hence, for us to be able to help sentient beings perfectly, we must develop our wisdom and compassion.

RedLantern

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 11:46:46 AM »
There are physical benefits to practicing compassion and other benefits as well.They are emotional and spiritual.It helps you to be more happy,if we agree on that then compassion is one of the main tool for achieving that happiness.Therefore it is utmost important we cultivate compassion in our lives and practice compassion everyday.
Wisdom fills us with confidence to move against the tide of popular opinion when necessary.So wisdom and compassion are the two important qualities to realize towards our goal,that is Enlightenment.

buddhalovely

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 02:41:03 PM »
Compassion and wisdom encompass all aspects of life and religion, and cannot be compartmentalized.

Many scriptures have endeavored to describe these two aspects. Studying these scriptures might give one an idea of what compassion and wisdom entail.

It must be remembered, though, that these two aspects are an integral part of spiritual development, and of life on earth. To completely understand them is to be truly and fully enlightened, and to have reached perfection. Even though they are impossible to reach in their most perfect forms, striving towards them improves life tremendously. "Improvement", though, has a different meaning in this context. What is progress in a spiritual sense could sometimes be seen as deterioration and defeat in a world dedicated to the ego.

Compassion without wisdom does not exist. There is no such thing as wisdom without compassion.

Only when wisdom and compassion fuse do they become a tremendous force working for the good of everyone and everything.

icy

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 11:11:08 AM »
Compassion diminishes fright about your own pain and increases inner strength. It gives you a sense of empowerment, of being able to accomplish your tasks. It lends encouragement.  Compassion strengthens your outlook, and with that courage you are more relaxed. When your perspective includes the suffering of limitless beings, your own suffering looks comparatively small.  It would only have made the situation worse if I you concentrated on your own problems. This is an example from my small experience of how an attitude of compassion helps even oneself, suppressing some degree of physical pain and keeping away mental distress, despite the fact that others might not be directly helped.  This is wisdom taught by the Buddha.  Without learning this ancient and proven wisdom we cannot be wise to pratise compassion.

ratanasutra

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 04:20:05 PM »
Buddhist practitioners are seeking and looking to gain wisdom and compassion in the path leading by the Buddha. i like the quote below which summary the importance part of wisdom and compassion which is practical and we can do it daily. 

“When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience. When we are able to recognize and forgive ignorant actions of the past, we gain strength to constructively solve the problems of the present.”  - H.H. Dalai lama

brian

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 05:32:05 PM »
One can only gain enlightenment by developing both Compassion and Wisdom. Without any of the two mentioned, one can never gain any attainments to be enlightened.  Wisdom is by way of studying the Dharma while Compassion is gained via practicing Dharma (or what is taught by Buddha). That is why these two elements are important for one to be deeply engaged in their daily practice for Buddhists to realize the world of samsara brings no end to suffering. It is important for one practitioner to practice cultivation of their own bad habits in order to be in line with the path to Enlightenment.  By learning (the Dharma), one realizes one’s bad habit and it is their own bad habits that is hurting others. Compassion is by means of loving others more than themselves and not causing any harm to anyone.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Why do we want to be wise and compassionate?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 07:16:51 AM »
To be wise and compassionate is the practice which our kind Guru has been teaching us.  Very often we are mistaken to the true meaning of being compassionate and kind and wise.

I have read the verses of Shanti Deva and often tear thinking how kind and compassionate, Shanti Deva is to be able to write such clear and precise meaning to kindness and compassion, what Buddhist call Bodhichitta.
How hard it is to practise such selflessness with our samsaric conditioned mind.

With wisdom we can achieve such compassion.  Wisdom is the understanding and constant in the thought of the ultimate truth which with deep reflection we will realise that is really no self.  As the ultimate truth talks of dependant arising (which we all are) otherwise there is emptiness therefore there is not such a thing as self.

So how to practise wisdom and compassion, in my opinion it is best to start with practising Bodhichitta and realising the joy of not indulging in self but focusing of creating happiness for others, we may relieve such emotions like anger, fear and disappointment.

With that realisation of focusing on others we will gain wisdom to benefit others more.

Simple illustration of practise but from experience, it is not that easy. 

Share your opinion how to practise to gain wisdom and compassion.