It was weird how today marked my final day of translating The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines, and how it was today that, through translating it, I had a personal revelation on compassion. It hit me like a brick, that all dharmas are meaningless without compassion, and that all dharmas are fulfilled only through compassion. But what exactly is compassion anyway?
Am I a mean person? No, I don’t think so. Most people that know me think that I am a peach:) I open doors for strangers, help old people cross the streets, volunteer at food banks, and I wind up listening to and helping out people all the time with their problems. Today though, this all made me wonder if my current level of compassion was yet enough. Am I at least doing something? Yes. Is there more that I could be doing? Yes, I think that there is. I think that there is more for me to work on in this area.
What will the end result look like? I have no idea. But I don’t think that true compassion is going to turn me into some slobbering wuss, crying at every touching commercial, and Hallmark card. I still, highly doubt that it is going to change my stand against self-help Buddhism — I still think that falls under the term “idiot compassion” and that it is doing more harm to the practice than good. Can I maybe become more understanding and tolerant towards it though? Or, at least the people in pain that are grasping for it? Yes. I think that is the right thing to do.
On a different note, this all is really making me think a lot more about Right Action, and how as Buddhists we need to be doing more in the world/our communities to reach out to people. If those of the Mahayana tradition really do believe in the sheer importance of all this stuff, then shouldn’t they be at the forefront of all kinds of charities and good works? Why isn’t my sangha heavily (or even slightly) involved in helping others? Is yours? If this is such an integral part of the practice, then why are we all doing it so little?
The main thing that it got me thinking about is: is there more that I can be doing to help others? And no, I am not talking about crying more and getting all emotional all the time. And I am certainly not talking about running out and joining one of those Buddhist support groups. But…
Maybe I have been so concerned with my own personal journey that I have started to neglect spending time reaching out as much to others? I think I am going to start looking around to see if there are some more ways I can get involved locally.
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