Having compassion does not mean that you don’t care for your own peace of mind and wellbeing. Compassion means that you take care of yourself and others with the broader understanding that your wellbeing and that of others is inter-related. Compassion means to live with the warm hearted perception of ‘the bigger picture’, that our existence is possible because of others giving us a body, growing our food, building our homes and having offered us education. When we hold too tightly to our own suffering and are self obsessed we are not viewing reality as it is and we are too constricted. When we have a broad view, our happiness also increases.
Part of developing the tender heart of bodhicitta (great compassion) is to nurture yourself, so that you are open, relaxed and clear enough to see your connection to others, to discover clarity and wisdom to share with others, partly it means creating enough wellbeing and insight so that you no longer hold onto yourself and your suffering so much, so that you have more mental space to think of the wellbeing of others (although not being unmindful of what u have to transform in yourself). But to just stop at personal peace, and not engage or consider others is also short sighted. Because it is only in the fire of suffering that the metal of our bodhicitta is tempered and made strong. Its a step by step process… First we work on our mind, habituate ourselves with compassionate thought processes, then we engage, and then back to mind cleaning and training. One day we may find that we have walked the road of a bodhisattva and benefitted many along the way.
Socially engaged Buddhism for a better world.
* This sign is sanskrit and says ‘may all beings be happy’ and was made by ‘Lite brite Neon studio’ Brooklyn