using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2008
P ractices of loving-kindness and compassion are in- dispensable elements of all religious traditions. These are qualities everyone can practice, regardless of their religious affiliation or ancestry. In fact, training to develop loving-kindness and compassion provides a bridge between all religions and all the many parts of our global society. I am a Buddhist, but I still have to live my life as a member of the larger world community and take full part in society, where Buddhism is not the only spiritual tradition. There are many different forms of religion and spirituality, and there are also many different types of people, including those who are inclined toward religious or spiritual approaches and those who are not. Since our world community is so very vast and diverse, it is important for us to respect the entire range of religious and spiritual traditions, not setting ourselves up as “opponents” of any other tradition. The way to accomplish happiness in the world is to do meaningful work in one’s own life, with a positive motivation that sees all people and all traditions as equal. Humans are set apart from other types of sentient beings by their ability to naturally connect with sharp intelligence and with nonviolence, loving-kindness, and compassion. From the moment we are born, we are constantly chasing after happiness, thinking of ways we can become happy and free from suffering, and we actively try to bring those desires to fruition. The propensities toward loving-kindness, compas- sion, and nonviolence we display in following this quest for happiness demonstrate what makes human beings unique. For any species of sentient being to continue existing, the members of that species must have affection for each other and they must support each other. In order for our human community to survive, we must nurture and sustain connec- tions of love, compassion, nonviolence, and altruism. These connections are what will allow us not only to survive, but to make our lives meaningful. If we concentrate on ensuring that these connections are present, that in itself will be enough. All of the Buddha’s teachings are based on refraining from harming others and engaging in helping others. It is therefore of great importance for Buddhists to have these two prin- ciples as the ground of their practice. The roots of Buddhist practice are the attitudes of altruism and non-harm. In other words, the roots of Buddhist practice are loving-kindness and compassion. Of these two qualities, compassion is foremost: in general, we develop loving-kindness by relying on compassion. In the beginning, therefore, compassion is more important. Our compassion must have a broad focus, not only including ourselves but all sentient beings. Why must our compassion include all sentient beings? Because all sentient beings—oneself and others—want to be happy and free of suffering. This basic desire is the same for everyone. Nevertheless, most of the sentient beings we see experience only suffering; they cannot obtain happiness. Just as we have a desire to clear away the suffering in our own experience and to enjoy happiness, through meditating on compassion we come to see that all other beings have this desire as well. Other beings are not only worthy of our compassion, they are also what cause our meditation on compassion to be possible at all. According to the Mahayana teachings of Buddhism, all sentient beings are our parents of the past, present, and future. This means that, of all sentient beings, some have been our The Power of Unbearable Compassion When we can no longer bear the suffering of sentient beings, says the seventeenth Karmapa, we unleash our full potential to help others and ourselves (Facing page) Avalokiteshvara – Chaturbhuja (4 hands) Tibet, Karma Kagyu lineage iTemno.65080,collecTionofruBinmuseumofarT,(acc.#c2002.8.1) 35 summer 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly