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
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 20 0 8 36 parents in the past, some are our current parents, and some will be our parents in the future. There are no beings who are not, in the end, our parents. For this reason, all sentient beings have a connection of affection toward us. They have a connection of kindness toward us. But these affectionate and kind parents are trapped in a state of suffering, unable to ac- tualize their desire for happiness. So it is crucial for us to begin meditating on compassion for them, in this very moment. When we practice various kinds of meditations on com- passion, it is not enough for us simply to feel a compassion- ate sensation in our minds. We must bring our meditation on compassion to the deepest level possible. To make our compassion as deep as possible, we must reflect on the suffer- ing of sentient beings in all six realms of samsara, the wheel of cyclic existence. These sentient beings who are undergo- ing such intense suffering are the same beings who are our kind parents of the past, present, and future. In short, we are intimately connected with all of these sentient beings. Therefore, since we are connected to all of these be- ings, it is possible for us to further our connection to them by bringing them ben- efit. The most excellent connection we could possibly make would be to cultivate the heart of compassion for them and to think of ways we can reduce their suffering. Reflecting on our connection to these beings, we must engender a level of compassion that cannot bear their suffering to endure any longer. This great, unbearable compassion is extremely im- portant. Without it, we might be able to feel a compassionate sensation in our minds from time to time, but this sensation will not bring forth the full power of compassion. It cannot form the basis of a comprehensive practice. On the other hand, once unbearable compassion takes birth in our hearts, we will immediately be compelled to altruistic action. We will automatically start thinking about how we can free sentient beings from suffering. Therefore, the way to develop altruism is through meditating on com- passion. When our compassion becomes genuine and deep, our actions for the benefit of others will be effortless and free from doubt. That is why it is so crucial for us to deepen our practice of compassion until our compassion becomes unbearable. Unlike our usual kind of compassion—meditating now and then on the general notion that sentient beings expe- rience suffering—unbearable compassion penetrates and moves our heart. If we were to see someone trapped in a raging fire, we would not hesitate to assist that person. Right then and there, we would immediately begin thinking of and engaging in ways to extract him or her from the fire. Similarly, with unbearable compassion, we witness the suf- fering of all sentient beings of the six realms and immediately seek ways to free them from that suffering. Not only do we genuinely try to free them from suffering, we are also com- pletely willing to endure any obstacles we may encounter on our path to freeing them. We are unfazed by complications and doubts. All sentient beings have basic compassion. Even people we would generally consider ill-tempered have compassion; they simply have not brought their basic compassion to a refined level. If ill-tempered people did not have any com- passion at all, it would be impossible for them to develop compassion by practicing on the path. All beings have com- passion, but their door to the mastery of compassion has thus far been locked. So even though it may seem that some people have no compassion whatsoever, ev- eryone has at least a small seed of compassion. That small seed can grow into great compassion; the potential we all have for great compassion can be made manifest. Though the great, noble beings can let the full extent of their potential for compassion shine through, we ordinary beings cannot. Though we have the seed of compassion, we do not have the compassion we want. Precisely when we need compassion the most, we cannot access it; the door of our compassion is closed. Even as we understand that loving-kindness and compas- sion are so important, we will also find it is quite difficult to fully and genuinely incorporate them into our experience. What prevents us from cultivating our heart of loving-kind- ness and compassion further is the mental afflictions, espe- cially anger. Emotions such as anger inflict the greatest harm on our path to authentic compassion. For this reason, we must take an honest look at our emotions and ask ourselves, is this emotion benefiting me? Or is it of no benefit at all? We need to engage in a detailed, introspective analysis. If our investigation reveals that these negative emotions are of no benefit, the vital next step is for us to take a similar outlook toward our emotions altogether, all the time; we must see problems as problems, shortcomings as shortcomings. It is not enough to simply feel a compassionate sensation in our minds. We must bring our meditation on compassion to the deepest level possible.