An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by The Dalai Lama, Nicholas Vreeland

By The Dalai Lama, Nicholas Vreeland

Compassion-sympathy for the affliction of others and the need to loose them from it-is wrestled with in all religious traditions. but how does one truly develop into a compassionate individual? What are the mechanisms wherein a egocentric center is reworked right into a beneficiant center? during this acclaimed bestseller, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes easily and powerfully concerning the daily Buddhist perform of compassion, supplying a transparent, sensible, inspiring advent to the Buddhist route to enlightenment.

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The conviction “I must do something” can give you a powerful sense of purpose. This, I believe, is the basis of a healthier, more useful, and productive energy. If someone treats us unjustly, we must first analyze the situation. If we feel we can bear the injustice, if the negative consequences of doing so are not too great, then I think it best to accept it. However, if in our judgment, reached with clarity and awareness, we are led to the conclusion that acceptance would bring greater negative consequences, then we must take the appropriate countermeasures.

A constant state of mental unsettledness can even cause us physical harm. Where do these emotions come from? According to the Buddhist worldview, they have their roots in habits cultivated in the past. They are said to have accompanied us into this life from past lives, when we experienced and indulged in similar emotions. If we continue to accommodate them, they will grow stronger, exerting greater and greater influence over us. Spiritual practice, then, is a process of taming these emotions and diminishing their force.

One night the recently married prince left his palace, as well as his wife and young son. He cut off his hair with his sword and set off into the jungle in pursuit of freedom from the worldly life and the miseries that he now understood were inextricably associated with it. The young renunciate soon came across five ascetics, with whom he spent many years practicing strict meditation and other austerities. But ultimately he realized that this was not bringing him any closer to his goal of wisdom and enlightenment, so he left his companions behind.

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