What Is Compassion?

A young disciple asked his master: “Master, what is compassion?”

The Master explained his answer to the disciple. “An old man was begging at the corner of a busy street. First, an old lady passed by him and without looking at him, gave him a gold coin. Then a merchant, noticing that a small group of men were talking about him, gave 5 gold coins to the beggar, walking away with his head held high. Later, a young boy collecting some flowers for his mom, passed by the beggar, smiled at him and gave him a flower.”

The master asked his disciple: “Which one of these do you think felt the most compassion toward the beggar?” “The merchant”, said the disciple.

The master, smiling, continued. “The merchant acted out of pride, the old lady acted out of pity; but the boy felt real compassion.

Compassion is a far nobler thing than pity. Pity has its roots in fear, and a sense of arrogance and condescension, sometimes even a smug feeling of “I’m glad it’s not me.” When your fear touches someone’s pain it becomes pity. When your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion. Feeling compassion is more essential than showing compassion. To train in compassion, then, is to know all beings are the same and suffer in similar ways. It is to honor all those who suffer, and to know you are neither separate from, nor superior to, anyone.”

Uninvited Guest…

A few years after I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. The stranger, he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries, and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future. He made me laugh, and he made me cry.

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home. Our longtime visitor however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.

My dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked, and never asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. If you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We just call him “TV”.

-Author Unknown

Problems

Via

A man once came to see the Buddha to get help with his problems. After the man had told the Buddha one of his problems and asked for help, the Buddha replied, “I cannot help you get rid of that problem.”

The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him in this regard, but he told the Buddha about another problem. He thought to himself that the Buddha should at least be able to help him with that problem. But the Buddha told him, “I cannot help you with that problem, either.”

The man started to get impatient. He said, “How can it be that you are the perfectly Enlightened Buddha, when you can’t even help people get rid of their problems?”

The Buddha answered, “You will always have 83 problems in your life. Sometimes a problem will go, but then another problem will come. I cannot help you with that.”

The baffled man asked the Buddha, “With what can you help me, then?”

The Buddha replied, “I can help you get rid of your 84th problem.”

The man asked, “But what is my 84th problem?”

The Buddha replied, “That you want to get rid of your 83 problems.”

-Author Unknown

Making sandcastles…

Via

Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves.

A little boy is on his knees scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then he upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created.

All afternoon he will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.

Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic.

A man is in his office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made.

All his life he will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.

Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come.

Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as the dusk approaches.

As the waves near, the wise child jumps to his feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles. He smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father’s hand, and goes home.

The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide.

“It’s my castle,” he defies.

The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs.

I don’t know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take – applaud. Salute the process of life and go home.

-Author unknown

The Frogs…

Via

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the unfortunate frogs they would never get out. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit.

The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and simply gave up. He fell down and died.

The remaining frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and suffering and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.

When he got out, the other frogs asked him, “Why did you continue jumping? Didn’t you hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Unknown Author