Compassion in Action
Similarity is not required for the existence of compassion, compassion and wisdom are twin virtues in Buddhism, and are cultured by ethical behavior and meditation, respectively. Where as one who is worldly clenches his fist in anger, protests, and bleats like a sheep following the herd; A Buddhist must walk out into the world, calm of mind and compassionate of heart and take action against injustices for all living things. If the world suffers, through his actions a Buddhist heals, planting trees, cleaning trash, feeding the hungry no matter the species.
“Happiness arises from virtuous causes.” ~H.H. Dalai Lama
Right Action and Compassion
The importance of compassion in Buddhism cannot be overstated. The Sanskrit word that is translated as “compassion” is karuna, which means “active sympathy” or the willingness to bear the pain of others. Closely related to karuna is metta, “loving kindness.”
It’s important to remember also that genuine compassion is rooted in prajna, or “wisdom.” Very basically, prajna is the realization that the separate self is an illusion, we are all interconnected, we are all one. A Buddhist must never attach hi ego to what he does, expecting to be thanked or rewarded.
In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote,
“According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive — it’s not empathy alone — but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and lovingkindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is lovingkindness).”