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Compassion: mark of a strong personality

Update: 12/10/2016
In today’s world we hear a lot about passion. At work, it means you are willing to compete and do what it takes to move ahead, earn plaudits, promotions or prestige. In sport, it shows a persistent and competitive spirit to win.
 

Compassion: mark of a strong personality

 

The modern world makes a big deal about passion. It is\r\nalmost as if without passion you cannot survive in this world or at the very\r\nleast never make your life a success. However, the zeal to achieve, the passion\r\nto make a success of things, even the success they talk about is patently\r\nworldly, or material or singular to yourself. Passion by itself is good, and\r\nvital, but applied to a noble end, it becomes more potent and profitable to\r\nall, not just ourselves. When true passion meets a positive purpose, it\r\ncompletes the picture. That is perhaps why we call it compassion.

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The Buddhist teacher and philosopher Nagarguna says\r\ncompassion is like ‘water needed for harvesting’. It is needed in the beginning,\r\nthe middle and the end.

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Our path in life comes from a cause, and is the cause.\r\nThe key is that it is a compassionate path. Whatever we do and whatever we say\r\nhas to come out of compassion and love, instead of from our ego or from selfish\r\nattitudes.

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All the ideas I am giving you are to inspire you to\r\nfirst develop your compassion and then put it into practice. It is as simple as\r\nthat. Because none of the Buddhas have ever been realised without practising,\r\nthe path is also the practice.

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We just need to try, even if we are beginners, to do a\r\nlittle day by day, to practise. If you want to, you can bring harmony,\r\nhappiness, understanding and enlightenment to the world.

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Enlightenment may be some distance away but you can\r\nstill share your warmth with others; you can become softer through\r\nunder-standing.

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We know the people we like to be with because it feels\r\nwarming, nourishing and peaceful, and we recognise how other people are very\r\ncool, so that you feel like you are touching something cold.

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Being with them doesn’t make you feel warm because\r\nthis person doesn’t have the courage to love themselves, so they have nothing\r\nto share.

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If you are struggling to see a situation or person\r\nwith compassion, then try looking from a different angle. There’s no need to be\r\nstuck in your ways; just as no day is the same as yesterday or tomorrow, we can\r\neasily change ourselves, our thoughts and our attitudes. It’s good to change\r\nyour mind. It will set you free. We all have to spend some amount of time in\r\nthis world. We can choose to make the lives of ourselves and others very\r\nmiserable, or we can choose to encourage each other. We all know that life\r\nsometimes can be very hard and depressing.

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Therefore, to constantly be able to inspire and\r\nencourage each other is a great deed, no matter what religion, culture,\r\nnationality and background you belong to. Some people I meet never seem to\r\nthink they can be this way; that they are not ‘good enough’.

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They compare themselves to others who show great\r\npatience or kindness and think, “We aren’t great, so how can we be like them?\r\nWe can’t even hope to be like them.” Lacking confidence, they are already\r\ndiscouraged. It is wrong to think we cannot change; we will never be able to\r\ndevelop by putting ourselves down. We cannot learn everything, but we have to\r\nnurture and encourage ourselves. This is the attitude we have to have.

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If there is no hope to become a great person, if the\r\npotential for enlightenment is not there, why bother, you may ask? But we know\r\ndeep down that we have potential. You have seen glimpses already along the way\r\nof your life, felt those moments of real understanding and clarity and true\r\nhappiness. Now is the time to open those moments up and see that making others\r\nhappy will make you happy.

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This also becomes a practice of keeping your own\r\nawareness in the present moment; we can adjust and tune ourselves to go with\r\nthe natural rhythm of the world, of others. We can be with the world\r\nharmoniously because we realise nothing is permanent, everything flows and is\r\nchanging. This is how you begin to make the path less travelled a little\r\nsmoother and well-trodden.

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Many people mistake compassion for weakness, or\r\nsentimentalism. Far from it, compassion is the mark of a mature, strong and\r\nself-assured personality. You cannot offer kindness if you are driven by hate.\r\nYou can’t offer help when you are the needy. You cannot offer succour when you\r\nare suffering. Compassion is the single most important trait of your\r\npersonality.

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But although it is inbuilt and god-given to you, like\r\neverything else, it needs encouragement, practice and persistent repetitive\r\nendorsement in our daily lives—it needs constant watering to flower and bloom.\r\nAnd when it does, it spreads its scent everywhere.

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The author is\r\nthe spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas

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By Gyalwang\r\nDrukpa – The New Indian Express

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