Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some Quotes on Compassion

René Descartes, one of the fathers of modern science, dwelled on this question until he felt, by his own description, "dazed." Ultimately, he decided that the only thing he was sure of was that he wasn't sure. Most people know Descartes's famous statement "Cogito, ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am"). But he actually wrote "Dubito…cogito, ergo sum." "I doubt…I think, therefore I am." Though we like to ignore it, uncertainty, not certainty, is the philosophical foundation of science.

The word religion derives from the Latin religare, which means "to bind together." If it breaks, shatters, or destroys, it's not religion—its absolutism.

We frail humans are at one time capable of the greatest good and, at the same time, capable of the greatest evil. Change will only come about when each of us takes up the daily struggle ourselves to be more forgiving, compassionate, loving, and above all joyful in the knowledge that, by some miracle of grace, we can change as those around us can change too.
-Mairead Maguire

Compassion has no rules or exceptions, it is limitless and boundless. Compassion renews, inspires, and changes people. If there is only one message God has for us it is to have compassion. It is our greatest gift, our greatest treasure. It should be the core of every person's values.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness ... the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”
-Dalai Lama

“Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.”
-Chogyam Trungpa

“Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
-Albert Einstein

“When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept. We practice in this way until we see clearly that our love is not contingent upon the other person being lovable.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh (monk)

"Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion...is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception."
-Sharon Salzberg

"Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know."
-from the Tao