The practice of compassion (Karuna) is another aspect of Buddhism. As we know, Buddhism is not about praying to a powerful divine being for personal favours or gains. It is about perfecting ourselves and in that process, we benefit ourselves and others.
Compassion is an altruistic mind that cannot stand the sufferings of others and thus, one is motivated to help alleviate the sufferings of others. A popular Buddhist story tells of a prince who cut off his flesh to feed a hungry lioness and her cub during a famine. This illustrates the epitome of compassion and it is not surprising that many of us flinch upon hearing that story. Who can do that?
For most of us, compassion does not arise naturally. Sometimes it is there and sometimes not. While we may not hesitate to go that extra mile to help our loved ones, we hesitate to lift a finger to help a stranger. Sometimes, when we are engrossed in a TV program, getting off the couch to help wash the dish becomes a nuisance too!
Therefore, we need to practice compassion until it becomes a habit.
In Buddhism, sharing the Dharma can be due to compassion too. This is because Dharma is the only thing that will cultivate wisdom and by sharing Dharma, we help people start their Dharma journey. That inevitably leads to their enlightenment. (Aka. End their sufferings)
From this perspective, the giving or sharing of Dharma is noblest. This is because, when someone hears Dharma, it is embedded in their subconscious. Like a bodhi-seed, it will lay there until the condition is right. Then it will sprout wisdom. For some people, it is instantaneous and for others it may take a few lifetimes. Therefore, sharing the Dharma will benefit people not only in this life but also in their future ones.
When we understand that Samsara is suffering, that is Wisdom and when we wish to help others be free from that suffering, that is great compassion. Therefore, we engage in activities that bring Dharma to people. It need not be a complicated task and we do not need a podium to share Dharma.
Sharing short verses of Dharma by printing it on a t-shirt for all to read is also sharing. Having Dharma wallpaper on our computer screen (so that colleagues can see it) is also sharing. Displaying a Buddha statue on our work desk is also sharing. But be mindful and thoughtful. We share without causing a nuisance to others. That is the Buddhist way of spreading wisdom.
May all be well and happy.
Beautifully said, Jamyang.
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Thank you, Cornelia.