THE TENDERNESS OF COMPASSION

The Tenderness of Compassion

(This is for those who cannot afford to go on retreats 😀 )

We all know – in a general way – what “the tenderness of compassion” means, but this not a fixed thing. It is experiencing the moment now with genuine concern for others, and has nothing to do with sentimentality. It is something from which we constantly learn. Compassion for confusion is our path.

A retreat takes several days of silent meditation, listening and reflection, but we still have to go away and practise on our own. A teaching is something that stirs us’; it’s not something that we ‘get’ – it is a manifestation of realisation.

Tender compassion isn’t a sloppy, sentimental, new age idea. It is the powerful medium of true communication. It is the outcome of the realisation of duty, which is the practice of the six perfections (paramitas) or the six compassions: Generosity, Patience, Discipline, Morality, Concentration and Transcendent Wisdom. In other words, it’s pinpoint sensitivity.

Compassion is an atmosphere generated by clarity and empathy. A battered heart has to recognise its own wounds in order to heal itself before it can empathise with others’ pain. We need compassion in understanding how these wounds came about before attempting to help others, and for that we need open tenderness and intelligence. Sentimental affection or kindness is nice but doesn’t last, and isn’t reliable. Platitudes only make us feel good: we cannot tell someone who feels something not to feel it as the feeling is a consequence of their past. How we and they deal with that feeling is the issue.

The tenderness of compassion
is being concerned to listen without judgement
and never feel defensive or annoyed.
This takes practice and honest interest.

The tenderness of compassion
is our teacher.

A prayer for us all:
“May I have the right compassionate motivation and intention
to guide all sentient beings on the path to enlightenment.”

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