Buddhism in Action–Compassion

Compassion is a big thing in Buddhism and pretty much any other religious or spiritual practice I can think of. How do we put ourselves in the frame of mind to choose compassion over feeling irritated, angry and judgmental toward another person? And how do we choose compassion over disappointment in ourselves?

For me, if I am feeling irritated or angry at someone, it helps to first make friends with the feeling (not push it away), give it a little space, and be kind and gentle to myself. As I take care of myself and this feeling of irritation, I feel my heart open a little and I’m able to soften toward the other person. It’s an opportunity to thank them, really, for giving me the chance to love myself.

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8 Comments

  1. Self-compassion is something I find lacking in Christian spirituality. Sometimes it is substituted with self-aggrandizement, which is essentially love of ego and not of self… And cannot ever lead to authentic love of others.
    It’s very disappointing to me, as I do not quite understand why it is so often absent from Christian theology, when it is clear in our Sacred texts that self-compassion is tightly bound to compassion for others (‘love your neighbor as yourself’).
    I am not a practicing Buddhist, but I have a deep fondness for it. Studying Buddhism bridged the gaps in my understanding of aspects of the Divine that helped heal my relationship with my self. And I am indebted to its wisdom:)

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    1. Thank you for this. I think there are common threads in all religious practices. I was raised Catholic, but found in Buddhist teachings the way to implement some of Christ’s teachings, like the bridge between loving self and loving others. Perhaps, the ties to sin and repentance in Christianity overshadows the concept of “loving yourself.” But I still believe that Christianity has so much to teach us. Just yesterday I watched a documentary on the life of Saint Francis and was inspired.

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      1. I love St. Francis of Assisi! I was baptized Catholic, but then was raised purely Protestant. As an adult, I have really delved into the life of the Catholic saints. The experiential side of faith, Christian mysticism, and how it is woven into the life of the Saints is fascinating to me. The Protestant sects I was raised within had all but rejected any of the practical wisdom in the lives of Christians outside of the New Testament, raising themselves up to be the Apex of Christianity. It is sickening to me now, how they divorced themselves from the collective human story of faith lived between St. Paul and now.

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