compassion

jarrod

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one virtue i've been trying to cultivate lately is compassion. i see a lot of people claim to value compassion, or who belong to religions that value compassion, but it is hard to see how they demonstrate it in their daily lives.

so this is a two-parter 1) does your personal belief system value compassion? & 2) how do you express this?

all answers welcome whether or not they are martial arts related.

jf
 

Andy Moynihan

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As with anything else with me, it's a case by case basis.

I have been known to empathize with/help people out who got hurt/experienced misfortune through no fault of their own.

I have also been known to laugh at people who brought their own pain down upon themselves by their own stupidity.

There is nothing wrong with compassion but be selective with it because you've only so much to go around.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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Compassion is deeply rooted in empathy. If you seperate yourself and the subject it will be difficult to feel compassion.

You have to find unity or oneness with you and subject so there is no duality.

The idea of not wanting to suffer generates the idea of not wanting others to suffer.

To practice compassion requires a strong desire to relief other's suffering.
It could be from the simplest gesture of prayer when you see someone suffering or it can be helping that person physical,spiritual or emotional.
 

Jade Tigress

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I'm compassionate to a fault. It's just who I am. And it's probably not good all the time, because it makes me let people get away with too much **** too my own detriment.
 

Brother John

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so this is a two-parter 1) does your personal belief system value compassion? & 2) how do you express this?

all answers welcome whether or not they are martial arts related.

jf

Yes, my personal belief system holds compassion in high regard.
I express it through my work, working with teens who are in trouble with the law. By caring for them regardless of how they treat me. By holding them accounatble so that hopefully they can learn responsibility.
things like that, as well as contributing to social programs for the homeless.

Your Brother(s keeper)
John
 

pete

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compassion is centric to buddhist philosophies, and therefore carry over to martial arts that emerged within the buddhist sects.

on the other hand, balance is centric to taoist philosophies, and martial arts that emerged within those of taoist beliefs may see levels of compassion as excess, or an imbalance.

as an extreme, the ancient romans felt that compassion was a defect of the human condition, and felt the need to eradicate compassion within the young males to make them better 'romans'...
 

elder999

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Psychologist Carl Jung once said that great deal of institutional religion seems designed to prevent the faithful from having a spiritual experience. Instead of teaching people how to live in peace, religious leaders often concentrate on marginal issues: Can women or gay people be ordained as priests or rabbis? Is contraception permissible? Is evolution compatible with the first chapter of Genesis? Instead of bringing people together, these distracting preoccupations actually encourage policies of exclusion, since they tend to draw attention to the differences between “us” and “them.”

These policies of exclusion can have dramatic consequences. Most notably they have given rise to the militant piety that we call fundamentalism, which erupted in every major world religion during the 20th century. Every fundamentalist movement, whether in Judaism, Christianity or Islam, is convinced that the modern secular establishment wants to destroy it. Fundamentalism is not inherently violent; most fundamentalists simply want to live what they regard as a good religious life in a world that seems increasingly hostile to faith-the Amish are, obviously, fundamentalists. When a conflict has become entrenched in a region, though, as in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Chechnya-and with Sunni hostilities sometimes directed against Shia, Iraq-religious fundamentalists have gotten sucked into the escalating violence and become part of the problem. Even in the United States, members of the Christian Right believe that their faith is in jeopardy and that they have a sacred duty to protect it by attacking liberal opponents. When people feel that heir backs are to the wall, they often lash out aggressively. Hence the hatred that continues to cause so much turmoil around the world.

Such religiously inspired hatred represents a major defeat for religion.

That’s because, at their core, all the great world faiths-including Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-agree on the supreme importance of compassion. The early sages and prophets all taught their glowers to cultivate a habit of empathy for all living beings.

Why then, do supposedly “religious” leaders declare war in God’s name? Why do some people use :”God” to give a sacred seal of approval to their own opinions?

I believe that these people have forgotten what it means to practice compassion. The word compassion does not, of course, mean to feel sorry for someone, but to feel with others-to enter their point of view and realize that they have the same fears and sorrows as you.

The essential dynamic of compassion is summed up in the golden rule, first(?) enunciated by Confucius in about 500 B.C. :

Do not do to others as you would not have done to you.

Confucius taught his disciples to get into the habit of shu: “likening to oneself.” They had to discover what caused them pain, and make an effort to refrain from not inflicting that pain on others.

The Buddha also taught a version of the golden rule, and the Rabbi Hillel, the contemporary of Jesus, was once asked (by a Gentile) to sum up the whole of Jewish teaching while standing on one leg. Hillel stood on one leg and replied:

“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the Torah; the rest is just commentary; go and learn it!”

Hillel did not mention any of the doctrines that were essential to Judaism, such as belief in one God, the Exodus, or adherence to the Laws of Moses.

Jesus simply taught the golden rule by telling his followers to love their enemies, and to never judge. In his parable of the last day, those who enter the Kingdom do not do so because they have adopted orthodox theology or correct sexual mores, but because they have fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, and visited the sick and criminals in prison.

Islam is also committed to compassion. The bedrock message of the Koran is not to kill the infidels, but an insistence that it is wrong to build up a private fortune, and good to share your wealth fairly. On the Last Day the one question God asks of Muslims is whether they have looked after orphans, widows and the oppressed, and if they have not, they cannot enter Paradise.

All are also pretty clear that the practice of compassion must be consistent; it does not work if we are selective. Jesus explained that if we simply love those who are well disposed towards us, no effort is involved; we are simply banking up our own egoism and remain trapped in selfishness. I think that is why Jesus recommended his followers love their enemies; they were required to feel with people who would never feel affection towards them, and extend their sympathy without feeling any benefit themselves.

Does that mean that we’re supposed to “love” Saddam Hussein, or Robert Mugabe, or Osama bin Laden? The practice of compassion has nothing to do with feelings. According to Thomas Aquinas, what we call love simply requires that we seek the good of another. If we allow our hatred and rage to fester, this does not hurt our enemies-it gratifies them-but we are diminishing ourselves. Anger is what Buddha called an “unskillful” emotion. Feelings of rage are natural, but if they overindulged they are unhelpful, since they often proceed from an inflated sense of our own importance.

Additionally, I have to say that I believe that one need not be “religious,” or believe in God/gods a “god”, to practice compassion. I know many atheists/agnostics who are truly conscious, concerned and compassionate people towards the rest of us.

It is, however, a central tenet of most religious traditions, especially the major ones, in spite of what their more extreme adherents practice.
There are some religious people, I suspect, who would feel cheated if, when they arrived in heaven, they found everybody else there as well. Where is the fun of religion if you can’t exclude people?

The history of each faith tradition represents a ceaseless struggle between our inherent tendency to aggression and the virtue of compassion. Religiously inspired hatred has caused unimaginable suffering around the world, and throughout history. Auschwitz, the Gulags of Russia, the regime of Saddam Hussein, the terrorist actions of al Qaeda, the slavery of Africans and the genocide of Native Americans in the U.S. show the fearful cruelty to which humanity is prone towards when all sense of the sacred has been lost or distorted.

None of these atrocities could have taken place if people were properly educated in the simplest of principles, , the golden rule. We live in one world, and we need to learn to reach out in sympathy to those who have different opinions, at home and abroad. We need the compassionate ethic more than ever before.
 
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hkfuie

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Sometimes I stop and recognize that we are all these animals on this rock in space and the only rules are the rules we made up. The only things we value are the things we decided to value. We all have the job of defining who we are and what we stand for or not stand for. We all are trying to figure out what to do with this gift of time we have alive...

When I recognize that, it is very easy to have compassion.

It happens often that I think I know what is going on in a situation, then I find out there is more to the story.

Reminds me all the time: I don't know. I can't judge.

I try to have special tolerance for the people who are just plain getting on my nerves...after all, if I have a problem, it's MY problem. (i.e. THEY are not wrong to be who they are).
 

myusername

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one virtue i've been trying to cultivate lately is compassion. i see a lot of people claim to value compassion, or who belong to religions that value compassion, but it is hard to see how they demonstrate it in their daily lives.

so this is a two-parter 1) does your personal belief system value compassion? & 2) how do you express this?

all answers welcome whether or not they are martial arts related.

jf

1) Yes. I do not follow a religion but I do live my life by certain ethical principles. Developing an empathic and compassionate attitude to others is one of those principles.

2) My belief system and compassionate nature has led me towards a career in addiction nursing. I am passionate about working in this field of health care as I feel that this patient group are an underclass of people that on the whole British society and the media feels very comfortable judging. I am not religious but I believe there to be a lot of sense behind the saying "There but for the grace of God go I"

Outside of work I express my compassion by tutting loudly or shaking my head whenever I watch the news! ;)
 

elder999

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We, that is to say, humans have an inherent tendency towards aggression that is part of our evolutionary makeup. How are we to "choose better," and why has there been, through the ages, such unanimous agreement in all the great faiths on the primacy of compassion? Truly religious people-atheistic protestations to the contrary notwithstanding-are pragmatic. The early prophets and sages did not preach the discipline of compassion because it sounded edifying, but because experience showed that it worked, that greed and selfishness were the cause of our personal misery, and that when we gave them up, we were happier.

Egotism can imprison us in an inferior version of ourselves, and impede our enlightement.

The safest way of combatting ego was dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put others there. We are programmed for self-defense; human beings completed their biological evolution during the Paleolothic Period, when we became hunters-pretty much the baddest of the bad, who helped drive entire species of megafauna: mastodons, buffalo and sabre-toothed tiger, into extinction with nothing but pointy sticks, and probably did the same for our cousins the Neanderthal as well. Aggression is thus deeply written into our nature. If we make a consistent habit of countering this aggression, we probably do experience a change of consciousness.

We need training in compassion for this to occur-it does not, to any great degree, come naturally. The ancient Greeks knew this. Every year, during their festivals, citizens watched tragedies written by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripide and others, and they were a course in compassion. Suffering was put on stage, and the audience was able to weep for people they normally would have nothing to do with.

These tragedies were part of religious festivals; they were designed to make the audience extend their sympathy to people such as Oedipus and Heracles. They gave people a liberating purification of the emotions that helped transform the horror and disgust inspired by these human tragedies into compassion. We need to find similarly imaginative ways to educate people today.

The history of each faith represents a ceaseless struggle between our inherent tendency towards aggression and the mitigating virtue of compassion
 

girlbug2

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Yes my personal belief system values compassion. James reminds the bretheren in Chapter 2: "So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement."

And of course Jesus' whole earthly ministry was a lesson in compassion, aka love. It's why he came, to save us from ourselves. For further details, see the New Testament.

As for how I express compassion...quite imperfectly. I'm one of those people who judges easily and quickly. When I perceive that somebody is in trouble because of their own faults (stupidity, arrogance, greed), it's easier to judge than to be compassionate. OTOH when I can empathize with somebody else's particular faults, it's easier to have compassion. My constant struggle is to be compassionate to people with whom I don't identify because their faults are different from mine.

You want to know who shows me the best example of compassion on this earth? Somebody who has no belief system as such, my labrador retriever. This shows me that it's not about the head, it's about the heart. He has plenty of that. So, when I sense my own hardness of heart, the only thing I can do about it is to pray that Jesus changes my heart. Then my head can follow.
 

Sukerkin

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I'm one of those horrible people who thinks that organised religion only preaches effective compassion towards those who agree with the particular belief system espoused - if you'll forgive the understatement, history shows that religions firmly believe in a distinct lack of compassion for those that do not.

Compassion and religion are two seperate subjects that weld together about as well as steel and aluminium. The former is about human interaction at the individual level, the latter is social control en mass.

However, that personal view aside, compassion and cooperation are two of the most important human emotions and are the ones that gave us the ability to organise societies and work to a common goal. Additionally, I do not agree that we are, by our natures, an aggressive species - we are instead a very fearful species. It is that fear that causes a lot of the problems that we 'tag' as aggression. I know that sounds a bit 'Jedi' but it's been my experience that the most aggressive people I've known have been the ones with the lowest self esteem and the most highly developed sense of 'false threat' fear.

In essense, they lack compassion because they can only see the world in shades of 'threat'; to use a poor analogy, they are incapable of putting themselves in someone elses shoes because they're too scared of somone stealing theirs.

Of course, it can be said that some are just "born bad" and it is hard to refute that some genetic mixes are so driven by immediate personal 'survival' (improvement of current lot) that the compassion we are speaking of, that causes necessary cooperation for mutual future gain, never gets a chance.
 

elder999

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However, that personal view aside, compassion and cooperation are two of the most important human emotions and are the ones that gave us the ability to organise societies and work to a common goal. Additionally, I do not agree that we are, by our natures, an aggressive species - we are instead a very fearful species. It is that fear that causes a lot of the problems that we 'tag' as aggression. I know that sounds a bit 'Jedi' but it's been my experience that the most aggressive people I've known have been the ones with the lowest self esteem and the most highly developed sense of 'false threat' fear.


Reptile brain, dude. It only knows how to repsond to the four "f's": Fight, Flee, Feed, and F***. All that other stuff: emotion, whatever, leads to confusion and fear. That's how fear becomes anger. In the meantime, though, we are hardwired for aggression-and it's not necessarily an altogether negative trait. It's often aggression that leads to success in business, or sports, or any other number of endeavors. Of course, the fact that we are often symbolically "killing" our competition speaks volumes about that....:lol:
 

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I think (oh the irony) that overcoming the dictates of the so-called 'Reptile Brain' is one of the marks of a 'successful' human being and also the marks of a successful society.

It may exert a useful influence in times of extreme stress but most often it is a hinderance not a help.
 

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one virtue i've been trying to cultivate lately is compassion. i see a lot of people claim to value compassion, or who belong to religions that value compassion, but it is hard to see how they demonstrate it in their daily lives.

so this is a two-parter 1) does your personal belief system value compassion? & 2) how do you express this?

all answers welcome whether or not they are martial arts related.

jf

Well, I cant tell you where I am, without telling you where I have been. As a young man I was angry. I couldnt have cared less about things, My only sense of compassion, came from my mother, but it was miss aligned, because I could do no wrong, in her eyes. I think she felt sorry for me, and tried to make up for the short comings of my Dad. My Mom taught me to, do unto others, while my Dad taught me to, do to others, before they, do to you. I guess you could call it a balance, but how was I to know the difference, so I followed in my Dads shoes, because it was easier, and I trusted, and forgave, no one. I got into trouble early on in life, and made mistakes. It was easy to justify it all, because it was always someone elses fault. Please dont get me wrong, my parents did the best they could, at the time. It wasnt until I walked in a DoJo for the first time, that I truly began to understand life a little better. My Sensei was very strict, but at the same time very fair. The MA was a molding process for me, that changed the rest of my life. It can only be explained, and understood, by other martial artist, someone that has walked the walk. When the physical body has been taken to a certain place in training, it allows the mind to open up. The severity of training in an atmosphere of fairness and accountable, lends itself to humility. I feel it was the door way of humility, that opened up to this feeling of compassion, that genuine feeling, for the concerns of others. If taught right, the MA is an education in life, something that will permeate all aspects of your life, in a most positive way. After many years in life, the greatest thing I have learned is, you can't change anybody, but by changing yourself, it definitely gives you a whole new outlook.
icon7.gif
 

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we are instead a very fearful species. It is that fear that causes a lot of the problems that we 'tag' as aggression. I know that sounds a bit 'Jedi' but it's been my experience that the most aggressive people I've known have been the ones with the lowest self esteem and the most highly developed sense of 'false threat' fear.


Excellent insight.
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SensibleManiac

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I would just like to add that I think critical thinking skills and compassion are the most important traits a person can develop.
Although I'm not where I would like to be in these areas, their development is a priority on my path.
 

Jade Tigress

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Well, I cant tell you where I am, without telling you where I have been. As a young man I was angry. I couldnt have cared less about things, My only sense of compassion, came from my mother, but it was miss aligned, because I could do no wrong, in her eyes. I think she felt sorry for me, and tried to make up for the short comings of my Dad. My Mom taught me to, do unto others, while my Dad taught me to, do to others, before they, do to you. I guess you could call it a balance, but how was I to know the difference, so I followed in my Dads shoes, because it was easier, and I trusted, and forgave, no one. I got into trouble early on in life, and made mistakes. It was easy to justify it all, because it was always someone elses fault. Please dont get me wrong, my parents did the best they could, at the time. It wasnt until I walked in a DoJo for the first time, that I truly began to understand life a little better. My Sensei was very strict, but at the same time very fair. The MA was a molding process for me, that changed the rest of my life. It can only be explained, and understood, by other martial artist, someone that has walked the walk. When the physical body has been taken to a certain place in training, it allows the mind to open up. The severity of training in an atmosphere of fairness and accountable, lends itself to humility. I feel it was the door way of humility, that opened up to this feeling of compassion, that genuine feeling, for the concerns of others. If taught right, the MA is an education in life, something that will permeate all aspects of your life, in a most positive way. After many years in life, the greatest thing I have learned is, you can't change anybody, but by changing yourself, it definitely gives you a whole new outlook.
icon7.gif

Thanks for sharing this. I think the fact that through Martial Arts you gained insight into your take on life, and found a better way, is great. :asian:
 

hkfuie

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Well, I cant tell you where I am, without telling you where I have been. As a young man I was angry. I couldnt have cared less about things, My only sense of compassion, came from my mother, but it was miss aligned, because I could do no wrong, in her eyes. I think she felt sorry for me, and tried to make up for the short comings of my Dad. My Mom taught me to, do unto others, while my Dad taught me to, do to others, before they, do to you. I guess you could call it a balance, but how was I to know the difference, so I followed in my Dads shoes, because it was easier, and I trusted, and forgave, no one. I got into trouble early on in life, and made mistakes. It was easy to justify it all, because it was always someone elses fault. Please dont get me wrong, my parents did the best they could, at the time. It wasnt until I walked in a DoJo for the first time, that I truly began to understand life a little better. My Sensei was very strict, but at the same time very fair. The MA was a molding process for me, that changed the rest of my life. It can only be explained, and understood, by other martial artist, someone that has walked the walk. When the physical body has been taken to a certain place in training, it allows the mind to open up. The severity of training in an atmosphere of fairness and accountable, lends itself to humility. I feel it was the door way of humility, that opened up to this feeling of compassion, that genuine feeling, for the concerns of others. If taught right, the MA is an education in life, something that will permeate all aspects of your life, in a most positive way. After many years in life, the greatest thing I have learned is, you can't change anybody, but by changing yourself, it definitely gives you a whole new outlook.
icon7.gif

Seasoned, I relate so much to your story. I was a very different person when I took my first martial arts class. Embracing the lessons I have learned through toughing it out in class, facing myself because there is nowhere to hide who I am in martial arts class, has changed who I am.

Thanks for posting.
 

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