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Lions Roar : May 2006
COMPASSION IS NO STRANGER to any of us: we know what it feels like to be deeply moved by the pain and suffering of others. All people receive their own measure of sorrow and struggle in this life. Bodies age, health becomes fragile, minds can be beset by confusion and obsession, hearts are broken. We see many people asked to bear the unbearable—starvation, tragedy, and hardship beyond our imagining. Our loved ones experience illness, pain, and heartache, and we long to ease their burden. The human story is a story of love, redemption, kindness, and generosity. It is also a story of violence, division, neglect, and cruelty. Faced with all of this, we can soften, reach out, and do all we can to ease suffering. Or we can choose to live with fear and denial—doing all we can to guard our hearts from being touched, afraid of drowning in this ocean of sorrow. chRisTina Feldman on Compassion She Who Hears the Cries of the World The Buddhist path isn’t just about the accumulation of wisdom. It equally requires the development of compassion—an intelligent sympathy for the suffering of all beings and the heartfelt wish to liberate them. In Buddhist iconography, this compassion is embodied in the bodhisattva Kuan Yin, who is said to manifest wherever beings need help. Engendering such compassion is not only good for others, says CHRISTINA FELDMAN, it is also good for us. By putting others first, we loosen the bonds of our self-fixation, and in doing so, inch closer to our own liberation. SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2006 66