Lesson
14

Taking the Path of Ethical Compassion

1 of 5

The teachings that you have been introduced to in this book represent an appeal (a challenge if you like) from the Dalai Lama to all of us to make each moment as full, productive and meaningful as possible. As you have learned in this course, this means ensuring that we conduct our lives responsibly, that is with compassion for others. As our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others, when society suffers, we ourselves suffer. 

Compassion is one of the principal things that makes our lives meaningful.

Compassion is one of the principal things that makes our lives meaningful.  It is the source of lasting happiness and joy and is the foundation of a good heart.  Through acts of kindness, affection, honesty and justice we not only help others but ensure our own benefit as well.  By contrast the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill-will, the more miserable we become.  We cannot escape the need for love and compassion.

Practicing compassion requires neither intricate philosophies nor religious dogma or ritual.

This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith.

If you feel that it seems worthwhile to practice, then irrespective of whether you are a believer or a non-believer, you should try to promote these basic human good qualities.

Whether we are religious or not, as long as we have compassion towards others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy. The path to a kinder, more compassionate society is the path of responsibility, empathy and compassion toward others.

Your journey so far

In the present moment, conduct yourselves responsibly and with compassion for others.    

This quote might summarize, even more succinctly, the Dalai Lama's teaching on altruistic ethics presented in this course. How would you summarize what you have learned?

Reflect on what practices you have learned in this course that might help you on a path to a compassionate and altruistic life. What might you need to support you on such a path?

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need

This prayer inspires the Dalai Lama in his quest to benefit others. What could you use to inspire yourself?