Taking the Path of Ethical Compassion

5 of 5


A group visiting with the Dalai Lama brought to him what they thought were the most important questions of our times — how to address the widening gap between the rich and poor, protect the earth, educate our children and help Tibet and other oppressed peoples of the world.

The Dalai Lama said if we have true compassion (nying je) in our hearts, our children will be educated wisely, we will care for the earth, and those who "have not" will be cared for. For developing compassion he suggested this practice:

  1. Spend five minutes at the beginning of each day remembering that we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved) and we are all connected to one another.

  2. Spend five minutes cherishing yourself while breathing in and cherishing others while breathing  out. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.

  3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing casual acquaintances as well as the "important" people in your life; cherish the people you love and especially the people you don't like.

  4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

To strengthen his altruism the Dalai Lama follows this practice:

To encourage myself in this altruistic attitude, I sometimes find it helpful to imagine myself standing as a single individual on one side, facing a huge gathering of  all other human beings on the other side. Then I ask myself, 'Whose interests  are more important?' To me it is quite clear that however important I may feel I am, I am just one individual while others are infinite in number  and importance.