Moving into the World

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One need not be a spiritual adept to be intensely affected by suffering; there are people who recall realizations they had as children, even before they could conceptualize their understanding.

A beginner bodhisattva need not be very advanced in enlightenment, merely firmly dedicated to universal love and compassion.

Robert Thurman

In Mahayana Buddhism, a tradition that shuns absolutes, the closest thing to an absolute is compassion. The Dalai Lama makes this point unequivocally:

The root of all Buddhist teaching is compassion. . . . The Buddha who teaches these doctrines is even said to be born from compassion. The chief quality of a Buddha is great compassion.