Friday, December 30, 2011

Verses of Kindness and Compassion

I've put together a revised collection of verses and phrases for the four immeasurables (brahama-viharas) that you can find online here.

Buddhist practice is closely associated with insight, which is said (or implied) to be the highest practice, leading to everything good, including kindness and compassion. Hopefully insight into how things are, and how they work, does lead to kindness and compassion. Unfortunately, it's not always true; half-developed or unbalanced insight can lead to clarity and power that are not connected to kindness and compassion.

And insight leading to compassion is not the only way to go. It works the other way round as well: compassion, when engaged and cultivated in a balanced way, leads to insight.

Sometimes Buddhist practice is said to be the uniting of compassion and insight. I think this is best. But if I had to put one practice above the other, it would be compassion, because the motivation for insight ought to be compassion: to know how to free ourselves and others from suffering.

May all beings be safe, healthy, happy, at ease in their body, at home in the world.

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