UNMASKING THE DELUSION OF COMPASSION


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                             COMPASSION. BE A FRIEND TO YOURSELF.

 Samyutta-Nikâya (iii.1.4).


   Thus have I heard.

   On a certain occasion The Blessed One was dwelling at Sâvatthi, in Jetavana monastery in Anâthapindika's Park.

   Then drew near king Pasenadi the Kosalan to where The Blessed One was; and having drawn near and greeted The Blessed One, he sat down respectfully at one side. And seated respectfully at one side, king Pasenadi the Kosalan spoke to The Blessed One as follows:--

   "Reverend Sir, it happened to me, as I was just now in seclusion and plunged in meditation, that a consideration presented itself to my mind, as follows: 'Who are those who love themselves? and who do not love themselves?' And, Reverend Sir, it occurred to me as follows: 'All they who do evil with their body, who do evil with their voice, who do evil with their mind, they do not love themselves.' And although they should say thus: 'We love ourselves,' nevertheless, they do not love themselves. And why do I say so? Because, whatever a man would do to one whom he did not love, that they do to themselves. Therefore, they do not love themselves.

   "But all they who do good with their body, who do good with their voice, who do good with their mind, they love themselves. And although they should say thus: 'We do not love ourselves,' nevertheless, they do love themselves. And why do I say so? Because, whatever a man would do to one whom he loved, that they do to themselves. Therefore, they love themselves."

   "Thus it is, great king! Thus it is! Certainly, great king, all they who do evil with their body, who do evil with their voice, who do evil with their mind, they do not love themselves. And although they should say thus: 'We love ourselves,' nevertheless, they do not love themselves. And why do I say so? Because, whatever a man would do to one whom he did not love, that they do to themselves. Therefore, they do not love themselves.

   "But all they, great king, who do good with their body, who do good with their voice, who do good with their mind, they love themselves. And although they should say thus: 'We do not love ourselves,' nevertheless, they do love themselves. And why do I say so? Because, whatever a man would do to one he loved, that they do to themselves.

Therefore, they love themselves.


"Let any one who holds self dear,
That self keep free from wickedness;
For happiness can ne'er be found
By any one of evil deeds.

"Assailed by death, in life's last throes,
At quitting of this human state,
What is it one can call his own?
What with him take as he goes hence?
What is it follows after him,
And like a shadow ne'er departs?

"His good deeds and his wickedness,
Whate'er a mortal does while here;
'T is this that he can call his own,
This with him take as he goes hence.
This is what follows after him,
And like a shadow ne'er departs.

"Let all, then, noble deeds perform,
A treasure-store for future weal;
For merit gained this life within,
Will yield a blessing in the next."

 


                                 THERE IS NO POT OF GOLD


I will first draw your attention to the words of the Diamond Sutra:

 

Section XXII.

Then Subhuti asked Buddha: World-honored One, in the attainment of the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment did Buddha make no acquisition whatsoever?

Buddha replied: Just so, Subhuti. Through the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment I acquired not even the least thing; therefore it is called "Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment."


Nothing is really therefore attainable in the sense that most people believe. there is no great promise of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Here then is where we come to an important point. If one sets out with the objective of obtaining the "Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment." one will never attain that end.  Why? The answer is quite simple really.  If there is a searcher, then there is an Identity. The searcher must be dissolved if thre is to be progress.

But this quest for Awakening is not the only inhibiting factor. It is equally an error to enter the Dharma path to encounter a better way of living within Samsara (who is living in Samsara) and it is an error to enter the Dharma Path with the objective to eliminate ones suffering and to be happy. (who suffers and who is happy).

The perfect way to enter is simply with the natural impulse of the life force which says, “something is wrong here”.  I am reminded of a recent pop recording of a group that are called “The Four Non Blonds” in which that theme was presented with vigor “What the hell is going on here?”

You see here is a subtle and important point. The question is not “What the hell is the problem with me?”  it is “What the Hell is the problem with everyone in relation to everything”.  This was buddhas search and it must be converted in the quest for all who enter the path.



  “What is going on here with the human creature? What is the Truth? There is this impulse within me to know and correct what needs to be corrected. It doesn’t matter what that Truth is, let it be known.”

This is the path of the Buddha Dharma. You see it is not for ME it is for all apparent human creatures. That is the place to start.

Does that mean then that we must start the quest for un indeterminable truth with Compassion for others?

What is this compassion which everyone in Buddha Dharma talks about?


The Websters Universal Dictionary explains it in the following way:

“An experience of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken with suffering or misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the pain or remove it’s cause.”

Would you agree with that?  From a mundane point of view it is acceptable, but from a profound Buddha Dharma point of view it is not appropiate.

In the Buddha Dharma path there is a clear distinction between Pain and Suffering.

  

There are three forms of Suffering.


 The classical Suffering of the mind (which is craving and clinging)
 
 
The Suffering of the mind which is called Happiness

 
The Suffering which accompanies Pain and is mistakenly believed to be Pain itself.

 
                           SUFFERING OF THE MIND CALLED HAPPINESS


   How can Happiness be called Suffering? It is because happiness is a
   conditioner which increments the level of Craving and Clinging.

But we can look more profoundly at this Happiness.

If we consider suffering as unhappiness, we can ask if Happiness can exist without Unhappiness (Suffering)?  Of course it cannot. The conceptof Up cannot exist without its counterpart Down. All words have as a condition for existence their antithesis. Even nouns like “chair” cannot have apparent existence without there being the apparent “no chair”.

If we wish to let go of Suffering then it is clear that we must let go of Happiness also. Here we have a problem.  Are you prepared to give up all your apparent happiness?

Almost everyone when it comes to the important moment of decisions will declare emphtically “NO”. They want their Happiness but they want the Unhappiness to go. That is what modern Psychology wishes to do without great success for patients. One cannot be half pregnant and the Buddha Dharma Path rejects that possibility.  Happiness must be allowed to dissolve with Suffering.




Can Buddha Dharma promise something in its place?

Yes.

Neither Happiness nor NO Happiness, neither Suffering nor NO Suffering.

This is the enigma of the Buddha Dharma path.

 

Likewise in the Buddha Dharma path we cannot give “Compassion” for to give compassion is to accept a state of “No Compassion”

What profound Dharma proposes is a state of “Neither Compasion nor NO Compassion.”

 

What Buddha Dharma proposes is not halfway between these, nor does it propose philosophical word games.  Consider this.

Let me further confound the issue of Compassion in this first lesson (as many have had some introduction with Buddha Dharma before).

 Why do we take a Bodhisattva pledge to perform our compassionate actions on the path for the benefit of all sentient creatures?

We actually do not. If that is taught it is an error. This is not a profound Buddha Dharma concept or idea.


          LET NO ONE SAY, "I MUST LIBERATE ALL LIVING BEINGS" 


One should never in profound Dharma perform compasionate acts for the benefit of sentient creatures.

Look what Buddha declared once more in the Diamond Sutra when speaking with Subhuti.

 

Section XXV.

Subhuti, what do you think? Let no one say the Tathagata cherishes the idea: I must liberate all living beings. Allow no such thought, Subhuti.

Wherefore? Because in reality there are no living beings to be liberated by the Tathagata. If there were living beings for the Tathagata to liberate, He would partake in the idea of selfhood, personality entity, and separate individuality.

Subhuti, though the common people accept egoity as real, the Tathagata declares that ego is not different from non-ego. Subhuti, those whom the Tathagata referred to as "common people" are not really common people; such is merely a name.


                          Do you see?  Neither Identity nor NO Identity.  


Compassion which is experienced by the conditioned population and accepted as correct and natural is not TRUE COMPASSION.

True compassion is not empathy, pity, sympathy or sorrow for others. 

1.     Any compassion generated by the natural human creature cannot have personal suffering as a consequence.

2.    Compassion does NOT generate Benevolent Affect nor Benevolent Action. 

3.     The concept of performing any action for the benefit of Individuals is completely incorrect in the profound Path of Buddha Dharma.


                               THE DHARMA IMPORT OF COMPASSION


Look at these the important mental factors discussed and considered essential
in Buddha Dharma teachings. Is there is anything rather odd that strikes you?

                                         The Four Right Exertions (Sammappadhana)


     Generating will, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting 

      one's intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that 

      have not yet arisen.


     Generating will, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting 

      one's intent for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that

      have arisen.


      Generating will, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting 

      one's  intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet

      arisen.


     Generating will, endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding & exerting

     one's intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, 

     development, and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen.



                                          THE FIVE CONTROLLING FACULTIES (Indrya)
                                                              Confidence (saddha)
                                                         Energy (Viriya)
                                                        Mindfulness (sati)
                                                    Concentration (samadhi)
                                                   Discerning Wisdom (Panna)
                                               
                                       THE SEVEN LIMBS (FACTORS) OF AWAKENING
                                                Mindfulness  (sati-sambojjhanga).
                               Analysis (dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga)
                                    Persistence (viriya-sambojjhanga).
                                        Rapture  (piti-sambojjhanga). 
                                   Serenity  (passaddhi-sambojjhanga).
                                 Concentration (samadhi-sambojjhanga)
                                    Equanimity (upekkha-sambojjhanga)
 
                                       THE FOUR ROADS (BASES) TO POWER (iddhipada)
                                               Zeal the impulse to transform intention
                                          Virile Force, the will to execute action
                                         Conscious Strength of the Purity of Mind
                                              Free Discriminative Investigation

                                                 THE FIVE FACTORS OF ABSORPTION
                                                           Initial application
Sustained application
Interest
Joy
                                                    One-pointedness
 
 
Casting your eye over these factors of Awakening, you may have been
surprised to see the absence of both Compassion and Benevolent Love. 
                         You will find that the same applies to:

                                      THE FOUR PRACTICES OF MINDFULNESS
                                           THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH

Are
Compassion and Benevolent Affect then not considered as mental factors leading
 to Awakening? 
                   No, they are not, but they are mentioned in the Abhidamma.


Gladness, sometimes called a form of Happiness, one of the five factors of absorption, along with equanimity, benevolent affect and compassion, are mentioned among the 52 kinds of mental states.


Gladness is considered as a Particular State, while  Benevolent affect is considered as a beautiful state. Compassion and Equanimity are mentioned as being illimitable, and are listed in a category superior to all except wisdom. 


The Gladness (mudita) referred to here as part of the four, is a sympathetic joy.
Its chief characteristic is happy acquiescence in the prosperity of others. Thus it acts as a dissolving element for any residual Identity and is an experience that accompanies correct attitude in consciousness.

Equanimity (upekkha), as it is used when associated with the Sublime states,
is a highly refined form of ordinary even-mindedness (Tatramajjhattata). 

      Equanimity and even-mindedness then appear to be of four kinds.


A neutral experience
Sensitive passive neutral experience
Intellectual neutrality, accompanied by knowledge
Full and natural equanimity

Leaving for the moment both Gladness and Equanimity, which have very special significnce in Chan, we can say that here we are interested in the Illimitable Superior State of Compassion and the Beautiful State of Benevolent Affect.

                      THE ILLIMITABLE SUPERIOR STATE OF COMPASSION


Compassion is an experience that has an effect when one is urged by the natural state to help those who are afflicted with sorrow. It serves as energy to dissipate that suffering and is not directed in the way of mundane compassion, which is pity, empathy, grief or conditioned obligation. It is the energy that transmits the will to help others to help themselves without encouraging self-pity or dependence.

The removal of suffering of others is its prime characteristic. Its direct enemy is wickedness (himsa) and its indirect enemy is grief (domanassa).

A quotation of Thomas Merton states the case rather nicely:

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”

                                          UNMASKING THE DELUSION

Do you see any difference between what you know as Compassion and the Compassion that is Illimitable ?

Does your Compassion



                         THE BEAUTIFUL STATE OF BENEVOLENT AFFECT

Benevolent Affect (metta) is a softening of actions. It is the mental state that both reinforces benevolent actions, and is experienced as a consequence of them. It is a direct opponent of hatred, ill will and aversion and an indirect opponent of affection (pema) and mundane love, which is impregnated with dominance, dependence, craving and clinging. It expresses itself in the wish for the good and well-being of others.

Go to:
                                     EXAMINING TRUE COMPASSION


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