“Compassion, the root of Relationships”
“To be human is basic, the foundation from which we all arise. You are born as a human being, and that can not change until you die. Everything else-whether you are educated or uneducated, young or old, rich or poor-is secondary. In truth you and I already know each other, profoundly, as human beings who share the same basic goals. We all seek happiness, and do not want suffering” H.H. The Dalai Lama, How to Be Compassionate, A Handbook for Creating Inner Peace and a Happier World. p77,78
Such a simple yet universally profound description of all of us. In these few sentences he has described every human that was ever born, or will be born. We are all the same, all equally desirous of the same goals, to be happier and to avoid suffering. It does not matter if you have nothing or are the richest person in the world, happiness will mean the same, and will come from the same things. As humans we are not only interconnected, but also interdependent. This starts the moment we are born human, for we need our parents, or other humans to protect and feed us, to educate us, until we are able to do these things for ourselves.
We are not like the salmon or other fish, that upon hatching instantly know how to swim, what to eat, and to try and avoid being eaten. We are also not like the bear, that once we reach a certain development, can take care of ourselves, and not be dependant on anyone else for our survival.
Think of the food you ate today, where was it grown, how did it get to your table? If it was cooked where did the water come from, perhaps a tap or well? Did you add spices, if so were where they grown elsewhere? The clothes you wear, did you make them or buy them? The cloth was produced somewhere by someone, the thread someplace else, the buttons, zippers and dyes yet other places. The vehicles used to transport all of these, the fuel for the vehicles, the roads provided. There are very few, people who don’t depend on others for even part of the items they need to survive in this world. Even monks living in a Temple or Wat depend on the lay people for support.
We all desire to eat healthy food, have a safe place to call home, and enough comforts to be happy. It is when we start to think that more material goods will make us happier, that we start to be greedy. We are happy with our 27inch television, till a friend or neighbor gets a 50inch flat screen, then we need one as well. Next it will be a 70inch with 3D, and in a few years then what? Happiness is from inside ourselves, if we treat others with compassion, and help them to be happier, an amazing thing will happen, we will also feel happier. Buy a meal for a beggar on the street, and watch how he is happy to have good food, instead of picking through the garbage to find sustenance. Give a soccer ball to a group of children, sitting on a patch of grass, or in a park with nothing to do, and soon you will hear laughter, and camaraderie as they engage in a friendly game. Much more so than sitting in front of a television or playing online.
When we apply compassion and love to ourselves, we can show it to others. If we find peace with ourselves, how much easier would it be to find peace with others. Remember we are all alike in this world, seeking happiness and eliminating suffering, for our selves, and our loved ones. If we all take the next step, and extend that compassion to all, imagine the world we could be living in.