Compassion, The Karaniya Metta Sutta
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease
. Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
“Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha‘s Words on Loving-Kindness” (Sn 1.8), translated from the Pali by The Amaravati Sangha. Access to Insight, 30 August 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.amar.html . Retrieved on 2 September 2012.
Buddhist or follower of another path, it doesn’t matter, rather it is our common humanity that binds us together. Yet if we only practice compassion, we will never achieve enlightenment. it is only when our compassionate side is developed along with our intellectual side do we truly progress. Once again I will use the street person begging for spare change. Compassion we reach into our pockets, and give them some coins, perhaps even enough to purchase a meal. As a Buddhist we are to do not harm in our actions, to only do wholesome actions. So how can showing compassion, be unwholesome? If the recipient takes your money and instead of buying food, goes instead to buy alcohol, drugs or spends it in another manner which doesn’t benefit them, we have done harm. If we apply wisdom to our act of compassion we see there are wholesome ways to help. If there is a street vendor, or takeout vendor nearby, we can buy the person a meal. We could give them an article of clothing they could use. Volunteer at a soup kitchen,or make a donation to a charity that works at alleviating the barriers these people have to becoming self supporting.
By doing wholesome actions we are upright and able as the Sutta teaches. By taking the time to talk with the individual as a person, you show respect to them as an individual, that they share the same goal as all beings, to suffer less. We do not see ourselves as above the unfortunate, rather as their neighbour in this world.