I myself do not follow any religion but believe we can learn things from a variety of sources including the teachings of various religions, teachers and philosophers, and I am finding that Buddhism ties in with my mindfulness practice. Mindfulness meditation is teaching me that we don’t always have to be carried away by our thoughts. That we don’t have to be self obsessed and infatuated with our own suffering and in Buddhism they teach about the importance of compassion in relation to relieving not only the suffering of others, but also your own suffering. This excerpt from buddha.net gives an explanation of the Budhist idea of comapssion.
“Just as wisdom covers the intellectual or comprehending side of our nature, compassion covers the emotional or feeling side of our nature. Like wisdom, compassion is a uniquely human quality. Compassion is made up of two words, ‘co’ meaning together and ‘passion’ meaning a strong feeling. And this is what compassion is. When we see someone in distress and we feel their pain as if it were our own, and strive to eliminate or lessen their pain, then this is compassion. So all the best in human beings, all the Buddha-like qualities like sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern and caring – all are manifestations of compassion. You will notice also that in the compassionate person, care and love towards others has its origins in care and love for oneself. We can really understand others when we really understand ourselves. We will know what’s best for others when we know what’s best for ourselves. We can feel for others when we feel for ourselves. So in Buddhism, one’s own spiritual development blossoms quite naturally into concern for the welfare of others. The Buddha’s life illustrates this very well. He spent six years struggling for his own welfare, after which, he was able to be of benefit to the whole of mankind.”
If you get chance watch the TED talk by Robert Thurman (Uma Thurmans Dad) above called we can be Buddhas.
The main thing I learned from watching this video is the importance of compassion, and how being compassionate can make you happier.
“Compassion means to feel the feelings of others and the human being actually IS compassion. Because what else are our brains for? When you stop focusing on the self centred situation of how happy am I? where you are always dissatisfied you decide well I’m sick of myself so I’m going to think of how other people can be happy. I’m going to get up in the morning and think what can I do for even one other person? Even a dog, a cat, a butterfly? The first person who gets happy because you did that is you. YOU. YOURSELF. Because your whole perception broadens and you suddenly see the whole world and all of the people in it. You see that being with these people is nirvana.”
So I am aiming to be more compassionate. But that does not mean internalising the suffering of others and making myself miserable, but finding joy in being able to bring joy to others. When you give to someone else who is in need you are not losing something. You are gaining something. You are growing.
“Imagine a culture in which everything is geared toward helping all individuals become the best human beings they can be; in which individuals are driven to devoting their lives to becoming enlightened by the natural flood of compassion for others that arises from their wisdom.”