Great Compassion

Great Compassion is like the sky, because it covers all living things;

Great Compassion is like the earth, because it produces all the teachings;

Great Compassion makes it possible to see the Buddha Nature, by first clarifying real knowledge for the sake of others.

Great Compassion makes it possible to pass through unyielding barriers, by plumbing the profound teachings more and more for the sake of others.

Great Compassion makes it possible to penetrate the transcendental, by seeking a life beyond for others.

Great Compassion can develop powerful application, by striving on this path for the sake of others.

Great Compassion can activate intrepidness, by keeping a vigorous will alive for the sake of others.

Great Compassion makes it possible to get beyond regression, because the mind is settled for the sake of others.

Great Compassion can produce broad learning, by studying everything for the sake of others.

Great Compassion can produce erudition, by deep deduction of the principles of things for the sake of others.

Great Compassion can produce blessings, by always coming up with expedients for others.

Great Compassion can annihilate afflictions, by sacrificing body, life, and goods for others.

Great Compassion can extirpate conceit, by acting benevolently for others.

Great Compassion enables detachment from fame and profit, by basing everything on truth for the sake of others.

Great Compassion enables entry into the realm of reality, because there is nowhere it does not go for the sake of others.

Whoever has great compassion can estinguish all obstructions caused by past actions and can fulfill all virtues, no principle cannot be understood, no path cannot be practiced, no knowledge cannot be attained, no virtue not developed. ~ from “Faith and Practice” Chapter of the Undying Lamp of Zen by Zen Master Torei

Too often, as practitioners of Zen, we see ourselves as beyond compassion.  Solely devoted to the cultivation of prajna wisdom we forget that practice is firmly entrenched in a compassionate mind.  Wisdom with no compassion is cold and removed, a statue covered with snow.  Finely chiseled and molded but with no warmth eminating from within.  We are not statues.   We are endowed with a spark of warmth; a fire of compassion that needs to be nurtured and stoked.  But just as building a fire it requires skill and knowledge.  Compassion without appying wisdom is usually deemed as folly and foolishness; an attempt to build more ego.  We need to cultivate both as a practice and not as set definitions or rules that govern action.  Each are applied and interact with our daily practice and day to day lives.  Each moment is the child of compassion tempered by wisdom.

Many begin a practice focused on themselves.   I opened myself to practice because I realized that I needed to be there for others.  But I was still far from selfless.  Every moment of training clarifies the heart of wisdom and strengthens a mind of compassion – a practice of benefit.

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