“Our world desperately needs compassion. If there could be more compassion in people’s hearts and lives, if more people could wake up to the realization of compassion and think to themselves, “I don’t like being hurt and you don’t like being hurt, so let’s stop hurting each other,” there would be fewer stories in the news of war, terrorism, violent crimes, injustice and starvation.” -Venerable Sangye Khadro
Compassion and loving-kindness can be developed and practiced in each moment. Like any other qualities, they can be cultivated over time. But unlike the fitness of our bodies which have a limit, these qualities can be developed immeasurably.
The four guided meditations below provide techniques to strengthen and grow these positive qualities in your own heart and in the hearts of others. We hope you find the opportunity to use them on Compassion Day and throughout the year!
Meditation on Love
Love is wishing others and ourselves to be happy. There are several different kinds of happiness. Usually we think of happiness as ‘sensory pleasures’ – seeing attractive objects, hearing beautiful sounds, tasting delicious foods, and so on. Another kind of happiness comes from positive states of mind such as love, compassion, faith, contentment and so forth. This happiness is more pure and stable. Venerable Sangye Khadro composed this meditation on loving-kindness as an aid to enhance and expand this wish for a deeper, more lasting form of happiness for ourselves and others.
Meditation on Compassion
Compassion is wishing others and ourselves to be free of suffering, free from all painful, unwanted, unsatisfactory experiences. It acknowledges that everyone wants to be free of suffering, deserves to be free, and has the capacity to be free. Compassion arises out of our own experience of suffering. We all know what it’s like to be sick or in pain, to be lonely or have our feelings hurt. These experiences help open our hearts with empathy and the wish to help others to be free of such experiences. This meditation by Venerable Sangye Khadro provides a method to cultivate a deep compassionate wish to help all beings be free from suffering.
Meditation on Rejoicing
Rejoicing is a way to delight in and celebrate the many positive qualities and activities of both yourself and others. Simple yet quite powerful in its effects, this meditation composed by Venerable Gyalten Palmo joyfully opens our hearts and counteracts any feelings of jealousy by increasing our positive connections with others.
Meditation on Joyous Effort
For love and compassion to take root and grow, it is essential to cultivate joyous enthusiasm for developing these qualities. This meditation on joyous effort written by Venerable Angie Muir can inspire us to make our lives meaningful and be of benefit to others through all our thoughts and actions.
Venerable Sangye Khadro has been a Tibetan Buddhist nun since 1974 and her teachers include Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At the request of her teachers Ven. Sangye Khadro began teaching in 1979 while living in England, and since then has taught in many countries around the world, most recently at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore for 11 years. Her book, How to Meditate, is a best-selling book of Wisdom Publications and is now in its 14th printing.
Born in Scotland, Venerable Angie Muir has been a Tibetan Buddhist nun since 1997. Venerable Angie went to Nepal in 1995 to begin her formal studies in Buddhism at the FPMT’s Kopan Monastery, and has served in FPMT centers in India, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Venerable Gyalten Palmo, was introduced to Buddhism in early 2000 and was ordained by Choden Rinpoche at Sera Je Monastic University in India in January of 2012. She has received teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and many other excellent Tibetan and Western teachers, and her main teachers are Ribur Rinpoche and Geshe Ngawang Dakpa. She is currently teaching at Tse Chen Ling, the FPMT center in San Francisco.