Compassion: Personal & International
by Ven. Thubten Chodron©
Tibet House, New York City
19 Apr 2007
Part 1 [24 min] : Download mp3 file
Cultivating a positive motivation for listening to the talk. Ven. Chodron explains why this process of generating a constructive motivation is so important and it’s also what attracted her to Buddhism.
Illustrations of how self-centeredness motivates most of our actions and how this self-preoccupation makes us miserable.
Part 2 - Low Self Esteem and Its Antidote
[15 min] : Download mp3 file
Ven. Chodron relates how His Holiness the Dalai Lama was shocked when he found a panel of prominent professors and scientists at a conference admitting to having low self-esteem. His Holiness suggested compassion as an antidote to low self-esteem. Ven. Chodron explains how this works.
Part 3 [22 min] : Download mp3 file
How to cultivate compassion especially for the people we dislike and the perpetrators of harm, e.g. the Virginia Tech incident, the politicians and CEOs who let us down.
Compassion is different from pity.
How compassion frees one from fear.
Part 4 [40 min] : Download mp3 file
Questions and answers:
- I can think of a person who is harming me on a personal level as suffering and wishing them well. But it’s difficult for me to do that for people whose actions on the global level are harming many.
- How do we deal with people who make us unhappy or who drain our energy?
- Could you describe that practice that you say you engage in before you go into a prison for your prison work?
- How do you learn to forgive?
- When we’re in the middle of the me, I, my and mine mind, we’re really stuck. How do we get out of that?
- I can see that being very self-centered causes difficulties and is not so good, but still, I feel that my own happiness is a little bit more important than others’.
- "People live in a purposeless universe, in a hostile environment but they have free will." How does this statement agree/disagree with Buddhism?
- Sometimes we think we're ignoring ourselves, living our lives completely for others, sacrificing ourselves and having no compassion for ourselves, e.g. a middle-aged woman taking care of her family and her parents while also working and there’s no room left inside for herself. Is this true?
- Sometimes a magical moment comes when we can really feel compassionate, our heart is open and we’re totally ok with our heart being open. And then it’s gone, but we want more of it. What do we do?
- Can one get to compassion from pity?