3 December 2010

The Buddhist Gentleman?

 I was reminded the other day by a learned Today’s Gentleman member (thanks Steve) about the Buddhist concept of compassion.

In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote,

“According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive — it’s not empathy alone — but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and lovingkindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is lovingkindness).”

I really enjoyed reading this passage and found it resonated with me as a person, and I felt it related very well to the concept I have of a Gentleman.  I feel that this is not the sort of notion that one can merely believe in isolation, as the power of it is in the shared nature of this consciousness.  For the good of our society I also believe that the promotion of these notions is not a nice to have, but a need to have – it is why I am so passionate about the cause.

‘Compassion and love are not mere luxuries.
As the source both of inner and external peace,
they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species.’
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama 1 1 300x298 The Buddhist Gentleman?