The Application of Compassion
Over the past two and a half years I’ve been integrating my faith based, primarily Christian studies, with spiritual practices that are rich in ancient tradition and ritual. In January I began studying under the guidance of Tibetan teachers and monks on compassion and the journey towards Bodisattva. Within these studies I’ve found a wealth of contemplations I wanted to share here, always in the hope of starting a bigger conversation of how we can all be more Christ conscious, loving, and compassionate beings.
Tsem Rinpoche writes in his book, Compassion Conquers All, Teachings on the Eight Verses of Mind Transformation, that the practice of Dharma is one of living a life to serve, love, honor, and lift up the collective consciousness to the goal of Enlightened Realization for all sentient beings. He teaches that one must come to the teachings with two prerequisites: Free of the three faults and free from the eight worldly concerns.
Essentially, we are to come to the teachings without ill intended motivation, or motivation that resides in the lower three realms. You could think about this like motivations that serve to affirm our worth in the world, that seek to validate our place in community, or that seek to fuel the ego. These are lower realm motivations. When we know that we are the living Christ consciousness, embodied in an experience that is effort to our awakening into a Realized state of being, then you no longer need to see validation, affirm your worth or fuel your ego. You simply know that you are love and that you are embodied light. Ideally, aspirants and teachers alike are seeking motivated only to uplift and inspire the collective consciousness. These motivations are from the upper realms and support spiritual growth.
As I read Rinpoche’s writings on the eight worldly concerns and the renunciation of these concerns as a path towards Buddhadharma, correct conduct that leads to awakening, the message truly resonated with me. The eight worldly concerns are:
To be happy when praised
To be unhappy when we are insulted (or even not praised)
To be happy when we receive wealth
To be unhappy when we do not
To be happy when we are recognized
To be unhappy when we are unsuccessful
To be happy when we are comfortable
To be unhappy when we are uncomfortable.
Ultimately, these teachings teach us to find joy in the lesson presenting itself regardless of whether there is good fortune or not. If we arrive at these teachings as a student who is un-attached to the eight worldly concerns and who are without the three faults that dilute the teachings then we will practice Buddhadharma and the result will be an end to suffering.
Honestly, I completely buy into this philosophy. If you look at it, our expectations and our personal projection of our expectations is the underlying reason that we suffer. If I practice letting go of the eight worldly concerns I can begin to practice non-attachment and non-aversion in a safe space psychologically. The point here is that we don’t have to begin a mindfulness practice with huge shifts in consciousness.
After Rinpoche covers one’s motivation to learn and be taught, he begins to talk about Samsara. This was one of the more fascinating parts of the book for me. Rinpoche talks about samsara as projection of one’s misperception based on latent experience. Ultimately our samsara is our karma.
I recently had a loss that resulted from a misunderstanding. The interesting thing about this particular misunderstanding is that both parties were correct in their perception of what was happening, but the fundamental values of the result of their individualized perception were conflicting. Therefore, the relationships was compromised.
This is a perfect example of what Rinpoche is talking about. There can be two truths that exist based on our own understanding of the experience, or past misperceptions, our memories, and our own limited view point. Each of our respective truths is “true” for us based on our karma respectively. The practice of non-attachment and non-aversion is one that can help us to untie our allegiances to impermanence and embrace love more fully in our relationships.
Rinpoche takes us through the sacred teachings of the 14th Dalai Lama on Mind Transformation, and at the end of the book he sums up the concepts in a few lines:
“All beings are infinitely precious. Practice the humility of a pure view. Always check the mind. Be grateful for difficult situations. Let others win. True love is unconditional. Give all joy, take all pain. Appearances are like a dream; wake up!” Rinpoche
The practice transforms from one of non-attachment and non-aversion to a practice where we apply compassion and humility in the face of all beings. That the truest love shine in our interactions. That our 5th chakra, the throat chakra, speak the words of God, and that we are content in all experiences because we can see that each experience is an education that leads to an awakened state of consciousness.
I sincerely encourage you to read, Compassion Conquers All, Teachings on the Eight Verses of Mind Transformation, by Tsem Rinpoche. The meditations are brilliant and very therapeutic. The one thing I know for sure is that our love can transform our minds and unveil the beautiful Devine light that illuminates all beings. May you use these wisdoms and practices as tools to awaken into a deeper state of conscious awareness for the betterment of world.