Going beyond self

We talk about compassion but in a very impersonal way. Genuine compassion arises as the ability to go beyond self. This requires that we transcend our preoccupation with our own happiness and suffering. As meditators, one of the first things we can do is to honestly look at the world from behind another’s eyes. Experience that person’s craving for happiness and fear of suffering with the same immediacy that we would if his heart and mind were ours. We may see that this individual’s immense hope and fear are even greater than our own. See the similarities we all share. We cannot even begin to commit ourselves to the path of selfless compassion if our mind is unable to sense the sameness of the ground we all stand upon. Ultimately, to understand selflessness, we have to go beyond self…And can also lead to the understanding of all-pervasive ground, an understanding that “Oh, yes there is the same happiness, the same suffering, the same ignorance and the same wisdom.” And yet this mind of ours thinks, “No, it is different. Your problem is your problem, my problem is my problem.” And so separation begins. When that separation is established, we definitely have a natural instinct to safeguard our own selfish interests and to be unaware of other’s needs.

But if we were able to really look into the eyes of another, we would see the oneness of all sentient beings and the sameness of the ground we all share
– Khandro Rinpoche

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