Vector8 Journals

Monday, March 14, 2005

What is Compassion?

In my view, compassion is a human construct. Why? Because it is not fixed; different people have their own ideas of compassion. There are those who feel compassion for others by being called to love or heal others who are suffering as illustrated in the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10: 25-37. It could be feeling compassion for someone who is carrying a bag of shopping and offering to carry them. There is the compassion of a Boddhicitta, according to Buddhist teachings, who will delay His ascension until everyone has been enlightened. While people have their own versions of compassion one should never impose one's idea of compassion on another, nor should any be made to feel guilty just because they don't practise the same compassion. Compassion is both about how choice and how one is inspired to act at the time.

The following, in my view, is a demonstration of compassion.

I was sitting on top of a double-decker bus at the time. Ahead of us was a learner driver having a driving lesson, who was driving painfully slow. Behind this learner was an experienced driver trying to overtake. The driver waited until the other side of the road was clear then he overtook the learner driver and sped off.

I believe the experienced driver was showing compassion. He could have beeped impatiently at the learner driver but he didn't. The experienced driver must have remembered what it felt like as a learner; one is nervous about being on the roads and it seems like you'll never get the hang of driving. And yet the experienced driver couldn't very well stay behind the learner forever. He had to overtake him. He might overtake the learner and wish him every success in passing his driving test. One day the learner will be an experienced driver when he will show consideration to another learner driver.

This is my idea of compassion.

Love and Light,