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Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Dalai Lama on Compassion, Anger, Hatred

I would like to explain the meaning of compassion, which is often misunderstood. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy, as long as that person wishes for peace and happiness and wishes to overcome suffering, then on that basis we develop genuine concern for his or her problem. This is genuine compassion. Usually when we are concerned about a close friend, we call this compassion. This is not compassion; it is attachment. Even in marriage, those marriages that last only a short time do so because of attachment - although it is generally present - but because there is also compassion. Marriages that last only a short time do so because of a lack of compassion; there is only emotional attachment based on projection and expectation. When the only bond between close friends is attachment, then even a minor issue may cause one's projections to change. As soon as our projections change, the attachment disappears - because that attachment was based solely on projection and expectation. It is possible to have compassion without attachment - and similarly, to have anger without hatred. Therefore we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment, and between anger and hatred. Such clarity is useful in our daily life and in our efforts towards world peace. I consider these to be basic spiritual values for the happiness of all human beings, regardless of whether one is a believer or a nonbeliever.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

From the site

-Peace to all beings-

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theycallmemac said...

Excellent words. Sometimes I feel bad about getting angry at all because I let myself think I should never be angry. But anger is a natural emotion and it is interesting to think anger and hatred are not one and the same. Sometimes I feel like anger can be used for good causes such as becoming angry with yourself or the way things are going and wanting to change, the anger you have about that can be a motivating force for change. But if you feel like you can never be angry than you feel like you must lose some of that passion about doing these possitive things. I guess when you realize there is no hate involved with these expressions of anger it can be a possitive thing, and of course everything has to be in moderation. Thanks for the post, James!

"James" said...


Well said.

M.D. Shellhammer said...

True enough, but skillful means are needed here to transmute the lead of anger into the gold of positive motivation. There are those who need to fire all their synapses to feel alive and motivated. This is too bad and contrary to what the Taoist would call Wu Wei.

"James" said...


Great point.

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