Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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Lokottara
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Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Lokottara » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:33 am

I frequently think about the sections of the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa that beautifully connect the knowledge of emptiness with compassion, and a direct cause for bodhicitta. Have any of you found that contemplating on the emptiness of sentient beings makes you more compassionate?

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Queequeg
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm

There has to be bodhicitta first. Otherwise I think the tendency is toward individual liberation only. That's why it's said that resolve is the first step to Buddhahood. Well, before that, there has to be faith.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Astus » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:11 pm

Lokottara wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:33 am
Have any of you found that contemplating on the emptiness of sentient beings makes you more compassionate?
Emptiness of being means recognising how attachment is a mistake that generates immense suffering, and with the diminishing of self-centredness there is the arising of patience for and recognition of the emotions driving everyone to more and more pain. That's how compassion can emerge from contemplation of emptiness.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:18 pm

The actual experience of the union of compassion and emptiness, space and awareness etc. does.

I personally wonder if analytical meditation on emptiness does much at all without the necessary relative Bodhicitta practices, and in fact might put someone in a nihilistic frame of mind if over done.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Lokottara » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:13 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm
There has to be bodhicitta first. Otherwise I think the tendency is toward individual liberation only. That's why it's said that resolve is the first step to Buddhahood. Well, before that, there has to be faith.
I actually think that the knowledge of emptiness optimally comes before bodhicitta.

Vimalakīrti replied, “Mañjuśrī, a bodhisattva should regard all living
beings as a wise man regards the reflection of the moon in water or as
magicians regard men created by magic. He should regard them as being
like a face in a mirror; like the water of a mirage; like the sound of an
echo; like a mass of clouds in the sky; like the previous moment of a ball
of foam; like the appearance and disappearance of a bubble of water; like
the core of a plantain tree; like a flash of lightning; like the fifth great
element; like the seventh sense-medium; like the appearance of matter in
an immaterial realm; like a sprout from a rotten seed; like a tortoise-hair
coat; like the fun of games for one who wishes to die; like the egoistic views
of a stream-winner; like a third rebirth of a once-returner; like the descent
of a nonreturner into a womb; like the existence of desire, hatred, and folly
in an arhat; like thoughts of avarice, immorality, wickedness, and hostility
in a bodhisattva who has attained tolerance; like the instincts of afflictions
in a tathāgata; like the perception of color in one blind from birth; like
the inhalation and exhalation of an ascetic absorbed in the meditation of
cessation; like the track of a bird in the sky; like the erection of a eunuch;
like the pregnancy of a barren woman; like the unproduced afflictions of
an emanated incarnation of the Tathāgata; like dream-visions seen after
waking; like the afflictions of one who is free of conceptualizations; like
fire burning without fuel; like the reincarnation of one who has attained
ultimate liberation.
“Precisely thus, Mañjuśrī, does a bodhisattva who realizes ultimate
selflessness consider all beings.”
Mañjuśrī then asked further, “Noble sir, if a bodhisattva considers all
living beings in such a way, how does he generate the great love toward them?”
Vimalakīrti replied, “Mañjuśrī, when a bodhisattva considers all living
beings in this way, he thinks: ‘Just as I have realized the Dharma, so should I
teach it to living beings.’ Thereby, he generates the love that is truly a refuge
for all living beings; the love that is peaceful because free of grasping; the
love that is not feverish, because free of passions; the love that accords with
reality because it is the very same in all three times; the love that is without
conflict because free of the violence of the passions; the love that is nondual
because it is involved neither with the external nor with the internal; the love
that is imperturbable because totally ultimate.
“Thereby he generates the love that is firm, its high resolve unbreakable,
like a diamond; the love that is pure, purified in its intrinsic nature; the love
that is even, its aspirations being equal; the arhat’s love that has eliminated
its enemy; the bodhisattva’s love that continuously develops living beings;
the Tathāgata’s love that understands reality; the Buddha’s love that causes
living beings to awaken from their sleep; the love that is spontaneous
because it is fully enlightened spontaneously; the love that is enlightenment
because it is unity of experience; the love that has no presumption because
it has eliminated attachment and aversion; the love that is great compassion
because it infuses the Mahāyāna with radiance; the love that is never
exhausted because it acknowledges voidness and selflessness; the love that
is giving because it bestows the gift of Dharma free of the tight fist of a
bad teacher; the love that is morality because it improves immoral living
beings; the love that is tolerance because it protects both self and others;
the love that is effort because it takes responsibility for all living beings;
the love that is contemplation because it refrains from indulgence in tastes;
the love that is wisdom because it causes attainment at the proper time;
the love that is liberative art because it shows the way everywhere; the love
that is without formality because it is pure in motivation; the love that is
without deviation because it acts from decisive motivation; the love that is
high resolve because it is without passions; the love that is without deceit
because it is not artificial; the love that is happiness because it introduces
living beings to the happiness of the Buddha. Such, Mañjuśrī, is the great
love of a bodhisattva.”


- - The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa

The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa argues that knowledge of the emptiness of sentient beings is the basis for bodhicitta, as it removes the very notion of sentimental love that normal sentient beings have (which is still very beautiful, of course). The great love of a bodhisattva, though, is all-encompassing, free, unconditional, and unconditioned.

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:18 pm

Emptiness without Bodhicitta just makes you an existentialist;)

From my pov, this excerpt is not simply talking about emptiness but the inseparable union of compassion and emptiness. Viewing them as objects that proceed from one another does not quite hit the mark for me.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Lokottara
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Lokottara » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:23 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:18 pm
The actual experience of the union of compassion and emptiness, space and awareness etc. does.

I personally wonder if analytical meditation on emptiness does much at all without the necessary relative Bodhicitta practices, and in fact might put someone in a nihilistic frame of mind if over done.
True, which is why the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa states that after regarding sentient beings as empty, a bodhisattva should develop compassion for beings because they're empty.

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:26 pm

Lokottara wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:13 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm
There has to be bodhicitta first. Otherwise I think the tendency is toward individual liberation only. That's why it's said that resolve is the first step to Buddhahood. Well, before that, there has to be faith.
I actually think that the knowledge of emptiness optimally comes before bodhicitta.

Vimalakīrti replied, “Mañjuśrī, a bodhisattva should regard all living
beings as a wise man regards the reflection of the moon in water or as
magicians regard men created by magic. He should regard them as being
like a face in a mirror; like the water of a mirage; like the sound of an
echo; like a mass of clouds in the sky; like the previous moment of a ball
of foam; like the appearance and disappearance of a bubble of water; like
the core of a plantain tree; like a flash of lightning; like the fifth great
element; like the seventh sense-medium; like the appearance of matter in
an immaterial realm; like a sprout from a rotten seed; like a tortoise-hair
coat; like the fun of games for one who wishes to die; like the egoistic views
of a stream-winner; like a third rebirth of a once-returner; like the descent
of a nonreturner into a womb; like the existence of desire, hatred, and folly
in an arhat; like thoughts of avarice, immorality, wickedness, and hostility
in a bodhisattva who has attained tolerance; like the instincts of afflictions
in a tathāgata; like the perception of color in one blind from birth; like
the inhalation and exhalation of an ascetic absorbed in the meditation of
cessation; like the track of a bird in the sky; like the erection of a eunuch;
like the pregnancy of a barren woman; like the unproduced afflictions of
an emanated incarnation of the Tathāgata; like dream-visions seen after
waking; like the afflictions of one who is free of conceptualizations; like
fire burning without fuel; like the reincarnation of one who has attained
ultimate liberation.
“Precisely thus, Mañjuśrī, does a bodhisattva who realizes ultimate
selflessness consider all beings.”
Mañjuśrī then asked further, “Noble sir, if a bodhisattva considers all
living beings in such a way, how does he generate the great love toward them?”
Vimalakīrti replied, “Mañjuśrī, when a bodhisattva considers all living
beings in this way, he thinks: ‘Just as I have realized the Dharma, so should I
teach it to living beings.’ Thereby, he generates the love that is truly a refuge
for all living beings; the love that is peaceful because free of grasping; the
love that is not feverish, because free of passions; the love that accords with
reality because it is the very same in all three times; the love that is without
conflict because free of the violence of the passions; the love that is nondual
because it is involved neither with the external nor with the internal; the love
that is imperturbable because totally ultimate.
“Thereby he generates the love that is firm, its high resolve unbreakable,
like a diamond; the love that is pure, purified in its intrinsic nature; the love
that is even, its aspirations being equal; the arhat’s love that has eliminated
its enemy; the bodhisattva’s love that continuously develops living beings;
the Tathāgata’s love that understands reality; the Buddha’s love that causes
living beings to awaken from their sleep; the love that is spontaneous
because it is fully enlightened spontaneously; the love that is enlightenment
because it is unity of experience; the love that has no presumption because
it has eliminated attachment and aversion; the love that is great compassion
because it infuses the Mahāyāna with radiance; the love that is never
exhausted because it acknowledges voidness and selflessness; the love that
is giving because it bestows the gift of Dharma free of the tight fist of a
bad teacher; the love that is morality because it improves immoral living
beings; the love that is tolerance because it protects both self and others;
the love that is effort because it takes responsibility for all living beings;
the love that is contemplation because it refrains from indulgence in tastes;
the love that is wisdom because it causes attainment at the proper time;
the love that is liberative art because it shows the way everywhere; the love
that is without formality because it is pure in motivation; the love that is
without deviation because it acts from decisive motivation; the love that is
high resolve because it is without passions; the love that is without deceit
because it is not artificial; the love that is happiness because it introduces
living beings to the happiness of the Buddha. Such, Mañjuśrī, is the great
love of a bodhisattva.”


- - The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa

The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa argues that knowledge of the emptiness of sentient beings is the basis for bodhicitta, as it removes the very notion of sentimental love that normal sentient beings have (which is still very beautiful, of course). The great love of a bodhisattva, though, is all-encompassing, free, unconditional, and unconditioned.
If I'm not mistaken, love is maitri... not karuna (compassion).

Bodhicitta is the first step for the bodhisattva... I don't think you need to know emptiness to wish the end of suffering of all beings and one's own complete awakening... in fact, it helps to be attached and caring toward beings... If a person is empty like a plantain tree, I'm probably inclined to treat them like a plantain tree.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Lokottara
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Lokottara » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:47 am

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:26 pm
Lokottara wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:13 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:21 pm
There has to be bodhicitta first. Otherwise I think the tendency is toward individual liberation only. That's why it's said that resolve is the first step to Buddhahood. Well, before that, there has to be faith.
I actually think that the knowledge of emptiness optimally comes before bodhicitta.

Vimalakīrti replied, “Mañjuśrī, a bodhisattva should regard all living
beings as a wise man regards the reflection of the moon in water or as
magicians regard men created by magic. He should regard them as being
like a face in a mirror; like the water of a mirage; like the sound of an
echo; like a mass of clouds in the sky; like the previous moment of a ball
of foam; like the appearance and disappearance of a bubble of water; like
the core of a plantain tree; like a flash of lightning; like the fifth great
element; like the seventh sense-medium; like the appearance of matter in
an immaterial realm; like a sprout from a rotten seed; like a tortoise-hair
coat; like the fun of games for one who wishes to die; like the egoistic views
of a stream-winner; like a third rebirth of a once-returner; like the descent
of a nonreturner into a womb; like the existence of desire, hatred, and folly
in an arhat; like thoughts of avarice, immorality, wickedness, and hostility
in a bodhisattva who has attained tolerance; like the instincts of afflictions
in a tathāgata; like the perception of color in one blind from birth; like
the inhalation and exhalation of an ascetic absorbed in the meditation of
cessation; like the track of a bird in the sky; like the erection of a eunuch;
like the pregnancy of a barren woman; like the unproduced afflictions of
an emanated incarnation of the Tathāgata; like dream-visions seen after
waking; like the afflictions of one who is free of conceptualizations; like
fire burning without fuel; like the reincarnation of one who has attained
ultimate liberation.
“Precisely thus, Mañjuśrī, does a bodhisattva who realizes ultimate
selflessness consider all beings.”
Mañjuśrī then asked further, “Noble sir, if a bodhisattva considers all
living beings in such a way, how does he generate the great love toward them?”
Vimalakīrti replied, “Mañjuśrī, when a bodhisattva considers all living
beings in this way, he thinks: ‘Just as I have realized the Dharma, so should I
teach it to living beings.’ Thereby, he generates the love that is truly a refuge
for all living beings; the love that is peaceful because free of grasping; the
love that is not feverish, because free of passions; the love that accords with
reality because it is the very same in all three times; the love that is without
conflict because free of the violence of the passions; the love that is nondual
because it is involved neither with the external nor with the internal; the love
that is imperturbable because totally ultimate.
“Thereby he generates the love that is firm, its high resolve unbreakable,
like a diamond; the love that is pure, purified in its intrinsic nature; the love
that is even, its aspirations being equal; the arhat’s love that has eliminated
its enemy; the bodhisattva’s love that continuously develops living beings;
the Tathāgata’s love that understands reality; the Buddha’s love that causes
living beings to awaken from their sleep; the love that is spontaneous
because it is fully enlightened spontaneously; the love that is enlightenment
because it is unity of experience; the love that has no presumption because
it has eliminated attachment and aversion; the love that is great compassion
because it infuses the Mahāyāna with radiance; the love that is never
exhausted because it acknowledges voidness and selflessness; the love that
is giving because it bestows the gift of Dharma free of the tight fist of a
bad teacher; the love that is morality because it improves immoral living
beings; the love that is tolerance because it protects both self and others;
the love that is effort because it takes responsibility for all living beings;
the love that is contemplation because it refrains from indulgence in tastes;
the love that is wisdom because it causes attainment at the proper time;
the love that is liberative art because it shows the way everywhere; the love
that is without formality because it is pure in motivation; the love that is
without deviation because it acts from decisive motivation; the love that is
high resolve because it is without passions; the love that is without deceit
because it is not artificial; the love that is happiness because it introduces
living beings to the happiness of the Buddha. Such, Mañjuśrī, is the great
love of a bodhisattva.”


- - The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa

The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa argues that knowledge of the emptiness of sentient beings is the basis for bodhicitta, as it removes the very notion of sentimental love that normal sentient beings have (which is still very beautiful, of course). The great love of a bodhisattva, though, is all-encompassing, free, unconditional, and unconditioned.
If I'm not mistaken, love is maitri... not karuna (compassion).

Bodhicitta is the first step for the bodhisattva... I don't think you need to know emptiness to wish the end of suffering of all beings and one's own complete awakening... in fact, it helps to be attached and caring toward beings... If a person is empty like a plantain tree, I'm probably inclined to treat them like a plantain tree.
I use "love" and "compassion" interchangeably, because they're so intertwined. (Mahā)Maitri is benevolence toward sentient beings. (Mahā)Karuṇā is the compassionate drive that urges a bodhisattva to relieve beings of their suffering. Maitri and karuṇā are two modes, so to speak, of the same thing. Maitri is the benevolence that leads to karuṇā, while karuṇā is the active urge to save all beings. True bodhicitta is thought of as mahākaruṇā + prajñā.

I suppose that relative bodhicitta is definitely useful as a prerequisite, to not fall into nihilism. That being said, the emptiness of sentient beings is only a crux to experiencing the great love and compassion only to someone who misunderstands the goal. A bodhisattva would think "these beings don't understand that they are not beings, so I must save them". This causes them to develop mahākaruṇā, and its basis is, of course, the prajñā of emptiness.

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:56 am

Lokottara wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:47 am
I use "love" and "compassion" interchangeably, because they're so intertwined. (Mahā)Maitri is benevolence toward sentient beings. (Mahā)Karuṇā is the compassionate drive that urges a bodhisattva to relieve beings of their suffering. Maitri and karuṇā are two modes, so to speak, of the same thing. Maitri is the benevolence that leads to karuṇā, while karuṇā is the active urge to save all beings. True bodhicitta is thought of as mahākaruṇā + prajñā.

I suppose that relative bodhicitta is definitely useful as a prerequisite, to not fall into nihilism. That being said, the emptiness of sentient beings is only a crux to experiencing the great love and compassion only to someone who misunderstands the goal. A bodhisattva would think "these beings don't understand that they are not beings, so I must save them". This causes them to develop mahākaruṇā, and its basis is, of course, the prajñā of emptiness.
Conflating those two is fine as an idiosyncrasy, but I'm not so sure its broadly applicable. You're basically suggesting that the passage you quoted should be read in a manner other than its actual reading...

Emptiness is relevant to developing maitri (love) precisely because it loosens the ordinary attachments.

The whole point of bodhicitta arising out of a wish to escape and alleviate suffering is that the person arousing that desire doesn't at that moment know how to alleviate their own or the suffering of others. They just know they need to get out of the burning house and bring everyone with them.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Lokottara » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:37 am

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:56 am
Lokottara wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:47 am
I use "love" and "compassion" interchangeably, because they're so intertwined. (Mahā)Maitri is benevolence toward sentient beings. (Mahā)Karuṇā is the compassionate drive that urges a bodhisattva to relieve beings of their suffering. Maitri and karuṇā are two modes, so to speak, of the same thing. Maitri is the benevolence that leads to karuṇā, while karuṇā is the active urge to save all beings. True bodhicitta is thought of as mahākaruṇā + prajñā.

I suppose that relative bodhicitta is definitely useful as a prerequisite, to not fall into nihilism. That being said, the emptiness of sentient beings is only a crux to experiencing the great love and compassion only to someone who misunderstands the goal. A bodhisattva would think "these beings don't understand that they are not beings, so I must save them". This causes them to develop mahākaruṇā, and its basis is, of course, the prajñā of emptiness.
Conflating those two is fine as an idiosyncrasy, but I'm not so sure its broadly applicable. You're basically suggesting that the passage you quoted should be read in a manner other than its actual reading...

Emptiness is relevant to developing maitri (love) precisely because it loosens the ordinary attachments.

The whole point of bodhicitta arising out of a wish to escape and alleviate suffering is that the person arousing that desire doesn't at that moment know how to alleviate their own or the suffering of others. They just know they need to get out of the burning house and bring everyone with them.
There are specific cases where I wouldn't use maitri and karuṇā interchangeably, but in the case of the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa, I definitely would. This isn't totally unprecedented at all. In the text, it's said that the great loving-kindness of a bodhisattva is "great compassion because it infuses the Mahāyāna with radiance". In the Sanskrit text, great loving-kindness and great compassion are made into the nominal compound "mahākaruṇāmaitrī". This can be seen here.

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:46 am

That's reading a lot into that one line. I don't agree it quite means what you suggest.

That line comes up in a context of a fairly conventional description of maitri. To the extent that maitri reinforces Karuna and reverse, I agree. To conflate Karuna and maitri as a general matter is not conventional.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:44 am

Compassion and emptiness are inseparable, emptiness is not a "prerequisite" for anything, it's simply the state of reality, direct apprehension of that state manifests as compassion, etc. in relative reality, and it does not involve effort.

The manifestation of that compassion is not even a volitional act, in the normal way we think of volitional acts (see Uttaratantra etc. in this one they say "the love that is without deceit because it is not artificial").

So simply the concept of emptiness is just that - the concept of emptiness, strictly speaking if one could generate great compassion simply from comprehension of a conceptual sort then existentialists and nihilists would be expert at it.

This is speaking of Buddha (well, high level Bodhisattva) activity, which does not come from applying concepts such as "this being is empty so I must be compassionate", nor any concepts whatsoever, language is used to describe it, but IMO the passages are not saying that there is some chronological volitional chain between comprehending emptiness and geenrating compassion....though I guess maybe you could argue that's the "fake it till you make it" version that we sentient beings start out with.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by LastLegend » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:51 am

Lokottara wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:33 am
I frequently think about the sections of the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa that beautifully connect the knowledge of emptiness with compassion, and a direct cause for bodhicitta. Have any of you found that contemplating on the emptiness of sentient beings makes you more compassionate?
If you relax your mind and body, then feel the subtle bliss and gently arise intention to send that to all realms.
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that is not relying on anything.

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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by muni » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:15 am

LastLegend wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:51 am



*** If you relax your mind and body, then feel the subtle bliss and gently arise intention to send that to all realms ***
Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

Not to identify oneself with something, or to associate things with the 'me,' and to see that the idea that there is a 'me,' which is distinct from things, is a delusion. H H Dalai Lama.

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SonamTashi
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by SonamTashi » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:17 am

The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa passage is discussing the conduct of a Bodhisattva. In other words, in context it is discussing those who already have bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is the first step.
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SteRo
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by SteRo » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:06 am

Lokottara wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:33 am
I frequently think about the sections of the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa that beautifully connect the knowledge of emptiness with compassion, and a direct cause for bodhicitta. Have any of you found that contemplating on the emptiness of sentient beings makes you more compassionate?
The passage of the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa you have quoted may be easily misunderstood. Because it reads 'a bodhisattva should regard all living
beings as like'. Due to the 'should' one may easily misunderstand this as an instruction for 'contemplating on the emptiness of sentient beings' and regard this contemplation as a means to an end, i.e. as a means to generate bodhicitta or compassion (which are not taught to be the same).

But your quote actually reads:
Vimalakīrti replied, “Mañjuśrī, a bodhisattva should regard all living
beings as a wise man regards the reflection of the moon in water or as
magicians regard men created by magic
. ...
“Precisely thus, Mañjuśrī, does a bodhisattva who realizes ultimate
selflessness consider all beings.
That means that what you are understanding to be an instruction here actually is meant to describe a result of the realization of the reality of the two alleged selves, the self of phenomena and the self of persons which of course includes the self of the bodhisattva her-/himself.
But before that realization can happen conventional bodhicitta (which is based on compassion) is generated as stated earlier in the sutra when it reads:
"Friends, the body of a Tathagata is born of innumerable good works. Toward such a
body you should turn your aspirations, and, in order to eliminate the sicknesses of the
passions of all living beings, you should conceive the spirit of unexcelled, perfect
enlightenment.
"
:anjali:

Simon E.
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:20 pm

There is a debate to had concerning whether Bodhicitta is actually generated, or whether it is in some sense innate and uncovered. I suspect that in reality it is both.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

tkp67
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by tkp67 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:55 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:20 pm
There is a debate to had concerning whether Bodhicitta is actually generated, or whether it is in some sense innate and uncovered. I suspect that in reality it is both.
I think it is fair to say the defiled mine senses liberation even if it does not understand it.

This might lead to reasoning that the amount of bodhicitta one uncovers and the bodhicitta one needs to uncover it are relative to cause, karma, conditions and capacity.

jake
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Re: Does meditating on emptiness directly lead to compassion?

Post by jake » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:40 pm

tkp67 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:55 pm
I think it is fair to say the defiled mine senses liberation even if it does not understand it.
Which sense organs and with what sense consciousness does the mind sense liberation?
tkp67 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:55 pm
This might lead to reasoning that the amount of bodhicitta one uncovers and the bodhicitta one needs to uncover it are relative to cause, karma, conditions and capacity.
Reasoning is one thing, what writings on Bodhicitta support this reasoning? Further what is meant by "Bodhicitta one needs to uncover" is it something that can be quantified?

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