What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

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bcol01
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What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by bcol01 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:45 am

.....

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Queequeg
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:00 am

What do you think?

What do those words mean to you?
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

TrimePema
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by TrimePema » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:00 am

Sometimes kindness is kind, sometimes kindness is unkind, sometimes unkindness is kindness.

I forgot who said it.


Likewise, kindness is "idiot compassion" as it has no supreme motivation.
Compassion has a supreme motivation of bodhichitta.


Here is an example:

Buddha walks by a homeless person, gives him nothing.
Student asks Buddha why even the Buddha would not give something to a man who has nothing.
Buddha says because if he had given that man anything material, another homeless person would have killed him for it.

Giving material goods is important as it alleviates the temporary suffering of this life.
Giving the key to liberation extinguishes suffering completely.

Generally, compassion is the sincere care and concern of others, in wishing all beings to be free of samsara completely, and willing to do anything to accomplish that.

May all sentient beings have happiness and its cause
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its cause
May all sentient beings be inseparable from happiness devoid of suffering
May all sentient beings abide in great equanimity free from ignorance aggression and passion.

bcol01
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by bcol01 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:19 am

I guess I was just looking for some elaboration in the context of Buddhist daily life.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:00 am
What do you think?

What do those words mean to you?

shaunc
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by shaunc » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:51 am

I'd recommend reading the book Liao-Fans for lessons.
I got a paper back copy from a vietnamese pureland temple but the book itself may be taoist rather than buddhist in origin.
Nonetheless it's well worth reading.

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Queequeg
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:15 am

:shrug:
Being kind is a way of being compassionate.
Being compassionate is a way of being kind.
:hug: :group: :consoling: :cheers: :twothumbsup: :smile: :applause:

I suppose there are eloquent fellows who can distinguish those things. And paragons of conduct who can articulate those things in action. At this point in my life, those distinctions are lost on me. Being kind is good enough. Being compassionate is good enough.
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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Losal Samten
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Losal Samten » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:42 am

Of the four brahmaviharas, compassion or karuna refers specifically to the feeling one has when perceiving someone suffer; likened to seeing one's mother falling over and breaking her leg.

Loving-kindness or maitri would be the secondary resultant feeling that occurs after gratefulness when one thinks of one's caring mother who has done so much for you with her body, speech, and mind, without even thinking for her own personal happiness and without asking for anything in return; maitri is lovingly wishing her all the unsurpassable comfort and happiness she should have.

Atisha and Taranatha say the cause of karuna is maitri, and the cause of maitri being appreciation and gratefulness, and the cause of appreciation and gratefulness as recognising all sentient beings as having been one's parents.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Anders
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Anders » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:59 am

I think it is easy for us as Mahayana Buddhists to succumb to a kind of intellectual faux compassion, where we have thoughts of compassion and intention for it, but it's not really felt nor reflected in our being and actions. In the benign end of the scale, we intend for compassion on the way to it. In the worse end of the scale, we imagine our hardened intellectual approach to the dharma is "truly compassionate because it is wise" or similar such rationalisations, even though genuine warmth and concern is usually absent.

I personally see compassion as more of an internal feeling, and kindness as more of an outward gesture.

With that in mind, I see kindness as an excellent barometer for the degree to which we are growing genuine compassion. Not always 1:1, but a useful measure either way.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

AJP
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by AJP » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:58 am

Anders wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:59 am
I think it is easy for us as Mahayana Buddhists to succumb to a kind of intellectual faux compassion, where we have thoughts of compassion and intention for it, but it's not really felt nor reflected in our being and actions. In the benign end of the scale, we intend for compassion on the way to it. In the worse end of the scale, we imagine our hardened intellectual approach to the dharma is "truly compassionate because it is wise" or similar such rationalisations, even though genuine warmth and concern is usually absent.

I personally see compassion as more of an internal feeling, and kindness as more of an outward gesture.

With that in mind, I see kindness as an excellent barometer for the degree to which we are growing genuine compassion. Not always 1:1, but a useful measure either way.
The place to practice is the meditation hut

The place to perform is whilst we are faced with the bare vicissitudes of life, which inevitably hunt us down!!

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Wayfarer
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:10 am

Anders wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:59 am
I personally see compassion as more of an internal feeling, and kindness as more of an outward gesture.

With that in mind, I see kindness as an excellent barometer for the degree to which we are growing genuine compassion. Not always 1:1, but a useful measure either way.
:good:
No wisdom can we get hold of
No highest perfection
No Bodhisattva, no thought of enlightenment either
When told of this, if not bewildered and in no way anxious
A Bodhisattva courses in the Tathāgata's wisdom.

Prajñāpāramitā Sutra ~ Conze Translation

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Queequeg
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:45 pm

Losal Samten wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:42 am
Of the four brahmaviharas, compassion or karuna refers specifically to the feeling one has when perceiving someone suffer; likened to seeing one's mother falling over and breaking her leg.

Loving-kindness or maitri would be the secondary resultant feeling that occurs after gratefulness when one thinks of one's caring mother who has done so much for you with her body, speech, and mind, without even thinking for her own personal happiness and without asking for anything in return; maitri is lovingly wishing her all the unsurpassable comfort and happiness she should have.

Atisha and Taranatha say the cause of karuna is maitri, and the cause of maitri being appreciation and gratefulness, and the cause of appreciation and gratefulness as recognising all sentient beings as having been one's parents.
It might be worth pointing out - the Brahmaviharas, as you allude, are subjective experiences, while the question asks about being a certain quality - kind or compassionate. Aside from the problem of conceiving "being" in a Buddhist context, the question is not clear whether the OP is asking about the subjective experience or impression given to another. In the latter case, the subjective feeling may or may not correspond with the expressions that are perceived as kind or compassionate.
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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Losal Samten
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Losal Samten » Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:11 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:45 pm
In the latter case, the subjective feeling may or may not correspond with the expressions that are perceived as kind or compassionate.
People are the owners of their own perceptions, so all we can really do is work on ourselves. Even the Buddha was slagged off despite being the literal embodiment of compassion.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Queequeg
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Re: What is the difference between being kind and compassionate?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:43 pm

Losal Samten wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:11 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:45 pm
In the latter case, the subjective feeling may or may not correspond with the expressions that are perceived as kind or compassionate.
People are the owners of their own perceptions, so all we can really do is work on ourselves. Even the Buddha was slagged off despite being the literal embodiment of compassion.
That's true... My point, though, is the question posited here is not clear. Didn't mean to make you feel on the spot.
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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