There are three main practices: Love, Compassion and enlightenment-mind. Love means that you wish every sentient being in all the six realms of existence to be happy, and compassion is the wish that all beings in suffering should part from suffering. The enlightenment-mind means the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. These three are very important. Without love and compassion, the enlightenment mind will not arise and, without the enlightenment mind, you cannot attain enlightenment, so therefore love and compassion are necessary. But of these, compassion is of particular importance. It is said to be the seed of the Great Way in the beginning, then the water that makes the crops grow, and finally it is the ripening of the fruit. So, clearly, compassion being in the beginning, the middle and the end, it is very important. Thus, when Chandrakirti wrote the Madhyamakavatara, he preceded it with homage to compassion. “The Buddha,” he said, “arises from the Bodhisattva and the Bodhisattva is born out of love and compassion, but especially out of compassion.” The main cause of the Great way is compassion.
In the conventional view, life comes before death. In the wisdom view, ego-grasping death comes before life.
The problems we face with appearances and all of the suffering we experience as a result of appearances is not because of the appearances themselves but because of our fixation on them. It is our fixation upon appearances which turns appearances into enemies. Because these appearances are just appearances, they are just what appears to us; so if we have no fixation on them, they will not bring any suffering.
Compassion involves a feeling of closeness to others, a respect and affection that is not based on others’ attitude toward us. We tend to feel affection for people who are important to us. That kind of close feeling does not extend to our enemies—those who think ill of us. Genuine compassion, on the other hand, sees that others, just like us, want a happy and successful life and do not want to suffer. That kind of feeling and concern can be extended to friend and enemy alike, regardless of their feelings toward us. That’s genuine compassion.
When you see something you like, you perceive it as desirable and good. Likewise, if you see somebody you don’t like, then the perception is negative. Kindness, tolerance, impatience, wrath are all your own perception. If you feel kindness instead of wrath, you have a different perception. If you are more tolerant than impatient, you have a different perception. If you know life is impermanent, you see things differently. When your annoying friend is suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer, your perception changes. If we learn to accept, even in a limited way, that everything is subject to our perception, then pure perception of the guru is more achievable. Coupled with pure perception, guru devotion has nothing to do with being a sycophant. It’s really about exercising your own perception.
Is there need for lengthy explanation?
Childish beings look out for themselves,
While Buddhas labor for the good of others.
See the difference that divides them!