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Training the mind to lead a “Compassionate Life”

Learning the path to a compassionate life.

By Kat Barton

We’ve been talking a lot about compassion in preparation for His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s visit to WCSU.   But what does it mean to live a compassionate life? 

Compassion is defined as the sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.  In other words you are aware of another’s distress AND you want to make it better.

 In the Dalai Lama’s book “The Compassionate Life,” he discusses the Eight Verses for Training the Mind that summarizes the key teachings on both wisdom and method.

 Verse one focuses on holding dear all other sentient beings.  The main point is to develop an attitude that allows you to feel all sentient beings are precious. 

Verse two builds on the idea of holding sentient beings above self. Thinking of others as superior provides a basis for restraint.

The third verse rejects negative thinking.  The Dalai Lama goes on to explain that it is important to cultivate mindfulness from the beginning.

The fourth verse continues on the negative theme focusing on those who suffer negativity or pain.  Cultivating empathy is the goal with this teaching. In mind training the fifth verse discusses accepting defeat without anger. 

The sixth verse talks about disappointment from the acts of someone we’ve trusted and rather than reacting with outrage that we look at this as an opportunity to learn.

In the seventh verse the student takes on the suffering of others.

In the eighth verse we are cautioned not to allow worldly concerns such as fame and wealth become more important than leading a compassionate life. 

“It could be said that the Eight Verses for Training the Mind contain the entire essence of the Buddha’s teachings.” ---His Holiness The Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will speak on Oct. 18 and 19 at Western Connecticut State University, and the public is invited to a free showing (video simulcast) in the Ives Concert Hall, 181 White St. To help promote this opportunity, WCSU students in the Writing and Linguistics Department's Advertising, Copywriting and Promotions class created a Twitter page. They are writing this blog daily.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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