Wisdom is not mental, and compassion is not emotional


In the West, we’re taught to think of “wisdom” as something that is primarily intellectual and “compassion” as something that is primarily emotional.

Think of wisdom as consciousness, discernment, or insight. It’s recognizing the true nature of reality, and seeing things as they really are, and not just how they appear.

Compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive – it’s not empathy alone – but rather it actively seeks to free others from suffering. It seeks to only do that which aids the liberation of all beings. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and lovingkindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with others (this is lovingkindness).

The transformation of the world cannot happen apart from wisdom and compassion. Take both of these into your life today, and you will be agent of true change and at peace yourself.

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