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When you over-idealise yourself now
when you are far from being ideal is
when you demonise yourself instead.

Stonepeace | Books

I asked a monk the question, ‘How do I generate boundless compassion for all beings?’ His answer was to ‘Cultivate equanimity.’ This means, to realise the ultimate equality of all beings, for we all have Buddha-nature. I am not superior to anyone, just as no one is inferior to any other. We are all ‘one’ and deserve one another’s help.¬†This reminded me of the simple but important parable of the two-headed-bird… A bird had two heads that shared one body. One day, out of spite, one tricked the other into eating a poisonous fruit, and the whole bird died as a result. Likewise, others and I share one common body. Who we are and our very survival depends on others. There is no food, clothing, shelter and all other forms of support without others. We are interdependent. Even one guy gone astray might be the beginning of society’s downfall.

The Venerable said, ‘Be careful not to become a compassion demon.’ Such a ‘monster’ would be one who truly thinks he is compassionate, who sees himself exclusively separate from others – that they undeniably need help from him. This causes inflation of the ego! A truly compassionate person never thinks of oneself as being compassionate. One would simply function the way one sees as the most appropriate and natural. While we should praise the kind, no big deal should be made out of ourselves being kind.

The Daily Enlightenment 1: Reflections For Practising Buddhists | Get Book
Shen Shian

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One Response to “Compassion Demon”

  1. This is Such a hard lesson to learn, especially when much is made of others whose compassion is boundless and we want a little of that praise for ourselves.

    But I’m learning that praise from others, though nice is Not the point of being compassionate. It is compassion itself that is the point. Doing and praying for others is, most of the time, ignored or unnoticed. It’s very easy to say “Well! How ungrateful they are, why should I continue?” But continue we must, because, like us, noticed or not, everyone needs a little kindness just because.

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