Why Practise Compassion For All?

As the path to Buddhahood necessitates compassion for one and all,
to be truly compassionate to others is to be compassionate to oneself,
to be truly compassionate to oneself is to be compassionate to others.


Without exception, no sufferings belong to anyone [in particular].
They must be warded off simply because they are suffering.
Why is any limitation put on this?

If one asks why suffering should be prevented, no one disputes that!
If it must be prevented, then all of it must be.
If not, then this goes for oneself as for everyone.

You may argue: compassion ’causes’ us so much ‘suffering’, why ‘force’ it to arise?
Yet when one sees how much the world suffers,
how can this ‘suffering from compassion’ be considered great?

If the ‘suffering’ of one ends the suffering of many,
then one who has compassion for others and oneself
must ’cause that suffering’ [from self-sacrifice] to arise.

– The Bodhicaryavatara (Shantideva)
(Translated by Kate Crosby & Andrew Skilton)

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