374. Compassion

Mahayana  Buddhism,  in all its fantastical  detail  and complexity, is an attempt  to answer  two questions.   

The first: “Isn’t the wish  to be free from  desire  a sort of desire?” 

The second: “If we accept  the radical  interdependence of all being,  isn’t the wish  to be liberated  from that  interdependence a kind of  ignorance?” 

In the  attempt to  answer these questions  we can see the central  place  of compassion. 

But we need to understand what compassion  means.  

Primarily, we need to understand that  compassion is not  a personal  quality.  It’s not something which  you  cultivate  or accumulate.   It’s not  kindness  or pity  or  generosity.

It’s feeling  with, the self, as it were, is unfolded and recorded into this  feeling  with. 

It’s from  that starting point  that we can understand some of the more  fantastical,   or apparently fantastical  aspects of Mahayana. 

We can start to understand  both how practitioners  can be viewed as  bodhisattvas and how the world as a whole and the beings in that world can likewise  be seen  as bodhisattvas—as having a liberative  capacity. Because compassion is a universal quality that transiently locates itself within particular beings, like the air in our lungs, then it is continually being expressed everywhere.