We don’t need to be particularly saintly in order to be compassionate


Seeing the suffering in the world around us and in our own bodies and minds, we begin to understand suffering not only as an individual problem, but as a universal experience.

It is one of the aspects of being alive. The question that then comes to mind is: If compassion arises from the awareness of suffering, why isn’t the world a more compassionate place?

The problem is that often our hearts are not open to feel the pain. We move away from it, close off, and become defended. By closing ourselves off from suffering, however, we also close ourselves to our own wellspring of compassion.

We don’t need to be particularly saintly in order to be compassionate. Compassion is the natural response of an open heart, but that wellspring of compassion remains capped as long as we turn away from or deny or resist the truth of what is there.

When we deny our experience of suffering, we move away from what is genuine to what is fabricated, deceptive and confusing.

–Joseph Goldstein, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom


2 Responses to “We don’t need to be particularly saintly in order to be compassionate”

  1. 1 Uku
    March 13, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Thank you for sharing, really inspirational and wise quote!

    “We don’t need to be particularly saintly in order to be compassionate.”

    I agree. We don’t have to be free from our attachments, delusions to be compassionate. We can start to act compassionately right now, right here, no matter how demons or gods we are. Buddha nature is right here, right now, inside of us and we can start to practice compassion and kindness right now, right here.

    Thank you very much, wonderful post!

    Yours in Dharma,

  2. 2 johnherberger
    March 13, 2009 at 6:37 am

    Thank You
    It is truly one of my favorite quotes. No need to be saintly. Just be open to suffering. We all suffer. Being open to suffering leads to compassion. Being closed leads to deception and confusion.
    I love this because of course I am resistant to suffering and often confused. When I stop being resistant there is a wellspring of compassion – the true nature for all of us.

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Live'n Aloha on Maui.
Lately just posting pics, artwork, vids, & music with just a headline (less seems to be more).
Into Wilber, Beck, Zen Stuffs, Spiritual Concepts, Philosophy and Humor (kinda geeky humor).
Currently attempting to strengthen my meditation skills (this has been a 20 yr process).
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March 2009
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