Joseph continues his series on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. This week: Cultivating Compassion through Right Thought.
Right Thought includes those intentions and aspirations that lead to wholesome actions and result in the welfare and happiness of others and ourselves. On this episode of Insight Hour, Joseph explores how we can cultivate compassion through the practice of Right Thought.
Click here to catch up with part one.
Compassion Through Right Thought (Opening) – Right Thought includes those intentions and aspirations that lead to wholesome actions and result in the welfare and happiness of others and ourselves. In addition to renunciation and loving-kindness that Joseph has covered on previous episodes of the Eightfold Path series, right thought helps us become free of all cruelty by cultivating compassion. He discusses how the tendencies of the mind determine our response in the face of suffering.
“The range and force of a cruel mind state is extensive and far reaching; compassion is the antidote to this great destructive power.”
Cultivating a Natural Response (10:30) – How can our hearts stay open, given the magnitude of suffering that is in the world? Is it even possible to open to it all with compassion? Joseph discusses cultivating a natural compassionate response by putting it into everyday practice in the world. By opening our awareness to the suffering of others, we can condition this compassionate response.
“Our practice is about the transformation of consciousness in such a way that makes compassionate responsiveness the default setting of our lives.”
Compassion for the Other (21:50) – It is important to remind ourselves that those who we consider our enemy are human beings and deserve the same freedom from suffering. This mindset is one of unbiased genuine compassion. As compassion grows, we begin to practice an active engagement with the suffering in the world. Joseph talks about taking action against harmful behavior with compassion.
“Compassion does not mean inaction. We can act, even very forcefully when that is appropriate, if we pay attention to our motivation. Is our motivation coming out of anger or compassion?”
Compassion in Action (32:50) – We can easily practice compassion from two sides. Joseph explains the ways in which we can practice compassion through self-development and service of others.
“Compassion is the antidote to the destructive power of cruelty.”
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