Dalai Lama Quote of the Week...
[SIZE=2]Dalai Lama Quote of the Week[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]...Compassion diminishes fright about your own pain and increases inner strength. It gives you a sense of empowerment, of being able to accomplish your tasks. It lends encouragement.
Let me give you a small example. Recently, when I was in Bodh Gaya, I fell ill from a chronic intestinal infection. On the way to the hospital, the pain in my abdomen was severe, and I was sweating a great deal. The car was passing through the area of Vulture Peak (Buddha taught here) where the villagers are extremely poor. In general, Bihar State is poor, but that particular area is even more so. I did not even see children going to or coming from school. Just poverty. And sickness. I have a very clear memory of a small boy with polio, who had rusty metal braces on his legs and metal crutches up to his armpits. It was obvious that he had no one to look after him. I was very moved. A little later on, there was an old man at a tea stop, wearing only a dirty piece of cloth, fallen to the ground, left to lie there with no one to take care of him.
Later, at the hospital, my thoughts kept circling on what I had seen, reflecting on how sad it was that here I had people to take care of me but those poor people had no one. That is where my thoughts went, rather than to my own suffering. Though sweat was pouring out of my body, my concern was elsewhere.
In this way, though my body underwent a lot of pain that prevented sleep (a hole had opened in my intestinal wall), my mind did not suffer any fear or discomfort. It would only have made the situation worse if I had concentrated on my own problems. This is an example from my small experience of how an attitude of compassion helps even oneself, suppressing some degree of physical pain and keeping away mental distress, despite the fact that others might not be directly helped.
Compassion strengthens your outlook, and with that courage you are more relaxed. When your perspective includes the suffering of limitless beings, your own suffering looks comparatively small.
--from Mind of Clear Light: Advice on Living Well and Dying Consciously by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, Ph.D.