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My Religion is Compassion & Kindness

Do not try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a better Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are. ~HH Dalai Lama

Over a hot cup of cocoa following an afternoon of shopping in downtown Chicago with my eldest daughter asked if I was a Unitarian, a religion that takes a measure of one religion, a dash of another, a pinch of many others puts them into a mixer then flattens them out into an umbrella of belief.

When I pressed for understanding, she said I posted quite a few Buddhist quotes on my Facebook page so I must be either a Unitarian or a Buddhist. I am neither Unitarian nor Buddhist.

I am a Christian leaning heavily toward the Protestant flavor with its relatively flat structure encouraging followers to interpret the Bible based on their own study and away from the top heavy Catholicism that institutionalized corruption for much of its existence and prefers priest’s interpret the bible for the laity. Though, I am drawn to the most recent Pope, Pope Francis, with his focus on helping the poor and compassion for all including those long marginalized by the corporate church as unworthy. Finally, there is someone in the top who has the compassion and courage to say:

If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society. ~Pope Francis

In the same vein, I am drawn to the teachings of His Holiness Dalai Lama of the Buddhist faith who’s teachings are built on a firm foundation of compassion and kindness. None of my Buddhist posts has ever contradicted Christian doctrine – they are always complementary to the teachings of Jesus.

The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness. ~Dalai Lama

And I am drawn to the teachings of Gandhi, a practicing Hindu who, in the face of systemic oppression and violence, lived a life of nonviolence. And, in doing so, helped free a nation from tyranny. He espoused compassion and kindness in his teachings.

Nonviolence means an ocean of compassion. It means shedding from us every trace of ill will for others. ~Gandhi

Scouring my Facebook feed shows many posts dedicated to kindness and compassion, love in action, which can be attributed to neither Buddhism nor Christianity. I am intrigued by the tenants of any faith system or non-faith system built upon a foundation of kindness and compassion.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always. ~Unknown

The commonality in all these teaching is the duality of compassion and kindness. These are the threads I seek to weave together to live a philosophy with which I blanket my life, my actions, my words, my thoughts. I am a flawed individual so my weaving has imperfections, holes where unkindness and self-centeredness seep out to infect the world, where evil in the world invades my space to afflict me. It is because of my shortcomings that I post about compassion, kindness, love as a measure to remind myself of the way I desire to live.

Compassion is a verb. ~Thich Nhat Han

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. ~Dalai Lama

The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts. ~Dalai Lama

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer. In a gentle way, you can shake the world.~Gandhi

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors. ~Andrew Boyd

Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality. ~Arthur Schopenhauer

I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness. ~Mother Teresa

Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. ~ Pema Chödrön

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. ~Henri J.M. Nouwen

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it. ~Henri J.M. Nouwen

Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It’s the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. ~Frederick Buechner

Compassion is the chief law of human existence. ~Fyodor Dostovevsky

Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers. ~Susan Sontag


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