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October 13, 2009
Following Brad Warner, Richard Eskow asks whether the word "compassion" has had its day, and whether we can come up with something better. Enlightened self-interest? Conscientious selfishness?
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Compassion is a beautiful word with beautiful meaning.
What could be better?
Also, Buddhists don't have a monopoly on compassion - it's a shared human quality that everyone needs.
Compassion, as it's understood in Buddhism, is the intention and activity to alleviate the suffering of others, both temporarily and ultimately. Where do "self-interest" or "selfishness" enter into this discussion at all? Compassion is the direct antidote of those two.
I think there's a danger of sliding into self-help land for us convert Buddhists in the "West." And yes, compassion is so over used that it's hard to know what people mean when they say it. I think it often ends up meaning being nice, which isn't always the compassionate response.
Wow! Is western buddhism turning more and more into a postmodern form of self-help?
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