October 13, 2009

Is "compassion" overexposed?

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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Truthsayer's picture

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.

konchog's picture

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.

nathan's picture

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.

justcurious's picture

Wow! Is western buddhism turning more and more into a postmodern form of self-help?