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Wisdom Spotlight - Issue #16 - The Ten Qualities of Compassion


Wisdom Spotlight

October 13 · Issue #16 · View online

A monthly spotlight on Dharma education and practice resources from Samye Institute.

The Ten Qualities of Compassion

Chenrezig artwork. Credit Tsunma Jamyang Donma.
Chenrezig artwork. Credit Tsunma Jamyang Donma.
Dear Student,
Compassion is the wish that all sentient beings be free from suffering and the cause of suffering. And fierce, strong compassion also includes the determination to become awakened to bring all beings to that fully awakened state. This is a bold and open-minded vision that excludes no one and welcomes the challenge. We can embrace this view and train in it step by step, becoming slowly stronger and more full of awareness. 
We aim to cultivate and develop ten qualities of compassion. These ten qualities also correspond to the ten pāramitās, or ten perfections, the transcendent activities. When we master these qualities, we will embody compassion and become a field of merit for all sentient beings. 
The ten qualities of compassion are as follows:
1. Freedom from attachment – the pāramitā of generosity
2. Mindfulness – the pāramitā of discipline
3. Patience when encountering difficulty – the pāramitā of patience
4. Delight in virtue – the pāramitā of diligence
5. Non-distraction – the pāramitā of meditative concentration
6. Wisdom free of the three spheres – the pāramitā of wisdom (prajñā
7. Doing what is needed and required – the pāramitā of skillful means
8. Power of compassion – the pāramitā of strength, or power
9. Aspiration prayers – the pāramitā of aspiration 
10. The direct realization of the nature of things – the pāramitā of primordial wisdom (jñāna)
In the short booklet, Fearless Compassion (PDF here) Phakchok Rinpoche explains how these ten principles relate to the perfections. He points out that the last four elements arise as qualities from having trained in compassion. This reflects the classic Mahayana sutra, the Saṃdhinirmocana sūtra (Unraveling the Intent). There, the Buddha explains the perfections to the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. In this text, the Buddha explains how these training methods support each other. They are qualities that we both cultivate and naturally develop.
How do we accomplish this training? As with any other skill, we proceed gradually. Our intent to benefit beings is innate. But compassion can be enhanced and expanded through intention and effort. We apply ourselves to each of the steps and they support each other. In this way, we can manifest genuine, authentic compassion.
We encourage you to explore Samye Institute’s Training in Compassion self-paced course. This course gives you the tools to develop the scope of compassion and to have confidence in your ability. You can get a sense of this course by watching the recent live session by our instructor, Dr. David Shlim.
Samye Institute also provides teachings by our monastic instructors on the first group of six perfections. Tulku Migmar Tsering and Khenpo Gyaltsen explain how we can proceed along the bodhisattva path by practicing the pāramitās.
Tulku Migmar’s teachings on the first four perfections can be found here. And Khenpo Gyaltsen recently instructed the sangha on the six perfections in detail in a series of teachings sponsored by the Indonesian sangha. You can view part one here, part two is available here.
We would like to thank Asociación Bodhicitta Escola de l'Esser for their kindness in translating Fearless Compassion into Spanish.
Nuestros sinceros agradecimientos para Asociación Bodhicitta Escola de l'Esser por traducir este texto al español. Si conoces a alguien interesado en leer el texto en su versión traducida, por favor reenvía este enlace:
Compasión intrépida | Asociación Bodhicitta
Wisdom Spotlight
Here are some of the links from the post above:
Training in Compassion: Making your compassion more stable, vast, and effortless
Practicing the Pāramitās in Daily Life, Part One
The Six Pāramitās: Part One
The Six Pāramitās: Part Two
Latest Wisdom Blogs
Samye Institute posts regular wisdom blogs, covering various aspects of Buddhist practice, ritual and education. Here’s what we posted in the last month.
Being Patient and Farsighted and Enduring Hardship
Educational Resources on Samye Institute
For those of you who want to learn in more detail, we have the following courses available on our platform. Each course is presented in a structured way and also has access to forums and instructor support.
About Samye Institute
Do you know that we’ve published over 500 pieces of content since our inception? On we offer a large archive of audio, video, and written teachings including many teachings directly from Phakchok Rinpoche.
All of these articles include key points and many offer reflection exercises or contemplations. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to or watch these teachings before, we hope that you will take the time to explore them.
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