Dong Hung Buddhist Temple
Tuesday Evening Discussion Group
April 22, 2014
The Venerable Thich Chuc Thanh presided at the discussion group.
The evening opened with members of the group sharing sutras and other sources of teachings about compassion. ÂÂ
Pat read from AN 6.13, Nissaraniya Sutra: Means of Escape, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, in part “…— when compassion has been developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken as an awareness-release — viciousness would still keep overpowering the mind. That possibility doesn't exist, for this is the escape from viciousness: compassion as an awareness-release.'
We also reviewed our chant based on theÂÂ Avalokitesvara Sutra as showing us the steps to understanding and achieving compassion.ÂÂ Ruth commented that we should change “may I…” to “I vow to…” in the phrases in the chant.ÂÂ She also shared this from Middle Discourses (Majjhima Nikaya) Sutra 19:3: “This thought of (fill in the blank) has arisen in me.ÂÂ It will lead to my affliction and the affliction of others.ÂÂ It will obscure wisdom, cause difficulties, and lead away from Nirvana.” ÂÂ
Much discussion took place on how these two sutras inter-relate with how we view compassion.ÂÂ We turned our attention to Empathy. After reviewing the dictionary meaning of empathy, which includes “…understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to… the feelings, thoughts and experiences of another…”ÂÂ The group came to the conclusion that what we thought was empathy and how we dealt with it actually was an incomplete understanding.ÂÂ Having empathy equates to us suffering along with the other person.ÂÂ Instead of “having empathy” we should take action, find a way out, for the person we are feeling empathy for by:
Developing compassion for the person.
Developing loving kindness for the person.
Developing and experiencing joy with and for the person.
Developing equanimity for the person.
Thay Thahn will forward sutras for the group to read for the next discussion group meeting on Tuesday, April 29.
April 27, 2014