chapter  16
12 Pages

The nature of compassion

Compassion is linked to various traits such as warmth and agreeableness (see Point 7) and its development from childhood is strongly linked to early affectionate experiences and attachment security (Gillath, Shaver, & Mikulincer, 2005). Compassion itself can be de®ned in many ways (see Point 1). The Dalai Lama de®nes compassion as a sensitivity to the suffering of self and others, with a deep commitment to try to relieve it. In Mahayana Buddhism, mindfulness creates the conditions for a calm mind and compassion for a transformed mind. Each works together like the wings of a bird. The Buddha understood the transformative processes of compassion and recognized that we needed to train our minds in many different ways. He talked about the eight-fold path as a path for compassion and insight:

· Right view: develop clear insight into the true causes of suffering as being linked to attachments and craving.