The Necessity of Compassion
- The Necessity of Compassion
From the Bhavanakrama (The Stages of Meditation) by Kamalasila :
He who wishes to gain omniscience swiftly must strive in three things: in compassion, in the thought of enlightenment, and in meditation. And he should practice compassion from the very outset, for we know that compassion alone is the cause of all the qualities of Buddhahood. As we read in scripture:
Blessed One, a Bodhisattva should not practice too many things at once: for if a Bodhisattva can master and truly understand just one thing, then he will hold all the qualities of Buddhahood in the palm of his hand. And what is this one thing? It is great compassion: Blessed One, it is through compassion that a Bodhisattva holds all the qualities of Buddhahood in the palm of his hand.
Blessed One, it is like the bright chariot wheel of a universal emperor: wherever it may roll, all the hosts of his army follow; and when a Bodhisattva has great compassion, all the qualities of Buddhahood follow close behind. Blessed One, it is like life itself: only when there is life can the other faculties occur, and only when there is great compassion can the other qualities of a Bodhisattva occur as well.
And again we read:
The great compassion of a Bodhisattva does not perish. And why is that? Because it precedes all else. Just as a man's breath precedes his ability to live, the great compassion of a Bodhisattva preceeds his endowment with all the merit and knowledge of the Great Vehicle.
And again we read:
What is the beginning of a Bodhisattva's practice, and what is its abode? Great compassion is the beginning of a Bodhisattva's practice, and it abides among living beings.
Thus a Bodhisattva is impelled only by a desire to help others, with no regard for himself; and he sets out upon a long and arduous path, ever exerting himself to acquire merit and knowledge. As we read in scripture: "When his compassion aims to bring all beings to maturity, there is no happiness he will not renounce."
When a Bodhisattva sets out on this arduous path, swiftly and inevitably he will make perfect his merit and knowledge, and to attain to omniscience; for compassion is the root of all the qualities of Buddhahood. The Buddhas, the Blessed Ones, attained to their omniscience by embracing compassion; and they rejoice in the welfare of the world that they remain therein, nor do the Blessed Ones abide in Nirvana, because of their compassion.