Compassion in Action

Path of Action: Day 25

The Buddhas and Arhats do not work for themselves, but for the future and for other people. That is why the knowledge they manifest can endure in the world. The actions of the Great Bodhisattvas produce benefit on many levels: immediate benefit, long-range benefit, and benefit that works its way into the very fabric of time.

As ordinary individuals, we cannot always see the benefits that the deeds of the Bodhisattvas will bring in the future, but we can rely on their intention and their promise, which are unlimited in scope and range, made to all beings and for all time.

When we contemplate the practice of compassion, it is important to keep the comprehensive vision of the Bodhisattvas in mind. It is easy enough to say the word “compassion,” or even to generate feelings of sympathy toward others, but the real meaning of compassion only begins to manifest when we are ready to dedicate body and mind toward positive results year after year. Here it is certainly true that actions speak louder than words.

In our work, we have the chance to bring the practice of compassion alive. Taking advantage of our situation, we can do something truly beneficial, choosing a path guided by right knowledge and dedicating our action to others. We can cherish what we are doing, trusting in its value.

Following in the footsteps of the great Dharma masters of the past, we can dedicate our efforts to the future. Even if we cannot trace any immediate benefits, we can be confident that we are planting the seeds of goodness for the future. After all, a seed is nothing much to look it, but in time it can produce wonderful fruit and beautiful bouquets for others to enjoy.

Just think how today we take nourishment from the those who came before us—not only the great Dharma masters, but those who created our language, shaped our ideas, and discovered the knowledge we rely on completely. Our work today may one day have the same impact.


Path of Action, by Tarthang Tulku is an unpublished work. Please do not copy, remix or republish this post or any others in this series without express permission from Mandala Training.