A short meditation for fostering compassion

A meditation for fostering compassion, from Thupten Jinpa.

Thupten Jinpa
26 February 2016
Photo by Tim Wang.

As you contemplate the various ways in which you are the beneficiary of contributions from so many people, including countless strangers, acknowledge that it’s the presence of others that makes it possible for you to live, it’s their presence that gives meaning to your existence, and it’s their deeds that contribute toward your welfare.

Now allow your heart to open so that a sense of appreciation and gratitude may begin to arise in you. Abide in this state, and whatever positive thoughts and feelings you happen to experience, let them permeate your entire being.

Next contemplate this thought: “Just as I feel happy when others wish me well, and feel touched when others show concern for my pain and sorrow, so everyone else feels the same way. Therefore I shall rejoice in others’ happiness and feel concerned for their pain and sorrow.”

Once again, recalling your profound recognition that others aspire to happiness and shun suffering the same way you do, open your heart to rejoicing in others’ happiness and connecting with their pain.

Now—having brought to your mind the fundamental recognition that, just like you, all others aspire to happiness and wish to avoid suffering, as well as having reflected on the deeply interconnected nature of yourself and others—let your heart become permeated by the sense of connection with others.

From A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, by Thupten Jinpa, PhD, with permission from Hudson Street Press.

Thupten Jinpa

Thupten Jinpa

Thupten Jinpa Langri was educated in the classical Tibetan monastic academia and received the highest academic degree of Geshe Lharam (equivalent to a doctorate in divinity). Jinpa also holds a BA in philosophy and a PhD in religious studies, both from the University of Cambridge, England. Since 1985, he has been the principal translator to the Dalai Lama, accompanying him to the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has translated and edited many books by the Dalai Lama, including The World of Tibetan Buddhism, Essence of the Heart Sutra, and the New York Times bestseller Ethics for the New Millennium. Jinpa has published scholarly articles on various aspects of Tibetan culture, Buddhism, and philosophy, and books such as Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Poems of Awakening and Insight (co-authored) and Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Thought. He serves on the advisory board of numerous educational and cultural organizations in North America, Europe, and India. He is currently the president and the editor-in-chief of the Institute of Tibetan Classics, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to translating key Tibetan classics into contemporary languages. And he also currently chairs the Mind and Life Institute and the Compassion Institute.