Chandrakirti talks about three types of compassion. The lowest form, which takes sentient beings as the object of compassion and empathises with their suffering, is limited by our own experience and may be corrupted by pride and guilt. The second type takes all phenomena that are compounded and dependent on cause and condition as the object. We feel compassion for those who have died and also for those who have just been born: difficult for many of us. The third or highest is the foundation of the buddhist concept of compassion and has no object. This practice is difficult for those who are not yet fully enlightened but we can aspire to reach this level. Practising compassion can bring us closer to the truth: the aim of the buddhist path.
Artwork by Tintin Dorjee.