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Loving Kindness & Compassion February 27, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, Spirit & Ego.

The WordPress Theme of the day is Random Acts of Kindness which raises the question: Why be kind? 

Why practice loving kindness and compassion? 

* To gain brownie points with acquaintances? 
* To earn a seat in heaven? 
* To please God? 
* To honor Buddha?
* To create good karma for this (or the next) life? 

It’s even simpler than that . . .

Being kind makes us happy.  Right here.  Right now. 

Eight Steps To Happiness

The sacred art of developing love and compassion using the ancient eight verse Buddhist poem called “Eight Verses of Training the Mind” is addressed in Eight Steps To Happiness

This immensely practical book charts a complete path of spiritual development.

As a commentary to one of Buddhism’s best-loved and most enduring teachings, Eight Verses of Training the Mind by the great Tibetan Bodhisattva Langri Tangpa, it explains how to transform every moment of our life into a step on the path to inner peace, and in particular how to transform all of life’s difficulties into truly liberating experiences.

Geshe Kelsang shows how all our problems originate from a deeply ingrained tendency to cherish oneself more than others. He explains simple methods to eradicate this stultifying perspective and replace it with a genuine wish to cherish others – the source of all goodness and happiness in this world.

This ancient poem illustrates: (1) how to grow in loving kindness, gratitude and humility, (2) the danger of selfish intentions, and (3) how to practice understanding and compassion.

Kindness Echoes

If we want to transform adversity, reduce suffering, and gain understanding, we must practice compassion.

If we want to establish harmony with the environment and those around us, we must practice compassion.

If we want to develop inner peace and happiness, we must practice compassion.

Whether we have 5 minutes or 5 hours, we can be the change we wish to see in the world . . . transforming ripples of loving kindness into tidal waves of  love and compassion.

Quotes to ponder:

* Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary. ~ James M. Barrie

* The older you get, the more you realize that kindness is synonymous with happiness. ~ Lionel Barrymore

* Kindness is its own reward. ~ Maxim

* Do not overlook any good actions, thinking they are of no benefit; even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.  ~ The Buddha

* When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  Do you gain happiness when you extend loving kindness and compassion towards others? 

Does sharing and caring benefit you as well as those you serve? 

Related posts:  Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies * Dalai Lama: Inner Peace & Happiness * Generosity of Spirit * What is True Happiness? (Always Well Within) * Cultivating Happiness, Not Hedonism * I Plead The Fifth (The Laughing Housewife) * Charter for Compassion (Creating Reciprocity)


1. Maggie - February 27, 2011

I like being kind to people mainly because I like making others smile and feel happy. It makes me happy too, but I’m not kind just for myself.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

Me too! Making others laugh and smile makes me laugh and smile. Being kind makes me happy.

We grow in happiness when we share happiness with others.
Scatter joy.

2. oldancestor - February 27, 2011

An important step toward being a kinder person is understanding and respecting other points of view, even if you disagree with them.

Also, it helps to consider that people have reasons for behaving the way they do. A co-worker might make a snarky comment, but, instead of taking it personally, imagine that the person is under pressure, might have just come out of a meeting with a demanding boss, or has a serious personal problem you don’t know about. Nothing self-replicates faster than anger. Instead of reacting with hostility, respond with understanding.

Not saying I’m good at living this way, but I’m getting better.

As someone who does not practice or follow a religion, I appreciate your “right here, right now” comment. I’ve been told a number of times that I can’t possibly have morality because I haven’t been threatened into moral behavior by a deity (that’s my interpretation of the intention behind such comments). Human beings can be and are moral and kind for exactly the reasons you said. It feels better and is better than the alternative.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

Good points, OA.

Often when people are angry with “us” . . . it is not us they are angry with. We often are irrelevant. Once we realize that, we need not take things so personally.

That’s why I love Buddhist teachings ~ they don’t ask us to BELIEVE anything . . . they encourage us to EXPERIENCE teachings first hand.

oldancestor - February 27, 2011

Have you ever read Tao te Ching? It’s by far the most moving spiritual text I’ve encountered. The general concept is that the universe (and, by extention, time and life) is a river, and that most of us have inadvertently been raised to swim against the current. Taoism invites us to swim with the current by making simple changes.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

I have read a translation of its teachings, but I expect that I would get more out of it now.

Among other things that I recall and have incorporated into my philosophy . . . the way will teach you the way. Just start and the way will appear. Balance in all things. Embrace the Yin and the Yang.

When we enter the flow of life, life becomes infinitely easier. Dive deep and swim beneath the waves.

3. Tammy McLeod - February 27, 2011

I’m a big fan of kindness. Haven’t heard about the eight step book but am going to the library to see if I can find it. Sounds interesting.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

This is one book (of many) that would address the benefit of Buddhist teachings to ourselves and to others.

At the moment, I’m reading Buddha or Bust ~ In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness and the Man Who Found Them All.

Buddha demonstrated how enlightened we become just by waking up. 🙂

4. Julie - February 27, 2011

Yes because giving to others, being kind to others, being compassionate to others is to give, be kind and compassionate to yourself.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

So true. We get what we give. The more love we give away, the more love we feel in our hearts.

Thanks, Julie.

5. kateshrewsday - February 27, 2011

On my shelf is a dusty copy of The Art Of Happiness which I bought years ago and always meant to read. I’ll take it down tonight and start 🙂 Thanks for such an uplifting post, Nancy.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

Thanks, Kate. The Art of Happiness is a terrific read, well worth pulling off the shelf:


6. linda - February 27, 2011

It seems to me, why not be kind? Although I don’t like fake kindness. The quote by James M. Barrie ~ Always be a little kinder than necessary, strikes me as fake.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

The librarian at USC Law School would offer you her umbrella in the pouring rain . . . even if it meant that she would get soaked.

Her extreme behavior struck me as odd ~ fake, phony, forced. 😉

In contrast, I believe I get what Barrie is saying:

Last night, we observed a woman parking her car in an “illegal” spot. When challenged by the owner of the business, she feigned ignorance ~ pretending not to have seen the clearly displayed “NO PARKING” sign right located right next to her car.

I could have walked away ~ figuring she got what she deserved. Instead, I was “kinder than necessary” by directing her to available parking less than a block away.

As soon as I offered her an alternative . . . so did the owner of the business, perhaps realizing that the driver was not his “enemy,” but merely a fellow traveler.

Cindy - February 27, 2011

Nice story, Nancy. You truly are kind.

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

Thank you. I have my moments. 😉

7. Carol Ann Hoel - February 27, 2011

The “love” chapter from the Bible:

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:3-8.

Compassion and kindness are expressions of love. We can love people without necessarily loving everything they do or agreeing with everything they say or think.

Lots of discussion. 🙂 Blessings to you, Nancy…

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

Thanks, Carol Ann.

I read that passage of Corinthians as part of the service at a good friend’s wedding ~ several people asked me after the ceremony whether I was a minister. 🙂

8. Rosa - February 27, 2011

Being kind is usually easier than not! And it makes me feel good… yay kindness!

nrhatch - February 27, 2011

I agree.

Being kind makes me feel light-hearted. Being unkind makes me feel sick to my stomach.

9. jannatwrites - February 27, 2011

I prefer to be kind for two reasons: 1) it could make someone’s day brigher and 2) it makes me feel good.

I’ve had moments when I’ve not been as kind as I would like and I end up feeling bad, even if the person didn’t ‘deserve’ kindness.

Yep, kindness is MUCH better 🙂

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

Yes. Even if I feel “justified” in being unkind (based on my lopsided judgment), when I know I am being unkind, it makes me feel “icky.”

In contrast, if I act with compassion in my heart, I feel content no matter how others judge my actions ~ if X tells me I was unkind for telling Y the truth, or for holding a mirror up to Z’s actions, I just shrug and go on about my day.

I refuse to use an external yardstick to measure the kindness and compassion in my heart.

10. eof737 - February 28, 2011

Kindness is its own reward… I remember watching an Oprah show in which she spoke about the thrill she got during those giveaway shows. We are beneficiaries of our goodwill, directly and indirectly. I agree. 🙂

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

The positive feelings generated when we act with kindness are powerful antidotes to dis-ease. Kindness is its own reward.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

I have to wonder though . . . would Oprah feel as good if she gave the stuff away “behind closed doors.”

Does she feel good because people are watching and applauding her actions? Or because she did good?

11. souldipper - February 28, 2011

The only way to have “it” is to give “it” away. Let’s keep giving it away, Nance!

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

So true. Of course, I don’t feel compelled to rush outside each morning to find people to be kind to . . . I’m not Mother Teresa.

But I keep my eyes and ears open so that I may quietly be of service to someone in need of direction or assistance as I move through my day.

12. Tilly Bud - February 28, 2011

I enjoyed the quotes.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

You are too kind. 😉

13. suzicate - February 28, 2011

Love, kindness, compassion, generosity=the basis of a good life.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

The older I get, the more I know that to be true. Happiness surfaces fastest when we share happiness with others.

Thanks, Suzi.

14. viewfromtheside - February 28, 2011

you can’t give away kindness, it comes back and attaches itself to you

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

You’re right, Sidey!

It’s sticky like honey. And also a bit of a boomerang.

15. Booksphotographsandartwork - February 28, 2011

Today I went out to eat with my daugther and as we sat in our booth waiting on our food I noticed a woman alone in the booth next to us. We invited her over and met the most wonderful person. She was so nice and interesting. Turns out she has a Ph.D in physcology and teaches at the local university. She sure did not look old enough for that. We shared all kinds of stories and had so much fun. In being kind you never know who you might meet or what it may lead too. Now my daughter and I have a new friend.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

That is AWESOME! I love when we reach out to those around us. It’s cool that you invited her over. It’s cool that she accepted. And best of all . . . you enjoyed spending time together.

16. Loreen Lee - May 10, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: Followed your direction. Of course sometimes when I come to something old, it becomes ‘new’ for me. It is like I am experiencing events and people for the first time. That could be the ‘secret’ of making the past present through transformation. But I’d want to think the implications of this idea over a bit more. There can always be unexpected consequences I have found for every belief. I did like the expression that ‘belief’ is not the essential, in the sense that if you ‘hold’ rigidly to ‘beliefs’, there would logically no way for those beliefs to develop into more compassionate experiences through the possibility of living each moment anew, within a constant effort towards the fulfillment of the temporal in all of its aspects of past, present, and future. Thanks for the ‘ping?’ ‘link?’ whatever!

nrhatch - May 10, 2011

You’re welcome, LL. That’s what I mean when I say I strive to Be Here Now.

Focusing on this moment encourages me to set aside preconceived notions, pre-judgements, grievances, resentment, opinions, etc., and really “LISTEN” to what is being offered right here, right now.

It encourages me to look at the world anew . . . to try it again, for the first time.

When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before. ~ Clifton Fadiman

Loreen Lee - May 10, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: This is very accurate to the ongoing analysis of language. I just put down a philosophy text which said (more or less) the same thing:. That listening is more important than speaking; listening not only to others, but to ourselves. (This assumes the primacy of language for understanding, although it distinguishes ‘understanding’ (the pragmatics as well as the hermeneutics of meaning, from Reason, which could be translated into the concept of God, as relevant to that postings. (P.S. also found a good quote on belief, but I still think the relevance of belief still needs more ‘understanding’. Can’t give you the quote because I can’t remember it.
I’m on my ‘break’, as I can’t read more than a few pages at a time. It is too exhausting, and I’m ‘getting old’.

nrhatch - May 10, 2011

Thanks, LL.

As I go through my day, I try to quiet my mind so that I can really “hear” what’s being offered. Sometimes it’s offered in a quote, or a book, or a comment on a blog.

Sometimes it’s just the peace offered by nature.

When my mind is still and focused only on what is in front of me, right here, right now . . . I am more able to sense a resonance if there is something that I need to absorb into my being.

If it doesn’t resonate, I let it go and go on about my business . . . as my path continues to unfold before me.

17. Loreen Lee - May 10, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: Just checking whether ‘the dialogue continues’. If something doesn’t resonate with me, I must remind myself that it may be something which I am not yet able to comprehend. This on the projection, that it ‘could’ be possible for me to become infallible. grin grin. I think in Buddhist terms that what you are talking about is ‘concentration’, which along with effort, and some others that constitute, what? the fourfold? path? Sorry. I’d have to look it up. Thanks for responding. If I come back here I won’t post another comment. My son told me once that it didn’t solve anything to have the ‘last word’, which I had to have for such a long time, in order to feel that I had ‘made my point’!!!!!! (Lack of Confidence)

nrhatch - May 10, 2011

I agree. When something does not resonate with me today . . . it may resonate with me tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year.

The goal is to remain “open” to everything that is offered.

That does not mean that we need to substitute someone else’s opinion for our own . . . but we should listen long enough to hear whether our views need subtle modication (or drastic overhaul).

18. creatingreciprocity - July 22, 2011

Such a great post and such lovely comments as well! I find it very heartening that so many people not only actively try to be kind but actually have such a deep understanding of the good they are also doing themselves by opening their hearts.

nrhatch - July 22, 2011

I thought you would enjoy this. Listening to His Holiness speak of the benefits of kindness and compassion ALWAYS makes me feel better about the world and my place in it. 😀

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