Ethics of compassion
To help explain the ethics of compassion I will be using reference from the Dalia Lama’s book Ethics for the New Millennium, more specifically chapter ten; The Need for Discernment, and chapter 5 The Supreme Emotion. I will also refer to Touching Peace, and the five mindfulness trainings. The Dalia Lama had so many strong points it was hard to find any criticisms in his philosophies. One thing that concerned me was how he recognizes people who kill and torture for pleasure. The other point he made that came across as weaker to me or somewhat questionable is that we are to question whether our motive is genuinely compassionate when considered in relation to the totality of all beings. As for the strong points keeping in mind that there is no substantial difference between us, we all share a common desire to be happy and avoid suffering. The second point he made that I think is very strong is that, when we lack discipline, eventually anxiety arises in our mind, and deep in our heart we come to feel a sense of disquiet. In chapter 5 “the supreme emotion” the Dalai Lama begins talking about his visit to the Auschwitz extermination camp which is now a museum of sorts in Germany. He explains how he is dumfounded by the sheer calculation and detachment from feeling. Because basic human feeling is the capacity we all have to empathize with one another. In Tibetan this is known as shen dug ngal wa la mi so pa, and translates to the inability to bear the sight of another’s suffering. He brings up the possibility for people who live in atmospheres of violence and indifference to others may no longer be moved as the sight of other’s suffering, just like those endure years of warfare. Although this may be true he still says we all still appreciate being shown kindness, which suggests that however hardened we may become the capacity for empathy remains. The Dalai Lama uses an example of him visiting the Washington memorial of showing two sides of...
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