A Young disciple came to ask his master:
“Master, what is compassion?”
The Master explained:“An old man was begging at the corner of a busy street.
First an old lady passed by him and infuriated by the beggar poverty gave him a gold coin.
Then a merchant noticing that a small group of men were talking about him gave 5 gold coins to the beggar, and quickly left while walking with his head held high and having a haughty smile.
Then, later, a boy who went to collect some flowers for his mom passed by the beggar; smiled to him and gave him a flower. ”
The master asked his disciple:
“Which one of them do you think felt the most compassion toward the beggar?”
“The merchant did”, replied the boy.
The master, smiling, continued.
“The merchant acted out of pride, the old lady acted out of pity; however the boy felt real compassion. Compassion is a far greater and nobler thing than pity. Pity has its roots in fear, and a sense of arrogance and condescension, sometimes even a smug feeling of “I’m glad it’s not me.”
When your fear touches someone’s pain it becomes pity.
When your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion.
Feeling compassion is more essential than showing compassion.
To train in compassion, then, is to know all beings are the same and suffer in similar ways, to honor all those who suffer, and to know you are neither separate from nor superior to anyone.”