White Wind Zen Community

A Community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985

Maitri Bhavana

The Practice of Compassion

by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi

Book: Draft edition*, 8.5" by 11", 15 pages, Cerlox binding
Ebook: PDF

"The Buddhadharma has been taught and practiced in so many different cultures, in so many different homes, under so many different skies, by people with bellies full of so many different kinds of food, sitting down crossing their legs and attending to their bodyminds and to their experience and to each other and to their world. During all of this time, compassion has always played a major element within the practice and Teachings, within the poetry and songs and iconography of the Dharma.

But we have to be very careful about even the word “compassion”. Perhaps we see an image of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, and he or she might strike us as being like the Virgin Mary or some such figure that depicts a kind of consoling pity. The word for compassion in Sanskrit that is used in the Buddhadharma is karuna. Karuna is a compassion that springs directly from wisdom, from seeing the emptiness, the tracelessness, the openness, the vastness, the limitlessness of your own experience, the vastness and limitlessness and openness and tracelessness of yourself and of each other. It is a compassion which can be very ruthless, a compassion that is choiceless, a compassion that not only doesn’t ask for things in reward for its actions. It often doesn’t say “please” first. It doesn’t even introduce itself. It simply does what it does, because compassion is the manifestation of wisdom, of clear seeing, of insight, of mindfulness."

- Zen Master Anzan Hoshin

*Draft editions are made available so that you can make use of them before the formal publications take place. Slight variations might occur between them and the final published editions. They are not to be reproduced in any form without prior permission.