This talk reviews the Wholesome Mind Conditioning function of karuna (kah-roo-nah), compassion, which is a manifestation of Right Intention from the Noble Eightfold Path. Peter reviews the universal human capacity for empathy, “hard-wired” into our nervous system, perhaps expressed through the function of the vagal nerve process, which connects the brain with the heart, lungs and intestines, suggesting the the experience of compassion is a process involving the entire torso as well as the brain. This innate empathy creates the group cohesion necessary for civilization to function effectively, which is greatly challenged during these trying times that involve the pandemic, political conflict and the disruptive societal impact of global warming. Different approaches to cultivating compassion are described involving the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana views. The review is followed by discussion among those participating regarding the cultivation of compassion. This talk is accompanied by a separately recorded “Guided Mindful Compassion Meditation” from the same night.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: Mindful Compassion In Trying Times
The focus for next week’s talk will be the cultivating of Sympathetic Joy, another of the Wholesome Cetasikas.