This talk reviews the second of the four Divine Abidings, Karuna, which emerges from the cultivation of lovingkindness.  Compassion involves developing mindful awareness of empathy regarding the experience of dukkha, distress and confusion, in one’s subjective experience.  The characteristics of the “far enemy” and “near enemy” of compassion are reviewed, as well as how contemporary psychological research supports the personal and social benefits of cultivating effective actions to bring relief from dukkha for oneself and others.  The Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen is reviewed as a way to integrate mindfulness of breathing, investigation of mental phenomena and Right Effort with the expression compassion.

This talk is intended to be supplemented by the recording entitled “Guided Compassion Contemplation”, which can be found in the archives of this site.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Cultivating Compassion

The topic for next week’s talk will be on cultivating Sympathetic Joy, another of the four Divine Abidings.