Three Kinds of Compassion

The starting-point “definition” of compassion is that it is a “wish for sentient beings to be free from suffering.” As many others have noted, the etymology of the English word compassion points to the meaning “to suffer together with.” Learning to “suffer with” another is a very important preparation for developing the “wish to free” a sentient being from suffering: if we can become willing to let the pain of others really touch our hearts, we will be setting the stage for allowing our compassion’s creativity to come forward. That willingness could be nurtured at first by the basic practice of sitting meditation. When we sit, one of the capacities we are developing is not to let our heart of empathy become buried or unnoticed due to our mental chatter. 

by Tyler Dewar