….practice, towards “all sentient beings”, “the wish that they be happy….that they be free of suffering”.

In a 1975 piece titled “Man, Android and Machine”, Philip Dick, whose science fiction novels offer prescient warnings of what happens when we create a technology-infused society, writes: “A human being without….empathy…..is the same as an android built so as to lack it, either by design or mistake.” What distinguishes us from the insentient is the fact that we can choose to “care about the fate” of our “fellow living creatures.”

The Tibetan monk Kangyur Rinpoche suggests (in Matthieu Ricard’s “On the Path to Enlightenment”) that we practice, towards “all sentient beings”, “the wish that they be happy….that they be free of suffering”.

How does one do this? The Rinpoche teaches:

“Divide beings into three categories: friends, enemies, and those that are neither. Begin by concentrating on your parents, relatives, and friends, and meditate by wishing that they may meet with happiness and so forth. After that, do the same focusing on beings who are neither your friends nor your enemies. Finally, meditate focusing on all those for whom you feel enmity.”

This is not a matter of just cultivating a mood or thoughts during times we meditate.

In Volume 1 of “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment” (translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee), the 14th century sage Je Tsongkhapa who founded the Gelug school of Buddhism (led in our times by the Dalai Lama) tells us that “meditating on compassion” is not a passive state one strives for during times of meditation. Rather, it means that “the mind must be made to develop” this quality and one’s daily life must be guided by it.

Kangyur Rinpoche adds: “The meditation is said to be perfect and complete when your compassion for your enemies and your relatives and friends becomes the same.”

Peace 😊

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