Real Compassion, true compassion, is not the fleeting acts of sympathy, empathy and kindness we show from time to time to our loved ones and perhaps to a broader field of worldly suffering - we can empathise with their pain, we want to help, we would like to relieve them of their suffering. These are beautiful traits of the human being - sometimes selfless, sometimes innocently or unconsciously selfish. All endearing qualities of humans in the human field of existence, which can alleviate temporary feelings of aloneness and stimulate feelings of connection.

However compassion runs deeper. Buddhists will say the West don’t really have the language available for a sufficient definition of Compassion as they experience it. We may know Compassion as empathy and be able to assist from that viewpoint, but this approach can quickly unravel when presented with people, acts, situations that we can’t empathise - we don’t understand, we find others actions and viewpoints difficult to comprehend and we can’t summon ‘ compassion’ as we know it.

Herein lies the difference between the West’s sympathetic approach to easing suffering, and the East’s approach of seeing beyond the Human - beyond the form and personality, beyond the suffering essentially and into the place in which there is no separation between the sufferer and the sympathiser.

Compassion is looking into the light of where one is well, it is the knowing that no effort for empathy is required because empathy is natural to the one who sees no separation to the other. We are naturally empathetic of the suffering of human existence because we are that also, simultaneously we are also the formless non sufferer,

Compassion - true compassion - has a natural understanding of all shades of human behaviour; one doesn’t have to agree or like how humans manifest in their forms - some behaviours are completely outrageous, but there is still Compassion. Because true compassion sees where one is not that and this is seen when one knows they are not that.

Juliette Oliver

Rowan Cobelli