I believe compassion encourages compassion
This morning, I watched The Passion of the Christ with a couple co-workers and friends. I left the theatre without being converted to Christianity – in fact, feeling even more certain about my recent understandings about my Buddhist faith. However, Jesus’ example taught such an incredible example of compassion that I understood a sticking point in my own faith.
I believe that compassion is the greatest of all of the Buddha’s teachings, and that the desire for the liberation of all beings the greatest wish one can desire.
I believe that nobody who harmed Christ did so without the cause of their own suffering. Most who harmed him were moved by their own fear and doubt, which are tools of ‘evil’, that tempt us to believe we cannot bear the weight of compassion for all men as Christ did.
I believe compassion encourages compassion, and all those who spontaneously offered beautifully simple and courageous acts to Jesus are proof of this.
I believe that compassion does not protect us from our own suffering, but rather opens us wide to the dangerous whims of beings caught in samsara. Jesus gave up his life in order to teach that our compassion is incomplete until we are completely willing to go beyond our simple understanding of self.
At the same time, I believe that the story of Jesus repeatedly amplifies his humanness and the frailty of that position. Even in the last moments of his life, he doubted his course, until – having asked God why he was forsaken – he awakened to the entire truth of his existence.
The last hours of Jesus are, for me, a powerful lesson in true strength and courage in the Bodhisattva path, and a reminder that each of us, of the same body, of the same breath and of the same mind as Jesus, can shoulder the suffering of mankind, if not all beings.
I hope that there are not people who leave the theatre with anger, rage and violence in their hearts, for they crucify Jesus and his teachings yet again:
Love thine enemies and pray for they who persecute you … forgive them, for they know not what they do.
To leave with a heart torn open in grief and sadness about the human condition laid bare in this story, this is a step in the right direction, for we have no enemies except doubt & ignorance.