ordinary mind and actions are defined, narrowed, and darkened

by it, how almost impossible it makes it for us to

uncover the heart of unconditional love, and how it has

blocked in us all sources of real love and real compassion, then

there comes a moment when we understand, with extreme

and poignant clarity, what Shantideva said:

If all the harms

Fears and sufferings in the world

Arise from self-grasping,

What need have I for such a great evil spirit?

and a resolution is bom in us to destroy that evil spirit, our

greatest enemy. With that evil spirit dead, the cause of all our

suffering will be removed, and our true nature, in all its spaciousness

and dynamic generosity, will shine out.

You can have no greater ally in this war against your greatest

enemy, your own self-grasping and self-cherishing, than the

practice of compassion. It is compassion, dedicating ourselves

to others, taking on their suffering instead of cherishing ourselves,

that hand in hand with the wisdom that realizes egolessness

destroys most effectively and most completely that

ancient attachment to a false self that has been the cause of

our endless wandering in samsara. That is why in our tradition

we see compassion as the source and essence of enlightenment,

and the heart of enlightened activity. As Shantideva


What need is there to say more?

The childish work for their own benefit,

The buddhas work for the benefit of others.

just look at the difference between them.

If I do not exchange my happiness

For the suffering of others,

I shall not attain the state of buddhahood

And even in samsara I shall have no real joy 2

To realize what I call the wisdom of compassion is to see

with complete clarity its benefits, as well as the damage that

its opposite has done to us. We need to make a very clear distinction

between what is in our ego's self-interest and what is in

our ultimate interest; it is from mistaking one for the other that

all our suffering comes. We go on stubbornly believing that

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