We are all born with innate compassion, whether we believe it or not. From a young age, we know what is right, and what is wrong. Not only that, we know that when our actions will make someone suffer, we won't perform that action. Children share everything with their friends, make others happy. Ever remember when you were little, you share your favorite things with others because it makes you happy? And you want to share that happiness with others too? That is compassion. The motivation to alleviate suffering from other people, and wishing them to be happy, to be free.
However, as we grow older, we lose our compassion little by little. We don't even remember our good actions when we were younger. Why is that so? Have we thought about it?
As we get older, we become more influenced by the environment. We learn from TV shows, songs, movies, people we see on the streets, parents, friends, teachers. We mostly learn from adults. Some habits that we picked up from them are bad, and we picked them up unconsciously. Then we start to behave more like those we learn from. Furthermore, media nowadays are toxic to our cultivation. We think that we have control over ourselves, but when you turn on the TV, you get drawn into it. How is that control? The TV shows, movies teach people that violence is okay, given the circumstances. Violence is never okay given any circumstances. The intention and the mind at that moment is very crucial. Without any thoughts, police officers start shooting, because of fear, not because of duty. Why do they fear? Because of how media has influenced their minds. We grow to be more fearful, to be more aggressive than to be more kind, more compassionate.
Even if we take out gun violence, verbal violence is still an issue. We become racist towards other people because we do not see the goodness in them. We were influenced by media portrayal so much that we unconsciously ascribe people of certain skin color or ethnicity with certain traits. We heard that all humans are the same, that all beings have the Buddha nature, but why do we not see the Buddha in them? Why do we not see that they are there to guide us to become a better person?
What we think, and how we interact with our surroundings is a manifestation of our minds. When our minds are cluttered with hatred, anger, negativity, we see others as bad people. We become racists, sexist, judgmental, fearful, and hostile towards others. As that negativity grows, we may even lose ourselves in the process, and start becoming violent, committing crimes without knowing. When our minds have compassion, kindness, joy, love, concern, we see others as Buddhas, sages who are here to help us learn and grow, and realize our own potential. Then, every moment is a test, a lesson for us. We will treat everyone with respect, with compassion, with concern.
Maybe it is time for us to think about why we have lost our compassion, and how do we get it back. We must bring ourselves back to the purity of our minds, where we were not influenced by the media, the environment, people. Examine our own minds. Look within ourselves. Do not fight, do not be greedy, do not seek, do not be selfish, do not pursue personal advantage, and do not lie. We should do more good acts, say more good words every day, think more good thoughts on a daily basis. We should contemplate if we have done all the above daily. If we cannot do more good acts, say more good words, or think more good thoughts, we can start by saying less bad stuff about others, thinking less negative thoughts about others, or doing less harmful actions against others. Not abiding in these negative actions, we are already doing good acts, speaking good words, and thinking good thoughts. This is the first step we can take to become more compassionate towards ourselves and others.