Shodo Harada

‘When the clear mind is realized, when these feelings of love and compassion come forth truly, naturally, and spontaneously out of a clear mind, then they are not something that is chosen. Love rather than hate, compassion rather than narrow-mindedness, will evolve naturally from a state of clarity, which brings forth the wisdom to express these things, in the moment.’ (The Path to Bodhidharma)

I remember hearing Daigaku Rumme express that it was important not to try to be more compassionate than you actually are. I have debated this point several times over the years, as there is something to be said for a ‘fake it until you make it’ approach, but Shodo Harada, also comes down on the other side – that forcing yourself to be compassionate in a situation just means you are suppressing other emotions, privileging how you ‘should’ feel over how you do actually feel. So, in a typical zen way, he suggests approaching it from the other side: develop a clear mind, and then the problem is solved.

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