Buddhist Approach to Compassion and Love – Trungpa Rimpoche


Buddhist Approach to Compassion and

excerpted by Beezone – from the
talks of Chogyam Trungpa


Relative awakened mind comes from
the simple and basic experience of realizing that you could
have a tender heart in any situation. Even the most vicious
animals have a tender heart in taking care of their young,
or for that matter, in taking care of themselves. From our
basic meditation practice, we begin to realize our basic
goodness and to let go with that. We begin to rest in our
basic nature, ordinary, casual, in some sense. When we let
ourselves go, we begin to have a feeling of good existence
in ourselves. That could be regarded as the very ordinary
and trivial concept of having a good time. Nonetheless, when
we have good intentions toward ourselves, it is not because
we are trying to achieve anything–we are just trying to be
ourselves. As they say, we could come as we are. At that
point we have a natural sense that we can afford to give
ourselves freedom. We can afford to relax. We can afford to
treat ourselves better, trust ourselves more, and let
ourselves feel good. The basic goodness of natural mind is
always there. It is that sense of healthiness and
cheerfulness and naivete that brings us to the realization
of awakened mind.

Relative awakened mind is related
with how we start to learn to love each other and ourselves.
That seems to be the basic point. It’s very difficult for us
to learn to love. It would be possible for us to love if an
object of fascination were presented to us or if there were
some kind of dream or promise presented. Maybe then we could
learn to love. But it is very hard for us to learn to love
if it means purely giving love without expecting anything in
return. It is very difficult to do that. When we decide to
love somebody, we usually expect that person to fulfill our
desires and conform to our hero worship. If our expectations
can be fulfilled, we can fall in love, ideally. So in most
of our love affairs, what usually happens is that our love
is absolutely conditional. It is more of a business deal
than actual love. We have no idea how to communicate a sense
of warmth. When we do begin to communicate a sense of warmth
to somebody, it makes us very uptight. And when the object
of our love tries to cheer us up, it becomes an

This is a very aggression-oriented
approach. In buddhism, particularly in the contemplative
tradition, love and affection are largely based on free
love, open love which does not ask anything in return. It is
a mutual dance. Even if during the dance you step on each
other’s toes, it is not regarded as problematic or an
insult. We do not have to get on our high horse or be touchy
about that. To learn to love, to learn to open, is one of
the hardest things for all of us. Yet we are conditioned by
passion all the time. Since we are in the human realm, our
main focus or characteristic is passion and lust, all the
time. So the basic buddhist teachings are based on is the
idea of communication, openness, and being without