“Shantideva cites three benefits of pain. First, it is valuable because through sorrow, pride is driven out. No matter how arrogant and condescending we’ve been, great suffering can humble us. The pain of a serious illness or loss of a loved one can be transformative, softening us and making us less self-centered.
The second benefit of pain is empathy: the compassion felt for those who wander in samsara. Our personal suffering brings compassion for others in the same situation. A young woman was telling me that when her baby died, she felt a deep connection to all the other parents who had lost children. This was, as she put it, the unexpected blessing of her sorrow.
The third value of suffering is that evil is avoided and goodness seems delightful. When we practice according to Shantideva’s instructions, we can get smarter about cause and result. Based on this understanding, we’ll have less inclination to cause harm, and more desire to gather virtue and benefit others.”
***No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva***
“When we see and understand the pain and the suffering in ourselves and in [another] person, understanding and compassion in us begin to grow. These are the energies that have the power to heal and transform us. This is the secret to nourishing our love…
Only when we know how to look deeply at each other, and how to look deeply at ourselves, can we generate these two precious energies.
When we know how to nourish our love, we can heal ourselves and heal those around us. When love grows, it naturally embraces more and more.
If your love is true love, then it will continue to grow until it includes all people and all species. Your love will become a river, wide enough to nourish not only you and your beloved, but the whole world.
This is love without limits , a heart without boundaries, and without discrimination. It is unlimited compassion, unlimited loving kindness. It brings joy to everyone.
Nothing and no one is excluded from this love— that is why it is called the love of limitless inclusiveness…”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Inside the Now