Great Compassion


Ethics and Virtue

Ethics and virtue are common aspects of religions, and often emerge in discussion of spiritual practice and spirituality.

There are a few possible reasons for this.

  • High ground.
    Those most adept at 'spiritual practice' have historically been seen as striving to achieve the pinacle of human nature. They have been placed on a pedestal as that to which ordinary folk can aspire. The same principle has also been distorted by the Ego self to enhance it's own 'separation' by putting down or controlling others.
  • Fertile ground.
    Acting with kindness and respect towards others makes everyone happier, and reduces the probability you will feel guilt or receive unpleasantness from others. This is sometimes known as karma. As such, you plant the seeds for your happiness.
    As a side effect, any deliberate spiritual practice is less likely to be hindered by the karmic results of your own ignorance.
  • Natural alignment.
    The Non-Duality Principle which is reflective of the essence of reality, is inherently all-embracing. It is the perfection of unconditional love. Practicing ethical or virtuous conduct gives the appearance of moving into greater alignment with the nature of reality. In some cases, you might say it makes the appearance of awakening more likely on the basis it 'takes one to know one'.

Non-duality itself does not imply ethical or moral conduct. It implies nothing - because it represents the infinite play of possibility.

That said, virtuous behaviour may have become associated with enlightenment because realisation makes the ego and it's selfish antics transparent. It is not that they become 'bad' per se, so much that there is a sameness in all possibilities. That combined with the human aspect will often give rise to apparently selfless action. The realised person does not disregard the self, rather, they do not see it as any more important than anything else.

The Arising of Compassion

The essence of reality might reasonably be characterised as the perfection of unconditional love. On the one hand, there is nothing - not even that. On the other, there is the infinite play of all form. The two are locked in the ultimate embrace. Emptiness without form is unknowable. Form without emptiness is impossible.

In the human guise, the embodiment of an awakening to the non-dual aspect of reality is selfless love. It is to see and open to the play of form, unpurturbed by the appearance of discriminating mind.

The human species has a great intellectual capacity to discriminate, through mind. Though it may be tempting to dismiss this capacity in the presence of an understanding of emptiness, I think to do so would be a betrayal of the very basis of our existence. In some sense, it seems the intimate relationship of heart and mind is a reflection of the underlying nature of reality. That the appearance of discrimination is yet another appearance of form within the formless, cannot be denied.

As being 'awakens' through humanity, it is the principle of compassion that enables the awakening. It is only through the courage to become intimate with suffering that we come to know our true nature. In stable realisation, it is compassion that moves through the human form as the heart is left completely exposed, no longer sheltered by the false protestations and pretense of ego.

Compassion is a dirty word to some. It is often interpreted to suggest submission and passivity. True compassion is beyond rigid definition, as is the mystery that is reality.

Loving-kindness, compassion, is that softening of heart that is required to know peace. It begins to blossom with transparency of the delusion of a separate self, the ego. Where there is no compassion, there is resistance and there cannot be peace. Where there is no peace, there is no happiness.

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