On Sunday 16 October, Nalanda Youth Centre was blessed to have Bro. Tan join our weekly Sunday Service. Bro. Tan gave a Dhamma teaching on how we can bring about positive change in the world through the cultivation of compassion.
Bro. Tan shared that of all human qualities, one of the noblest and deepest is compassion (Pāli, ‘karunā’). It is “the quivering of the heart when we see the suffering of others”; we feel the pain of their suffering and wish to do something to alleviate it.
It is important to practise compassion in conjunction with loving-kindness (‘mettā’), which is not conditional upon how others treat us. Similarly, compassion has to be practised unconditionally, not just to those close to us. We need not fret too much about how others treat us, but rather be mindful of how we treat others. This kind of practice is fruitful, wise and pragmatic because we cannot determine how others will treat us, but we can certainly decide how we can respond to their treatment – whether skilfully or unskilfully.
Bro. Tan also cautioned about how defilements can start small, but if left unchecked, they can lead to chronic mental illness. An example is how simple displeasures can lead to anger, and later to ill-will and even enmity. Therefore, we have to reduce and eradicate these defilements from our minds. This is how we can change ‘the world’ – by changing our state of mind and ennobling it with wholesome qualities.
We thank Bro. Tan for compassionately spending time to share the Dhamma with us, the highest and most excellent gift! Sadhu anumodana.