Published Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Having empathy for others
one sees that all beings are afraid
of harm and death.
Knowing this, one does not kill
or cause to be killed.
Dhammapada v. 129
Empathy is the essence of harmony. Throughout our lives we depend to varying degrees on others. If we forget that we all long for happiness and fear harm, we risk being dominated by self-centred concerns, but we can learn to recognize that which we all share. Empathy supports insight into selflessness. Through empathy we see that like us, others too hope not to be disappointed, and others too fear losing the things they hold dear. Even the wish to cause harm to another is a form of suffering we share with others. All those whose sense of identity comes from attaching to their body/mind are obliged to endure disharmony and the distorted thoughts and feelings which arise as a consequence. Letting go of attachment to this body/mind and recognizing our identity in understanding, means disharmony simply won’t arise.