What is compassion comprised of? … First, compassion is comprised of that capacity to see clearly into the nature of suffering. It is that ability to really stand strong and to recognize also that I’m not separate from this suffering. But that is not enough, because compassion, which activates the motor cortex, means that we aspire, we actually aspire to transform suffering. And if we’re so blessed, we engage in activities that transform suffering. But compassion has another component, and that component is really essential. That component is that we cannot be attached to outcome.

Joan Halifax


I want to propose a final definition of compassion… and that would be for us to call compassion a spiritual technology. Now our traditions contain vast wisdom about this, and we need them to mine it for us now. But compassion is also equally at home in the secular as in the religious.

So I will paraphrase Einstein in closing and say that humanity, the future of humanity, needs this technology as much as it needs all the others that have now connected us and set before us the terrifying and wondrous possibility of actually becoming one human race.

Kristia Tippett


One thing we mustn’t think is that compassion makes you miserable. Compassion makes you happy. The first person who is happy when you get great compassion is yourself, even if you haven’t done anything yet for anybody else. Although, the change in your mind already does something for other beings: they can sense this new quality in yourself, and it helps them already, and gives them an example.

Robert Thurman