The Search for Happiness

His Holiness the Dalai Lama poses for photos after his interactive session with students at Princeton University's Chancellor Green Library in Princeton, New Jersey on October 28, 2014. (Photo by Denise Applewhite)

What is the purpose of life? This question is one that his Holiness the Dalai Lama set out to answer in a practical way for us to understand. No surprise here to find out that he shares the purpose of life is to be happy. But what role does compassion play in that?

Compassion and the Individual is a great read by the Dalai Lama. In it he shares ways to achieve happiness and develop compassion and explains how “True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively.” This is often the hard part. How do we feel compassion towards someone who we feel has wronged us?

And honestly when I finally feel like I am getting somewhere with this since I have been reading up and focusing on compassion this month, I am reminded of this message that he also shares: “I must emphasize again that merely thinking that compassion and reason and patience are good will not be enough to develop them. We must wait for difficulties to arise and then attempt to practice them.”

And then I remember the importance of being humble. I am a work in progress. I am committed to practicing compassion.