Monday, December 6th, 2021

A few days ago, Louise sent me the following quote, saying only that she had been moved by it. The words are those of the Dalai Lama. Naturally, Louise sent them to me in the language in which she read them, which is French. I haven’t been able to find the Dalai Lama’s original words, which were likely in English, but here is Louise’s offering, and my translation.


La compassion c’est le tremblement du coeur face à la souffrance, ainsi que le désir d’aider à apaiser et à soulager cette souffrance.” Dalaï-Lama

My translation:
Compassion is a trembling of the heart in the presence of suffering, as well as a yearning to comfort and alleviate that suffering.

It’s the poetry of the Dalai Lama’s message that makes it so easy to grasp, don’t you think?

Compassion expressed as something that isn’t rooted in thought, in reason, but which emerges from that place inside us where feeling– LOVE–is born: the metaphorical “heart”.

I have watched documentaries and read about how humans are hardwired to be empathetic and compassionate. Com/passion quite literally means “I feel your pain”–“I suffer with you”.

It casts such a different light on suffering, that human experience we try so hard to escape or to flee.

1. “Urban (The Lovely People)”, Arron Bird, Wharfside Walk, Birmingham, West Midlands

2. Avalokiteśvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated on a Lotus Petal, Unknown artist.

3. “The Hands”, Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

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