“9. You need to turn your mind toward helping other beings with loving-kindness and compassion, both directly and indirectly.” – From “Ten Necessary Things” section of Gampopa’s Precious Garland of the Sublime Path.
‘Love’ I’m not sure it actually works. Sanskrit is ‘maitri’. It’s not love, more becoming ‘dear friend,’ ‘friendship’. ‘Love’ has an element of selfishness. We say ‘I love chicken, I love beef, whatever.” (laughs) Maitri is ‘great friendliness.’ This is much better translation than love. Ordinary love has a sense of self-interest. “I” is always put there, as in “I love them.” So, Maitri is ‘dear friend.’ Loving-kindness and compassion is not (just) towards those who are suffering. Anyone can develop that. Anyone can develop compassion to someone miserable. It is easy. It is difficult to develop to compassion to someone who is making mistakes and enjoying worldly pleasure. There are the three kinds of suffering. We have to base on all three – that is a bodhisattva. Only those who are miserable? That isn’t it. Anyone can do that. There is no need for bodhisattva effort and motivation (for them).
“You need to turn the mind toward helping other beings with loving-kindness and compassion, both directly and indirectly.” ‘Ninje’ is Tibetan for compassion. ‘nin’ is heart. ‘je’ is bottom. So, it is ‘ From the bottom of the heart’, wanting more things like good things. It’s not just a sense of sympathy. In this case, basically, in the 4 immeasurables, it is “want to be free from suffering.” What is suffering here? It’s all three sufferings. It’s not just our perspective of suffering, (but) suffering of suffering, suffering of change, and all-pervasive suffering. We know what the suffering of change is. As much as we enjoy it, it will bring suffering. How much we experience pleasure in world, that much it brings pain. I know this myself! (laughs) The suffering of all pervasive is this body is suffering. If you don’t have this body, you aren’t going to experience that suffering. It’s why Shantideva said, “if someone punches you, you should have anger at both them and this body for hurting you. “All the store of suffering is this body. Because of this body, we experience suffering. So, it is all pervasive suffering.
(excerpt from teaching on Gampopa’s “Precious Garland of the Sublime Path”, May 26, 2012, Tibetan Meditation Center, Frederick, Md.)