True compassion is always in a state of readiness ~ 17th Karmapa

True compassion is something that is always on the move, and something is always in a state of readiness. We usually think of compassion as something that sometimes moves, sometimes is responsive, and sometimes is dormant. We might see a very serious situation of a sentient being suffering, then we think that our compassion rises to the occasion and performs some tasks. And then, after that situation has passed, our compassion goes back to a dormant state.

But true compassion isn’t really like that. Of course compassion is not a physical thing, but I think it’s appropriate to say that compassion is always on the move, it’s always ready for action or ready to accomplish the mission, if you will. Compassion is there in any occurrence of happiness or suffering that might be before us, whether it’s directly before our eyes or whether it’s simply in our heart and in our mind. If we can stay with this type of ever moving, ever active compassion at all times, then I think that’s what the meaning of true compassion is.

17th Karmapa


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