Last night in Tokyo with my Human Values Institute group we discussed in some detail the distinctions between empathy and compassion. I had just stepped off a 12+ hour flight, and spent about 20 hours transiting in Tokyo on my way back to India from the States. We included group members from Fukuoka and Kyoto virtually over conference call Zoom. There is an overlap between empathy and compassion when empathy (feeling like the other person is feeling) does not own or adopt the others’ pain. This is where empathy and compassion are quite similar. Compassion is generally more proactive concerned with how can I help relieve the others’ suffering. Empathy in generally is more passive, open and feeling the others’ pain. The important point to remember is to protect ourselves and not take on the others’ pain as our own. This prevents burnout and allows us the clarity and perspective to assess how best to help.
People are often confused about how to cultivate compassion. There are several approaches. One method is moving beyond empathy to compassion. Empathy is feeling like the other person is feeling. We often “take on” or […]
During Christmas holiday season many people open their hearts. Of course for some it is a very challenging time sometimes punctuated by thoughts of self-harm. When we feel the cheer and openness, let’s keep those […]
Today is one of the 4 most important days of the year in the Buddhist calendar. It is the day of miracles when the Buddha displayed miracles to sustain the nascent Buddhist tradition. The karmic […]