Compassionate Activity

Bodhgaya, India

Throughout the world, all cultures, religions, and individuals cherish the basic human qualities of generosity, compassion, and loving kindness. As human beings, we recognize that extending ourselves to others not only brings happiness to the recipients of our care, but also warms our own hearts.

Compassionate activity has always been intertwined with Buddhist practice. Actively helping those in need, making offerings and prayers to the buddhas and bodhisattvas on behalf of all beings, and supporting the conditions for the sangha to flourish are ways of serving others that awaken our potential for sympathy and care. Making others the focus of our care, we reap the reward of decreasing our excessive self-concern. We may even find that serving others is the most immediate and effective way to experience the happiness we all long for. As we increasingly free ourselves from self-cherishing, each prayer and aspiration we make for the benefit of others plants a seed of compassion that will one day blossom into enlightenment.

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche founded Mangala Shri Bhuti in 1989 in order to support the establishment of the buddhadharma in the West. At the heart of our vision as a Mahayana and Vajrayana lineage is the wish to bring benefit to all beings. Therefore engaging in a variety of compassionate activities has been a natural outgrowth and expression of this wish.

The motivation behind Compassionate Activity is that we can, in some small ways, make a difference. As Rinpoche has said, to stop at a puddle of water and save a drowning bug is perhaps not a big deal for us, but for that bug it is literally life-saving. If we can remember the great significance of letting go of our excessive self-concern for the moment it takes to bend down and help another being, thinking only of the other's welfare, and then rejoice in the joy we have brought to another, we gain merit. While doing so, we harbor a far-reaching intention to benefit other beings that sets an altruistic intention for all our future lives. To read more about how to participate in these activities, please see the Offering and Dana and Tsetar Practice (Life Release) pages.