T he “Golden Rule” says we should treat others how we wish to be treated. The Buddha phrased it several different ways, such as “One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter.” (Dhammapada 10. Violence) The Lord’s Prayer reminds us to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In this context, the word as signifies “to the extent to.” The idea here is that when we open our hearts and forgive, treat with compassion, and accept, we invite forgiveness, compassion, and acceptance from others.
When we open our hearts and treat others with compassion, we allow ourselves to be treated with the same compassion. In the same way, when we judge others, or treat others with a cold heart, we are inviting the same into our lives. When we are angry toward others, treating them without respect nor compassion, we are inviting ourselves to gain resentments.
In order to invite compassion into my life, I must begin by acting with compassion toward those around me. Compassion starts through my Right Mindfulness, Right View, and Right Action, and slowly begins creating Right Thought. When I am mindful of my actions, and am able to see where they originate from within me, I am able to recognize where I am acting with compassion and where I am acting selfishly, out of attachment, out of desire, or in any other negative way.
When I practice Right View, I am able to see these origins of my actions. I am able to see how my own actions are causing suffering to both me and others. When I see the truth of my actions, I can practice Right Action. For me, I often have to act compassionately in order for the compassionate thinking to arise.
The key to inviting compassion into my life is acting with compassion toward others unconditionally. Practicing loving tolerance, forgiveness, and compassion daily have helped my compassionate seed grow. Also, I pray for compassion and the ability to help others. Finally, in meditation, I send my love to those who are suffering around me, especially those whom I hold resentments against.