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Chapter 9: Cultivating Right Attitudes

Not friendliness - compassion. Compassion is a different quality to friendliness. Friendliness means you are creating a situation in which you would like to be the same as the other person - you would like to be the same as your friend. Compassion means that someone has fallen from his state. You would like to help him, but you would not like to be like him. You would like to give him a hand; you would like to bring him up, cheer him up. You would like to help him in every way, but you would not like to be like him because that is not a help.

If somebody is crying and weeping, and you sit by the side and you start crying and weeping, are you helping him? In what way? If somebody is miserable and you become miserable, are you helping him? You may be doubling his misery. He was miserable alone; now there are two persons miserable. But in showing sympathy to the miserable you are again playing a trick. Deep down, when you show sympathy to the miserable - and remember, sympathy is not compassion; sympathy is friendliness - when you show sympathy and friendliness to a depressed, sad, miserable person, deep down you are feeling happy. Always there is an undercurrent of happiness.

It has to be so, because it is a simple arithmetic: when somebody is happy, you feel miserable - then how is it possible that when somebody is miserable you can feel unhappy? If when somebody is happy you feel miserable, then when somebody is unhappy, deep down you feel very happy. But you don’t show it. Or, if you are observed acutely you show it: even in your sympathy there is a subtle current of happiness. You feel good; you feel cheered up really, that it is not you who is unhappy and you are in a position to show sympathy - and you are higher, superior.

People always feel good when they can show sympathy to others; they are always cheered. Deep down they feel that they are not so miserable, thank God! When somebody dies, immediately an undercurrent comes in you that you are still alive, thank God, and you can show sympathy and it costs nothing. Showing sympathy costs nothing, but compassion is a different thing. Compassion means you would like to help the other person; you would like to do whatsoever can be done; you would like to help him to come out of his misery. You are not happy about it, but you are also not miserable.

Just between the two exists compassion. Buddha is in compassion. He will not feel miserable with you because that is not going to help anybody, and he will not feel happy because there is no point in feeling happy. How can you feel happy when somebody is miserable? But he cannot feel unhappy either, because that is not going to help. He will feel compassion. And compassion exists just in between these two. Compassion means he would like to help you to come out of it. Compassion means he is for you but against your misery; he loves you but not your misery. He would like to bring you up - but not your misery with you.

When you are sympathetic you start loving the misery, not the man who is miserable. And if suddenly the man is cheered up and says, “Don’t bother,” you will feel shocked, because he never gave you a chance to be sympathetic and show him how much higher, superior and happier a being you are.

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