Great strength of character is required to attain spiritual goals, enormous courage and forbearance, and anyone who lacks that strength and stamina will cease striving long before full realization is attained. - Sivya Subramuniyaswami
Do not say, “I am proud of you.” It is not a compliment, but an appropriation of another’s achievements. It is better to say, “I rejoice in your virtue and happiness.” - Tashi Nyima
Nowadays, especially in these modern times, we have low self-esteem. There is a lot of self-criticism, and it can be very strong. It may cause us to lose energy and can become problematic for our lives. - Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
I had tea with a great friend a few days ago and our conversation drifted over toward relationships, how some of us were able to find great partners while others have not. My friend, who is both compassionate and insightful, said: “There are more nice women than there are nice men.” After she left, I’ve been reflecting on her comment. I shared her comment with two other women, both of whom agreed with her that “there are more nice women than there are nice men.”
At the risk of appearing as a highly defensive male, I decided to do some research to determine if this observation is valid. According to science as well as psychologists and sociologists, the question of who is nicer, women or men, isn’t so black and white. One of the best sources of information on this comes via Emma Seppala, PhD., science director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the author of The Happiness Track.
Here are seven of Dr. Seppala’s observations published in her article Are Women More Compassionate Than Men? In this article, she raises this question: Does science support the claim that women are the more compassionate gender.
#1) The negative gender bias about men is questionable. “Psychologists generally tend to cringe at such strong black-and-white statements since we know that data usually do not support such claims.”
#2) Male and female brains are nearly identical. “If you ask a neuroscientist to distinguish a male from a female brain, for example, s/he would have a difficult time doing so.”
#3) Compassion appears to be equal in males and females, human and animal. “Whether they are researching animals or humans, males or females, scientists find that compassion is innate and instinctual across the board. Research with both animals and humans shows that we naturally have an impulse to help others who are suffering.”
#4) Women and men show compassion in different ways. Here is where Dr. Seppala’s comments become highly informative. “Compassion is natural and no gender differences have emerged across these studies. But that doesn’t mean that men and women experience or express compassion in the same way. We might just be prone to seeing compassion through a feminine lens, and so miss the ways in which men try to alleviate suffering.”
#5) Compassion is too often described in feminized concepts. “One reason we might think that women are more compassionate than men is that we think of compassion in only one way: nurturance, kindness, softness, gentleness, and emotional warmth. We think of compassion in mostly feminized terms.”
#6) There is something called “fierce” compassion and it more likely appears in males. “Expressions of deep compassion are not always nurturing or maternal,” she writes. “Think of the many heroic acts that happen daily in which people throw themselves into dangerous situations to help others. These are fierce, courageous, and even aggressive forms of compassion.”
#7) Both males and females are compassionate but it shows up differently. “Rather than suggesting that women are more compassionate than men, I would argue that they can differ in their expression of compassion. While women’s expression has culturally evolved to be expressed through nurturing and bonding behaviors, men’s compassion has traditionally evolved to involve a protective behaviors that helped ensure survival. . . While women tend to express ‘nurturing’ compassion, men tend to express ‘fierce’ compassion.”
Dr. Seppala concludes her piece saying gender “generalizations are generally never accurate”; that both women and engage in nurturing as well as fierce expressions of compassion. “Love, compassion, kindness are natural to all of us, men and women, in their varied forms of expression. Rather than asking whether men or women are kinder or compassionate, the question should rather be: What are the myriad beautiful forms in which compassion expresses itself?”
Our breathing is a powerful way for us to regulate our emotions, and it is something we take for granted. Through your breath, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system—the calming response in your body. - Emma Seppala
We all have attachments, or to use a contemporary term, addictions. They may be material or mental; they may be worldly, philosophical, or physical. Attachments may be superficial and transient or deeply ingrained and stubbornly fixed. Attachments have one thing in common, however: they all create aggravation, turmoil in our lives. Through practice, is is possible to separate yourself from attachments. - Sheng Yen
Waiting for enlightenment will not bring about enlightenment. The conditions leading to enlightenment must be acted upon. - Khandro Rinpoche
Given that our actions are so important and yet so frequently misguided, our wisdom has to be tactical — and strategic — in fostering actions that are truly beneficial. - Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Often we are our worst critic. We think that being self-critical will help us be more self-aware and make us work harder, but that’s a myth. In fact, according to a good deal of research, self-criticism destroys our resilience. We’re less able to learn from our mistakes when we beat ourselves up. Self-critical people tend to have greater anxiety and depression, and an inability to bounce back from struggles. - Emma Seppala
We do not subscribe to sectarian apocalyptic scenarios of a decisive battle between the forces of good and evil. Kalachakra (end days) practice is internal cultivation, not preparation for some imaginary final conflict. It is not external warfare; it is not war at all. We conquer our wrong views and afflictive emotions through the development of peace and clarity. - Tashi Nyima
Victor M. Parachin ...is a
Vedic educator, yoga instructor, Buddhist meditation teacher and author of a dozen books. Buy his books at amazon or your local bookstore.