In Buddhist teaching, the virtue of compassion is of staggering importance. It is regarded as a higher virtue than acts of charity. Though generosity is also a strong Buddhist virtue, compassion is the greatest of virtues. Here are six ways compassion exceeds charity:
1. Charity is done with money limiting it to those who have discretionary income and can make donations provide financial help.
2. Compassion is done with one’s person. Anyone – rich or poor – can extend compassion. An example would be visiting a lonely elderly person.
3. Charity is generally given to the poor, those in need.
4. Compassion is provided to all – those with wealth and those with limited financial resources. An example could be spending time with someone grieving the death of a loved one.
5. Charity is given toward the living.
6. Compassion can be shown to both the living and the dead. An example would be the making of funeral arrangements for those unable to bear the expense or continuing to include the deceased in meditation so that he or she may experience a favorable rebirth.