“Compassion can be Fierce” (Tsültrim Allione)

Tsültrim Allione writes: “I was at a lunch with the Dalai Lama and five Buddhist teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. We were sitting in a charming room with white carpets and many windows. The food was a delightful, fragrant, vegetarian Indian meal. There were lovely flower arrangements on the table.

“We were discussing sexual misconduct among Western Buddhist teachers. A woman Buddhist from California brought up someone who was using his students for his own sexual needs. One woman said, ‘We are working with him with compassion, trying to get him to understand his motives for exploiting female students and to help him change his actions.’

“The Dalai Lama slammed his fist on the table, saying loudly, ‘Compassion is fine, but it has to stop! And those doing it should be exposed!’ All the serving plates on the table jumped, the water glasses tipped precariously, and I almost choked on the bite of saffron rice in my mouth.

“Suddenly I saw him as a fierce manifestation of compassion and realized that this clarity did not mean that the Dalai Lama had moved away from compassion. Rather, he was bringing compassion and manifesting it as decisive fierceness. His magnetism was glowing like a fire.

“I will always remember that day, because it was such a good teaching on compassion and precision. Compassion is not a wishy-washy ‘anything goes’ approach. Compassion can say a fierce no!”

– Tsültrim Allione, from her book Wisdom Rising

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