“Isn’t it a weakness to be nice all the time?” a student once asked. I gave this question a lot of thought. “True compassion is not a sign of weakness,” I told him. Instead, it is a sign of strength. Granted, if we only have emotional compassion, then our mind will be unstable, and that will make us weak. Without wisdom, emotional compassion can lapse into the “blame game.” As our compassion evolves to incorporate an understanding of causes and conditions, blaming stops altogether. We develop unconditional love for others and tremendous trust and confidence in ourselves. We find our inner dignity and learn to embrace it. When we combine dignity with compassion, we can see ourselves and others with clarity.

From Awakening Dignity: A Guide to Living a Life of Deep Fulfillment by Phakchok Rinpoche and Sophie Wu © 2022 by Phakchok Rinpoche and Shu-chin Wu. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

This article is only for Subscribers!

Subscribe now to read this article and get immediate access to everything else.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.