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quotations about compassion

If one doth act in friendly wise,
With no evil thought toward any single creature,
And in so doing becometh proper,
And if he have compassion in his soul
Toward all living beings--this noble one
Doth acquire abundant Virtue.


Pain must enter into its glorified life of memory before it can turn into compassion.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Most women bestow their favors upon men, not from Passion, but from Compassion.

ABRAHAM MILLER, Unmoral Maxims

The eternal God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, has impressed upon us all one nature, which as an emanation from him, who is universal life, presses us by natural society to a close union with each other; which is, methinks, a sort of enlargement of our very selves when we run into the idea, sensations and concerns of our brethren: by this force of their make, men are insensibly hurried into each other; and, by a secret charm, we lament with the unfortunate, and rejoice with the glad; for it is not possible for an human heart to be averse to any thing that is human: but, by the very mien and gesture of the joyful and distressed, we rise and fall into their condition; and since joy is communicative, 'tis reasonable that grief should be contagious, both which are seen and felt at a look, for one man's eyes are spectacles to another to read his heart: those useful and honest instruments do not only discover objects to us, but make ourselves also transparent; for they, in spite of dissimulation, when the Heart is full, will brighten into gladness, or gush into tears: from this foundation in nature is kindled that noble spark of celestial fire, we call charity or Compassion, which opens our bosoms and extends our arms to embrace all mankind.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Compassion--that's the one thing no machine ever had. Maybe it's the one thing that keeps man ahead of them.

D.C. FONTANA, Star Trek: The Ultimate Computer

True compassion is not forged at a distance from pain but in its fires.

CHRISTINA FELDMAN, Compassion: Listening to the Cries of the World

There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.

MILAN KUNDERA, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Compassion is a mixed passion, composed of love and sorrow.

NOAH WEBSTER, An American Dictionary

Compassion goes on giving, but knows no feeling of giving, knows no feeling that "I am the giver." And then existence goes on responding in thousands of ways. You give a little love and from everywhere love starts flowing. The man of compassion is not trying to snatch anything away, he is not greedy. He does not wait for the return, he goes on giving. He goes on getting too, but that is not in his mind.

OSHO, Compassion: The Ultimate Flowering of Love

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, attributed, Einstein and Zen: Learning to Learn

Half the misery of human life might be extinguished, would men alleviate the general curse they be under, by mutual offices of compassion, benevolence, and humanity.

JOSEPH ADDISON, The Spectator, Sep. 13, 1711

The tears of the compassionate are sweeter than dewdrops falling from roses on the bosom of the earth. Shut not thine ear, therefore, against the cries of the poor, neither harden thine heart against the calamities of the innocent.

ROBERT DODSLEY, The Economy of Human Life

Be kind to people whether they deserve your kindness or not. If your kindness reaches the deserving good for you if your kindness reaches the undeserving take joy in your compassion.

JAMES FADIMAN, Essential Sufism

Compassion is the sense of our own misfortunes in those of another.

L. M. STRETCH, The Beauties of History

Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.

HENRI J. M. NOUWEN, The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

There is no small kindness; every compassionate act makes large the world.

MARY ANNE RADMACHER, Live with Intention: Rediscovering What We Deeply Know

In the beginning, compassion is like the seed without which we cannot have any fruit; in the middle, compassion is like water to nourish the see we have planted; in the end, compassion is like the warmth of the sun that brings the fruit to ripening.

BUDDHA, attributed, Trainings in Compassion: Manuals on the Meditation of Avalokiteshvara

Let's get loose with compassion. Let's drown in the delicious ambience of love.

HAFIZ, "The Ambience of Love"

Cruelty is no more the cure of crimes than it is the cure of sufferings; compassion, in the first instance, is good for both; I have known it to bring compunction when nothing else would.

WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR, Imaginary Conversations

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., A Testament of Hope

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

ALBERT SCHWEITZER, attributed, Living Faith: Christianity and Social Issues

Compassion is the basis of morality.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

When we know ourselves to be connected to all others, acting compassionately is simply the natural thing to do.

RACHEL NAOMI REMEN, The Heart of Learning

Compassion is not a quality to be cultivated in isolation, aloof from life. It is easy to be compassionate from a distance, when your heart is undisturbed. When you are surrounded by those who love and care for you, when you have built a world where pain is repressed or ignored, you can easily immerse yourself in thoughts of love and tolerance. Yet that is a fragile world, built on foundations that will always crumble. Compassion speaks of the willingness to engage with tragedy, loss, and pain. Its domain is not only the world of those you love and care for, but equally the people who threaten you, the countless people you don't know, the homeless person you meet on the street, and the situations of anger and hatred you recoil from. It is here that you learn about the depths of tolerance and understanding that are possible for each one of us. It is here that you learn about dignity, meaning, and greatness of heart.

CHRISTINA FELDMAN, Compassion: Listening to the Cries of the World

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.

ANDREW BOYD, Daily Afflictions

Compassion is not pity ... compassion never considers an object as weak or inferior. Compassion, one might say, works from a strength born of awareness of shared weakness, and not from someone else's weakness. And from the awareness of the mutuality of us all. Thus to put down another as in pity is to put down oneself.

MATTHEW FOX, A Spirituality Named Compassion

Compassion does not only refine and civilize human nature, but has something in it more pleasing and agreeable, than what can be met with in such an indolent happiness, such an indifference to mankind, as that in which the stoics placed their wisdom. As love is the most delightful passion, pity is nothing else but love softened by a degree of sorrow: In short, it is a kind of pleasing anguish, anguish as well as generous sympathy, that knits mankind together, and blends them in the same common lot.

RICHARD STEELE, The Spectator, Jun. 5, 1712

What I've come to learn is that the world is never saved in grand messianic gestures, but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft, almost invisible acts of compassion.

CHRIS ABANI, "Chris Abani muses on humanity", dotSUB, Nov. 13, 2008

Compassion is the chief law of human existence.



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