Dictionary of Key Spiritual Terms

Previous | Next | English Index | Tibetan Index | Abbreviations | Contents
Wylie | Tibetan


See also grace, kindness, love, mercy
  1. snying rje/ 

    [hon. thugs rje/ ]

    Biblical: 1) compassion: za rgyu med pas nga snying rje'o/  because they have [had] nothing to eat, I have compassion [for them] (Mk. 8:2), ngas thugs brtse dgongs pa de la thugs brtse bya/,,snying rje dgongs pa de la snying rje bya'o/  I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion (Rom. 9:15), snying rje dang sha tsha/  compassion and affection (Phil. 2:1), snying rje dang bka' drin/  compassion and kindness (Col. 3:12), gtso bo ni byams mgon thugs rje can yin/  the Lord is compassionate (Jas. 5:11 SV); 2) mercy: snying rje can yin na/  if [one's gift is] showing mercy (Rom. 12:8); 3) kindness khong gi thugs rje dang /,,thugs bzod dang /,,thugs sna ring ba/  [God's] kindness, tolerance and patience (Rom. 2:4).

    Buddhist: a mental attitude of sympathy towards the suffering of people or animals: skyes bu chen po zer ba 'dis sems can thams cad la byams pa dang /,,snying rje'i bsam pa sbyangs/  the great individual practices the thought of love and compassion to all living creatures (TRC 218). It may be divided into: 1) compassion felt in the actual presence of suffering: sems can la dmigs pa'i snying rje/  compassion aroused by the sight of suffering beings; and 2) general compassion for all suffering beings: dmigs med la dmigs pa'i snying rje/  (CNG 17). Boundless compassion snying rje tshad med/  (SGN 7) is an attribute of the Buddha and great boddhisattvas: snying rje'i dbang gis de yi sdig pa rnams/,,bdag la len pa rgyal sras lag len yin/  with the power of compassion, take [his] faults on yourself - this is the practice of the sons of the Buddha (GSL 14). In modern Bst. writing, compassion is exalted as the basis of world peace: snying rje ni 'dzam gling zhi bde'i ka ba yin/  compassion is the pillar of world peace (DLP 4) and its absence is the cause of snying rje bral ba'i gtor/  inhuman destruction (DLP 7). byams brtse dang snying rje byung bar dga' tshor mi byed mkhan su yang med/  there is no one who does not appreciate love and compassion (DLP 15). The present Dalai Lama distinguishes love, kindness, compassion, and altruism as follows: ngos kyis snying rje zhes pa'i go don gsal tsam zhig brjod rgyur/,,skye bo gang zhig gis shin tu dbul zhing phongs pa'i mi zhig la ya nga ba dang /,,snying rje skye ba'i skabs su/,,gang gis dbul phongs de la gdung sems mnyam skyed kyi rnam 'gyur 'don gyi yod cing /,,de ni snying rje skye yul pho mo gang rung ba de dbul phongs yin pa'i rgyu mtshan la brten nas byung ba yin/,,de bas na skye bo de'i snying rje de ni gzhan phan sems khur gyi gzhi rtsar brten pa zhig yin/,,phyogs gzhan zhig gi cha nas/,,rang gi chung ma'am/,,khyo bo/,,bu phrug,,yang na nye ba'i mdza' grogs bcas la brtse sems skye ba ni chags zhen gyi gzhi las byung ba yin/,,gang gi chags zhen de la 'gyur ba 'gro skabs su de'i byams sems la'ang 'gyur ba 'gro ba ma zad/,,byams sems de nyams brlag tu 'gro ba'ang yong srid/,,'di ni brtse sems ngo ma ma yin/,,brtse sems ngo ma ni chags zhen gyi gzhi las byung ba ma yin par/,,gzhan phan gyi sems skyed 'ba' zhig la brten nas byung ba yin/,,skabs don 'di'i thad la/,,'gro ba sems can mtha' dag ji tsam sdug bsngal gyis mnar bzhin yod pa de tsam du rang gis gzhan la phan pa sgrub pa'i sems 'khur bskyed pa yin na/,,rang nyid kyi snying rje nyams skyon med par rgyun gnas thub ba yin/  Let me define what I mean by compassion (snying rje/ ). When you have pity ya nga ba/  or compassion snying rje/  for a very poor person, you are showing sympathy because he or she is poor; your compassion is based on altruistic gzhan phan sems/  considerations. On the other hand, love brtse sems/  towards your wife, your husband, your children, or a close friend is usually based on attachment chags zhen/ . When your attachment changes, your kindness byams sems/  also changes; it may disappear. This is not true love brtse sems ngo ma/ . Real love brtse sems ngo ma/  is not based on attachment chags zhen/ , but on altruism gzhan phan gyi sems/ . In this case your compassion will remain as a humane response to suffering as long as beings continue to suffer (DLP 13-14).

    Proverbs: mi ngan rtsa med bzos kyang rung /,,de 'dra'i mi la snying rje lta dgos med/  evil criminals can be done away with; you cannot have compassion on such men (KPU 11).

  2. snying rje skye ba/ 

    p. skyes/  f. skye ba/  [hon. 'khrungs/ ] [lit. compassion + arise, be born]

    Biblical: to feel compassion for someone: phas kho mthong ste/,,snying rje skyes nas/  [his] father saw him and was filled with compassion for him (Lk. 15:20), snying rje 'khrungs nas de rnams kyi nad pa gso bar mdzad do/  [Jesus] had compassion on them and healed their sick (Mt. 14:14).

  3. brtse ba/ 

    [hon. thugs brtse/ ] p. brtses/ 

    Biblical: love, affection, or compassion: sha tsha dang /,,spun la brtse ba dang /  affection and brotherly love (1 Pet. 3:8), ye shus thugs brtses nas de gnyis kyi mig la phyag reg pas/  Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes (Mt. 20:34), ngas thugs brtse dgongs pa de la thugs brtse bya/,,snying rje dgongs pa de la snying rje bya'o gsungs so/  I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion (Rom. 9:15).

    Buddhist: Compassion inspired by the suffering of people or animals is exalted as one of the highest Bst. virtues: nad par rjes su brtse ba/  compassion for the sick (KTM), mkhyen brtse nus gsum gyi yon tan bla na med pa dang ldan pa 'di la sangs rgyas zhu ba red/  one possessing unsurpassable qualities of wisdom, compassion, and power is called Buddha (TRC 75), gcan gzan sogs phar 'gro tshur 'ong byed pa gzigs kyang gnod 'tshe mi mdzad pa dang /,,byams pa dang /,,brtse ba chen pos rang 'dod ltar 'gror bcug pa/  though [the Buddha] saw the deer and wild animals coming and going, he did not harm them, but in great love and compassion let them come and go as they pleased (SGN 3), sems can tshang mar byams brtse chen pos skyong bar mdzad pa/  [the Buddha] treated all animals with love and compassion (SGN 3). See also love.

  4. phan sems/ 

    Biblical: benevolence, readiness to help; good intentions or thoughts: gcig gis gcig la phan sems gyis shig be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32).

    Buddhist: phan sems/  is the wish for good to come to others; gzhan phan gyi sems/  altruism (DLP 14), rdzogs pa'i sangs rgyas gzhan phan sems las 'khrungs/  complete Buddhahood is born of the wish to benefit others (GSL 12).

    Cognates: phan pa/  to benefit.