John Dunne: Self Compassion & Going Forth

11.15.2021 - By Upaya Zen Center's Dharma Podcast

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Self-hate is a particularly modern, western phenomenon. Buddhist literature up until the 21st century lacks any notion of self-compassion. Why is that?
Compassion garners a large role with the advent of the Mahayana movement, in its capacity to liberate us from the second veil of ignorance, the distinction between self and other, self and world. Going beyond the Arhat, ‘…the point of the Buddha is to serve others to free themselves… they are great teachers…’ who free others by teaching them the nature of reality. ‘True awakening is free from perspective,…teaching from the standpoint of others…. Buddha’s don’t have opinions!’
The West’s ‘subjective turn’ sees an emphasis on the ‘self’, a story-telling of the ‘self’. A self-focusing with strong correlations to depression. A possible reframing of compassion in the form of renunciation can provide us with the motivation to free sentient beings from suffering’, but without turning the self into an object or story, without the self-soothing, ‘…dropping into the pain and letting go of the story…getting good at not taking the story of the self seriously.’
This talk was given by John Dunne.

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