The most exalted example Buddhists use to explain compassion is motherhood. Consider all that your mother probably has done for you since the time you were conceived — carrying you for 9 months, experiencing the hardship of labor and birth, feeding and clothing you, taking care of all your needs, and worrying about you long after you reach adulthood. Most mothers never stop caring unconditionally for their children. Regardless of whether one believes in reincarnation or not, one can suppose that all living beings are like mothers to us. The food that appears in front of us at dinner was grown, packaged, and prepared by people we probably do not know. The clothes we are wearing were produced by people we probably will never meet. Yet we are benefiting from their hopes, dreams, and labor. Plants, animals, and raw materials have all been used to provide us these things. This is the interdependence that characterizes life — no one thing exists by itself alone, or can survive alone. We are all part of one world ecology and the world is extremely compassionate to us.
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