When I introduce the concept of the buddhas and bodhisattvas working for sentient beings to Westerners, I normally recommend that they first use their own experience of compassion as an example, as this makes it easy to understand. When we feel compassion for someone, we want to help, not harm her. In other words, we try to benefit that person by doing whatever we can for her with our body, speech and mind. Even though we don’t feel compassion for every sentient being, we do whatever we can to help those for whom we do feel compassion. If we did feel compassion for all sentient beings, we would try to help all of them according to our capacity. That is logical.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
from the book The Heart of the Path: Seeing the Guru as Buddha
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