The Dalai Lama, the spiritual and the political head of Tibet, has lived a long life in exile, struggling for the rights of his people. An ordinary mortal would have broken down in such a situation, which, perhaps, would have brought more misery and indignity to his people. He, however, by his wisdom and moral strength has not only been struggling for them but has also maintained their dignity. He has won the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ which speaks volumes about him.
I have read the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, Freedom in Exile. It gives a detailed account of the situation in Tibet which led to his exile and the troubles as well as indignities thrust upon him and his people. However, in the midst of all this, he kept his composure and led his people with dignity. It was not an easy task and he explains it in another book, The Power of Compassion. While describing the agonies of his life, he writes that it was the power of compassion which helped him greatly in maintaining his peace of mind and in following the path of wisdom. I am sharing here a lesson learnt from this book.
First of all the word ‘compassion’ should be understood clearly. This word has a unique meaning and is different from mercy. In fact, it is more than mercy. It is putting oneself in the position of a suffering person and feeling exactly what he does. It is closer to the word ‘empathy’ which means the power of entering into another’s personality and experiencing his experiences. When one has compassion for others, one has great magnetic power and even an enemy can be won over by the power of compassion.
This is exactly true in the case of Dalai Lama. He has not only been able to win his people by his compassion, but has also dealt with his enemies in a dignified manner. This in turn greatly helped his cause and won worldwide concern about it.
Once we understand the power of compassion, it can be used as a tool to deal with others. By compassion, we win not only our friends and well-wishers but our enemies too. Our apparently harsh actions are then seen as kind deeds, and harmony comes to our life naturally.