Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing a Dutch student’s 17-year-old dog, the Netherlands, July 2015. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.
“In order to develop compassion for all living beings, we need to understand all the sufferings of all the different beings in samsara, their different types of sufferings,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche taught in “Not One Single Difficulty to Work for Other Sentient Beings” published in Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive’s January 2016 e-letter. “So we have to meditate that it is all in the nature of suffering. Then we can develop compassion for every living being. Otherwise our compassion is very limited.
“Our compassion is limited if it’s only for poor people, only for sick people, only for human beings who are dying. Therefore we need to learn the different types of sufferings. We need to meditate on that and then we feel it is unbearable for ourselves to experience those sufferings. When that happens to us, then we feel compassion for others.
“For example, when we have AIDS, then we will feel compassion for other people who have AIDS. We feel that is so unbearable. People who have AIDS, they feel it is so unbearable that other people have AIDS. That’s because they have AIDS and they don’t want to experience that, they know about the life with AIDS.
“That’s why in the stages of the path, first we have to have the realization, renunciation of samsara. Then we see the unbearable suffering of others. Then there, compassion arises. After that, great compassion, feeling how unbearable other sentient beings’ suffering is, and taking responsibility on ourselves, that we want to free them from all the suffering. That’s how compassion arises.
“That leads to bodhichitta, taking responsibility, thinking, ‘I will do it by myself alone. I will free the sentient beings from all the suffering and causes, and bring them to ultimate happiness. Not just temporary, but ultimate happiness, especially the highest, the ultimate happiness, enlightenment. Therefore I need to be enlightened.’ The bodhichitta arises like that.”
You can read Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive’s January 2016 e-letter to find more teachings from Lama Zopa Rinpoche: http://www.lamayeshe.com/article/e-letter-no-151-january-2016