Our next meeting of the Dharma Study group is on Monday, August 7th. We will be discussing Chapter 2 of Christina Feldman’s book, Compassion. The chapter is rich and should provide for a great conversation. Following are some questions to help guide our time together:
- What were your overall reactions to the chapter? Were there particular parts that stood out for you?
- On page 18, Feldman says that “compassion will remain a closed door as long as you close your heart to an awareness and acceptance of pain.” How do you know this to be true from your own experience?
- Page 23: “To listen to the cries of the world, you are asked to be still, to let go of your arguments, judgments, fault-finding, and the effort to make the difficult disappear.” Have you had experience living from this place of greater kindness and tenderness? What is that like for you?
- Feldman says that “we suffer because of our refusal to accept life as it is” (p. 25). What is your reaction to this challenging statement?
- On pg. 27, Feldman says, “Generosity is part of compassion. Most of us need to be more generous with ourselves and with others.” What have you found that helps you become more generous in your own life?
- 28-30 talk about suffering that is tied to bottomless wanting and self-cherishing. How have you experienced this? How have acceptance, generosity, and compassion helped to ease your suffering?
- In the section on the pain of isolation (pgs. 30-32), Feldman says, “Though there is much that is different between yourself and others, our common bond lies in our wish to be free from pain and sorrow, to be safe, happy, and cared for.” How does living this way increase our compassion and happiness?
- 33-37 focus on the sorrow of awareness. Feldman says, “The prerequisite to ending suffering is to understand it. It’s easy to hate what you don’t understand. It’s difficult to despise anything your understand.” This sounds easy, but is challenging to actually do consistently. What helps you to live from this place?