Social, economic and political aspects of today’s world have increased the level of commitment required in various aspects of individual life. In this regard, people are increasingly focusing on matter such as the realization of personal and career goals that will better their lives. Thus, the desire to attain self-actualization has left little room for individuals to pay attention to other people’s welfare. People are paying more attention to matters that concern their personal lives and little or no attention on issues that affect the socioeconomic status of other members of the society. Although there is adequate information on suffering people in various parts of the world, people have been less enthusiastic on providing the necessary support. People are not willing to take personal responsibility concerning the alleviation of other people’s suffering. This trend arouses controversies on the scope of individuals’ responsibilities in matters of helping the needy and suffering. The expected conduct in both the religious and professional scope highlights the fact that human beings have an aspect of responsibility on the welfare of other people. Dalai Lama’s describes compassion as an unconditional and universal sense of selflessness that leads people to use all means in their disposal to alleviate suffering. According to Dalai Lama, the scope of compassion should not vary depending on the observable level of suffering. In this regard, compassionate people should take responsibility to alleviate even the slightest suffering.
To exercise compassion, one must sacrifice a portion of his or her personal time in identifying the suffering and providing necessary assistance. Thus, conflicts are likely to arise between personal interests and the helping of the suffering. In this regard, evaluation of the benefits derived from acts of compassion will guide one’s decision on whether to abandon his or her personal interests at the expense of exercising compassion. Exercising unconditional and universal compassion exposes people to various dangers since it requires an unbiased approach even when dealing with strangers. In this regard, acts of compassion make people vulnerable to harm as they may be dealing with criminals. Therefore, rather than alleviating suffering, acts of generosity may increase the misfortunes of those trying to assist. Compassion is a source of happiness for human beings. Self-centered lives amount to selfishness and often lead to destructive activities. Peaceful coexistence within the society cannot thrive without compassion. Most human activities involve personal interactions, which would not occur with the prevalence of hatred. However, these interactions occur in a controlled environment to safeguard group and personal interests. Religious doctrines emphasize on various acts of mercy that believers should exercise to other human beings. These acts include taking care of the sick, feeding the hungry and visiting those in prison. Code of ethics in various disciplines emphasize on the need for practices that uphold morals, dignity and do not cause any form of suffering. However, the extent of this responsibility largely depends on personal interests and preferences. In this regard, people do not exercise unconditional and universal compassion and love.
Exercising caution in various aspects of human interaction means that there is a high tendency to assist familiar people than strangers. While an individual may be very generous and kind to his neighbor, he may not extend the same level of generosity and kindness to a stranger in the street. The tendency to show compassion only to familiar people arises because people feel persons they have interacted with have a lower probability of hurting them in comparison to strangers. Universal compassion creates numerous loopholes that individuals with malicious intents can exploit to achieve personal interests. Often, people engaged in acts of compassion get mugged, raped and even killed. Crime reports highlight numerous cases in which criminals posing as stranded persons harm people who want to assist them. Such incidents introduce challenges in exercising universal and unconditional compassion. The realization that there are parties keen on taking advantage of acts of compassion forces people to exercise extra caution and thus minimal compassion. Thus, people will exercise compassion only in situations that they perceive to have minimal threats on their security and other personal interests.
Although everyone faces some of form of suffering, the scope and extent of suffering may vary. In this regard, emphasizing on constant and universal compassion even in the slightest of suffering would grind other human activities to a halt. In addition, it would discourage people from being independent since they expect other members of the society to help them whenever they have problems. When a person knows that he can rely on other people to solve his problems, he becomes a hurdle to other people’s personal interests. Rather than attending to concerns such as work, people will spend most of their time showing generosity and kindness. Concerns about compassion should only arise when the scope and extent of suffering is beyond an individual’s capacity. Thus, people should only exercise universal compassion in situations whereby the suffering cannot tackle their predicament in order to encourage people to be self-reliant. Although there are genuine beggars, some crafty individuals take advantage of compassionate individuals to get free handouts. Instead of seeking for jobs, they turn unconditional and universal compassion into a tool that promotes laziness. Unconditional compassion increases an individual’s responsibilities to other members of the society. In this regard, people have to divide their attention between personal goals and the welfare of other people. Personal interests that require a lot of time and dedication limit the scope of exercising compassion since unconditional compassion requires people to give priority to the alleviation of suffering. Foregoing personal interests to engage in acts of compassion threatens self-actualization.
Considering the drawbacks associated with unconditional and universal compassion, people can only exercise a control form compassion that requires critical analysis of benefits associated with an act of generosity or kindness. If an act of generosity or kindness exposes someone to various dangers, it overrides the benefits of unconditional and universal compassion. On the other hand, an act that involves minimal threats on personal interests encourages unconditional and universal compassion. Despite the fact that peaceful coexistence requires some form of generosity and kindness, the extent of compassion employed in most scenarios does not meet the criteria of unconditional and universal compassion. Individual and institutional goals and objectives regarding compassion largely depend on the benefits derived exercising compassion rather than an inner sense of responsibility. Dalai Lama’s ethics of compassion did not incorporate factors that make unconditional and universal compassion a source of threat to personal interests. Individuals with malicious intents realize the loopholes that exist in Dalai Lama’s ethics of compassion and are willing to exploit these loopholes to achieve personal interests. Members of the society who would want engage in acts of compassion have to exercise a lot of caution to avoid becoming victims of unconditional and universal compassion. In this regard, compassion only thrives in environments where there is little sense of danger. If people identify possible threats in acts of compassion, they will desist from helping even individuals with genuine problems. Since the world will always comprise of evil and the good, unconditional and universal compassion cannot thrive. People will always put their personal interests first and only engage in acts of compassion that do not threaten their interests.
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