Most people approach compassion as a virtue, as something a good person should have. And many Buddhist practitioners see compassion as part of their spiritual self-improvement project. In this talk, we will take a different approach. Using resonance between two musical instruments as a metaphor, we will explore our human bodyminds as a “sphere of attention” that is in a constant felt dialogue with objects and other people. Based on this understanding, we will ask how mindfulness (reframed as bodyfulness) can help us cultivate and refine the attentive and sensitive aliveness of the felt body—and how we can develop confidence in this aliveness as the source of compassionate action that flows in accord with circumstances and conditions.
This talk draws from Zenki Roshi’s exploration of compassion in his recently published book The Path of Aliveness: A Contemporary Zen Approach to Awakening Body and Mind (Shambhala, May 2022).