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Drop of Dhamma Delight!


A very good Friend quite wisely asked:

>I've often seen you translate karunā as "pity,"
but isn't pity actually the near enemy of karunā?

Friend your good question exemplifies a common misconception and
non-recognition of a mixed state...Since it depends how you define and
thus understand “Pity” as a mixed state, or in itself as a pure state!

In itself Pure Pity = Karunā  is defined as:
Pity originally means 'feeling the other being's pain', or "sympathy" and
However only IF mixed with egoism it gets more unsympathetic
connotations of feeling of “own” superiority based on conscious, or even
unconscious lack of respect of the sufferer's dignity, who is now seen as
“inferior”. However this evil does not come from pity itself, which is a pure
compassion for the plight of the sufferer, but from the often unseen and
overlooked aspect of mixed-in impurities of the EGO-conceit “I am Better”!
Since for to say or think, even subconsciously, “I am Better” there  have to
be present the mistaken belief in a non-existent Ego = The conceit that “I am”
= asmi-māna... Needless to say has this arrogant, inflated, and pride-pumped
“I”-dentification and “self”-deception nothing whatsoever to do with fellow
feelings for another being's suffering, though it can often subconsciously
be mixed with it and thus polluting this in itself very advantageous pure pity.


Moreover regarding karunā especially as "Buddhist Pity":
To deliver it one has to know it's cause! What is the cause of fine pity arising?
It is seeing and reflecting upon the helplessness of beings trapped in Samsara..
There is no “sorrow” or “sadness” in this state as it is based on understanding
of cause and effect. From the
The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga):

“One whose meditation subject is pity should arouse compassion for any
[evil-doing] person even if he now is happy: “Though this poor wretch is now
happy, cheerful, enjoying his wealth, still for lack of even one single good
deed done now in by any of the 3 doors of intentional behaviour (speaking,
thinking, or acting) he will come to experience untold future suffering in the
downfall states of loss...” The effect of cultivating pity (karunā) is complete
elimination of cruelty, and thus the cruel kammic future effects thereof. 

Cut short:
A Noble Person feels empathy and pity for all beings in Samsara due to
understanding of the inherent dangers in that Samsaric trap for anyone
without understanding of the 4 Noble Truths, but he does not feel sorrow
or sadness on that account! If he did, then Pity (Karunā or Compassion)
would not be an advantageous (kusala) mental state promoting happiness,
which is the sole purpose of training this mental state in the first place!

Podcast on Compassionate Pity (Karunā):

More on Pity (Karunā = Compassion):
Karunā_is_Pity, Space_Compassion,
Great_Compassion, Compassionate_Pity,

See also:

Pure is Unpolluted Pity...

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