The following article was extracted from the book - Awakening A Kind Heart by Ven. Sangye Khadro
All beings are important from the point of view of our spiritual development. Even enemies are important because they incite our anger and thus give us the chance to work on patience, one of the most valuable qualities on the spiritual path.
All beings are the same in wanting happiness and not wanting suffering. They are, at heart just like ourselves.
Every being has Buddha-nature, the potential to become free and enlightened. Even those who live unethically and do many harmful deeds have a nature that is pure and good, and one day (probable after many lives) they will attain enlightenment. If we can accept these ideas and keep them in mind whenever we meet another living being, then instead of feeling, “you are different from me,” we will feel, “ you are just like me” and loving-kindness will arise naturally.
The love we develop should be pure and unselfish, expecting nothing in return. Pure love also transcends boundaries.
Love is an inexhaustible energy. Learning to be more loving is like discovering a natural spring within us: however much love we give, more will always come bubbling up. It is our habitual self-centeredness and self-limiting ways of thinking that constrict the flow of love. As we gradually lessen these, our ability to love will increase.
Compassion differs slightly from love. Love wants others to be happy, while compassion wants them to not have pain, problems or unhappiness. Love comes from appreciating others’ kindness, or just respecting them as fellow beings, whereas compassion comes from realizing that they suffer.
Our own experiences of suffering are the basis for compassion. We know what it’s like to be sick or in pain, to be lonely or have our feelings hurt by an unkind remark, to fear the unknown or mourn the death of a loved one. When we then see or hear of others experiencing these things, our heart opens with a feeling of empathy and a wish to help.
Compassion is a quality desperately needed in the world today. If there could be more compassion in people’s hearts and live, if more people could develop the awareness that: “Just as I do not like being hurt, others also do not like being hurt, so we should stop hurting each other,: then there would be fare fewer stories in the news about war, terrorism and violent crimes. All the cruel things human beings do to one another are due to a lack of compassion. It is compassion that keeps us from harming others, imagine what the world would be like if we were all to develop such compassion.
Compassion is something that already exists in each and every one of us. It is a matter of learning how to get in touch with it and how to expand it so that we can feel it more often and for more people.