Wisdom & Compassion

Wisdom & Compassion

Compassion is always born of Understanding and understanding is the result of looking deeply.   Thich Nhat Hanh

Compassion says what needs to be said and wisdom does not fear the consequences.
Sayadaw U Pandita (Vipassana Meditation)

Here are the words in Sanskrit: (Thank you, Laura!)
Pranja—wisdom= the ability to understand the suffering
Karuna—compassion=the desire to see another person set free from suffering

A great example of wisdom and compassion in the scriptures is in the story of Jesus and the Woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees (teachers of the law) bring the woman to Jesus to see what he would recommend. They wanted to know if he would follow the teaching of Moses and have her stoned or if he would deny the law of Moses. Either way, they would be able to find Jesus guilty!

Jesus uses great Wisdom in deciding what to do in this situation. The Pharisees expect and maybe even want to see him make a quick decision, but Jesus slows the whole narrative down by writing in the sand. What was he really doing by drawing/writing in the dirt? Meditative moment? Creating connection with the Divine so that he did not succumb to their trap? The scriptures state that the Pharisees became frustrated because Jesus took so long to answer so they kept pressing him. I love this moment because to me Jesus shows what being true to yourself looks like in pressure-packed situations. Jesus knows the law but he also knows he is called to teach a better way than following every letter of the law. What will he do? Who will he be in this moment?

Then Jesus stands up and says to the Pharisees, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone.” Brilliant. They all walk away for no one could claim (at least in public!) that they had no sin in their lives.

Wisdom and Compassion embodied in Jesus speaks to the woman, “Who is here to condemn you? Then, neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

He understood her suffering and wanted her set free. He did not breeze past the fact that she was guilty. He did not give her a hug and tell her everything was going to be fine. He said all that needed to be said.  He was direct and powerful. “I do not condemn you. Now, go and sin no more.”

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