Ocean of Compassion: A Guide to the Life of Universal Loving provides inspirational guidance for the cultivation of the essential virtues necessary to live a life whose purpose is to overcome our mistaken ways of acting and thinking and become a Buddha for the benefit of all. It explains how to cultivate this motivation, called Bodhichitta in Buddhism, and how to shape universal loving into a truly transformational life through the practice of the virtues of generosity, patience, effort, moral discipline, concentration, and wisdom. Expressed in poetic form, the book can help you change your thoughts, words, and actions so as to live a meaningful life of service to others—one in which you truly love your neighbor as yourself.
From Chapter One: Develop love universal; Ponder the kindness of all. Without the help received from others, We would have nothing at all. We praise a kindness to repay A prior kindness done. Far greater is the merit earned when acting only with the thought To help another one. We are bothered by and want to end The pain of those we adore. The kinship we feel gives us a motive; Their sufferings, we abhor. We feel akin to those viewed as like us; Reflect on the likeness we bear To each other as fellows who suffer. A connection with all, we share. So put yourself in the place of all others; Their feelings of woe you will know. Your new self will want to bar all suffering. To the end of the path you’ll go. From Chapter Two: Sages have said that, among the Perfections, Effort is thought to be best. When we take delight in acting with virtue, We will achieve all the rest. Wishing to help all sentient beings Puts Bodhichitta in play. Engaging in deeds, with joy, that actually help Is Effort's benevolent way. From Chapter Three: One of the tangible things we can give Is an admired article we own. Grasping the palpable goods we possess Cannot bring happiness; this is well known. Every tangible item we buy Will eventually disappear. So, how can clenching things ephemeral Bring us that which is lasting and dear? If, instead, we practice giving away Things acquired because we have been blessed As a result of past acts of bestowing, Real meaning comes from all of this largess. From Chapter Four: Patience is a state of mind Able to bear pain and abuse. With Patience we’ll always have peace of mind So, anger will be of no use. This perfection shields us from the foe, ire, The most potent cause of the vices. It’s quite obvious when we see umbrage at work The suff’ring that, from it, arises. Anger functions in only one way; It causes us spiritual harm. When we injure others in anger Our own future wounds are farmed. From Chapter Five: Moral Discipline is the perfection which aims To renounce every Bodhisattva flaw. It’s a mental decision, this, to do, or a mind which Blocks a verbal or bodily faux pas. A seed of non-virtue may ripen As a fancy to commit a vice. Refrain deliberately knowing its dangers; Moral discipline begins to arise. Our mind first puts into motion a vice By contemplating a foolish aim. Carefully scrutinize each step you consider; Is it found on the path without blame? From Chapter Six: So as to achieve our own happiness, More so, for all the forlorn, It needs be we perceive the deep object of Wisdom. Tranquil mind, this, must perform. We can never see an abstruse object With a mind distracted and wild. Concentration will subdue the mind’s commotion. You’ll become very calm and mild. Our inborn, untamed, agitated mind Has discomforts which always attend. It causes both mental and carnal wounds, Which Concentration can truly mend. From Chapter Seven: I heard a knock upon my door, one evening, While sitting there feeling smug in my chair, “Let’s go to see who could be there,” I thought; It’s a young lady who has a blank stare. This sad, suffering child in confusion Says she recently came to a profound conclusion; “I think I once was Immanuel Kant, ‘Cause of memories that have come in profusion. “Now, I don’t know where my mom or my dad is; This makes me so very sad. Please take me in and explain my confusion. Then, I might not feel so bad.” “Yes, please do enter my dear, and tell me what you are called.” “I don’t know,” she says. So, then says I, “Immanuella, I’d like to choose.” Some confusion clears from her eyes while saying, “I have an inkling it’s really all the same no matter the name you use.”
Tenzin Norbu is the pen name of Terrence L. Moore, PhD. He is a retired associate professor of philosophy; he received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Moore received the dharma name Tenzin Norbu—Tibetan for “Bearer of the Jewel of the Dharma”—at his Buddhist refuge ceremony in 1996. He is married to Dr. Svetlana Moore. He currently strives to share the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism with anyone who may benefit from them. Tenzin Norbu’s son, Eric Moore, is the artist who created the cover illustration of this book.