If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
There can be no just world, no enlightened humanity, without compassion. When we are concerned for the suffering of others, and act to relieve that suffering, we make better not only a small corner of the world, but the world itself.
Compassion is an integral part of our common humanity and a core foundation of the better future we seek to create.
The principle of compassion is at the core of virtually every major faith tradition. The Jewish Torah scholar Rabbi Hillel declared “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah. The rest is explanation.” The Buddha proclaimed that “Karuna, or compassion, is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others.” Jesus, who challenged his followers to sacrifice their own desires and act compassionately toward others, said, in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Every chapter in the Quran, with one exception, begins with the verse, “In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate …”
Compassion, of course, transcends all moral and ethical systems: a good society requires compassion. But there is far too little of it in the world today, and so when we identify a condition or circumstance given to despair, and then take personally meaningful steps to alleviate it, we increase the compassion quotient of the world. When we do that, we increase hope.