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The Compassionate Life by Marc Ian Barasch

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3

EMPATHY: YOU IN ME, ME IN YOU

See yourself in othersThen whom can you hurt?What harm can you do?

—The Buddha

IONCE SPENT A DAY SHADOWING THE DALAI LAMA. IT WAS ONE of his early visits to the United States, and I was covering him for the local paper, but that was just my alibi. I wanted to take his measure, to see for myself what this incarnation of Avalokiteśvara, the deity of compassion, was really like when the rubber sandals met the road.

He struck me as bright and curious—an exceptionally nice man—but a living Buddha? Yet as the day wore on, it crept up on me: His caring never seemed to waver. He emanated a steady warmth without gaps, moods, or slipups. I watched him meet with the mayor of Denver, a stogie-chomping old pol whose small talk ...

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