Compassion must start with seeing our own suffering. If it does not, then seeing the suffering of others will be merely conceptual. It will merely be a matter of having learned about suffering from a book or philosophy. We may intellectually know about the different types of suffering and so forth, but without inward reflection, our understanding will always be a theoretical knowledge that is directed toward the outside. Starting from our own experience of suffering becomes most important for the practice of open and genuine compassion.
— 7th Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche