Along with practicing non-violence and ceasing harming others, the Mahayana teachings require us additionally to act to benefit others. This is necessary if we are to live up to the name of Mahayana practitioners that we claim for ourselves.
His Holiness then related an anecdote, which he emphasized was a true story, of a person who had recently become Buddhist. When this man was driving his car, he was struck by a truck. The truck driver descended from his truck and began berating the man, accusing him of being at fault. The new Buddhist had the thought that he lacked the wisdom of a Buddha, but needed to train himself in the compassion of a Buddha. Therefore, he did not respond verbally to the man’s accusations. After a police officer arrived, the truck driver continued his abusive rant and his false accusations. Suddenly, there was a downpour of heavy rain, and the truck driver moved to return to his truck, but then noticed that the rain was not falling on him, although the driver of the car himself was being drenched by the rain. As he looked about, he saw that the driver, practicing compassion, was holding the umbrella up over his head, exposing himself to the rain. He was at once struck by the incongruity between his own abuse of the driver, and the driver’s kindness to him, and regretted his behavior. The truck driver then admitted to the police officer that he had been at fault.
This shows the power of compassion, and inspires us to practice it even if we may lack the wisdom to do so perfectly.
~Karmapa – 28TH KAGYU MONLAM: DAY THREE