I recall reading somewhere that beauty is a lure within Buddhism, and causes attachment towards the external world. However, I've come to think beauty may be positive in certain circumstances. This site which deals with mindfulness and other such topics suggests witnessing nature mindfully allows greater connection.
My reasoning is that if compassion is put forwards in Buddhism, especially with the Mahayana, then attachment isn't necessarily all bad. I recall reading the Dalai Lama explaining how compassion propels karma, but towards positive rebirth. Attachment towards others through compassion can benefit the individual in the present or future.
QUESTION 1: What is the benefit of aesthetic contemplation, if any?
And, in line with this, I wonder if within compassion meditation one needs to experience feeling during the meditation itself. I remember the Dalai Lama saying one should generate compassion with reasons, then focus upon the feeling. It's difficult for me to do so, so I wonder if compassion-meditation can work without immediate feeling.
QUESTION 2: Is feeling (either vedana or 'emotion') necessary for compassion meditation?