Can a bodhisattva or lay Buddhist be too concerned with truth at the expense of compassion and altruism?

What is the relationship between truth and compassion? e.g.. is the truth always compassionate, and if not, which is more important? Or, can we pursue the Buddha dharma out of a desire for the truth alone. etc.


there is no compassion without truth

when the truth is not beneficial for another person, what is practised in 'equanimity' rather than 'compassion'

how can something be 'altruistic' if it is not the truth?


Love is a one sided affair... compassion is a one sided affair... you love no matter whether you get love in return or not... you show compassion no matter whether you get compassion in return or not .... why so? because you believe in the truth this is suffering... everyone is going to suffer... why show cruelty towards those who are bound to suffer...???


By tending to your own renunciation, you may become dispassionate (which is a way to deal with your own suffering), but by cultivating compassion, you can create the balance needed in dealing with others. Renunciation and equanimity is how you deal with your own suffering. Meanwhile, compassion is how you deal with others' suffering.

In fact I would say, in order to get closer to the truth, you need to deepen your renunciation and compassion.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote in "The Balanced Way":

Like a bird in flight borne by its two wings, the practice of Dhamma is sustained by two contrasting qualities whose balanced development is essential to straight and steady progress. These two qualities are renunciation and compassion. As a doctrine of renunciation the Dhamma points out that the path to liberation is a personal course of training that centers on the gradual control and mastery of desire, the root cause of suffering. As a teaching of compassion the Dhamma bids us to avoid harming others, to act for their welfare, and to help realize the Buddha's own great resolve to offer the world the way to the Deathless.

Considered in isolation, renunciation and compassion have inverse logics that at times seem to point us in opposite directions. The one steers us to greater solitude aimed at personal purification, the other to increased involvement with others issuing in beneficent action. Yet, despite their differences, renunciation and compassion nurture each other in dynamic interplay throughout the practice of the path, from its elementary steps of moral discipline to its culmination in liberating wisdom. The synthesis of the two, their balanced fusion, is expressed most perfectly in the figure of the Fully Enlightened One, who is at once the embodiment of complete renunciation and of all-embracing compassion.

Both renunciation and compassion share a common root in the encounter with suffering. The one represents our response to suffering confronted in our own individual experience, the other our response to suffering witnessed in the lives of others. Our spontaneous reactions, however, are only the seeds of these higher qualities, not their substance. To acquire the capacity to sustain our practice of Dhamma, renunciation and compassion must be methodically cultivated, and this requires an ongoing process of reflection which transmutes our initial stirrings into full-fledged spiritual virtues.


The 'truth' (such as it is) is subtle, transcendental, and wordless. The best we can do is see it and point at it; we cannot own it. Unfortunately, the word 'truth' has come to imply a kind of absolute intellectual property. When someone says "I know the truth", the implication is that the person 'owns' a piece of information that cannot be questioned or evaluated, and this can lead to loss of compassion as the person struggles to maintain his 'truth' against any contestation or alteration.

The truth — in that subtle, transcendental, wordless sense — is neither compassionate nor un-compassionate. It's merely factual. Compassion or its lack are qualities of our attitude towards that truth. Human suffering is a part of truth; what we think we know about human suffering — those little pieces of information we own and try to apply — is something else. If we see that higher truth we will always (unavoidably) act with compassion, regardless of what we know. However if we cling to the little truths we know... Well, clinging is poisonous to compassion.

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