How To Cultivate Three Life Changing Qualities: Passion, Compassion, and Dispassion

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By Arundhati  Mukherjee

The best teacher or Guru in life is Experience. Experiences  takes the test first and then teaches us the lesson. No studying of scriptures good books or articles can infuse wisdom without implementing those learnings in our daily life and living it. Each human being is born here to learn his or her lesson and circumstances and events one faces in life is but that learning process. Each has his own training ground and I had mine to resolve the unresolved issues .

Having passion is the motivation for doing any  work. Each of us have our own passion. I am very passionate about my work and also as a mother and householder in my family. When I joined my job I was a very energetic and passionate professional. As a result success in the form of approval of my seniors, colleagues, and name and fame came my way. I was happy and lived a contented   life. But life is not a straight line.


I got married, had children and in the mean time I was promoted and transferred to a new place with greater responsibilities amongst new faces. My challenges begun then in the form of work politics, gender bias, and an air of competition and jealousy filled the air.

Being a woman in a male dominated industry had its own challenges. Gradually my habituated approval of people turned into disapproval. Time constraints and keeping work life balance became a challenge. resulting into dissatisfaction both at work and home front. This resulted in to slow and steady resentment, at home and office and a disturbed state of affair. I was shaken to the core to the point that I thought of quitting the job. Then I reflected on the whole matter and I discovered that I was identifying my self-worth on the approval and disapproval of people.

I looked deep inside myself and searched for the cause of my agony. In spite of working passionately at home and office to the best of my capabilities I was not able to satisfy anybody. This hurt me. Then I realized that I was too much attached to the opinion of others. I reflected on the teachings of Sri Krishna in Bhagwat Gita to cultivate equanimity, or dispassion.

I decided to cultivate dispassion or detachment to the opinion of others and continue to do my work passionately surrendering the fruits in to the feet of God. I decided to live my life and regained my self-worth. I was like the infinite blue sky where shades of black clouds and white clouds played and went away but I remained the same infinite blue sky. I learnt to let go. I developed confidence on my own self. I realized to cultivate dispassion not only in matters of peoples opinion but also for the materials we enjoy, and the relationships we nurture.

The more we are attached the more we have expectations and fear of losing. When we cultivate dispassion or as Patanjali says vairagya it does not mean that we need not have material comforts or we need not be caring about our relationships. It means enjoying all but with equanimity not being attached to the good or bad opinions, or having expectation or having fear… it is difficult but practicing and being awaken and having awareness to the present moment, it is possible. I started meditating on daily basis. Meditation awakens and invokes the power of viveka or discernment. By discernment we can cultivate dispassion along with passion.

But this did not solve the problem. The occasional rude behaviour of my boss at work and family members at home hurt me. I was still groping to find work life balance and satisfying both fronts with all my efforts, practicing passion and dispassion. But then I realized that I was missing something. I needed to change my point of view towards the behaviour of others. I needed to cultivate karuna or compassion. I needed to understand their point of view.

It is the simple orientation of our hearts that ultimately determines whether we create societies characterized by joy and dignity or crippled by conflict, fear and despair. Why they are behaving in such manner. Then I came across the teachings of Buddha. To respect the Buddha nature in all. To cultivate compassion and came across the story of Bodhisattva never disparaging.


The Lotus Sutra, which Nichiren Buddhism regards as the teaching that encapsulates the essence of the Buddha’s enlightenment, offers an apparently simple response. This is conveyed in the story of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging:

Never Disparaging is described as having lived in the remote past. It was his practice to bow in reverence to everyone he met and praise that person’s inherent Buddha nature. This, however, only provoked violence and abuse in return. Never Disparaging’s actions no doubt challenged people’s deeply held negative assumptions about the nature of life. Their reactions, however, never managed to upset his convictions. He would simply retreat to a safe distance and repeat his obeisance, honoring the potential for good within his persecutors.

Over time, as a result of these actions, Never Disparaging’s humanity comes to shine to the extent that those who had despised him were moved to become his disciples and thus enter the path of attaining Buddhahood themselves.

Nichiren writes, “The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the ‘Never Disparaging’ chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behaviour as a human being.”

A Buddha is not an extraordinary being but a person who is deeply conscious of the positive potential within him-or herself and within all others, and who strives to help others bring forth this potential.

Nichiren clarifies that respecting others, as exemplified by the actions of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, constitutes the essence of Buddhist practice and the correct way for human beings to behave. Such respect is not limited to a passive regard for others; it is a bold engagement of our humanity. While simple in its formulation, in practice such an attitude represents the most challenging path.

The effort required, however, is precisely that fundamental energy that can bring about the positive transformation of society. As SGI President Ikeda writes, “The key to the flowering of humanity of which Buddhism speaks is steadfast belief in people’s goodness and dedication to cultivating this goodness in oneself and others.”

Thus by trying to practice passion, dispassion, and compassion on daily basis by developing my power of discrimination or viveka through meditation, my journey begun and it continues…..Within a year or two with many failures and gaining back my faith and facing the challenges courageously again and again I succeeded in changing my circumstances. I always prayed for myself as well as for the happiness of others who misbehaved with me.

Gradually things changed and now I have a congenial atmosphere and have a healthy and beautiful relationship with all with whom I had conflict. But as Patanjali stressed on Abhyasa, I try to practice this on daily basis. As this is a way of life , and is to be lived.

I shared my experience as I benefited from it. So I would like to suggest that these are the three life changing qualities that we should all cultivate with discernment: PASSION, COMPASSION and DISPASSION.

About Arundhati  Mukherjee

I am Superintending Engineer (control & Instrumentation) in a modernized Thermal Power Plant serving the industry for the last 20 years in West Bengal, india..But I love to write about life, spirituality and, science and do a bit of research on Science and spirituality and where they actually meet each other.I am a seeker in Speaking Tree. a website of Times Internet and regularly write blogs  on spirituality and Life. I am also a contributor in Thrive Global. My articles are published in Thrive global and also in Sibana East.

 

 

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  1. sosnowitcher@tutanota.com' Sosna witcher says:

    Frankly, speaking nothing beats having experience in this life. It’s a great life teacher. Reading from the experiences in the article has also made me learn and open my eyes to a lot of things about work, attitude, power in all ramifications. Finally, the three life changing qualities (PASSION, COMPASSION, DISPASSION) has changed my orientation and will also spur me on. Thanks for this great article.

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