Instituto Pramāṇa

The expression “putting oneself in someone else’s shoes” is used in situations in which we should try to understand what another person is feeling or the hardships they are going through. But sometimes we have to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes to understand that person’s worldviews, mindsets, and even emotions. Empathy, solidarity, and compassion arise from this mental and bodily action.

In Mahāyāna Buddhist traditions compassion (Skt. karuṇā; Tib. སྙིང་རྗེ་), loving-kindness (Skt. maitrī; Tib. བྱམས་པ་), joy (Skt. muditā; Tib. དགའ་བ་), and equanimity (Skt. upekṣā; Tib. བཏང་སྙོམས་) arise from the developing process of the altruistic resolution to become a Buddha (Skt. bodhicitta; Tib. བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་), beginning with the first step of becoming an aspirational bodhicitta (Skt. bodhi-praṇidhi-citta; Tib. སྨོན་སེམས་).[1] The next process can occur only after this feeling has become stable, leading the practitioner to become an engaged bodhicitta (Skt. bodhi­prasthāna­citta; Tib. འཇུག་པའི་བྱང་ཆུབ་ཀྱི་སེམས་). Engaged because it implies actions are being done to benefit others. It is a stage that invites practitioners to engage socially.

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