This book contains a series of meditations to help us develop compassion. And what is compassion? The wish for others not
to suffer. This is simply a wonderful book! In it, we learn about the psychology of other human beings. One suprising thing is that we all want the same thing! Happiness. But most of us seem stupid about obtaining it. In all human endeavors and in all human relationships, what quality of mind really makes them work? Compassion. Hopkins brillantly illustrates this. Think
about it. What type of marriage partner would you really want?
One who wishes that you would not suffer. And what is this wish?
It is compassion. So we all want a partner with compassion. We all want friends with compassion. What type of business relationship would you want with someone? We want someone who can feel for us. Someone who will understand if we get sick and can't make a deadline. We want someone with compassion. Paradoxically, compassion is the key to success. Because no one would really want any kind of relationship with us, personal or otherwise, unless we have compassion. Can compassion be bought? Yes! Oddly enough. Buy this book and do a series of meditations in which you will feel for others. In which you will understand others. This book is for everyone. The world needs compassion. And it is what everyone wants. Thank you.
This book is extraordinary. The basic outline follows the well-known seven-fold cause-and-effect meditations for developing bodhicitta, but Professor Hopkins helps to motivate and draw you into each step by presenting other meditations more familiar from Lamrim literature, such as meditations on the preciousness of human life and the certainty of death. All of this comes together to present, in an a surprisingly clear, readable, and practical form, the entire Buddhist path. What makes the book particularly special are the personal notes, stories, and questioning that Hopkins reveals along the way, making it clear that this is a path he has personally walked and, no doubt with great effort, integrated into his life. This gives the book an integrity that is quite rare.
It is only now, writing this, that I realize how deep this simple book really is. Two of Hopkins's other works, The Tantric Distinction, and Emptiness Yoga, come to mind as having a similar kind of personal style. If you liked those, I think you will also find Cultivating Compassion to be, well, enlightening. But this book is suitable for anyone, whether you have previous experience with the material or not. In fact, although there are plenty of historical and philosophical introductions to Buddhism, no other book that I have read takes you quite so effortlessly into its heart. Integrating the teachings into YOUR heart is the next logical step.