In Vow of Love, we are shown a profound way to look at suffering that will help us to understand, on a deep level, what must be done to bring it to an end. Practicing compassion consistently over time will overwhelm any other goal we may reach for. Explaining the difference between being a truly compassionate person and a kind person, Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo shows how one is a totally selfless goal, while the other may anticipate reward or praise, being as much about self, or even more about self, than about other.
Developing a mind of compassion requires the development of a profound understanding of suffering. However, the suffering that we are able to see—sickness, poverty, loneliness, hunger, old age, death—is only symptoms. The true causes of suffering, according to the Buddha’s teaching, are hatred, greed, and ignorance. These causes cannot be relieved by money or medicine or any method of contemporary technology that is available to us.
How then can suffering be cut off at its root? In Vow of Love, Jetsunma explains that compassion for all beings, seen and unseen, is the cure. If one develops a level of compassion that is so unshakeable that it causes self concern to slowly and methodically fall away, that compassion becomes the motivating force for one’s existence.
Jetsunma shows us the logic of a path of compassion. By examining suffering, its causes, and our inability to end it by ordinary means, she inspires us to acknowledge our most profound feelings and thoughts, and embark on a path that will fulfill our deepest longing for spiritual freedom for ourselves and others.