Volume 14, 2007
Do the Compassionate Flourish? Overcoming Anguish and the Impulse towards Violence
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
In this paper I argue that in order for compassion to be considered a virtue, Western philosophical accounts of compassion must be supplemented by Buddhist understandings. After examining two potential problems with compassion (that it may burden the compassionate agent with anguish such that s/he cannot flourish and that feeling compassion may give rise to violence on behalf of the suffering), I consider a way out of both of these problems. My central claim is that the proper emotion which demonstrates the virtue of compassion is that of equanimity.