by Carrie Barton, Donor Relations Officer

I recently watched a documentary called Tashi and the Monk. It’s the story of Lobsang Phuntsok, a former Tibetan monk who disrobed in 2006 and moved back to his native India. There he established Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community in the Himalayan foothills.

As the child of a young, unmarried mother, Lobsang Phuntsok was told repeatedly that he was “the uninvited guest of this universe.” He caused trouble in his small village until at age seven he was sent to a monastery. The monks treated him with patience and love. Eventually, he came to believe he was indeed a beloved child of God. Now he helps other “uninvited guests of the universe” find their true nature as beloved children. Compassion acts.

Gabor Maté is a physician whose compassion led him to leave a lucrative private practice to work at the Downtown Eastside Vancouver (B.C.) clinic treating hard-core drug addicts. His book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, describes the clinic’s philosophy of non-judgmental, holistic treatment of their patients. Dr. Maté and his collegues strive to honor the humanity of those in their care while offering the best possible health care. Compassion acts.

The sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude have dedicated their collective lives in the service of compassionate acts:  establishing schools, building hospitals, creating a peaceful place for weary souls to rest. The community’s daily prayer is the bedrock of the sisters’ lives, supporting everything they do and lifting up the whole world. Compassion acts. 

Lobsand Phuntsok, Dr. Gabor Maté, and the sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude have committed astounding acts of compassion. In contrast, actions as simple as making eye contact, listening without judgment, asking thoughtful questions, or offering a glass of water can connect us to another person. Sharing your time and resources with causes that align with your values is another way to show that you care. Commiting acts of compassion can become a habit if we watch for opportunities. Accumulated, imagine the difference our compassionate acts, large and small, make in the lives of us all!   

Compassion acts. How are you compassionate today?