Bodhisattva Nagarjuna's Definition of Great Compassion
Part 27 of the Treatise on the Perfection of Wisdom says: "Great kindness is to bring happiness to all beings and great compassion is to free them from suffering."
The Treatise is a well-known work by Bodhisattva Nagarjuna, recognized as the patriarch of all eight schools of Chinese Buddhism. He says that "great kindness" is to offer peace and joy to all beings – to make them happy at present, as well as sow the seeds of permanent bliss. "Great compassion" is to remove all their pain and upset – to relieve them of the current misery of samsara and help them acquire causal factors that may ultimately free them from the rebirth cycle.
This is Buddhism. It extends love to all beings of the Six Realms equally. From deities to hungry ghosts, no discrimination is applied.
The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas not only love all humans equally, but extend their compassion to deities in the heavens and beings in the Three Wretched Realms. They have the mind, and the ability, to do so. But we ordinary beings cannot, because we have not cast off our attachments and thus are driven by the five desires (for wealth, sex, fame, food and sleep). We lack the resolve and tolerance to sacrifice ourselves for the liberation of others. But since we are Dharma-seekers, we must still try to learn and understand.
From On Love
A Discourse by Dharma Master Huijing
Pure Land Buddhism Amitabha-Recitation Society, December 23 and 27, 2015
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings