Buddhist Compassion Meditation: a Brief History

| June 4, 2018 | 3 Comments

Buddhist compassion meditation practices changed dramatically during the millennium from the Buddha’s lifetime to the lifetimes of some of his most famous commentators. Using a paper by the gifted scholar Anālayo as a guide, we will look at the earliest recorded compassion practices and at practices found in works by the later philosophers and commentators Buddhaghosa and Vasubandhu.


Anālayo “Compassion in the Āgamas and Nikāyas“.


Subha Sutta (MN 99.24)

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About the Author ()

Doug is Study Director of the Secular Buddhist Association. He has a PhD in Philosophy, with a minor in Buddhist philosophy and Sanskrit. In 2013 he completed the year-long Integrated Study and Practice Program with the BCBS and NYIMC. A long time scientific skeptic, he pursues a naturalized approach to practice. He is also interested in scholarship about the Tipiṭaka, and the theoretical and historical origins of the dhamma. He posts videos at Doug's Secular Dharma on YouTube. Some of his writing can be found at academia.edu.

Comments (3)

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  1. Kevin K. says:

    Hi Doug –

    I love your work but have had to stop watching your videos due to the constant jump cuts. You speak well so I don’t know whose idea it was to inject jarring discontinuity into the visual side (the audio is flawless).

    I sure miss the days when you’d write instead of posting videos – much better content and for me anyway much better retention – but the videos are painful to watch – which is really a shame given the excellent content.

    • Doug Smith says:

      Hi Kevin and thanks for the comment. Sorry to hear your reaction to the editing, it’s something I’ll keep in mind. I know early videos were overly edited (and the music was an issue as well) but they’ve seemed to me to get significantly better as my delivery gets smoother. FWIW, jump cuts are completely normal on YouTube. Yours is the first negative reaction to the jump-cuts in about a year now, but I’ll keep my ears open to see if more folks have the same reaction and if so I can loosen up the editing a bit.

      Of course, you can just listen to them if you prefer audio!

      • Kevin K. says:

        Hi Doug – thanks for your reply.

        Jump cuts may be the new normal is some contexts, but I’ve never seen a BCBS, Anālayo, Culadasa or other video on Youtube or anywhere else that used them.

        I’ll enjoy your old print pieces on the SBA site.

        All the best!


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