What is compassion?

Compassion is the wish that others be free of suffering. Our compassion for others grows as our recognition of their suffering does. It is by means of compassion that we aspire to attain enlightenment. True compassion has the intensity and spontaneity of a loving mother caring for her suffering baby. Throughout the day, such a mother's concern for her child affects all her thoughts and actions. This is the attitude we are working to cultivate toward each and every being. When we experience this we have "great compassion."

Teachings about Compassion by the Dali Lama