Balancing Compassion and Wisdom
Q: What are the dangers of practicing too much kindness? What are the dangers and effects of practicing too much compassion? I once heard a respected author speak of a certain "kindness that can kill." Does this ring any bells in regards to your experience in the informal Buddhist practice of exposing the flaws of ego to "fix" them?
A: Put very simply, when compassion is not balanced with wisdom it is possible for one's compassionate actions to actually be harmful. Wisdom can be considered the "eyes" of compassion while compassion is the "heart" of wisdom. If one acts compassionately but without wisdom present, one acts blindly and may cause unintended harm to others. If one acts wisely but without compassion, one may become cold and uncaring of the effects of one's actions. In both cases it is necessary to practice Right Mindfulness, the constant awareness of the state of one's body, mind, objects of mind and emotions so that our actions cause the least amount of harm and the greatest amount of harmony.