An explorer who discovers a treasure island can fill his ship with gold, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. But his good fortune has nothing to compare with human life, which offers us something far more precious than any gold and precious stones - the chance to reflect on and practice the Dharma and give meaning to our lives. The treasures we have to choose from are the various teachings offered by the fundamental, the great, and the diamond vehicles. It is now, while you enjoy all the favorable conditions of human life, that you have the freedom that is necessary to practise the Dharma.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Genuine compassion is egoless. It is the inherent essence expressed, inseparable from awareness. This natural essence, which is genuine compassion, does not need to be formulated or even expressed as something like “compassion.” We see this exemplified in our great teachers. Their genuine compassion does not require phrases and expressions or even actions. Just their presence, who they are, is nothing other than the quintessence of compassion. We, in contrast, have to invent and demonstrate compassion. Our contaminated compassion still requires effort and deliberation. That is conventional or general compassion. The good thing about the use of deliberate or conventional compassion is that it matures the mind so that ego-grasping diminishes. It definitely has that effect and is therefore a skillful method for developing awareness compassion.
The priority we give to material goods in our life is up to each of us to determine. This is also part of deciding how we want to define ourselves. If we are looking to our jobs and to material things to tell us how we are, what we are worth, and where we fit in the world, this is a sign that we have become profoundly confused about the order of things. It shows we have missed the point about how we human beings stand in relation to the material world.
His Holiness the Karmapa