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In order to give, you first have to acquire what it is you wish to give.

Returning to the idea of kindness to oneself as an aspect of compassion, one thing about this is that if one attempts to cultivate compassion for others, love for others without having compassion and love for oneself, one will have no basis within oneself for that cultivation. It is a little bit like trying to donate or give money to others when you have no money to give. In order to give, you first have to acquire what it is you wish to give. In the same way, in order to be able to cultivate genuine compassion for others, we must start by cultivating compassion for ourselves.

17th Karmapa

from the book “Compassion NOW!”

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