One of the most powerful weapons in the world is compassion. The least powerful is control. The two are surely at odds with each other, and it certainly seems that power and control would trump wimpy compassion any old day. But in actuality, compassion, a weapon of least distraction, is not only one of the most powerful, but the weapon of lasting peace. And this is the secret of its power.

When we strive to control things, we set ourselves up for some angst. Do we not? Control means exercising authority or dominating others, to regulate, or hold in restraint, kind of like holding a big powerful dog on a leash that continually tries to break away. All of these set us up in competition with the other. Instead of harmony, we have dualistic desires to dominate the other person or circumstance that gets in our way. This necessarily involves ambition and striving.

A direct result of control and power is negative karma, a negative force that will one day bite you in the behind. In other words, you, personally, will have to answer to your negative karma which will be extremely painful.

If a small percentage of the wealthy controls the population, there will come a day when the plebeians reverse that control and rebel against the ruling class. This is a balance, the tendency of which is to equalize things just as water stored in an elevated tank has the nature to flow down away from the tank as soon as the right circumstances prevail, such as the tank rusting out, etc. That's how karma works, it remains dormant until the right circumstances prevail. But karma always prevails, there's no free lunch. Positive karma perpetuates positive karma and good luck while negative karma perpetuates negative karma and sets up bad luck.

So we can see that control and power, although wonderfully rewarding to the ego, sets us up subconsciously for the other shoe to drop. The building of ego is negative karma that must some day be rectified. And a big ego falls hard, so hard occasionally that the experience can completely destroy the mind.

Conversely, compassion is less distracting than control because compassion is quiet and non-assuming; the genuine antithesis of control and power. There is no negative karma produced, only good, non-harming karma which frees the subconscious. No shoes to drop in the future. We are free to face the future unobstructed, and not only that, can look forward to the future because the positive karma that is produced will only produce more of the same.

The argument may be that control of others is necessary to do the work to advance society. I argue that this is a fallacy. No work requires control over others. Nobody is ever superior to another. The work of society, a real society, requires only cooperation and harmony.

The society we have now is based on individual greed, hatred and confusion. We don't know which end is up, and this exacerbates our problems as we buy into complacency and doing things conservatively, in other words, living in the past. This is the fault of our religious leaders in not explaining the benefits of compassion, and instead stressing the need to get ahead and make money.

It's political. Churches that teach the truth about compassion lose their faithful, just because their faithful has strayed so far off track. Therefore, nothing will change anytime soon. The only hope is that something happens suddenly to wake us all up. Because we won't wake up by ourselves. We are too far gone.

Control? Compassion? Whatever bed we make, we lie in.

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock (anagarika addie) is a meditation teacher at: and author of “A Year to Enlightenment:

His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.