The teaching began with the notion that all beings, even a dove, have a seed of compassion, as in the example of a dove’s sympathy for it’s offspring. In trying to make the distinction between sympathy and empathy, we learned that it’s really about both, and is very difficult to discern one from the other in the translations. That’s regular compassion, the seed of sympathy or mercy that all beings have at least a tiny bit of.
Basically, a bodhisattva is commited to not leaving the realm of samsara, suffering, infinite cyclic existence, delusion until all 6 realms – Hell Realm, Hungry Ghost Realm, Animal Realm, Human Realm, Jealous God Realm, God Realm are completely empty of suffering sentient beings.
I get a certain feeling in certain places. I’ve tried to determine if it’s a memory, an association, a flashback, a deja-vu or what. I’m pretty sure it’s a spiritual experience, but I’ve tried to be objective. The places where I feel this feeling are often where lamas dwell, teach, have made blessings and so on. During the weekend of teachings by His Holiness Dalai Lama (April 27-29th, 2007) in San Francisco, I had this feeling almost constantly.