This lesson comes from Zen Master Dae Kwang, from a talk he gave in 1991:
Many times people will say that they don’t like Zen because “it’s cold or unemotional.” Everybody has an emotional mind that revolves around their likes and dislikes. This is our nest. You like this nest, these emotions, and this like and dislike. However, the Buddha taught that our like-and-dislike mind is the source of human suffering. We tend to confuse compassion with our emotional nest. So something is not connecting here. If you take away like and dislike, you don’t get cold and unemotional — you get compassion. Humans are very attached to their like and dislike; we call this “clinging mind.”
Another feeling that everyone has is for this world, for the suffering in this world. This is a “clear emotion.” Compassion is a clear emotion. Zen means finding the compassion that’s inside of you. Suffering requires a response; we call this response “compassion.” Zen means, How do you find your compassion? Compassion means “to suffer with,” from the Latin words “to be with” and passion, “to suffer.” If one is “suffering with,” that means there is no I-my-me, no “my likes/my dislikes. True “suffering with” means become “one with.” This is enlightenment. This is what the Buddha’s enlightenment teaches.
I was looking for a teaching about compassion because it seems to me that the ability to experience compassion for all kinds of people grows and grows, the longer I practice.
But please don’t think this quotation is the complete teaching. No, the best part comes after this. You should read it for yourself.