A contradiction in terms

Thanks to Christy for unearthing this gem from Guru, Deity, Protector, session 3.

Contradiction (from GDP03 00:04:19.03 - 00:08:40.00)

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John: Do you have to appreciate yourself or love yourself before having the confidence to do that, the faith of longing?

Ken: No, I don't think so. No.

John: Thinking back upon the concept of self-love. Pema Chodron talks about it...

Ken: Well, in Tibetan, and I really don't know Pali well enough--but I really doubt in Pali, and certainly not in Tibetan and Sanskrit to my knowledge, the idea of self-love or self-compassion is a contradiction in terms. And we have these concepts flying around really because of the influence of Western psychology.

In Tibetan Buddhism for instance, the wish that others be free of suffering is called compassion. You want others to be free of suffering, that's compassion. The wish thatyou be free of suffering is not called self-compassion. It's called renunciation. Or if you want another translation it's called determination. I want to be free of suffering, I gotta do something about it--I gotta get out of this mess. And so that is the wish thatI want to be free of suffering is disenchantment with the current state of affairs, etc., etc., which leads to that renunciation.

And the capacity to be present with your own pain, that's not self-compassion--that's mindfulness. That's what mindfulness is--just that. I tend to feel--and this may be a bit harsh on my side--you know, it wouldn't be the first time--that these concepts such as self-love, self-compassion, self-forgiveness are often covert or not so covert ways of protecting a very explicit sense of self that does not want to meet the actual state of affairs.