The disciples of Gautama are always well awake, and their minds day and night always delight in compassion. (Dhammapada 300 / Müller & Maguire, 2002.)
Stories of Buddha’s compassion and consideration for all life abound. He taught truth and he also taught compassion because he saw personal happiness as related to the happiness of others, humans and otherwise. Such a lesson is reflected in both the way he lived and the way he died. In life, it was said that the Buddha forewent Nirvana in order to teach others the keys to transcendence. In death, the story goes that a follower accidentally poisoned Buddha. As he was dying, he comforted this follower by assuring him that the meal he had just eaten was one of his two most blessed meals: the first meal was the one he had to break his fast under the bodhi tree, and this second meal of rotten mushrooms was the meal that would bring him to Nirvana.
Peace and Love, Jim