Atanavat wrote:1: You save the thief from the bad karma he will receive if he kills her (compassion).
From what motivation? If this is done from a sense of aversion to loss and greed for what is dear then it seems unwise. It also results in dark kamma from intentionally killing another being, which is thus not compassionate towards everyone involved in the situation.
AN 3.69: Mula Sutta wrote:
Monks, there are these three roots of what is unskillful. Which three? Greed is a root of what is unskillful, aversion is a root of what is unskillful, delusion is a root of what is unskillful.
AN 8.41: Uposatha Sutta wrote:
All arahants, for as long as life lasts, have given up the intentional taking of life. The club and sword have been laid down. They have shame (of doing evil) and are compassionate toward all beings.
2: You spare yourself of the anguish of letting her die (compassion to self).
It is useful to distinguish compassion for oneself from greed and aversion for the eight worldly conditions. The motivation to spare yourself the anguish of losing what is dear is aversion to loss rooted in delusion. True compassion for oneself would include consideration of the kamma of intentionally killing a human being.
This is perhaps one reason why the Buddha recommended as one of the contemplations from AN 5.57
AN 5.57: Upajjhatthana Sutta wrote:
I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.
AN 8.6: Lokavipatti Sutta wrote:
He welcomes the arisen gain and rebels against the arisen loss. He welcomes the arisen status and rebels against the arisen disgrace. He welcomes the arisen praise and rebels against the arisen censure. He welcomes the arisen pleasure and rebels against the arisen pain. As he is thus engaged in welcoming & rebelling, he is not released from birth, aging, or death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, or despairs. He is not released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.
3: You give her more time to improve her karmic chances (compassion).
This choice would also cut short the thief's chances to make the most of this precious human birth while creating difficulties for the killer's quest for liberation through the kamma of intentional killing.
4: The thief might also kill you, so you give yourself more time to improve your karma (compassion to self).
The thief might also kill neither one of you if he hears an inspirational Dhamma talk. This is one reason why discussions of such hypothetical situations are often unfruitful. The variables which influence the situation can never be fully specified without encountering an actual situation. A skillful action resulting in everyone surviving is the ideal outcome. True compassion for oneself includes the consideration of the consequences of kamma. Ideally, compassion is developed as an unbounded compassion for all beings without limit.
Snp 1.8: Karaniya Metta Sutta wrote:
With good will for the entire cosmos,
cultivate a limitless heart
MN 21: Kakacupama Sutta wrote:
Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.'
5. It is likely that you are "better" people than the thief, so you rid the world of his bad influences and gives the world more of your compassion, because you live on (compassion to all) Surely this choice is vastly superior.
This seems to suggest conceit (thinking "I am superior"), aversion to the activities of the thief, and a willingness to discard virtue when it is expedient to do so. Such choices thus seem to be influenced through passion for a sense of self and for the eight conditions of the world.
SN 53.36: Vidha Sutta wrote:
There are, bhikkhus, these three types of conceit. Which three? The conceit 'I am superior', the conceit 'I am equal', the conceit 'I am inferior'.
SN 55.31: Abhisanda Sutta wrote:
the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration. This is the fourth bonanza of merit, bonanza of skillfulness, nourishment of bliss.
AN 8.53: Gotami Sutta wrote:
Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to passion, not to dispassion; to being fettered, not to being unfettered; to accumulating, not to shedding; to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty; to discontent, not to contentment; to entanglement, not to seclusion; to laziness, not to aroused persistence; to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher's instruction.'