From the Compendium of Knowledge: What is Non-harmfulness? A compassionate mind that belongs to the family of non-anger, having the function of preventing harming and belittling others.
As such: Patience that, having focused on a suffering sentient being, without any harmful intent wishes it to be free from suffering.
Definition: Harmfulness is the wish to abuse others, being a consciousness of non-compassion, non-sympathy and non-empathy.
• Non-compassion, if one wishes to do the abusing oneself.
• Non-sympathy, if one wishes to order another to abuse.
• Non-empathy, if one rejoices in the abusing of others.
Harmfulness belongs to the family of anger. It has the function of causing abuse.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche:
“The purpose of our life is not simply to solve our own problems, to gain happiness for ourselves. The purpose of our life is to be of use to others, to benefit other sentient beings, whether it be one or many. However, the real reason we are alive is to free the numberless other sentient beings from suffering and lead them to the unsurpassed happiness of full enlightenment. That is the meaning of our life. Each of us has this universal responsibility to bring the greatest happiness to all sentient beings.
Pause here for a moment, stop reading, and meditate on the feeling of universal responsibility, that if you have compassion for all living beings, each one receives great peace and happiness from you; each one receives no harm. Think, “All this peace and happiness that they experience and enjoy depends upon me.” Think of the reasons for this and meditate on the thought, “I am responsible for all sentient beings’ peace and happiness.” It would be wonderful if you could practice mindfulness of this in your everyday life.”