"It is recorded in the Mahabhinishkramana that Devadatta, the cousin of Prince Siddhartha, took a bow and arrow and shot down a swan. The creature was grounded but not killed. The future Buddha took the bird upon his knees and comforted it. Devadatta was sent to claim his prize, no doubt intending to kill it, but the Buddha refused to hand over the swan, saying that the bird was his:
'Then our Lord
Laid the swan's neck beside his own smooth cheek
And gravely spake, "Say no! the bird is mine,
The first of myriad things that shall be mine
By right of mercy and love's lordliness...'" (The Light of Asia by Sir Edwin Arnold)
Shantideva: 209-210
Note: "In the psycho-ethical social philosophy of Buddhism, the concept of compassion has two main aspects. First, as a desirable quality in human character, it is meant to regulate our attitude to other people. Secondly, it has its transcendental aspect known as Great or Grand Compassion (maha-karuna) found only in sages like Buddhas, [Bodhisattvas] and Arhats. It is the higher kind and is super-individual in scope and covers all beings in their entirety. It 'seeketh not its own' and hence is the result of coming into contact with spiritual reality. Cleansed of individualised exclusiveness, it becomes unlimited ... If compassion is the desire to relieve the suffering of others, the best way to do so is to lead them to the freedom of Buddhahood and hence it is this kind of compassion that makes the concept truly meaningful."