Kindness

Buddhism

Buddhism (Photo credit: shapour bahrami)

“My religion is kindness….
I’d rather be kind than right……..
You can always be kind.”
~ Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
 
Kindness, which the Dalai Lama‘s Tibetan Buddhist tradition identifies as the refinement of compassion, is an eternal absolute. It is the bond connecting all beings in the great web of interdependence in which we all participate and by which we are sustained….When we are living in harmony with our nature then we cannot resist being kind, loving, passionate, and merciful. As the Dalai Lama frequently reminds those caught up in complicated philosophies of religion, this essential fruit of the spiritual quest is the substance of his tradition.” ~ Brother Wayne Teasdale
 
Although I subscribe to a different form of Buddhism, this concept of interdependence also plays a crucial role. You cannot survive in a vacuum. People are dependent on others for jobs, companionship, love, and all manner of things. We are all linked to one another in some way, shape or form. While you may choose to not have friends, you still need someone to provide you with a way of supporting yourself. You may choose not to work, but in that case, you become dependent on someone else to sustain you and provide basic needs.
 
The only way that this interdependence can exist is through kindness, compassion, the desire to help others. A web cannot be held together by a single strand. Then all you’ve got is a single strand or entity. There are, however, many strands in a web, and the structure of the web is sustained through the interlacing of all the strands.
 
The same is true of society; it is only the glue that is different. The glue that binds all people and living things together is kindness, not whether you are right or wrong about something. In the long run, being right pales in comparison to being kind to someone. A person will remember a person who is kind or compassionate to them for a lot longer than the person that has to be right. And, compassion tends to grow upon itself. When one does a good turn for someone, that person is more likely to do a good turn for someone else and so on. Kindness builds upon itself and forms the strands of the human web.
 
Being right is a pretty fleeting thing. You can only be right about something once. However, being kind or compassionate is sustainable. You can be kind to many people, and other living things over and over again. It is infinite, being right is finite. 
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