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Excerpted from If the Buddha Dated by Charlotte Kasl. Copyright 1999 by Charlotte Kasl. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Compassion, care, and kindness for others would supersede 'getting someone to be with us.'"

  Charlotte Kasl, If the Buddha Dated, Part 2

Siddhartha Gautama became known as, Buddha -- the enlightened one -- but never claimed to be other than a human being. While Buddhism is often portrayed as austere, in reality it embraces all we are as humans. At the same time, it takes us beyond a kind of self-centered narcissism because instead of identifying with the content of our experience, we identify with awareness itself.

Enlightenment is not about becoming divine. Instead it's about becoming more fully human... it is the end of ignorance. Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within

Early practitioners of Buddhism were often monastic, committed to poverty and celibacy. That's why there is little discussion of sexuality and relationships in Buddhist writings, along with the fact that many of the teachers are themselves celibate. In the West, however, Buddhist practitioners are beginning to explore how we can attune sexuality and relationships with the spiritual journey.

What would it mean to bring a Buddha consciousness to dating? Instead of feeling a sense of urgency, we would be fascinated by the process of meeting and getting to know new people. Compassion, care, and kindness for others would supersede "getting someone to be with us." And we would never try to control another person. We wouldn't put others on a pedestal, nor would we set them below us. We'd remember that on the spiritual path, the purpose of any relationship is to wake up and get to know ourselves and our lover, thoroughly, without judgment or pride. On the spiritual path, we enter into a shared union where we cherish and give to each other, expanding our ability to love unconditionally. We would also accept that the process can be awkward, unpredictable, challenging, and surprising.

In Buddhism there are teachings and practices, but no rigid dogma. You are encouraged to do whatever helps you become more awake.

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