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Excerpted from If the Buddha Married by Charlotte Kasl. Copyright 2001 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.

"The foundation of lovingkindness is bringing an unconditional friendliness and acceptance to ourselves."

  Charlotte Kasl, If the Buddha Married, Part 5

3. Experience lovingkindness.

My religion is kindness.
-Dalai Lama

Wishing: in gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease...
Let none, through anger of ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings.

Can you gaze at your beloved and completely wish him freedom from suffering and the root of all suffering? Can you look at your partner, and with all your heart wish her the fullness of all that she can become? Do your actions and words reflect these loving wishes? When two people fully open their hearts, wanting only the best for each other, they ease through the boundaries of their separateness. This is the essence of lovingkindness.

The foundation of lovingkindness is bringing an unconditional friendliness and acceptance to ourselves. We realize that everything is part of our Buddha nature and there is nothing to reject. Kahlil Gibran writes in The Prophet, "In our giant self lies our goodness, and that goodness is in a 1 11 of us. Lovingkindness is like bringing a vast embrace to all we are and feeling the radiance at the center of our being."

From this place of self-acceptance and expansiveness, we feel steady, natural, and unafraid. When lovingkindness permeates our being, we are so transparent and at ease within ourselves that anger and hostility have no place to take root inside. Once we have experienced the wonderful expansiveness of lovingkindness, we become highly attuned to the constricting nature of holding on to grief, anger, hurt, or loss.

One step toward experiencing lovingkindness comes from immersing ourselves in our own lives, following our heart and giving ourselves fully to whatever we feel called to do. This allows us to cheer completely for others as they come into their power and find their path. If we stand in the shadows of our own lives, shrinking from the vast possibilities before us, we are likely to be jealous or uncomfortable around people who fully explore their own potential.

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