During the first day of teachings that preceded the Kalachakra, H.H. The Dalai Lama, gave what amounted to a comparative religion lecture. One of the keys to his lecture was the fact that the attributes of love, compassion, and kindness are central tenants of every world religion. Every world religion teaches these attributes because they will not only have a positive influence on yourself and those around you in this life, but they will also benefit you in whatever awaits each of the death of our physical body.
Unfortunately, too often in our technological world, these attributes are lost, because most interaction occurs without any real face-to-face interaction with one another. This makes it is easy to become disconnected with the fact that the person on the other end of the phone line, or on the other side of the internet connection is a person, just like you. These disconnected interactions allows us to feel okay about treating someone poorly, or even in an outright hateful manner.
One of the benefits of practicing the virtues of love, compassion, and kindness is that they prevent you from treating people poorly, especially those who truly don’t deserve negative treatment. Of course there are limits to these attributes, according to H.H. the Dalai Lama, “if there is an angry dog running at you, do not stand there with love, compassion, and kindness, run away!” 😀
I believe on an individual level these attributes lead to a better life, because of the psychological and physical benefits. Numerous medical studies have shown that the more conflict and stress a person has in their life, the more likely they are to have psychological and physical health issues. Therefore, the less conflict and stress your have in your life, the more likely you are to live a happier and healthier life. The attributes of love, compassion, and kindness reduce conflict and stress because they are incompatible with the negative attributes (attachment, animosity, egoism), that conflict and stress depend upon. In effect, the positive aspects do not leave any “mental/emotional room” for the negative aspects to gain a foothold.
On a societal level, these attributes help make the lives of those around us better. We all know someone who has the uncanny ability to ruin any solely by their sheer negativity or ego, perhaps we have all been guilty of that ourselves. In the same way we all know someone who has the ability to “light up the room” when they walk in. By practicing positive attributes of love, compassion, and kindness a symbiotic effect can begin to develop in your personal, professional, and even societal relationships. Your positive attitude will help those around you have a more positive attitude, and their positive attitude will in return make you even more positive. This phenomena is similar to how a stone tossed into a pond creates ripples that at first go outward, but eventually reflect back to the center where the stone caused the first ripple.
As far as the afterlife goes, most of the religions of the world teach that the realm of your afterlife will either be a positive or negative place based on your actions in this life. Therefore, If you believe in this concept of an afterlife, it behooves you to be on your best behavior, because what you do in this life determines your fate for eternity. Those who believe in reincarnation, believe that your next incarnation will be based on your Karma in this life, that can be either positive or negative based largely on your deeds. For those that do not believe in any afterlife, then good deeds are still important, because other peoples memories of us, and the results of our good deeds, will certainly outlive our physical life, so in return that is a kind of immortality that can either be positive or negative.
Practical Tip: Try to practice the positive attributes of love, compassion, and kindness in your everyday life. This can be a struggle, but it is something that can be accomplished with a little effort. Sometimes all it takes is a sincere smile or a sincere word of gratitude to those around us to brighten someone’s day. Also, if you hold animosity towards someone, release the animosity, and realize that they are a human, just like you, and at the very least deserve our respect and kindness, even if they do not reciprocate. By continually practicing these positive attributes you will become a more positive and happier person. Eventually, you will no longer have to “try” to practice these virtues, because they will have simply become part of “you”, which is what they were all along.
For more information on the Kalachakra please visit my original post: http://livinginthenow.net/2011/07/17/kalachakra-initiation-for-world-peace/
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