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Guide Love Dharma: Relationship Wisdom From Enlightened Buddhist Women

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Buddhism depends more on understanding than faith.

Women in Buddhism

Life is challenging. For everyone. Our physical bodies, our relationships-all of our life circumstances-are fragile and subject to change. We are always accommodating. The end of suffering-a non-struggling, peaceful mind- is a possibility. The program for ending suffering is the Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path 1. Wise Understanding: realizing the cause of suffering; 2.


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Wise Intention: motivation to end suffering; 3. Wise Speech: speaking in a way that cultivates clarity; 4. Wise Action: behaving in ways that maintain clarity; 5. Wise Livelihood: supporting oneself in a wholesome way; 6. Wise Effort: cultivating skillful peaceful mind habits; 7. Wise Concentration: cultivating a steady, focused, ease-filled mind; 8. Wise Mindfulness: cultivating alert, balanced attention.

Not killing or causing harm to other living beings 2. Not taking the not-given 3. Avoiding sexual misconduct 4. Avoiding false speech 5. Established by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh in Saigon in , the Order of Interbeing was founded in the Linji tradition of Buddhist meditative practice and emphasizes the Four Spirits: non-attachment from views, direct experimentation on the nature of interdependent origination through meditation, appropriateness, and skilful means.

I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam. This would be a notably auspicious year for you to bestow your Prize on the Venerable Nhat Hanh.

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Here is an apostle of peace and non-violence, cruelly separated from his own people while they are oppressed by a vicious war which has grown to threaten the sanity and security of the entire world. Reverence for life 2. True happiness 3. True love 4. Loving speech and deep listening 5.

Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness — which are the four basic elements of true love — for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others.

Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future. This is a very important encounter, not to be done in a casual manner. Only with someone you trust and love.

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Casual sex cannot be described as love. Love is deep, beautiful, and whole. Sexual communion should be like a rite, a ritual performed in mindfulness with great respect, care, and love.

Bringing Relationship Onto The Path

If you are motivated by some desire, that is not love. Desire is not love. Love is something much more responsible. It has care in it. If we like only the best things in the person, that is not love. We have to accept his weaknesses and bring our patience, understanding, and energy to help him transform. In the wake of their experiences arose relationship dharma.

She prescribes the Noble Eightfold Path as a cure for jealousy, and meditation to get over an ill-advised affair. Author of several spiritual memoirs—the latest is First You Shave Your Head— Larkin has a wisecracking, confessional, girlfriend-to-girlfriend style that at times obscures her message: how vibrant these early dharma women were, and how many obstacles they overcame in pursuing enlightenment.

The relationship expert on iVillage. Thus, step one of Zen practice—removing our shoes to enter the zendo meditation hall —is about dropping our defenses and opening to both the dharma and the possibility of love. Shoshanna studied with the Japanese Zen masters Soen Nakagawa Roshi and Eido Shimano Roshi; the rigor of traditional monastic training shines through the spare language and format. Aspects of Zen practice that can be controversial or confounding are presented matter-of-factly. A few of the love lessons may even raise eyebrows.

This is necessary, as a fundamental part of learning the art of falling in love is knowing how to receive the stick. Zen love, like Zen practice, is not for the timid. These days, perhaps as many people get divorced as get married. Psychologically, divorce can be hell. So, sentient beings are suffering like this. We create all kinds of fantasies, grasp at sense pleasure and everything finishes in disaster. Buddhism explains that we circle from one life to another because of craving desire and that we can put an end to cyclic existence, to rebirth in samsara, by abandoning desire.

The twentieth century example of this is those ladies and gentlemen who get married, experience problems, grasp at another person, then at another, and another … maybe they cycle through four or five marriages in a single lifetime. Some people have hundreds of lovers in their life. Why do they keep on grasping? They hang on continuously; non-stop. Desire is fickle in nature. Freud tried to explain sex as the basis of most human problems. Buddhism disagrees.

The main human problem lies much deeper than that. Question : Lama, is it possible to teach married people on the spiritual path some form of modified tantric practice to help deepen their spiritual and sexual relationship? But as the texts explain, you have to approach these things gradually.

Still, if married people study properly, they can learn the great significance of tantric practice, have a good relationship and, in a simple way, experience some kind of unity. In such cases, the nervous system can crack under the strain.

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Setting Personal Boundaries

If you take it gradually, any practice can become easy. You should not push or squeeze yourself. If you pump yourself too hard, you run out of space, freak out and go crazy. Question : Some people take teachings and then decide to live in the world and practice Dharma without becoming a monk or nun.

Love Dharma : Relationship Wisdom from Enlightened Buddhist Women by Geri Larkin (2030, Paperback)

Is it easy to integrate worldly responsibilities with spiritual practice? Lama : That, too, depends on the individual. They get married, the marriage is good, they try to help and share with each other. Many of my married students were experiencing unbelievable suffering and conflict when I met them. All I could do was try to help them be happy and have as good a relationship as possible.


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But, sometimes the circumstances are against it. Basically, both people are unhappy; they have much conflict and many problems within their marriage.

I think this is common. Many Western people experience this. I think the grasping, sexual relationship is one of the greatest problems Western people face, whether they are religious practitioners or not.