May a Truly Kind Heart Grow in Myself and all Other People.
Before we can feel genuine love and compassion for others, we must see them as lovable. Seeing them as if they were our parents or kind caregivers and remembering their kindness to us—both when they are our parents or caregivers and when they are not, enables us to have a positive view of them.
Notice the Kindness of Others
To develop an awareness of your interconnectedness with all others and the sense of being the recipient of much kindness from them, contemplate:
1. The help we’ve received from friends. This includes the support, encouragement, gifts, practical help, and so forth that we’ve received from them. Do not think of the friends in a way that increases attachment to them. Instead, recognize their help as acts of human kindness and feel grateful.
2. The benefit we’ve received from parents, relatives, and teachers. Reflect on the care they gave us when we were young, protecting us from danger and giving us an education. The fact that we can speak comes from the efforts of those who cared for us when we were young, including our teachers.
All talents, abilities, and skills we have now are due to the people who taught and trained us.
Even when we didn’t want to learn and were unruly, they continued trying to help us learn.
3. The help we’ve received from strangers. The buildings we use, clothes we wear, food we eat, and roads we drive on, were all made by people we don’t know. Without their effort—the contribution they make to society by whatever work they do—we wouldn’t be able to survive.
4. The benefit we’ve received from people we don’t get along with and from people who have harmed us. These people show us what we need to work on and point out our weaknesses so that we can improve. They give us the chance to develop patience, tolerance, and compassion, qualities that are essential for spiritual and emotional growth.
Conclusion: Recognize that you’ve received incalculable benefit from all people—both to allow you to live your life as well as promoting emotional growth—throughout your lifetime. Let yourself experience the care, kindness, love and challenges that others have brought to you. Let a sense of gratitude arise and generate the wish to be kind to them in return.
Practice Seeing Others and Yourself as Equals
To feel that all people—friends, strangers, difficult people, self, and others—are equally worthy of respect and help and are equally valuable, contemplate the following points:
1. All people want to be happy and to avoid pain as intensely as we do. Try to look at each individual you see with this thought in mind.
2. Ten patients may suffer from different illness, but all want to be cured. Similarly, each person has different problems, but all equally want to be free from them. There is no reason for us to be partial, thinking some people are more important than others.
3. Ten beggars may need different things, but all want to be happy. Similarly, each person may want different things, but all want to be happy. Watch having a discriminatory attitude, helping some and ignoring others. Consider contemplating the above insights to help you transform your perceptions of all people.
Conclusion: All people, including you, equally want to be happy and avoid suffering. Think that you must work to eliminate the suffering of all equally and help all equally. Although you cannot do this externally, you can hold this attitude internally.
4. All people have helped us so much. The mere fact that we’ve been able to stay alive since birth is due to the efforts of others. Reflect on the help you have received throughout your lifetime.
5. Even if some people have harmed us, the benefit we receive from them far outweighs this.
6. Holding grudges against those who have harmed us is counterproductive.
Conclusion: Let the wish to help others arise in your heart. Let go of any wish for revenge or retaliation for past harms.
7. The relationships of friend, disagreeable person, and stranger aren’t fixed; they change easily.
8. The Holy Beings see no inherent friend, difficult person, or stranger, so do they exist?
Conclusion: There is no difference on a conventional or an ultimate level between yourself and others. Feeling this in your heart, give up any attitude of partiality that favors yourself or your dear ones and open your heart to respect and cherish all people. Although you may not act the same with everyone—you must still accord with certain social roles and take others’ abilities into consideration—in your heart you can still wish them well equally.
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