The essential practice

Buddhist Zen quotes by

“Loving-Kindness: The Essential Practice FOR AN ASPIRING BODHISATTVA, the essential practice is to cultivate maitri, or loving-kindness. The Shambhala teachings speak of “placing our fearful mind in the cradle of loving-kindness.” Another image for maitri is that of a mother bird who protects and cares for her young until they are strong enough to fly away. People sometimes ask, “Who am I in this image—the mother or the chick?” The answer is we’re both: both the loving mother and those ugly little chicks. It’s easy to identify with the babies—blind, raw, and desperate for attention. We are a poignant mixture of something that isn’t all that beautiful and yet is dearly loved. Whether this is our attitude toward ourselves or toward others, it is the key to learning how to love. We stay with ourselves and others when we’re screaming for food and have no feathers and also when we are more grown up and more appealing by worldly standards. In cultivating loving-kindness, we learn first to be honest, loving, and compassionate toward ourselves. Rather than nurturing self-denigration, we begin to cultivate a clear-seeing kindness. Sometimes we feel good and strong. Sometimes we feel inadequate and weak. But like mother-love, maitri is unconditional; no matter how we feel, we can aspire that we be happy. We can learn to act and think in ways that sow seeds of our future well-being. Gradually, we become more aware about what causes happiness as well as what causes distress. Without loving-kindness for ourselves, it is difficult, if not impossible, to genuinely feel it for others.”
― Pema Chödrön,

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