Arbitrary nature of relationships

Usually we have very strong emotions towards these three groups of people. We are attached to our friends and dear ones, hostile towards enemies and those we dislike or fear, and apathetic towards strangers. To develop equanimity, we contemplate that these three categories are made up by our own mind. It’s our mind that discriminates someone as a friend, another person as an enemy, and a third person as a stranger. In addition, one individual can move from one category to another very quickly, depending on a small change of circumstance or a small action. Given the arbitrary nature of these three categories, generating strong attachment, hostility, and apathy towards anyone does not make sense. Instead, we cultivate an equal feeling of care and concern for everyone. When we do this, we find that it’s very pleasant to have more stable mind that is free from these three deluded emotions – Thubten Chodren

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